Port of Spain to Maracas Bay Beach: Maxi Taxi Through the Mountains

I awake unexpectedly to a downpour. The kind that’s so loud, you begin to wonder if falling water can make roofs cave in.

This is supposed to be my beach day.

I doze off for a bit longer, then take my post at my hammock, book in hand, to watch it all from my hostel balcony. The triumph of Man over Nature.

It stops an hour later, and I book it for the bus stop.

On Frederick Street, I ask a woman in a local shop to put together a wrapped roti for me. For about $2.50, she mixes veggies and piles them high in this strange Indo-Caribbean burrito, and it’s glorious and more than I can possibly eat in one sitting.

The rain picks up again just as I hit the local market on Prince Street. It’s zero to chaos, as vendors scramble to get their wagons of produce under some kind of shelter. I, too, scurry for shelter. I turn the corner to George Street and a man says, “Maracas?” He’s a maxi taxi driver. I nod, sopping wet. Obviously that’s the only business a white tourist in a tank top would have walking around here.

I say, “How much?”

He looks at his competitors standing adjacent and says, “Twelve.” (Like $1.50.)

“TT dollars?” I say, barely hiding my incredulity. This place is an hour away. He nods back, and I jump in, taking respite from the showers.

I sit there a long while, waiting for the minibus to fill before we can leave, but I’m just thankful to not be getting wetter. The roof of the minibus is black leather with undulating patterns of leopard print for accents here and there. One by one, they pile in, commuting back to wherever.

The Maxi Taxi from Port of Spain

We bumble and bound over the mountains separating Port of Spain from the north coast. At the summit, a woman hops off with no discernible destination, as if to be consumed by the vegetation.

An hour later, I’ve got the ENTIRE BEACH to myself. And yes, it is raining in fits and starts. And no, I can’t sit and read. I walk the length of the beach a couple times instead. A panhandler tried to get me to buy a freshly-hacked coconut. I give him a look, like, “Really?” and keep walking. I swim a bit, then take shelter under some trees as the rain intensifies.

Maracas Bay Beach in Trinidad

When I get hungry, I grab a bake and shark — at once the only option and, upon tasting it, the thing that must have made all previous beach food options irrelevant. It’s still raining, and I’m looking for a dry place to eat.

Just then, a group of sweet, sweet Trinidadian ladies snatch me up under their pop-up tent and say, “You can have a seat if you dance with us.” I bust a move with them as “Rock the Boat” blasts from the beach speakers. We share a good laugh, talk about how we all found ourselves on that rainy beach, and they give me tips on what magical Trini dishes I need to hurry up and try.

When it’s time, I hail a maxi taxi back to Port of Spain, and bid this little beach a find farewell.

Maracas Bay Beach lifeguard tower

Idyllic and easy, it is not. There is no resort to scurry back to, and I am soaked all over again waiting for a ride. But this day is absolutely perfect in its challenging imperfections.

1 Comment

  1. Deb just gave this to me. Nice pics. I’ll be following your trip.

Submit a comment