Trail Pace


March 2016


No matter how grueling the path seems, the end is always worth it. This was a learning experience. #nature #adventure #sky #satellite #hike #trail #hiking #instagood #picoftheday #photography #trinidad

The abandoned Tracking Station near, Macqueripe, Tucker Valley



Drone shot of Tobago’s – No Man’s Land little island. Always wanted to carry my drone to Tobago. Wonderful shot of #beauty. #Tobago #Trinidad #love #stunning #dji #djiphantom #droning by chefjasonperu


“Three Sprout Falls”



Photo taken in Tunapuna-Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago
10° 45’ 36.82" N  61° 19’ 6.66" W


It’s Friday Guys! Who’s ready to relax? Why not in Tobago? 😌

Pictured: Pirate’s Bay
Image Credit: Jason X Photography

Aripo Cave

The following is a Field Trip Report of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club’s trip to Aripo Caves. The trip was on 26th January, 2014 and is written by Kris Sookdeo. It is an excerpt from the TTFNC’s quarterly bulletin, The Field Naturalist, Issue No. 1, 2014.

When it comes to connecting with nature,
there are few experiences that can beat a walk in
the forest. Add to that the opportunity to see oil

birds and a better than average chance to see snakes
and you have yourself a very rewarding encounter
with nature. 

And so it was that about 10 Club members
turned up for the trip to the Aripo Caves in January.
The drive up to the starting point was an adventure
in itself, as horrible road conditions almost made me
reconsider the trip. We eventually reached the start
of the trail which overlooked a neat christophene
field and, after a quick briefing, Edmund and Bobby
led us off through a dry streambed that ran parallel
to the road (apparently the owner of the estate further
up the road restricts passage through the property). 

 There were lots of interesting plants to see
along the trail and Edmund soon drew our attention
to a nice specimen of Costus scaber growing along
the trail. Apparently edible, he demonstrated how
parts of the plant could be used in the field and proceeded
to break off and chew the succulent stem to
get at the fluids inside. While this Costus is a very
common plant I never knew that it could be used in
this way. Nor did I know of the amusing vernacular
name for the plant of ‘bush totee’, so named after
the plant’s rather phallic flower bracts. 

Another interesting understory plant we encountered
was the gorgeous cooper hoop or mountain
rose, Brownea coccinea. It was soon after this
that Kay remarked upon the fact that many of the
blooms we encounter in the forest understory are
red in colour. Thinking about it, this certainly must
be related to the plants’ choice of pollinators, and
the tubular shapes of the flowers of costus, cooper
hoop, balisier and deer meat are good clues to the
main suspect – hummingbirds. Indeed, the downward
facing blooms of the cooper hoop must also
facilitate easy access by these birds. 

The topography of the Aripo area is fascinating.
In many areas outcrops of limestone are visible,
ranging from rock faces several metres high to jagged
protrusions that barely scrape at your knees.
The many crevices and gaps should be great resting
places for snakes but I searched many of them in
As often happens in the tropics, the weather
soon turned on us and the rain came down. Not
that I minded. It did make for a very slippery trail in
some parts but I always find that walking through a forest in the rain to be an invigorating experience. 

Following a series of descents and ascents, we
eventually reached the small ravine that leads to the
cave and after navigating the remaining length of the
boulder choked waterway we reached the cave
mouth. The rains had however raised the water
level a bit and we decided to stay at the mouth of
the cave for a only a few minutes in case the water
level rose further.

 The cave itself is very interesting. According to
‘A Register Of The Caves Of Trinidad And Tobago’
by Paul Shaw, the Aripo Cave system is the largest
cave system known in Trinidad at a length of 862 m. “The cave is structured on a series of levels, chambers
and tunnels, created by water flow under conditions of
falling base level; the upper cave system is largely dry,
even during heavy rains. Access to the upper part is by
scrambling down a boulder slope to a stream bed, but
access beyond is limited by vertical drops of 9.2 m and
15.2 m. A crawlway (low ceiling) has to be negotiated to
reach the furthest section, comprising a waterfall, pool
and terminal pot. Total vertical drop is estimated around
164 m.” It would have been very interesting to explore
such a system but also very foolhardy given
our lack of preparation. 

Even above the roar of rushing water you could
hear the inhabitants of the cave. Oilbirds, Steatornis
caripensis make the cave their home and in the
gloom you could just make out the shapes of the
birds as they fluttered about. These large birds live
their lives in the dark, leaving the caves only at night
to feed on the fruit of forest trees. In addition to the oilbirds, a few bats could be
seen. Paul Shaw listed three species of bat that inhabit
the cave – Anoura geoffroyi, Chilonycteris rubiginosa
fusca, Glossophaga soricina – and noted that they
roosted further into the cave than the oilbirds. With
our time up and not wanting to annoy the oilbirds
any further, we decided to leave. Thoroughly
soaked, we made our way back through the slippery

About an hour later we were passing the large
limestone rock faces when someone behind me
found a snake. Of course it was a fer-de-lance,
Bothrops cf. asper and of course it was right on the
trail where I and several others had just passed. But
this is par for the course on hikes and many a fer-de-lance is passed on the trails without being noticed. Indeed this particular specimen, a baby at just about 1 foot in length, was very reluctant to do anything and was never aggressive. It is sometimes claimed that the young individuals, inexperienced and vulnerable, are more likely to deliver a full load of venom on biting. Whether this is true of fer de lance in Trinidad I cannot say but we didn’t care to test it and quickly escorted the snake safely off the trail. By now the rains had awoken countless Trinidad stream frogs, Mannophryne trinitatis which were calling from everywhere the small streams flowed. 

These little frogs are common everywhere in the
Northern and Central Range but can be troublesome
to find. There are usually lots of other interesting
things to see once you look carefully. Searching
fallen branches, for example, often turns up interesting
orchids and I came across at least three
Maxillaria species and a nice Gongora maculata specimen
that day (plus a few others I have yet to identify).
One final reward was a new moth Neodusia
cinerea for my photo collection. The remainder of
the trip was relatively straightforward with the
group emerging from the forest by 3:30pm, so ending
another successful Club trip 

I agree!

Why Pigeon Point is the best beach in Tobago

What an amazing adventure!

These men are rowing from Portugal to Trinidad

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