Midway along the Western Main Rd to Chaguaramas a road runs off to the north, through the residential area of Diego Martin. The Blue Basin waterfall and natural landmark, on the Diego Martin river, is off this road, about a five-minute walk along a path from the town. (If you do leave your car to visit the fall, leave nothing of value in it. You are also advised to visit the falls in a group of five or six people if possible to avoid being robbed.) At River Estate, by Diego Martin, is a waterwheel which was once the source of power for a sugar plantation.
The Western Main Rd, with many pretty views, especially of the Five Islands, runs on past West Mall in Westmoorings, where there is a large new residential development and the Chamber of Commerce on the waterfront. From here the road continues along the coast past the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (TTYC) (opposite Goodwood Park where the rich live) and to Carenage, where there is a remarkable little church, St Peter’s Chapel, on the waterside. The Alcoa transhipment facility is next and then you are into Chaguaramas, on the bay of the same name. On your left is Pier One, a small marina with restaurant and entertainment facilities, popular at weekends, and further along is Chagville, a public beach opposite the Chaguaramas Convention Centre, where political parties hold their annual delegates’ meetings. This area used to belong to the US navy 1945-64 but is now under the control of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA). This statutory body is developing the area with a mix of tourism, recreational and marine related industries. Chaguaramas was the focus of international attention in May 1999, when the Miss Universe pageant was held there at the old heliport opposite the Convention Centre.
Further along the coast road, the Chaguaramas Military History and Aviation Museum (PO Box 3126, Carenage, T6344391) has exhibitions of VE Day and Trinidad’s role in both world wars with intricate models as well as relics. Entry through military checkpoint, TT$10 adults, TT$5 children, T6344391, knowledgeable staff. Next you come to the Yachting Association, Power Boats, Peake’s and Industrial Marine Services (IMS), all offering services to the yachting clientele and the area is packed with boats stacked on land or in the water. Buses from Port of Spain to Chaguaramas run about every 30 mins, TT$2.
From Chaguaramas you can sometimes get a launch (known locally as a pirogue, expect to pay US$25 round trip although locals pay about TT$15) to Gaspar Grande, one of the islands offshore, on which are the Gasparee Caves. TT$5. Try to get a pirogue with a canvas shade as these are used to dealing with tourists and are likely to be more reliable. The Gasparee Caves are certainly worth a visit. It is about a 20-minute boat ride from the Crews Inn marina. The landing stage is at the west end of Gaspar Grande which has many weekend homes. The caves are about 15 mins from the landing stage (no facilities or drinks) up a good path through woods, quite steep in places and hot. The caves are locked and it is necessary to have a guide from the house at the end of the path (drinks available). The complex of caves is large but you are only shown one, with good steps leading down and naturally lit from a blow hole. There is a beautiful lake (tidal) at the bottom with stalactites which the guide will light. Some of the path around the cave is quite slippery. Despite what the boatman may tell you, there is now no swimming allowed in the cave. Be prepared for a wait at the landing stage as despite all assurances, a number of boatmen will not wait for you, preferring to return to the island and then come back to pick you up (which they usually do). Don’t be afraid to ask another boatman to take you back, you will of course have to pay again though. As well as going to the caves, ask the boatman to take you across to Scotland Bay. There are excellent views of the other islands making up the Dragon’s Mouth. This is much frequented by boats and yachts at the weekend but is virtually deserted during the week and makes an ideal place for a picnic. Good swimming here.
Monos Island, at the west tip of Trinidad, has many deep caves and white sandy beaches, popular with more affluent Trinidadians.