In central Trinidad, covered in tangled vines, towering trees and green vegetation as far as the eye can see, one can find the evidence of a once thriving cocoa, coffee and citrus industry.
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Fun getaway to Mud Volcano sites
The four-day Easter holiday weekend is quickly approaching and if you haven’t thought about how you’re going to spend those days yet, the Sunday Guardian might have a few ideas for you.
In this series, we will explore attractions, both natural and man-made, that you can visit with your family over the holidays or for any occasion.
This week, we focus on the natural wonders that are mud volcanoes.
According to the Citizens for Conservation T&T, there are 15 sites across the country where you can find mud volcanoes (see sidebar.)
The Sunday Guardian visited four of these sites in south Trinidad—the Devil’s Woodyard mud volcano, the Digity Trace mud volcano, the infamous Piparo mud volcano, and L’Eau Michel mud volcano located in Bunsee Trace, Penal.
Devil’s Woodyard volcano
Perhaps one of the more well known volcanic sites and certainly the site that is most equipped for visitors is Devil’s Woodyard in Hindustan, New Grant.
To get this gem you have to drive past Princes Town, take the Naparima Mayaro Road, head towards New Grant, turn off onto the Hindustan Road and follow the road signs. There is adequate signage but if you’re as hopeless with directions as this reporter, simply plug the destination into the Waze application and follow the instructions. The road that leads to the Hindustan community is scenic with majestic teak trees lining the road in small stretches.
Four landslips mar the otherwise smooth roadway leading to the community, but not even this could deter an insistent visitor.
When you get to the volcanic site, there is a large car park and a paved walkway that takes you straight to the dozen or so small volcanic cones that bubble and dribble thick grey mud. The first thing that will attract you is the serene beauty of the environment.
For those interested in a picnic, there are five concrete huts complete with tables and benches and several other table and chair set-ups scattered across the park. A large playground borders one end of the park and there is a wide grassy area for those who want to just sit and relax. You can make it a fun getaway for the whole family. For those 90s babies among us, whoever keeps the grounds has left six toadstools standing after cutting the grass. If you know how to look, you might even spot some smurfs hanging out under them.
The volcano cones themselves bubble intermittently and are also known to belch, sending flecks of the grey mud flying.
And if for some reason you forget to pick up some snacks or water, there is a friendly neighbourhood parlour just opposite the site, where the owner will leave her lunch cooking to attend to you. All in all, it makes for a scenic trip away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches and other popular liming spots during the holidays.
And if you’re wondering about the name of the site, one version of the story is that in 1852 the volcano erupted, shaking the village, felling trees and terrifying the Amerindian villagers who believed the devil had come out of the earth and felled the woods.
Digity Trace volcano
The Digity Trace volcano is another interesting site. To get to this volcano, you drive to Debe Village and turn onto Lalbeharry Trace. There is a police post on the corner of Lalbeharry Street that visitors use as a landmark. You then drive approximately 1.8 km until you get to a four-way intersection with a cell tower on the left. Turn right onto the road opposite the cell tower and drive for 2.8 km until you find the trace where the volcano is located.
Over the years, a roadway has been built to allow visitors to drive close to the volcano and there is also a shed where you can relax. The cone of the volcano itself rises some 20 feet above ground and there are well-worn paths along its sides, where hundreds of visitors have climbed up to get a look into the volcano’s mouth. This volcano is said to be more active during the rainy season and a second volcano which is flat in shape is said to be located a short distance from the main cone.
In addition to being a wonderful, cheap outing for the family, it is also said that mud from the volcanoes cleans and rejuvenates your skin. All you have to do is collect some of it in a clean container, take it home and make yourself a face or body mask.
Volcanic sites across the country:
L’ Eau Michel, Bunsee Trace, Penal
Devil’s Woodyard, Hindustan, New Grant
Columbia Estate, Fullarton, Cedros
Cascadoux Trace, Manzanilla
Point Radix offshore volcano