El Tucuche
Trinidad's second highest peak.

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Length: 7 miles. Time: 4 hours each way. Difficulty: 3. Trailhead: Access is from Port-of-Spain along the Maracas Royal Road and the turnoff onto Acona Road is on the right well before the turn to Maracas Falls. Follow Acona Road to some old cocoa sheds at a farm where the climb begins.   

A guide is highly recommended because the first part of the trail wanders through old plantations, old abandoned roads, river beds and over 2 mountain passes before you reach the trail that ascends the summit.

It's easy to make a wrong turn and end up passing the day in strange but wondrous places.

This ascent of the island's second highest peak is best reserved for the dry season, though true die-hards may ignore the weather.

During your climb, you'll pass through a forest reserve that is also an animal sanctuary, so you may be able to spot deer, armadillos and agoutis as well as numerous birds.

The El Naranjo Tropical Gardens on the side of El Tucuche is particularly beautiful: streams, flowers of many kinds, silk cotton trees and primary forest are well worth the effort to see.

The climb up is steep, but the last two hours will keep you comfortably shaded in high-canopied tropical forest above 1,600 feet.

Expect to see tree ferns, plenty of epiphytes, ground ferns and mosses. The view from the summit can be spectacular.

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