Chaguaramas-Dragon's Mouth Boating Guide to Trinidad

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Jason escapes from the dragon's mouth
 
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Chaguaramas Peninsula
The Gulf of Paria is connected to the Caribbean Sea to the north through the Bocas del Dragón (or Dragons' Mouth) between the Paria Peninsula of Venezuela and the Chaguaramas Peninsula, and to the Columbus Channel to the south through the Boca del Serpiente (Serpent's Mouth) between the Cedros Peninsula and the Orinoco Delta.
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Top Attractions
---3 of TnT's top ten adventures are in Chag by topworld.com
---Leading local guide  meppublishers.com lists Tucker Valley and
Macqueripe Beach at the end of the road plus a boat trip to "Down the Islands" on its top ten list
--- roughguides' best of TnT is dating itself listing nothing from Chag
Oil Camps of Venezuela
caribbean-
yachting.com 

Former USA Navy Base
Because of its strategic, geographic location, the British Government leased Chaguaramas in 1941 to the U.S. Government for 99 years, for use as a naval base. By 1943 the Chaguaramas Naval Base was in full operation and at its peak during World War II, there were some 30,000 resident U.S. troops located in Chaguaramas.
The presence of so many well-paid Americans inspired the calypso song "Working for the Yankee Dollar" as a complaint about the way the local girls were deserting their menfolks for greenback-loaded sailors.
 In 1967, five years after Trinidad and Tobago's independence from the British crown, the US government returned Chararaumas military base to its native country.
More History

Dragon's Mouth

At both ends of the channel of the Gulf of Paria, Christopher Columbus in 1498 on his third voyage of cataclysmic change was nearly shipwrecked. Because these passages were so dangerous he called them Boca del Sierpe (serpent's mouth) and the 19-km-wide Boca del Drago (dragon's mouth).
After some 300 years of Spanish rule, the British took possession of Trinidad in 1797.

 

 Chaguaramas, (pronounced Shag-ger- rarm -ms) with its several coves and bays, is home to large boating communities and a thriving marine services industry.
The peninsula is a 5 mile, 20 minute drive from Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain. Its sheltered, natural harbours are well below the hurricane belt.
Chaguaramas is a 14,572 acre region that includes a peninsula

Chaguaramas:
the Caribbean's safest harbour and largest yacht repair center

 with five offshore islands. Situated at the north west corner of Trinidad, the topography o f the peninsula is characterized by 3,000 acre of relatively flat lands with five scenic beachfront areas, dominated by an intricate mountain system of steep slopes and extensive foothills separated by two wide valleys.
 For sailing, Chaguaramas and the offshore islands from Trinidad are popular jaunts. Deep-sea fishing is available in the Boca Islands off northwest Trinidad. Mackerel, kingfish, wahoo, yellowtail tuna, barracuda, red snapper, and groupers are in abundance.

During World War II, Chaguaramas was home to the United States Navy. Their cast off steel drums is part of the great story of the birth of Steel pan music.  It was also the site of the signing of the 1972 Treaty of Chaguaramas, which created CARICOM which is now phasing in a common passport for its 15 member countries.
 
GETTING THERE: Immigration & Custom

Arrival and Departure Procedures

 

Immigration’s office, located at Crews Inn Hotel & Yachting Centre, is open from 0800 to 1600 hours.


 

 

Customs and Excise’s office, also located at CrewsInn Hotel & Yachting Centre, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Overtime charges are applicable outside of regular business hours, 0700 to 1600, and are as follows:

 

TT$91.20            Examining/clearing imported packages

TT$117.26          Vessel clearance

TT$136.79          Boarding (entering) a vessel

 
Weather
  Trinidad's weather is hot and wet but Chaguaramas' climate seems even hotter and wetter than the remainder of the island. The climate is at its most forgiving (25-30°C/72-87°F).  The rainy season starts in June and lasts till December, but in September there's a dry spell known as the petit carem , an Indian summer of two to four weeks.
Shelter from the storm: Chaguaramas also offers protection from hurricanes other islands cannot. Nearby Williams Bay and Pointe Gourde offer even more shelter to boats. Scotland Bay is advertised as the last stop on the way to Tobago or Grenada
Chag by weather-forecast.com
http://www.caribwx.com/

