Unusual attractions, natural wonders, an iconic statue and local art offer visitors off-the beaten-path activities
Port of Spain, Trinidad (October 2006) – Beyond the dark-sand beaches and curvy slopes, the dual-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago offers visitors myriad off-the-beaten-path activities and extraordinary sights unique to the island.
From larger-than-life-size statues to a natural ecological phenomenon, the island is teeming with a broad range of attractions. Among the most interesting are the following five terrestrial and aquatic gems:
Goat and Crab Racing – Goat racing is one of the island’s most unusual and unique events. On race day the goats are beautifully groomed. The jockey runs alongside each animal, guiding it with a rope and a whip, which is used for coaxing – it’s difficult to tell who is being judged for speed, the jockey or the goat. On a smaller scale, crab racing is also popular. Spectators bring cash, since brisk betting is all part of the fun. Goat and crab racing are usually part of a larger village fair at Easter. The best-known venue is in Buccoo village.
Argyle Waterfall – The three-tiered Argyle Waterfall with several plunge pools is situated 45 minutes from Scarborough, Tobago, and is one of the island’s best cascades, since it can be enjoyed in both the wet and dry seasons. The area also features nature trails sheltered by tall trees and bamboo groves perfect for viewing various species of birds. Certified tour guides are available to accompany visitors for one-hour tours.
The Pitch Lake – For centuries this phenomenon, situated in the village of La Brea in southwest Trinidad, has seeped tons of asphalt from seemingly bottomless bowels. About 250 feet deep at its centre, it’s estimated to have reserves in excess of six million tons, from which approximately 180 tons of pitch are mined daily. On a good day the output can reach 240 tons. Far from being water, the “lake” is 40 per cent pitch, 30 per cent water and 30 per cent colloidal clay. The only liquid source is the self-replenishing centre, known as “The Mother of the Lake.” A gift of nature and a national treasure, The Pitch Lake provides the entire country, and many of the neighbouring islands, with pitch for building roads. The Pitch Lake is open daily 9am-5pm. For tours and information, call Amena Hosein-Clarke at (868) 648-7697 or (868) 784-3817.
Hanuman Murti – Standing a towering 85-feet tall, the red-and-pink-coloured statue of the Hindu deity, epitome of wisdom, righteousness and strength, is said to be the largest such statue outside of India. Located in Carapichaima in central Trinidad, the Hanuman Murti is a must-see religious site. The Hanuman Murti stands on the grounds of the Dattatreya Yoga Centre and Mandir and attracts devotees offering gifts and performing the ritual of pradakshina, or walking clockwise in a holy temple while uttering the sacred Hanuman mantra. The Hanuman Murti took two years to construct and was consecrated in 2003.
Luise Kimme Sculpture Museum – Locally known as “The Castle,” the museum displays German-born Luise Kimme’s unique Caribbean wooden sculptures. Kimme has lived below the village of Bethel, Tobago since 1979, where she has her studio and the Luise Kimme Sculpture Museum. When vacationing in Tobago, a Sunday visit to the museum is a must, where visitors can admire or purchase the larger-than-life-size sculptures made from local oak, cedar and cypress, depicting perfect portraits of Tobago islanders. The museum is open on Sundays 10 am-2pm. Visits at other times can be arranged by calling (868) 639-0257.
Tobago, located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean, provides an ideal location for weddings and honeymoons, eco-adventure, scuba diving and golf, as well as unadulterated fun in the sun. With their careful approach to tourism, Tobago offers one of the last absolutely unspoiled Caribbean destinations. Tobago, sister island to Trinidad, is the quintessential Caribbean island with secluded beaches, quaint villages, charming hotels and smart new resorts.
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