There are a few spots in Trinidad which any local will insist that a visitor should go. One of these places is none other than Maracas Bay, the most visited beach on the island. Trinidad itself, is not a beach destination, as many oil rigs are scattered about the Western, Eastern and Southern coasts. However, that is not an issue in the North and that's where the famous Maracas Bay steps in.
My classmates and I had a day free from studies thanks to one of the many public holidays. Due to the many different resident ethnicities of the country (Caribbean, Indian and Chinese to name a few), Trinidad actually is one of the top 5 countries in the world with the most public holidays. The local students decided to organize a trip so that the foreign students such as myself could pay a visit to this beach which we've been hearing so much ago.
We set out from the town of Trincity, which made for a 2 hour drive to Maracas Bay. Maracas Bay is easily accessed by either public transportation (no more than $2 USD) or by using a rental car.
The journey could have been shorter on a regular day, but given that most locals had the day off, we weren't the only ones with the same intentions. Traffic was pretty dense in the urban areas of the country, but flowed freely once we were out of the city limits.
The drive to Maracas Bay was really lovely. Due to the fact that Trinidad is only a mere 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela, the vegetation was quite similar to what one would expect to find in South America. The many mountains that we passed along the way were blanketed in a sheet of greenery, which starkly contrasted against the deep blue Caribbean sky.
Suddenly, we crested a hill and the sea appeared out of seemingly nowhere. You could tell it was the Atlantic ocean, from the deep shade and the white foam caused by crashing waves. The weird thing about this journey, was the fact that although we were heading to the coast, the road was severely elevated to the point that we were driving through mist, before sloping a few metres from the shoreline.
We arrived at Maracas Beach where the party had started long before our 2pm arrival. Many booths were littered about the sand fringe, selling all the dishes indigenous to the country such as Doubles, Pholourie and Roti. You'd find most Trinidadians demolishing these meals with the local drink of choice 'Red Solo'. (This is a brand of red soft drink manufactured in Trinidad)
My classmates didn't eat any of the afore mentioned dishes. We came to Maracas Bay to sample Bake and Shark. This dish consisted of a large fried dumpling split in two, with a fillet of fried shark meat inside. It was served with lettuce and tomatoes, along with your choice of condiments including ketchup, mustard and the local shado beni sauce (shado beni is a leafy herb found in the West Indies).
We found an uncrowded spot on the beach and set up camp. Soca music pumped from the many speaker systems set up at various points on the shore. Children built sand castles, teenagers surfed on the waves which crashed on the beach and others like myself walked along the shoreline.
Indeed, this was not the type of beach that I've grown accustomed to from the various Caribbean Isle which I've visited. You won't find bright blue waters and colourful coral reefs. What you will see is a beach lined with palm trees, which is heaven for surfers and other water sport junkies.
You can still take a swim in the sea, but I would only recommend this to those who are pretty good swimmers. The main attraction at Maracas Beach is not the beach itself, but the culural explosion of food. Maracas Beach is a great place to hang out in Trinidad, and it's a great addition to any trip to the island.