Paria Beach might be Trinidad’s best beach
Long stretches of pristine beach stretches across the North Coast of Trinidad, broken up only by the occasional rocky headland.
Some of them, like Maracas Beach are your typical touristy Caribbean beach lined with deck chairs and filled with tourists.
Others, are known only to locals; Secret beaches that can’t even be accessed by road, instead they require hiking through the thick, tropical rain forest of the Northern Range to get there.
Getting to Paria Beach involves a two hour hike through the jungle where the North Coast Road ends.
Paria Beach is well off the beaten path and takes some work to get there…
But, stepping off the beaten path is always worth it; Paria Beach is a pristine stretch of sand spanning over a mile with a series of stacks rising up through blue water that makes for amazing photographs.
HIKING TO PARIA BEACH
The trail to Paria Beach starts as a wide dirt track that slowly grows narrow as it winds into the rainforest.
The steepest sections of the trail come first, but they’re rewarded by some amazing views. Turtle Rock is a small, rocky peninsula that resembles the head of a turtle when viewed from the main trail.
Sea turtles can sometimes be seen swimming in the foamy waves beneath Turtle Rock.
The path continues along the cliffs of the Northern Range and offers spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.
CAMPING ON PARIA BEACH
When the Famous Paria Arch comes into view, it means that you’ve finally arrived and that it’s time to take a selfie!
Paria Beach is usually littered with tents around Easter time, but for the rest of the year it’s just a stretch of abandoned sand; your own private beach.
There’s so much driftwood and dried coconut branches on the shore that it’s easy to get a campfire going in a few minutes. After pitching your tent and starting the fire, the next step is to get dinner going.
Spending a night on the beach definitely opens your mind to the sheer size of the universe and how minuscule you are on the cosmic scale.
Behind you is the dark, dense and dangerous jungle of the Northern Range.
Ahead of you is the vast Atlantic Ocean, touching the shores of five continents and countless other islands.
In the sky above is the vastness of space, littered with billions of stars, and each of those stars it burning hot enough to easily evaporate every drop of water in the Atlantic in a split-second.
Just like in the Alan Garland novel The Beach, looking at the stars at night while listening to the surf roar makes me think about space and parallel universes.
The beaches near Blanchisseuse all have waterfalls just footsteps away, and Paria is no different.
Paria Waterfall is just a short walk away from the beach. While it may not be the tallest waterfall in Trinidad, it’s extremely powerful and the intense rumbling can be heard as you approach it.
The plunge pool is deep and clear, Perfect for jumping off the steep rocks that encircle the waterfall and gliding through the emerald water.
If you want, you could head even further to Grand Tacaribe.
Grand Tacaribe is an unknown gem on the North Coast where you can spend the night in a rustic cottage after seeing sea turtles either laying eggs on the beach or babies hatching.
These amazing reptiles return to the the exact same spot that they were born to mate and lay eggs.
This is why protecting laying sites is so important, it affects ecotourism in the future.
Days on the North Coast of Trinidad are best spent sipping on rum and coconut water from fresh picked coconuts while fishing for the night’s dinner.
Eventually you have to leave. There’s the option of taking a boat back to Blanchisseuse if you want to avoid the two hour hike again, but immersing yourself in nature is always therapeutic.
Plus you get to stroll on the beach and walk past the Paria Arch and Paria Falls one last time.
Leatherback turtle photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region
Nightsky photo via the European Southern Observatory