Ten kilometres from the EMR, via a winding road lined with lush jungle and Caribbean pines, LOPINOT is a pretty hamlet with a remote feel, clustered around a sports field and the neat flowerbeds of a former cocoa estate that has been transformed into a beautiful recreation spot.

The valley was first settled by one Charles Josef, Compte de Lopinot, a planter who fled Haiti following Toussaint L’Ouverture’s 1791 revolution. He arrived in 1800 with his wife and a hundred slaves, and it’s not difficult to see why he chose to settle in this absurdly abundant alluvial valley surrounded by high, protective mountains. Lopinot’s cocoa thrived, allowing him to build a tapia estate house, a prison and slave quarters and to amass a small fortune before his death in 1819. The Compte is buried alongside his wife by the Arouca River, which runs through the valley, and local legend has it that on stormy full moon nights his ghost rides through the estate on a white horse. A photograph taken in 1981, now on display in the great house, claims to show exactly that.

Today, Lopinot is a great place to picnic or to take a gentle hike into the surrounding forest. The community’s annual Fiesta de Lopinot, a festival of parang, food and drink, takes place in late November, and is well worth checking out, as is the Cocoa Innovations festival, staged at Café Mariposa on the Saturday after Carnival, a fantastic celebration of cooking with cocoa with lots of samples of savoury and sweet delights.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Trinidad & Tobago features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Trinidad or Tobago – which island is right for you?

Trinidad or Tobago – which island is right for you?

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago both have tropical beaches, steamy rainforest and amazing wildlife but are far from identical twins. Here we look at which…

06 Sep 2016 • Andy Turner insert_drive_file Article
Cocoa loco: a guide to chocolate tourism in Trinidad and Tobago

Cocoa loco: a guide to chocolate tourism in Trinidad and Tobago

Our authors have travelled the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago, shimmying through the streets at Carnival, body-surfing at the beaches and gorging on …

23 Nov 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Around the world in 20 dances

Around the world in 20 dances

Square Dance, USA The "square" tag has nothing to do with naffness (now why would anyone think that?) but rather to do with the arrangement of the fo…

16 Oct 2014 • Neil McQuillian camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month