Why yacht owners prefer Trinidad & Tobago!

http://www.ysatt.org/
The Caribbean's Yacht Repair Center:

 Generally there are many times when as three times as many boats are out of the water at Chagaramas as their are in the water.
As the last island in the Caribbean chain, Chag offers a  convenient drop off point for the conclusion of a Caribbean cruise

 
Trip Reports
"I’m not alone in being waylaid in Trinidad. Many others have gladly made a years-long halt in this beautiful hurricane-free isle after bashing their brains out against the trades for several months on the thorny, casualty-strewn path from Florida. Once they’ve made it this far they are literally at the end of the line. Now it's time to pause for a refit before turning back or to contemplate continuing south on the even thornier passage against wind and current to Brazil. The lucky ones approach Trinidad on a downwind run either across the Atlantic from Europe or, like me, from Africa and Brazil."

James Baldwin
more at TRINIDAD:  CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS

 "I was in the second year of a cruise of discovery, attempting to locate another island to call home and open the next chapter of my life..... Three islands stretch across the Dragon's Mouth from the northwest corner of Trinidad to Venezuela. The tidal current was running against me, slowing the trawler to three knots. Finally I slipped between Monos and Huevos Islands and into the Gulf of Paria. The crisp blue Caribbean water had muddied from the outflow of the Orinoco, and was topped with a slight gloss of petroleum."
The Complete Trinidad 
1999 News Report: Yachtsmen throughout the Caribbean were encouraged to visit Trinidad. Prior to that the southern destination had been Venezuela. However, faced with a charge of US $50.00 per vessel to anchor in Venezuelan waters, the yachtsmen pulled up anchor or steered their vessels toward Trinidad, the new destination. The influx began.

Only recently has Chaguaramas begun to develop rapidly through a burgeoning yachting sector. Since 1990 the area has been recognized as having significant growth potential. The number of yachts arriving has increased from 65 in 1990 to 2590 in 1997
more from 1999 Article in Trinidad Guardian

1797 Engineer's Report: Chaguaramas Harbour lies on the north shore of this Gulf, about three leagues west of Port of Spain; is capable of receiving the largest Ships of War, having from 4 to 25 and 40 fathoms water, gravel and ooze bottom; the Shores are bold and steep.  When the British Forces attacked the Island in 1797, the Spaniards burnt in this Harbour one Ship of 80 guns, two of 74 guns, and one Frigate of 32 guns.

            The Careening Place (le Carenage) is shallow, having from two to four fathoms water, and therefore is suitable for Merchant Ships only.

            Gaspar Grande,-on this Island, the Spaniards have constructed a Battery of Masonry to protect the Harbour; it is ill situated, and without solidity.

            Port of Spain (Puerto d’Espana) is situated on the North-East Coast of the Gulf of Paria, having a jetty or Quay of Masonry, with a Battery en Barbette even with the water’s edge for defence of the Town; here are also two other Batteries on the east side.

            The Bay before this port is one of the safest and most extensive in the world; ships being able to anchor there in a superficial space of above 70 miles, with a depth of water from 12 to five fathoms only one mile off shore, and all good holding ground.  Should they drive from their anchors, they go on shore in soft mud, and are got off without damage.  A white half-moon Battery, just above the town, on the brow of the hill, is a good Mark for the Bay, and may be seen a long way off.  This Battery, by large ships, should never be brought to the northward of N.N.E. and the best anchorage is in the north-west bight of the Bay.

The Peninsula's rich history includes a slave revolt in 1806 followed in 1813 by the invasion of Venezuela from the island most western Trinidadian island of Chacachacare  by Venezuelan patriots.

SIR RALPH ABERCROMBIE, K.B. LIEUTENANT-GENERAL AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE BRITISH...FORCES IN THE WEST INDIES;...BY F. MALLET, CAPT. OF THE SURVEYING ENGINEERS,
1797 

Johnny leans to lime Down the Islands 2002

"But, don't forget rum. Dexter's friends joined us at sea that day. We limed, snorkeled, took turns failing on the kneeboard, and boated through a rough, very bumpy, fun island gap called the Bocas.

