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Exploring Toco

By

Bavina Sookdeo

February 1, 2024


Toco, locally known as the ‘M to M network’, encompasses a stretch of villages from Matura to Matelot along Trinidad’s enchanting northeast coast. Tevin Mills, the Destination Coordinator of Totally Toco, says it “is a unique tourism destination because it provides everything from eco, agro and food tourism, to both soft and hard adventure tourism.” The region was once a food basket for the nation, providing everything from nutmeg and cocoa, to fish, plantain, banana and a variety of ground provisions.

He explains that the Toco fringing reef is captivating for leatherback turtle watching in Matura and Grande Riviere and each year conservation efforts for protecting the leather back turtles can be supported. Rewarding bird watching experiences in Salybia and Grande Riviere, can also be enjoyed.

The heart of Toco lies in the Matura National Park ESA, bordered by the communities that make up this vibrant region. Home to diverse wildlife, such as the Ocelot, Pawi, and Bearded Bell birds, the park is a testament to Toco’s commitment to conservation. Mills urges visitors to explore this ecological gem, which can be accessed via the park’s official website — "Matura National Park Biological Survey".

For those seeking sun and sand, Mills insists that Toco boasts some of the best and most accessible beaches, including Balandra Bay, Saline Bay (Toco beach), Patience beach, and Almond Bay. Kayaking along the serene Salybia River is a peaceful treat, while surfing enthusiasts can enjoy spots like Balandra, Saline Bay, San Souci, and Matelot.

Toco also boasts historical landmarks. The iconic Toco Lighthouse at Galera point is a must-visit, along with one of the last operating cocoa houses in Grande Riviere.

When it comes to cuisine, Toco offers a tantalising array of must-try foods, including crab or crayfish and dumpling, pacro (a salt-water mollusk), wild meat and provision, and breadfruit oil down.