Day Trips by Car from Port of Spain

Our base for our Day Trips was ‘The Gingerbread House’ in Port of Spain’s Woodbrook district. It is on Carlos Street, a short walk to Ariapita Avenue, where several good restaurants such as the Hakka. Also, it is just a short drive to Movie Towne Mall for more restaurants, shopping, and ATMs.

Moreover, we avoided high-risk tourist attractions listed on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website or those mentioned in guidebooks when touring. We also stayed out of the area bounded by Charlotte Street, Beetham Highway and Lady Young Road and the downtown area, Independence Avenue, north to Queen’s Park Savannah.

Trinidad’s West Coast Mudflats

The Trinidad west coast mudflats occur from Port of Spain to Godineau River in the south. The area includes Caroni Swamp and the villages of Waterloo and Orange Valley.

La Vega Estate Garden Centre and Nature Park

A commercial plant nursery with recreational facilities, including lakes and signposted nature trails. Moreover, you can tour the grounds by car, and it is not busy on weekdays.

Port of Spain

Staying in the capital was disappointing with high traffic congestion, jams, and noise; the rush hour starts early and goes well past the school runs. In addition, driving in Trinidad is challenging. For instance, cars exceeded the speed limit by significant margins on the highway, overtake on both sides of the carriageway, and changed lanes at high speed. Moreover, in the country, the traffic is slow as most drivers try to avoid potholes and drive on the wrong side of the road even if there is oncoming traffic.

Chaguaramas Peninsula and Macqueripe Bay

Macqueripe Bay Beach at Chaguaramas Peninsula in Trinidad
Macqueripe Bay Beach at Chaguaramas Peninsula in Trinidad
Public Safety Warning Notice at Macqueripe Bay in Trinidad

Our first day trip from Port of Spain was west to Chaguaramas Peninsula and Macqueripe Bay. We planned sev2160eral scenic walks, but a public safety notice at trailhead first put us off going. However, since I carry expensive camera equipment, I felt we could be a target, so we went to Macqueripe Bay. It is at the end of Tucker Valley Road, and families go there to swim. The beach is small, and the slope behind the beach has shrubs and trees. I photographed some wildlife, a giant ameiva lizard, and a spotted sandpiper in the area just behind the beach.

North Coast

We drove from Port of Spain along the North Coast Road to Maracas beach and Blanchisseuse Bay. And then south on the Blanchisseuse Road to Arima and then back to Port of Spain. Apart from Macqueripe Bay, I did not find much to inspire me to take photos. We stopped in several places on the Blanchisseuse Road, but the birds were too far away to photograph successfully.

Mt St Benedict Monastery

Panoramic View from Mt St Benedict Abbey in Trinidad
Panoramic View from Mt St Benedict Abbey in Trinidad

The drive to Mt St Benedict Monastery was around 20 Km. There is a circular trail starting and finishing at St Benet’s Hall. Unfortunately, we gave up after an hour and returned as the track was poorly maintained, not that scenic, and there was not much wildlife to see.

West Coast

Driving to Manzanilla Bay on the east coast is around 65 km from Port of Spain. Then, it is a further 25 km to Point Radix, about two hours drive without stops. The east coast is a wild and windy coastline on the Atlantic. The drive from Manzanilla to Point Radix is along the Mayaro Road with the Nariva Swamp on one side and Cocos Bay, lined with coconut palms, on the other. The south end of the Nariva Swamp is Bush Bush Reserve, but entry is entry by permit.