Life enthusiasts living local wherever we go.
This month The Local Foreigner celebrated our Labour Day holiday discovering two of Trinidad’s beautiful natural attractions, the Avocat Waterfall and 3-Pools. Early to bed and early to rise, The Local Foreigner and friends set off from Port-of-Spain at 6:15 am and met a hiking group at the Marianne River, which flows through the Blanchisseuse Forest Reserve along the Northern coast of Trinidad. Geared with small backpacks filled with fluids, snacks, insect repellent and sun block, we made sure to have all the necessities to survive a 3.5 to 4 hour hike.
With the trusty guidance of Ivan Charles, adventurer, naturalist and owner of Ieri Nature Adventures, the trail-head began immediately before the Marianne Spring Bridge. The first leg of the hike involved walking approximately 10 minutes on the trail leading to 3-Pools, deviating uphill for about 15-20 minutes and then descending to the Marianne River higher upstream.Once on the river, we swam across a gorgeous deep-green pool and nimbly walked across some slippery rocks embedded in the river to get to our first stop- Avocat Falls. Out of the dense greenery emerged the waterfall at roughly 20 meters high. Here we took a much needed breather. Hikers swam in the icy cold plunge pool and climbed behind the waterfall to feel the power of the water as it fell steadily into the plunge pool.
The Local Foreigner was so filled with momentum from this excursion we pushed our adventurous side to another level and took a steep climb to the top of the falls meeting a stunning view of the Avocat Waterfall. After a rejuvenating dip, we started the second leg of the hike on a pure river trek, wading our way to the well-known 3-Pools and taking a leap of faith into yet another plunge pool and enjoying the natural water slides. The Local Foreigner was not only seeing nature in all it’s glory, but experiencing it up close and personal. It is one thing to view nature from a distance, but it is a whole other experience to be deep in a river and challenged by the terrain and the elements. Walking through the forest,climbing terrain, swimming through the river and maneuvering some steep sections is absolutely invigorating.
Be wary that this particular trek is recommended for relatively fit individuals who can walk uphill comfortably.
According to Eco Adventurer Guide, Ivan Charles, “Trinidad is not the average sun,sand and sea tourist island. It is not designed for resort type tourism. Apart from Carnival which is our largest tourism product, Trinidad is great for the Eco Adventurer, Historical Tourist, Naturalist, Botanist and Cuisine lovers.” Ivan came upon this profession on accident. After racing competitively at a national level from the age of 14 to 30 years old, tour companies asked him to start doing Mountain Biking Tours. A few years down the line, he decided to register his own small Eco Adventure Tour Company called Ieri Nature Adventures. Ieri was chosen because of its native Amerindian name for Trinidad meaning “The Land of the Hummingbird.”
Ivan is a free-spirited individual who calls waterfalls, caves, river gorges, exotic rivers, mountain tops, reefs and even historical sites his offices around T&T. “I live with what life has practically presented to me,” says Ivan, “I live by the native Australian Aboriginal saying,”the more you know, the less you need.” The Local Foreigner sees that one thing is clear, Ivan knows how to live!
When asked if locals know enough about Trinidad, Ivan expressed that a lot is not taught in schools causing a lack of awareness about Trinidad’s rich history and landscape. He pointed out that our own home country is portrayed as a negative place making many afraid to venture out, explore the islands and meet with interesting people.Ivan pinpoints an unfortunate truth that The Local Foreigner has recognized, so with that said we encourage everyone to break out of routine, be positive about your surroundings and try something refreshing, pun intended. Whether it be plunging into an icy river or meeting someone new, just try it.
For the real adventurer, Ivan recommends backpacking/camping for 2 or 3 days between Matelot to Blanchisseuse. The excursion is guaranteed to be a trip you will never forget! From camping on secluded beaches at night and marveling at Leatherback Turtles laying their eggs to swimming in picturesque beaches, exotic rivers and waterfalls, it is sure to be an exhilarating adventure. The Local Foreigner has definitely put it on our fast-growing list of must-dos.
Ivan Charles has a very specialized international clientele and can be found in the internationally recognized Travel Book -‘Rough Guide’ and also in a German Travel Book – ‘Stefan Loose Travel Handbücher Trinidad und Tobago. Grenada mit Carriacou’. For more information on his eco-adventure tours, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
All photos courtesy Ivan Charles