Dexter's friends were all very cool, especially a little guy named Johnny who managed to stay positive a week after his mom died. But the Trini social order is very aggressive. When liming in a big group, say what you have to say or forever hold your peace. Nobody's going to ask for your input. Nobody's ever going to ask when they can "tell."

"The good times continued the next night, when Dexter and friends went clubbing to a place called Coconuts. The percussive, energetic soca music of the Caribbean got you moving. The "wining," a dance in which girls wind their butts in other guys' laps, was prolific. And the rum and Cokes - free all night with US$12 entry - tasted like candy. Wining, rum, and soda are the perfect equation for a good time."
[more at travelpod]
Chaguaramas Guides
Charuaramas offers some of the Caribbean's best boat repair and maintenance facilities; Workmen are highly skilled, services are tax free,  spare parts can be imported duty free, and local teak costs a fraction of US prices. There are over 150 enterprises here and these directories of services.

http://www.ysatt.org/

 YSATT.org PO Box 2852 TT Post, Chaguaramas
Tel: (868) 634 4938 Fax: (868) 634 2160
E-Mail: ysatt at trinidad.net

 Non-profit association for businesses in the yachting industry.  Services include providing tourist information, working closely with Customs and Immigration to smooth entry and clearance procedures and operating the marina water taxi service.
The YSATT [pronounced Why Sat dot org] office is situated in the CrewsInn Village Square [Shipwright building,] at Crews Inn Marina in Chaguaramas Bay. 

boatersenterprise.comhttp://boatersenterprise.com/  ||Boaters' Directory of T&T theBoca.comPublishes a monthly magazine call The Boca dedicated to the promotion of the yachting industry and serving as a community newspapaper. There is also an annual Directory of Services .
Besides publishing the many great adventure stories of large international yachting community the publication also follows the lackluster pace of progress on the government's 2005 "
The Strategic Plan for the Yachting Industry: more
"The Boca" also provides on request a guide to boating the Orinco Delta including the GPS waypoints for the Macareo River, locations of villages and suggestions for trading items.
Developement & ConservationThe Chaguaramas Development Authority
Airway Road, Chaguaramas,
P.O. Box 3162, Carenage,
Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Tel: 868-634-4227 / 4312 / 2424 / 4349
Fax: (809) 634-2465 / 4311 / 2588

Chaguaramas is recognized as a special economic zone interested in development projects. At the same time it is also a National Park reflecting the rich endowment of ecological, historical and archeological resources.
In 1998 the CDA launched the The Millennium Doorway Development  programme with the goal of transforming itself by 2008 "from a moribund, and uneconomic organization to a vibrant profitable entity."

 

Marinas

There are a good number of Trinidadian yachts people and they have two active yacht clubs, the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (TTYC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association (TTSA).
Marinas have both dry storage and stern-to docks 
Marina Directory: Chaguaramas
 Crew Inn Ltd   CrewsInn Hotel & Yachting Centre
Marina & Hotel Point Gourde Chaguaramas
Tel: (868) 634-4384 / 5 Fax: (868) 634-4542 / 4175 Pt Gourde, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad, West Indies. 68 slips
Features include: Finger style or parallel to electrical shore power 110 & 208 volts (100, 50 and 30 Amp service) Engle and 3 phase available, 60 cycle,  214ft. floating dock, and official on-site Customs and Immigration

Caribbean Yachtworks - 87,120 sq. ft. covered building - 4 acre haul- out yard, 200 metric ton marine travel lift (33 foot beam), 60 ton crane, skilled craftsmen;   

coralcovemarina.com When sailing in, call us on VHF 68 to reserve a slip and after clearing with Customs and Immigration, just cross the bay to our marina
40 slips to accommodate up to 90ft Mono hulls and wide slips especially for catamarans up to 45ft. Full service boatyard and can provide a complete repair service ~ painting , welding, woodworking, fiberglass work, upholstery, canvass, sail repairs

www.powerboats.co.tt Power Boat Mutual Facilities Ltd.- Haul - out and storage, 50-ton marine hoist, stern-to-dock space, marine supplies, restaurant and bar Chaguaramas Bay, P. O. Box 3163, Carenage. Tel: (868) 634-4303; Fax: (868) 634-4327

www.ttya.org Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association -Full service haul-out yard, 15-ton marine hoist, moorings, bar and snack bar, office services, laundry, repair shed, water, ice, anchorage.  

