Hiking to Paria Beach in Trinidad

paria beach arch

Paria Beach might be one of the best beaches in Trinidad

Long stretches of pristine beach span the entire North Coast of Trinidad, broken up only by the occasional rocky headland.

Popular ones like Maracas Beach fit the typical image of a Caribbean beach; a sandy expanse where the ocean meets the land, lined with deck chairs and filled with tourists tanning or taking some shade under a coconut tree.

Other beaches are known only to locals; Secret beaches that can’t even be accessed by road, instead they require hiking for hours through the thick, tropical rain forest of the Northern Range to get there.

Paria Beach is the most popular of these, and it’s a popular weekend getaway for many Trinidadians.

Getting to Paria Beach involves driving to the end of the North Coast Road and then going on a two hour hike through the jungle.

Paria Beach is well off the beaten path, but stepping off the beaten path is always worth it;Hikers to Paria Beach are rewaarded with a pristine stretch of sand spanning over a mile with a series of stacks rising up through blue water that makes for amazing photographs.

The beach is also a short walk away from the Paria Waterfall, a powerful cascade with a deep plunge pool that’s as much of a destination as the beach.

paria beach stacks (geographical formation)

HIKING TO PARIA BEACH

The trail to Paria Beach starts as a wide dirt track that slowly becomes narrow as it winds into the rain forest.

hiking to paria beach and waterfall

The steepest sections of the trail come first, but they’re rewarded by spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.
For a long time, the trail passes on the edges of tall cliffs, and waves can be heard thrashing against their base.

One of the first highlights of the hike is Turtle Rock; 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, and a small detour takes you directly onto the rocky peninsula where you can get a better view of any turtles in the water.

The path continues along the cliffs of the Northern Range with more views of the Caribbean until it makes a sharp inland turn, at this point the trail heads steadily uphill on the steepest sections of the entire hike.

After the most strenuous part of the trail is the most scenic; although there were some beaches earlier in the hike, a large portion of the trail is actually on the beach now.

turtle rock paria beach and waterfall hike

A gigantic arch marks the beginning of Paria Bay and the popular Paria Beach that spans over a mile. The Paria Arch is one of the most recognizable natural landmarks in Trinidad and a popular spot for photos.

paria arch at paria beach

As a popular get-away spot, Paria Beach is usually littered with tents around Easter time. For the rest of the year it’s just a stretch of abandoned sand; essentially your own private beach.

Most campers on Paria Beach get their supplies transported there on a small fishing village, but it’s possible to hike with most of what you need and then find everything else on the beach.

There is enough driftwood and dried coconut branches on the shore that it’s easy to get a campfire going in a few minutes. Catching some small fish by throwing a line from a rocky headlands before the beach is also possible.

camping at paria beach

Paria Beach is isolated and surrounded by nature on all sides;

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.

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.

There’s a part of the Alan Garland novel The Beach where the protaganist says that “in the eternity of space, there’s probably a planet out there just like this one where another you is photographing back down towards us”.

stargazing at the beach

Beaches on the North Coast of Trinidad are all near to waterfalls. The proximity of this beach to Paria Waterfall is just another one of the reasons that it might be one of the top Caribbean beaches/

Paria Falls is just a short walk away from the beach. This extremely powerful torrent can be heard from a distance away, and the intense rumbling grows louder as you approach.

paria waterfall trinidad and tobago

The plunge pool is deep and clear, Perfect for jumping off the steep rocks that encircle the waterfall and gliding through the emerald water. As long as you visit Paria Waterfall on a weekend, you’re going to have to share it with other hikers.

hikers at paria waterfall in trinidad climbing rocks

For more privacy, you could head even further Eastward to Grand Tacaribe, an unknown gem on the North Coast where you can spend the night and watch sea turtles either laying eggs on the beach or babies hatching depending on the time of the year.

Leatherback turtles crawling to the sea

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. Far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

cutting coconuts at paria

After idyllic days by the beach, the thought of hiking for a few hours to leave Paria Beach doesn’t sound too appealing, luckily there’s the option of taking a boat back to Blanchisseuse.

Hiking back is definitely worth it though, being able to see Paria Beach, Paria Waterfall, and Turtle Rock for one last time while also experiencing the serenity of being in nature.

hiking on paria beach in trinidad

Leatherback turtle photo via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region
Nightsky photo via the European Southern Observatory

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