A five-minute drive east of Yarra and the last village before the North Coast Road trails off into the bush, BLANCHISSEUSE (pronounced “blaan-she-shers”), is a popular holiday retreat for Trinidadians. Local folklore suggests the name comes from a white woman – probably a French Creole plantation owner – who was seen washing here in the Marianne River.

With a population of around three thousand and spanning over 3km of road, Blanchisseuse isn’t exactly a hamlet, and its clutch of flashy holiday homes – some garish, some tasteful – are testament to its popularity. Even so it’s still pretty quiet; the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and most visitors are weekend day-trippers from Port of Spain. The few overseas tourists that do visit this Caribbean gem divide their time between the four marvellous sandy beaches, make the hike to gorgeous Paria Bay and Falls, or walk through the rainforest for river swimming at nearby Three Pools, or Avocat Falls on the Arima–Blanchisseuse Road.

Like most on this coastline, the beaches at Blanchisseuse are ruggedly beautiful, though they do have a reputation for treacherous waters, particularly between October and February when breakers crash onto the sand and surfers come into their element; ask local advice before taking the plunge.

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