Tropical Marine Ltd. - 30 in-water berths, water, electricity, office services, retail shops, fibreglass material, fibreglass repair, diving equipment, tools, wind generators, restaurant.  Calmest Bay in Chaguaramas.” Tel: (868) 634-4502; Fax: (868) 634-4453  

email: tropicalmarineltd at hotmail.com

Peake's
ysatt.org  Yacht Services Association of Trinidad & Tobago PO Box 2852 TT Post, Chaguaramas Tel: (868) 634 4938 Fax: (868) 634 2160 E-Mail:
Operates a water taxi and services its 90 members with a 2 person staff.
Between Chagaramas and Port of Spain:
Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (ttyc) Tel: (868) 633-7420; Fax: (868) 633-6388 -is situated just minutes from downtown Port of Spain and  Shopping Plaza just across the street  with grocery, banking, doctor’s offices and pharmacy, and restaurants.  The facility offers 60 in-water berths, security, cable TV, Interserv link-up and telephone service upon request. A  restaurant and bar are located in the Clubhouse.”
ttsailing.org/ http://www.ttsailing.org/

Chaguaramas Marinas (5) by tntisland.com

Getting Around There
YSAT Marina Water Shuttle: Hi Lo Dock at CrewsInn to Tropical Marine, Coral Cove, Sweet Water Marine, Powerboats, Peakes Yacht Services and IMS. Shedules circuits 5/day cost $5 and call-outs $10.

MaxiTaxi: Bus fare is 2.00 TTD to go and 2.00 to return from Port of Spain and takes less than 15 minutes. These are the 12-seater vans cream in color with red, green or yellow bands that run set routes.  Locally 5 seater sedans also run routes.
Ask where a pickup point is located. The terminus for all these public transport vehicles is in Chaguanas town centre
at intersection of the Solomon Hochoy Highway with the Chaguanas Main Road.

Boats for hire are available from the Island Property Owners’ Association marina (634-4331) and the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (637-4260). The Chaguaramas Development Authority (634-4227, 634-4364 or visit www.chagdev.com) and Caribbean Discovery Tours (624-7281) run daytrips to the area.

Places To Stay
 
Hotel Directory: Chaguaramas
Chaguaramas Hotel and Convention Center 72 rooms and suites
accommodate events of all sizes up to 1500 persons in one room.
crewsinn.com/ 46 rooms Full conference facilities are offered along with a pool bar and fresh water pool. A 68-slip marina supplies each vessel with full services. Restaurant, meeting and gym facilities, rentals are also offered. Other facilities include cable TV, laundry service and business centre.

coralcovemarina.com Coral Cove Marina Hotel
Western Main Road | Chaguaramas, - (868) 634-4384

"super clean with really friendly staff. A couple of nice restaurants on ground floor, one French the other Italian with great Pizzas"
Gaspar Grande Island
Belle Baleine  two rooms, a loft, a large sundeck satellite TV and all modern conveniences. Maid service is also available. Enjoy Seabathing, Kayaking, Fishing and island trails to the famous Gasparee Caves. Visits to the other islands and their beautiful bays can also be arranged.
Bayview Beach Resort & Marina Limited Gaspar Grande Island, Chaguaramas, Trinidad - (868) 678-9001

 

Restaurants & Nightlife
  • Mystic XVI Restaurant, Sports Bar & Pub 9 Endeavour Road, Chaguaramas, Trinidad - (868) 671-2853
  • Anchorage Restaurant The Hart's Cut, Chaguaramas, Trinidad - (868) 634-4334
  • Sails Restaurant & Pub at Power Boats Chaguaramas, Trinidad -
  • The Tunnel Ramsaran St., Chaguaramas, Trinidad - (868) 671-4819
Many from Port of Spain come to Chaguaramas looking for nightlife at The Base, The Anchorage, MOBs2;
  • MOBS2, Western Main Road.
  • Pier 1, Western Main Road. (868) 634-4472
  • The Anchorage, Point Gourde Road.
  • The Base, Western Main Road.
  • The Bight, Peake’s Marina, Western Main Road.
  • The Cove, Western Main Road.
  • The Lighthouse, CrewsInn
Tours & Guides

The 6-mile long hike up Mt. Catherine (1,768 feet) begins at Carenage Bay. The track passes through dry scrub woodlands and eventually overlooks the Tucker Valley on the east. The secondary montane rain forest offers good birding: squirrel cuckoo, turquoise and blue-headed tanagers, blue dacnis and more.

