The Maracas–St Joseph Valley is the starting point for a couple of adventurous hikes. From the Maracas River bathing pools you can hike over the mountains to Maracas Bay, a stiff three-hour trek along an old fisherman’s trail, or – if you’ve got the stamina – climb the 936m El Tucuche (variously pronounced “tuh-cutchee” or “too-koosh”), Trinidad’s second-highest mountain. It’s an eight-hour round trip, and a section of the trail is bordered by a tree-covered, 300m cliff, but you’ll be rewarded by epiphyte-laden montane as well as high-altitude, mist-drenched elfin forests. If you’re lucky, you’ll see red howler monkeys, though you’re unlikely to catch a glimpse of the golden tree frog, Trinidad’s only endemic animal which lives in the waterlogged leaves of wild pine bromeliads.
A guide is essential for both of these walks – try Paria Springs, Caribbean Discovery Tours or Ieri Nature Tours.