Towards the eastern end of Tunapuna, itself a bustling conurbation with a lively fruit and veg market, the Caura Royal Road turns north to the Caura Valley – one of the most popular picnic spots on the East–West Corridor. Carved by the serpentine Tacarigua River, the valley was nearly turned into a reservoir in the 1940s: the inhabitants – many mixed Amerindian and Spanish – were relocated to Lopinot and even Brasso Seco, but the proposed dam was thwarted by the sandy soil and never built.
About 6km up the Caura Royal Road from the EMR is a right turn that will take you to a well-used swimming spot. Picnic tables line the bamboo-fringed riverbanks, and at weekends cooking fires smoulder and the shallow water is crowded with families enjoying a dip – though it does often look murky in the dry season.
Past the picnic spots, high walls of bamboo form an intermittent tunnel over the road, opening up to reveal small-scale farms and homes at La Veronica hamlet. As the Caura Royal Road emerges onto the Tacarigua riverbanks, the water deepens and picnicking is more secluded – the road is eventually terminated by a river tributary. The drive back to the EMR affords some spectacular views of the central plains that are easily missed on the way up.