From the Chaguaramas Public Golf Course you can walk to 180-meter high Edith Falls. On the way you'll pass through a tonka bean plantation and rain forest. A 2.5 km. Trail from the cove at Macqueripe to the golf course provides good views of Tucker Valley and the North Coast.

chagdev.com/Pages/Chag-Tours.htm Chaguaramas Development Authority Guided Tours
Tel: (868) 634-4227/4364

National Park Tours

 The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture
(Long Circular Road, St. James, Port of Spain, 622-7476).

  Chaguaramas National Park

The park encompasses the entire Chaguaramas Peninsula, named by the Amerindians for the royal palms that flourished here. Located on the northwestern-most point of Trinidad offers everything from mountain climbing to caving to snorkeling.

 

 
Chaguaramas is home to the red howler monkey.  These monkeys usually travel in troops of 4 to 20 individuals and generally stay at the tops of taller trees. There are many species of lizards on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. This one is about a foot long. 
Ocelots
are common but much harder to spot as they usually sleep during the day and hunt at night. Their marbled coats of brown, black and cream allow them to blend in with the shadows. They range from 36 to 54 inches long, including a tail that makes up about one-third of their total length

 More rainforest than park, the protected area spans the low-lying mountains of the western end of the Northern Range. Tracks into the forest take you along rivers to waterfalls and spectacular mountain view. Discover red howler monkey ; capuchin monkeys, wild hogs and silky anteaters,  hawks and other beautiful birds; caiman,  giant iguanas and even ocelots. There's lush forests, and dramatic peaks offering sweeping views of the Gulf of Paria.

 

Museums

The Chaguaramas Military History and Aviation Museum
Western Main Road Port of Spain +1 868 634 4391 [near the helicopter hangar ]
The Museum is the largest,  such institution in the English speaking Caribbean with outdoor displays on a three acre site and an indoor museum of 12,000 square feet. Collection of memorabilia is on display, including uniforms, ammunition and radio equipment used by soldiers in World Wars I and II. Climb into a simulated bunker, complete with gunfire sounds, stand next to massive tanks and view battle ship and fighter jet models.

Callaloo  mas camp - the Carnival costume factory of one of Trinidad's most famous Carnival designers, Peter Minshall is near the military museum on the flatlands opposite the Chagville beach are a series of buildings remaining from the US occupation of the area in World War II. It's operation are subject to the whims of the artists and season and it is not officially open to the public. 

 

Mountain biking / Bicycle
The most popular area for cycling is the Chagaramas peninsula which has a network of old military & agricultural roads plus forest paths providing every type of cycling environment.
Water Sports
Beaches
The sea can be dirty and polluted on the south side, better swimming can be had on the north coast at Macqueripe Beach , a delightful cove that's easily accessible by road.
Try the short journey along the Macaripe Mail Road and stop to walk in the
bamboo cathedral. Much photographed, this stretch of the rain forest has bamboo lining the road and forming a gothic arch. Further along is the beach, overlooking the North, it is a calm swimming area which is empty during the week but popular with locals at the weekend.
  • Macqueripe Located on the Tucker Valley Road. Beach-about 117 m. Parking and toilet facilities. About 15 minutes drive from Port of Spain.
  • Chagville
    Chagville Beach is located at Carenage Bay, opposite the Convention Centre in Chaguaramas. It is a man made beach, sandy and about 600 m long. Service facilities include 2 large car parks, changing rooms, showers and toilets. The service facilities and the beach are well maintained and Chagville is a popular location for wind-surfing. There are no lifeguards at this beach. (15 mins. from P.O.S).

