There are 260 miles of coastline on the larger of the twin islands that comprise our ancestral home, a good bit of it sandy and completely devoid of the mega-resorts you find limiting access to the choicest swaths of shore and surf elsewhere in the region. Among the best of these beaches is magical Manzanilla.
Located about 90 minutes drive time southeast of Port-of-Spain, Manzanilla is manna for anyone seeking the special type of seclusion that can only come from 17 uninterrupted miles of breezy, palm-lined, and virtually empty beach.
Empty, that is, aside from a few stray dogs and a wide assortment of sea and wetland birds – pelicans, frigates, laughing gulls, herons, egrets, and sandpipers like these…
Felled palm trees, like the one upon which these guys are perched, also made for some dramatic pics, especially on a bit of an overcast day like the one we enjoyed…
When Patrick and I arrived here a few Saturdays ago, it was almost hard to believe. You just don’t see such long stretches of sand with such little development in much of the region anymore. Stepping onto the sand and taking in the surroundings, you feel a tangible sense of being in on a great secret; one reserved for the more intrepid, or local, among us.
At the same time, though, we found lifeguards on-duty in the northern section of Manzanilla where we stopped, so you’re not completely off the map. There are a few small guesthouses and private homes on or near the beach too, as well as public restrooms and changing facilities, a small and shady hotel, ruins of a few former beach cottages, and a very cool beach bar we’ll save for another day.
The sand is more brown than white and like most Atlantic-facing beaches Manzanilla could use a bit of a clean-up, but for beachcombing, general liming, escaping the crowds, pure relaxation, and photo fun, Manzanilla is perfect.