Hitting the Beach
Trinidad isn't thought of as beach country, yet it has more beach frontage than any other island in the West Indies. The only problem is that most of its beaches are undeveloped and in distant, remote places, far removed from Port-of-Spain. The closest of the better beaches, Maracas Bay, is a full 29km (18 miles) from Port-of-Spain on the North Coast Road. It's a delight to visitors, with its protected cove and quaint fishing village. The crowds and the strong current are the only drawbacks. Facilities include restrooms and snack bars.
Farther up the North Coast Road is Las Cuevas Bay, which is far less crowded. The narrow beach is set against a backdrop of palm trees. There are changing rooms and vendors selling luscious tropical-fruit juices.
To reach the other beaches, you'll have to go a bit farther, perhaps to Blanchisseuse Bay on the North Coast Road. This narrow strip of sand set against palms is an excellent spot for a picnic, although there are no facilities.
Bodysurfers frequent Balandra Bay on the northeast coast, but the waters generally aren't good for more pedestrian swimming.
Manzanilla Beach, along the east coast of Trinidad, north of Cocos Bay and south of Matura Bay, is not ideal for swimming, either. Nonetheless, it has some picnic facilities, and the view of the water is dramatic.
Sports & Other Outdoor Pursuits
For serious golf and tennis, we recommend that you try another island.
Deep-Sea Fishing -- Some of the best fishing in the Caribbean is possible in the waters off the northwest coast of Trinidad -- or, at least, Franklin D. Roosevelt used to think so. Try Hard Play Fishing Charters, 13 the Evergreen, Auchenskeoch, Buccoo (tel. 868/639-7108 or 868/682-3474; www.hardplay.net). Your skipper is "Frothy" De Silva, who charges $440 for 4-hour trips, or $110 per hour for a maximum of 9 hours, on his 12m (39-ft.) vessel, Hard Play. Another good possibility is Dillon's Fishing Charter, Crown Point (tel. 868/637-8635 or 868/678-3195), offers half-day charters for $495 and full-day charters for $850, which include drinks and lunch. Along with record catches in blue marlin, fishermen pursue wahoo, mahimahi, kingfish, and barracuda.
Golf -- The oldest golf club on the island, St. Andrew's Golf Course, Moka Estate (tel. 868/629-0066; www.golftrinidad.com), is in Maraval, about 3km (2 miles) from Port-of-Spain. This 18-hole course has been internationally acclaimed ever since it hosted the 1976 Hoerman Cup Golf Tournament. There's a full-service clubhouse on the premises. Greens fees are $75 for 18 holes. Club rental costs $25. Hours are daily 6am to 6pm.