Set in beautiful low-lying hills south of Montserrat, about 10km from both Tortuga and Tabaquite, PIPARO has the dubious distinction of having suffered one of the Trinidad’s largest mud volcano eruptions in 1997, which saw mud spewed 60m into the air, covering 2.5 square kilometres and displacing 31 families. Half of the village cemetery remains buried under the (now solidified) mud “lake”, which has two small oozing mounds at its centre that occasionally spatter out small eruptions of mud. Piparo is also infamous as the former home of notorious drug lord, Dole Chadee, whose 1994 arrest drew attention both to the significance of cocaine as part of the island’s economy, and to the extent of his Piparo estate, close to the volcano site, where an extensive mansion and Hindu temple behind 4.5m razor-wired walls attest to the extravagance of the cocaine don’s lifestyle. The rest of his land, just north of the village, was seized by the government and now houses a rehabilitation centre for drug users and the homeless.

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