Worth a Trip: Mount St Benedict Monastery

A Benedictine monastery sits on 240 hectares on a hillside north of Tunapuna, 13km east of Port of Spain. Though not a major sight in itself, Mount St Benedict attracts people who want to stay or eat at its secluded guesthouse, birdwatch or walk in the surrounding forest. Unless you have a car, however, it’s inconvenient to get to. The thickly wooded hills behind the monastery provide hiking opportunities and possible glimpses of hawks, owls and numerous colorful forest birds, and maybe a monkey, and the road up offers panoramic views of Trinidad's central plains.

Under the monastery, peaceful Pax Guest House is delightful place to come for lunch or afternoon tea (TT$15; daily 2pm to 6pm), with scones, pastries or Trinidadian sweet bread served on a veranda that makes a great spot for birdwatching. Book visits in advance. A favorite hike from here is the 30-minute trail to the fire tower, which offers eye-popping views and birding.

Amerindian Legacy

Arima is home to a small Amerindian community who still follow some traditional customs. Just west of town, the small and rather dusty Amerindian Museum at Cleaver Woods displays some artifacts. Local shaman Cristo Adonis can show you around or take you on an educational hike to learn about the medicinal plants and spirituality of the Amerindians.