Unlike the rest of the Caribbean, Trinidad hardly inspires images of beaches with pristine white sand.
The island’s dependence on oil instead of tourism means that the beaches are hardly advertised and are mostly known to locals or to foreigners with some connection to the country.
This means that the beaches remain a secret, and it’s a pity because while they’re not your typical beach from the pages of a tourist brochure, they’re full of unique character.
The North Coast Beaches are considered to be the best on the island, and they’re also extremely diverse.
They range from crowded beaches packed with tourists, to empty stretches of sand that are accessible only by hiking through the thick rain forests of the Northern Range.
Here’s a guide to some of Trinidad’s North Coast Beaches
Maracas beach is definitely the most popular beach on the island of Trinidad. It’s always packed with locals and tourusts.
This popularity is due to the fact that Maracas Beach is less than an hour away from the Capital City of Port of Spain via a scenic drive on the winding North Coast Road…..
But mostly because it has become internationally famous for bake and shark;
Bake and shark consists of battered and deep-fried shark meat placed in a fried flat bread and then drizzled with spicy local sauces.
The crispy, golden slices of shark meat are tasty enough, but the sauces are what gives this sandwich its kick.
In the Trinidad episode of Bizarre Foods, host Andrew Zimmern called it the best sandwich he ever had.
Eat it like he did and skip the mustard and ketchup, but make sure you slather it with garlic sauce; a garlic flavored mayo, tamarind sauce; a sweet chutney that’s somewhere between barbeque and general tso, and chadon beni; a pesto like sauce make with the culantro plant.
Meaning “The Caves” in Spanish, this beach is just a short drive after Maracas. It’s much less crowded than Maracas and less commercialized. The caves that this beach is named after provide some shade from the tropical heat.
It’s always worth the extra drive to go to Las Cuevas beach, so stop at Maracas Beach for the bake and shark and then continue on your way.
Even further along the North Coast Road, there is the village of Blanchisseuse. This quiet fishing village is home to scenic coves and secluded beaches.
One of the best swimming spots on the island is where the Marianne River meets the ocean. There’s also a beach that’s accessible via a small flight of concrete stairs next to the road. Avocat Falls is located minutes away from this beach and is a fun, relaxing hike.
The trek to Paria beach begins at Blanchisseuse and follows a trail through mountainous forest.
The trail winds along the cliffs of the Northern Range and offers spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea.
Paria Beach is also accessible by boat, but the scenic hike is well worth is; especially since you pass beautiful natural landmarks like turtle rock and the Paria arch.
Turtle rock is a long jagged rock formation that juts out into the ocean, and the Paria arch is a large natural arch that marks the beginning of Paria Beach.
A swim in the cool waters at Paria Beach is the perfect reward after hiking through dense jungle!
Unlike the other beaches on this list, Macqueripe is west of Port of Spain.
Instead of driving along the winding North Coast Road, this beach is accessed by driving towards Chaguaramas and then heading North along the Tucker Valley Road.
The mouth of Macqueripe Bay is leeward facing, meaning that the water is always exceptionally calm; calm enough to wade into shoulder-depth water while holding coconut daiquiris and not spilling a drop or getting sea water in.
With sea turtles and manta rays cruising through the green water, Macuqeripe is also ideal for snorkeling.
Trinidad’s North Coast Beaches may not have white or pink sand like the rest of the Caribbean, but where else in the Caribbean can you enjoy huge areas of beachfront without a single other soul on the beach?