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Take a trip to Grande Riviere, Trinidad

Take a trip to Grande Riviere, Trinidad

Posted by Shanelle Weir on March 14, 2014

Grande Riviere, Trinidad, has been listed by National Geographic as one of the world’s best springtime destinations. In a feature on the National Geographic website called “Best Spring Trips 2014”, written by senior editor National Geographic Traveller, Jayne Wise, Grande Riviere is listed as the second best trip to take at this time of year, as spring coincides in part with turtle-nesting season.

Grande Riviere is considered one of the globe’s most intensive nesting sites for giant, endangered marine turtles. The season runs from March to August, during which much of Trinidad and Tobago’s coastline is visited at night by the egg-laden females of at least five sea turtles—the olive ridley, leatherback, green, hawksbill and loggerhead. The photograph accompanying the National Geographic article is actually one taken on the verandah of the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre in Blanchiseusse, which is mentioned in the article as a daytime activity.

“Of the two islands in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the latter is better known for its nature-based tourism, helping keep Trinidad’s wildlife side relatively under the radar,” the article stated. “The 1,980-square-mile island, southernmost in the Caribbean, is home to some 96 native animals, including West Indian manatees and Capuchin monkeys, and more than 617 types of butterflies and 450 bird species. “Visit the lush, remote northern reaches of Trinidad, separated from the rest of the island by the rain forest-covered Northern Range.

“By day, walk the mountain trails of the 1,500-acre Asa Wright Nature Centre, where 166 species of birds, including more than a dozen different kinds of hummingbirds, have been spotted. At night, watch in awe as behemoth leatherback turtles emerge from the surf to nest on Grande Rivière beach.”

The site also guides potential visitors on where to stay (Acajou Hotel), how to get around the island, and even which book to read before making the journey—“Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange”, by Amanda Smyth, described by Wise as “an intricate tale of human resilience woven through Trinidad’s exotic landscapes and superstitions”.

On what to eat while enjoying the North Coast, visitors are advised: “It’s always time for fresh fish in fishing villages like Grande Rivière. Scan the local menus for traditional Trinidad dishes like buljol (salted shredded codfish, tomatoes, and hot peppers) on toast for breakfast, and, for supper, a steaming bowl of fish broth (a flavourful and filling soup made with fish chunks, fish heads, green bananas, and vegetables).” The article also mentioned the need for a permit to visit the beach during nesting hours and a link to the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism website was also provided.

Under “staff tip”, the site stated:  “If you drive through Trinidad’s northern hills on a Sunday and find yourself near a stream, you’re likely to spot locals—friends, extended families—enjoying a “river lime”, a popular pastime where picnic tables and chairs are set up in the stream for the Sunday meal.

“If you wade in and introduce yourself, chances are good you’ll be offered a glass of Trini rum (10 Cane, Royal Oak, Angostura) and invited to join the gathering. Expect your feet and legs (at the very least) to get wet.”

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