The east corridor from Port of Spain is a dual carriageway and a priority bus route through the industrial and residential suburbs. At St Joseph, which was once the seat of government, is the imposing Jinnah Memorial Mosque. North of St Joseph is the Maracas Valley (nothing to do with Maracas Bay), which has a 300 ft waterfall about two miles from the road. Get a Maracas Valley taxi from St Joseph and ask where to get off.
This is the oldest Benedictine complex in the Caribbean. Further east, high on a hill, is Mount St Benedict monastery, reached through St Johns Rd in St Augustine. Although the monastery was founded by a Belgian, the first Benedictine monks came from Bahia, Brazil, in 1912. It started with a tapia hut but construction of the main building on Mt Tabor began in 1918. The monastery has a retreat, lots of educational facilities, a drug rehabilitation centre, a farm and a guest house and is popular with birdwatchers and walkers. There are marvellous views over the Caroni Plain to the sea. A minibus from Port of Spain to St Augustine takes 40 minutes, TT$5. There are several good, cheap Chinese restaurants in Tunapuna, the town after St Augustine, and a wide variety of fruits in the market.
A little further along the Eastern Main Rd, the Golden Grove Rd branches south to Piarco international airport. If you turn north at this point (Arouca) a road winds 10 km up into the forested mountains to the Lopinot Complex, an estate built by the Comte de Lopinot (see History) at the turn of the 19th century. Originally called La Reconnaissance, it is now a popular picnic spot and destination for school trips; there is a small museum. There is a bar across the road, open ‘anyday, anytime’.
High on a ridge in the Maracas Valley are the only known Amerindian petroglyphs (rock drawings) in Trinidad, known as the Caurita drawings. They are probably Arawak and show a series of faces with curving lines indicating limbs. To get there it is a stiff climb of one to 1½ hrs in the valley, with access from the main cross roads between San Juan and Tunapuna.