Trinidad
A Walk to Maracas Falls

The main falls are 270 feet high.

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Time: 2 hours for the waterfall hike. Length: About 2 miles. Difficulty: 2. Trailhead: Maracas Falls is not anywhere near the famous beach but in the mountains above the Maracas Valley near the town of St. Joseph, just 6 miles east of Port-of-Spain.

Take the Maracas Royal Road and look for the marked road to the right leading to the waterfall trail. This secondary road goes for about a mile before depositing you at the trailhead.

The trail, which leads off to the right, goes for less than a mile before arriving at the first cascade and its 3 mini-waterfalls. There are also two natural pools here but the water is cold. It's another 20 minutes to reach the spectacular, 270-foot high main falls.

Not surprisingly, the waterfall is considered a sacred place, which is why some of the rocks have candle stubs or pools of candle wax, left by there Hindus and other religious groups. Colored flags in the trees also indicate its special significance.

You can also climb to the top of the falls but you'll need to rock hop and scramble up a slippery path. You can swim here, too, in a stream pool up from the falls.

Although the falls are considered sacred by some, some people have been robbed and that's less likely to happen if you're in the company of a local guide.

So if a resident guide flags you down while you're still driving to the trailhead, you might want to negotiate a fee. He may also suggest that you park at the bottom of a hill about a 15-minute walk from the trailhead because it's a more secure location for your vehicle.

In any case, a guide knows the easiest way to reach the top of the falls.

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