Day 2: Maracas Beach
- October 19, 2016
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Day 2 in Trinidad started off the same way. I woke up, got a couple of doubles for breakfast before heading to Queens Park Oval stadium for cricket match. And every day, the cricket match was cancelled because of rain (even though it hadn’t rained). I wasn’t complaining because that just meant I got to explore Trinidad a little bit more than expected or planned. However, all our plans were made last minute, after the cricket match was officially cancelled for that day.
I wanted to visit Maracas Beach, about an hour from Port of Spain (PoS), but I didn’t want to rent a car. We had to look up alternate ways of getting there and we found a bus that goes from PoS to Maracas Village. Initially, public transport options in Trinidad can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. However, once you learn the concept of Maxi Taxi, things start to make some sense. Maxi taxis are privately owned mini buses that seat anywhere from 12 to 25 people, operate along a designated route but there’s no set schedule or stops. Each maxi taxi has a particular color painted on it and the color determines the general route. If a maxi taxi is passing by and they see you walking, they’ll honk and slow down in case you want to hop on. The best part about these maxi taxis are how affordable they are. We took maxi taxi to the bus station which was about 2 miles away and it cost us a total of $1.25 – FOR BOTH OF US!! Too bad we couldn’t find a maxi taxis that went all the way to Maracas beach.
We thought we’ll be just in time to catch the bus, but it was delayed by about 45 mins. I guess public transport is the same regardless of the country. The road to Maracas beach is curvy and narrow. Beautiful, luscious green mountains surround both sides of the road. As Maracas beach approached, we assumed the bus would stop. Instead, the bus kept going and we watched the beach pass by. Eventually I asked the bus drive how far the bus stop was for the beach. The driver just pulled over on the side to let us off. It turns out we were supposed to ask the bus driver to stop at the beach. Luckily, we were only 0.25 miles from the beach so it wasn’t a very long walk back.
The firs thing we did was eat lunch at Richard’s Bake and Shark which is classic Trinidadian street food. It’s fried flatbread stuffed with fried pieces of shark meat. Richard’s has a huge selection of unlimited toppings for your bake and shark. I loaded my bake and shark with half a dozen toppings including various sauces. It’s such a perfect and filling meal before spending the rest of the day lounging, or as they say in Trinidad, liming, at the beach. We rented two chairs, a big umbrella and just relaxed for the rest of the day. The best part was being able to drink a nice, cold beer on the beach.
The only disappointing part of the entire trip was the condition of the women’s bathroom at Maracas Beach. There is absolutely no ventilation, no toilet paper, the flush wasn’t working, and the stall doors did not close. At the end of the day, after drinking a few beers and fresh coconut water, I was in desperate need of a rest room again. This time I wanted to see if I could find a better facility. At one end of the beach I saw a two story building that looked new. I was all set to plead, pay, do whatever was necessary to get access to their (hopefully better) bathroom. To my great surprise, not only was the door to the building open and unlocked, there was also no one in sight. I saw the bathroom sign almost immediately and walked in. It was clean with plenty of toilet paper, the stall door closed and I couldn’t be happier!
Once we decided to head back to PoS, we checked the bus schedule and realized we had an hour long wait. While we waited near Richard’s Bake and Shark we saw a maxi taxi pull up and it was going to PoS. How lucky were we! Or at least that’s what we thought initially. It wasn’t until a few days later that we learned the maxi taxi we took from Maracas Beach was uninsured and it wasn’t registered with proper authorities. We found out that if there had been an accident, we would be on our own to pay the medical bills and whatever else was necessary. The maxi taxi we took in PoS (ones with color painted on it to determine the route) was insured, registered properly, and the insurance company would cover part of or all the medical bills in case of an accident. If I had known this ahead of time, I probably would have preferred to wait an hour for the bus.
For dinner, we got food from various food stalls on Ariapita Ave. That street really comes to life at night. Every night we were there, we saw so many food stalls – everything from gyros, corn soup, rotis, ice cream, BBQ, and many doubles stands. After eating a few doubles for dinner we went to a local bar called De Nu Pub (Mas Camp Pub) at the corner of French St and Ariapita Ave. There was a small entry fee for the bar but they had live entertainment. It was karaoke night and EVERYONE singing had such amazing voices. They have weekly karaoke competition and people sang everything from Adele to Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Rick James, Aretha Franklin and Paul Simon. The night ended with a local live band performance and EVERYONE at the bar started dancing and singing. I would happily go back to this bar and pay the entry fee. TOTALLY WORTH STOPPING BY! I couldn’t think of a better way to end a relaxing beach day than drinking rum and dancing until 2 am at the De Nu Pub.
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