A few kilometres north of Cumana sits the largest community along this stretch of coast. TOCO is an attractive, quiet fishing village with a distinctly antiquated air. This proud, close-knit community has one of the largest concentrations of Baptists in the Caribbean, which helped inspire one of its sons, the great Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace, to write The Wine of Astonishment, a novel about Baptist persecution under colonial rule (see “Books”). Most of the buildings are dilapidated gingerbreads made of weather-beaten wood. Though most residents make their money from fishing or farming, much family land has been sold off to developers, tempted by high real-estate prices for the proposed (but never delivered) ferry terminal here to serve Tobago, a mere 20km away and easily visible on clear days.
Toco enjoyed a brief spell in the (local) limelight in 2012, when the whopping 84.58m throw by local lad Keshorn Walcott earned him the gold medal for javelin at the London Olympics – the first black male athlete to do so. Just 19 when he competed in London, Walcott was also the youngest ever Olympic javelin champion. A placard on the Toco Main Road, just past the turn-off from the Valencia Road, celebrates his achievement.