After an inland curve that provides impressive views of the jagged double apex of Mount El Tucuche, Trinidad’s second highest mountain, the North Coast Road turns back to the sea at Las Cuevas, the north coast’s longest beach. Named by the Spanish after the caves that riddle both the seabed and the rocks to the west end of the bay, Las Cuevas boasts a wide, clean and unadorned swathe of whitish sand, fringed by coconut palms and invitingly calm emerald waters that provide better swimming than Maracas. It’s also a great place for beachcombing, especially along the seldom-visited western reaches, littered with shells and stones. The beach is surrounded by headlands, which enclose the bay in a tight horseshoe and provide protection from the wind and a relatively gentle surf. During the week it’s often deserted, although the fishing community is still very active, but weekends see the sand dotted with family groups who make a day of it, bringing coolers packed with food and drink and beach umbrellas to provide much-needed shade. Keep in mind, though, that the legendary sandfly population, a particular problem in the late afternoon or after rain, can make for unpleasant sunbathing – take repellent and cover up as the day wears on.
There’s a large (free) car park above the bay, as well as changing rooms, showers, toilets and a first aid room. Lifeguards patrol and put out yellow and red flags to mark safe bathing spots, and it’s not a good idea to swim outside of these areas. The calmest waters are to the eastern side of the bay.