Marked by two stone pillars put up by American servicemen during construction of the road, the left turn at the Y-junction of Saddle Road takes you onto the North Coast Road. One of the Caribbean’s most spectacular drives, hordes of city-dwellers negotiate its snaking turns at weekends en route to the golden sands of Maracas Bay, with its glittering waters and cliffs smothered with tangled jungle, stopping on the way to buy salt prunes or corn soup and admire the unravelling coastline at the designated “scenic area”.
Past Maracas, the coastline is sprinkled with fine beaches such as Tyrico Bay and shimmering Las Cuevas, a long sandy beach also riddled with underwater caves, but the north coast remains quiet, maintaining equanimity in the face of sporadic new villa developments. The slow-paced village life of Blanchisseuse is great for a couple of days, with a few small-scale guesthouses to stay in and several rugged beaches to explore. After this the coastal road ends, replaced by prime hiking territory along the undeveloped coastline, with perfect coconut-littered beaches and waterfalls such as the one at Paria Bay.