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Trail Pace

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June 2015

quichecakes:

Sitting in Paradise, Maracas Bay

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Trail Description: La Sagesse Trail

Type: Beach Destination/ Trail Walk (depending on where you start)

The La Sagesse Trail is one of the better known hiking trails in Trinidad as it is easily accessible, leads to a good destination and is easy enough for most people. Many people, especially the older folks, may refer to it simply as the Maracas trail. As a bench trail which was made for transporting goods via animal carts it is fairly wide and well made as well as moderately sloping. As most of the trails have deteriorated over time due to non-maintenance, there are some sections which are eroded. Hopefully, with the trail restoration project, this trail will be restored and maybe mountain bikers could utilise it one day. 

On the southern face of the mountain, the trail mostly passes through thick evergreen forests. There are a few shacks off the main trail on the lower section and I recommend that you don’t venture into any of these buildings. The summit of the trail is actually a saddle and that area has a few ornamental plants and a fruit tree (of which i can’t remember the type atm). According to the TTNFC Trail Guide, there was once a route to Loango from here but that trail is completely overgrown. On the northern face, one can get glimpses of Maracas Bay through the trees but as you near the end, a parcel of land next to the trail has been cleared for farming which allows for a magnificent view of the entire bay. The trail doesn’t end exactly on the beach but its only a short walk to the sea. 

  • Difficulty: 4 – Moderate
  • Time:  1 hour 45 minutes
  • Distance: 5.8 km

Hiking this trail will give you a good workout especially if you start from Santa Cruz and take most of the shortcuts. Since it is a bench trail, its not steep if you stick on the main path if you don’t feel like taking the shortcuts. Hiking uphill is more enjoyable for me as the long distance going downhill becomes a bit bothersome on my knees. 

  • Useability: Simple

There are many junctions along this trail but the majority of them are just shortcuts off the main one. I recommend that you only take the shortcuts in which you return to the main trail in about a minute; if not play it safe and head back down. One time, I took a side path that appeared to be a shortcut near the summit on the southern side of the mountain but after that disappeared, I simply headed back down and found the trail again (remember to just stay calm if that happens and retrace your steps). There were trail signs pointing the way to Maracas a while ago but I don’t believe there is any still up now. In terms of maintenance, the trail is generally always clear.

  • Accessibility: Straightforward

Refer to the following posts for more details:

Getting To: La Sagesse Trail from Santa Cruz 

Getting To: La Sagesse Trail from

Maracas Bay (to be added soon)

  • Safety: Safe

Parking at either ends of the trail is fine and you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone on the trail really. Of course, you should always follow the basic rules of being safe while hiking. 

Tobago’s Leeward coast – fringed by coral reefs and the Caribbean Sea – is the calmer of the island’s two shorelines. The journey northbound takes you from the southwest’s flatter, gentler limestone terrain to the mountainous hard rock formations of the northeast. Beautiful beachesoffer great swimming, snorkelling and watersports.

Touring Tobago: the Leeward Coast

Mapped route of the La Sagesse Trail. Went a bit off course near the top but once you stay on the main trail (at least avoiding any major shortcuts), there should only be one summit on your route. 

La Sagesse Trail

Getting To: La Sagesse Trail

From Maracas Bay:

The La Sagesse Trail connects Santa Cruz to Maracas Bay and is one of the better hiking trails in T&T in my opinion. It is more popular to start this hike in Santa Cruz and end at the beach but if you decide to start in Maracas, here’s how to get to the trail head. 

The trail starts on a side road off of the Maracas Bay Old Road (MBOR) in Maracas Bay Village. The MBOR starts just before you reach the beach (heading eastwards) along the North Coast Road (NCR). As you start to view the beach, you will see the sign below at a junction (the road on the left takes you to the fishing village while the NCR continues on the right). The MBOR starts on the right of the NCR just before that main junction. It is a narrow road and the first bend is a bit dangerous so be careful when driving or walking. 

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Continue along the MBOR until you reach the junction pictured below (the Coca Cola sign says “Charmine and Daughter Mini Mart”). From here, turn left off the main road and follow this unnamed road to the end. There is an old directional sign at the corner which conveniently points the way to the trail head (don’t know how much longer that sign post will be up though).

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At the end of that road, the asphalt surface stops right after the last house on the left (there is a standpipe at its entrance in which you can fill your water bottle). The trail then begins from the grass pathway as shown below.

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View of Maracas Bay from the La Sagesse Trail

Turtle-watching can be an extremely rewarding experience. Depending on the time of year, you can see decades old turtles returning to their nesting grounds, or hatchlings emerging from the sand and making their way to the ocean. Either way, it is an awe-inspiring sight.

Turtle Watching 101

Here’s another good article on traveling in T&T with useful links to car rentals and other modes of transport

Getting Around T&T

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