Some 65 square kilometres of evergreen forest running down to the sea east of the Rio Claro–Guayaguayare Road, the Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses the Trinity Hills and Mount Derrick, the tallest peak in the south at 314m. The hills form a watershed that’s vital to the nation’s water supply, and was declared a protected reserve in 1900. The many rivers, streams and waterfalls are excellent for bathing, while the lush forests of carat, redwood, cooperhoop and bois pois trees shelter animals such as lappe, agouti, quenk, tatoo and red howler monkeys, as well as rarely seen ocelots, capuchin monkeys, buck deer, armadillos and opossums. The wide variety of birdlife includes the mountain quail dove, while deep caves harbour many species of bats. A 45-minute hike from the road is a mud volcano and lake known as Lagoon Bouffe, at 100m wide one of Trinidad’s largest.
If you don’t visit via an organized tour, you could drive or mountain-bike along the Moruga–Guayaguayare Road (also known as Edward Trace), an exceptionally pretty route which loops through thick virgin forest; you’ll rarely see another soul the entire 35km. To avoid any problems at the oilfield gateposts, it’s wise to get a free permit from Petrotrin, who have a number of pipelines running through the reserve.