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Kayaking the Lagoon on Trinidad’s Southwest Peninsula

Listed under Kayaking in Trinidad and Tobago.

  • Photo of Kayaking the Lagoon on Trinidad’s Southwest Peninsula
  • Photo of Kayaking the Lagoon on Trinidad’s Southwest Peninsula
Photo of Kayaking the Lagoon on Trinidad’s Southwest Peninsula
Photo by Eco Sense Nature Tours
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Mention Trinidad, and many travelers might think first of an oil and gas focused economy with a terrain of derricks and refineries.  In fact, much of Trinidad’s interior remains home to splendid natural landscapes of mountains and waterways that make it idyllic for either the land or water-inclined eco-adventurer.  Kayaking has evolved here both as a sea and inland based opportunity to explore either coastal or river and marsh habitats.  One such option that exists on the island’s southwest peninsula is the mangrove swampland and estuaries known as the Oropuche Lagoon. 

This government-protected mangrove dense swamp is actually not far from the industrial center of San Fernando.  However, wildlife continues to thrive here – from aviary to marine inhabitants – and although the area is difficult to reach, kayakers who do so are treated to an unusual glimpse of this region of Trinidad’s surviving eco-systems.  The easiest way to access the Oropuche Lagoon may be with locally based Eco Sense Nature Tours, which organizes half-day trips launching from near the mouth of the South Oropuche River (also known as the Godineau River) and going deep into the mangrove.  The paddling is suitable for either novice or experienced kayakers, and the river has sufficient water level to navigate throughout the year.  

The journey in fact takes you through more than one natural environment, going from the saltwater mangrove swamp near the ocean to the fresh water inland marsh and further into cultivated areas.  Although some oil and gas pumps are present in parts of the lagoon, you will see a thriving range of both water and birdlife that are undisturbed here – for instance, both small and large winged species that include egrets, black-bellied whistling duck, osprey, pigmy kingfisher, and a variety of both herons and of migrating duck.   The national bird, the scarlet ibis, also makes occasional appearances hereabouts.  The swamp waters are home to several saltwater species such as tarpon and catfish.

Written by  Hal Peat.

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