  • Chacacabana Located on the Western Main Road. Hotel nearby. Beach - about 125 m. About 15 minutes drive from Port of Spain.
  • Williams Bay Eastern end of Carenage Bay. Beach - about 1100 m. Changing and parking facilities. About 15 minutes drive from Port of Spain.
  •  Bombshell Bay
    Eastern end of Gasparee Island. Beach - about 40 m. Hotel nearby.

  • Scotland Bay Peace and quiet is available further north at Scotland Bay, since the area is not accessible by road

  • Swimming Pool:
    The Swimming Pool at Trinidad Country Club may be available to visitors upon payment for a Guest Pass or Temporary membership.

 

 
Scuba 
Because of the Orinoco River pouring into the Gulf of Paria, Trinidad is the only Caribbean island that does not have the clear blue waters  associated with the Caribbean Sea. Download
  • divetnt.com in the Coral Cove Marina and Hotel building which is across the bay from the Crew's Inn Restuarant and Marina, the red and white lighthouse is visible from the main road.
    Dive Map by divetnt.com
  • Ron's Watersports, 195D Western Main Rd., Cocorite; tel. 622-0459, fax 623 4673
  • Twin Island Divers Ltd, Shoppes of Maraval, 3A Saddle Rd.; tel. 628-DIVE, fax 623-9900

 

Fishing
Come to Trinidad to fish,the best fishing in the caribbean, lots of fish, marlin, wahoo, dolphin, tuna and lots more. 
Charters can be arranged, for deep sea fish such as blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo offshore, king fish, barracuda, Spanish mackerel, African pompano, grouper, snapper in coastal waters, or bonefish and tarpon in the mangroves and flats. Prices for deep sea fishing are around US$250 per four hours, US$400 per eight hours, maximum six people and for bonefishing US$150 per four hours, maximum three people.

http://www.trinidadtarponbash.com/article.jsp?ID=36017

  • CLASSIC SPORTFISHING CHARTERS
    with CAPTAIN PETER DE SILVA 4 boats 35' to 65'
    Contact us at (868) 637-3897 or (868) 680-1357 Fax (868) 637-0720 Email talk2caribbean at hotmail.com 
     
  •  ISLAND YACHT CHARTERS For additional information contact us at:
    phone (868)-637-7389  fax (868) 628-0437 mobile (868) 678-8815 email dellas2 at tstt.net.tt
  • SOUTH CARIBBEAN CHARTERS LTD.  Capt. Gary Story: Tel:  1-868-637-3636 / 1-868-620-3655 Or Sid Johnson (owner):  Email: Sidj at tstt.net.tt
    Tel:  1-868-637-5918 / 1-868-624-5304 / 1-868-680-4397 more
     
  • hardplay.net HARD PLAY FISHING CHARTERS LTD.  3 boats  23' to 41' or contact Captain Gerard "Frothy" de Silva at Telephone number 1-868-639-7108 
  • RADICAL CHARTERS Call Capt. Anthony "Tony" Lee Loy Home:  868-627-6345 Cell:  868-772-5826 Bernard Borde Cell:  868-689-9154 Fax:  868-637-3045 Email:  radicalcharters at hotmail.com
     
  • redbeardcharters.biz RED BEARD CHARTERS 2 boats 32' to 42' Captain Nicholas Telfer 868-740-2530 .Reel Tackle Charter Captain Danny Agostini Office: 868-622-7134 Cell: 868-678-9318 Email: reeltackle at hotmail.com
 Watersports

  Sailing

  Surfing 
Surf Surfing conditions are favorable year-round. Not a lot around here. Chaguaramas Bay is the prime spot for windsurfing.

  • contact the Surfing Association of Trinidad and Tobago,  P.O. Box 141Port of Spain Tel: [1] (809) 623 6097 Fax: [1] (809) 623 3322

  Windsurfing
Chagville Beach is located at Carenage Bay, opposite the Convention Centre is main center

  • Windsurfing Association of Trinidad and Tobago:tel. 659-2457

  Kayaking
Kayaking has been growing as a sport in Trinidad with the removal of the import tax by the government.
You can hire kayaks for use in the bay or go on excursions along the North coast in Pariah Bay , up rivers like the Marianne at Blanchisseuse  to the quiet sheltered swamplands of Bush Bush Sanctuary in the Nariva Swamp. On the North Coast