The exhaustion finally caught up with me and I slept in until almost ten before rolling out of bed and meeting the van at 10:30. Today we went to Maracas Beach, the most famous beach on Trinidad. During World War II a lot of the beaches the locals used were taken over by American military bases and they were left in disrepair so in exchange for having destroyed all of the accessible beaches the American military created an access road to what is now Maracas beach. Several men died in the making of this treacherous road, which winds along the cliff sides.
Maracas beach itself was nothing truly spectacular to brag about. It was much busier than any of the beaches on Tobago, a cold wind cut through the area making it feel like it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit rather than the advertised 80. I found myself looking for as much sunshine as possible and wrapping my scantily clad body in all of the towels available. Fair warning: the beach is not soft and is littered with sticks and garbage so you will need to rent a chair, there are several people who own beach chair rental companies and they will bring their chairs to you. I spent $20TT or just over $3US for a chair for the day.
What made the beach amazing was the food, some of the best I’ve had in the month I’ve been here. While shark and bakes are sold all up and down the beach, the place to go is Richards, known for being the best on the beach. During lunchtime the wait is about 15-20 minutes but well worth it. They fry the shark (or other kinds of seafood) fresh and you can choose toppings. The amount of food is very comparable to a cheeseburger with two patties and costs $35TT, or $5US. After eating the shark and bake I bought pholourie from Olives, next door to Richards. Pholourie is an East Indian dish consisting of fried saffron dough and a sweet and spicy curry dipping sauce, I highly encourage asking for a bit of pepper sauce, it adds the perfect burn of flavor. The sauce is made mostly of mango chutney with turmeric, garlic, and pepper sauce added in small amounts. The sauce is the big bang here and you shouldn’t pass up on it. You can get 25 pieces for $20TT. Before we left, I rounded out my flavorful excursion with a smoothie. I stopped at J&S Smoothie, just up the beach from Richards. While I’m sure you could customize your smoothie if you wanted to, I simply asked for a smoothie and got a fruity, flavorful mystery mix of various fruits, syrups, milk, and a dallop of peanut butter. It was completely unique. It cost $25TT. Any of the things I ordered could easily serve as a meal by themselves, and all are things I would absolutely buy again.
Other things of note: if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, there are merchants that trek up and down the beach peddling their wares. Some of these include: jewelry, maracas, carvings, etc. I also got to hold a boa constrictor!
This was a great end to our long weekend in Trinidad before heading back to Tobago tomorrow.