The Scenic Journey to Toco

Beach along the Toco Main Road, Rampanalgas Village, Balandra
Beach along the Toco Main Road, Rampanalgas Village, Balandra Staff Article
Event Date: December 26, 2006
Posted: December 30, 2006

On Tuesday 26th December, 2006, a crew from traveled to the northeast coast region of Trinidad to the village of Toco. It was indeed a marvelous experience to journey through the long, winding and sometimes stony roads and witness the gorgeous beaches along the east and the north coasts.

En route to Toco village, we passed through areas such as Balandra, Guyamara, Rampanalgas and Cumana. We also bore witness to several popular beaches such as the Sans Souci Bay, Salybia Bay and Balandra Beach. Along the way, we were also able to see mouths of several rivers before they adjoined to the rough seas. There were warning signs along some of the beaches stating that they were for sightseeing and relaxation, not for bathing, but some brave ones bathed in a few of the beaches anyway.

Passing through the long Toco Main Road, which was lined with coconut trees, different types of flora, archaic house structures and modern constructions, we interacted with a few of the residents along the way finding out where one area ends and another begins. They were quick and keen to assist us - some offering to give us an extensive tour of the area. We also came across some men from outside the area who came to fish at one of the beaches. They demonstrated their prowess by pelting their fishing lines far out into the open seas awaiting fish to take the bait.

Another interesting aspect of the journey was passing through a narrow bridge along the Toco Main Road in Balandra. Vehicles rode slowly through it to get from one end to the next. Although there was virtually no traffic going into and leaving the area, there was a bit of a pile up by the bridge because it allowed only for single-lane traffic and it seemed a bit shaky as well.

Upon reaching the village of Toco, we met with Ms. Judy London Bishop who gave us a tour of the Toco area. She also introduced us to an elder of the village, Mrs. Elaine Bishop, who we later interviewed. Mrs. Bishop was very helpful in providing useful information about the village and shared with us some of her own personal experiences and feelings about the village. We also met some of her family members - some who live in the area and others outside of Toco - on that Boxing Day. What was very noticeable about the street in which Mrs. Bishop lived was that it was named after a local sports celebrity, Mervyn Dillon. She mentioned that she was related to him as well as Ian Bishop, who have served the West Indies cricket team well.

After chatting with Mrs. Bishop, we also did a brief interview with Mervyn Dillon, who happened to be liming in the yard with family and friends. Mr. Dillon mentioned that although he has been out of Toco to travel the world to play cricket, Toco remains home for him.

Subsequent to our interviews, Ms. Judy London proceeded to give us a tour of the area. We briefly visited the Toco Fishing Centre and observed the fishing boats lined up on shore. We were not able to see the fishermen's catch because we arrived too early but we did get to interact with one of the workers there.

We then traveled on the Galera Road leading to Galera Point (Toco) Lighthouse. Along the way we passed the Toco Composite Secondary School which was holding a Boxing Day bazaar and party at the time and saw an old dirt oven that was contained in its vicinity.

We were all amazed at the beauty in the area of the Galera Point Lighthouse. The salty wind blew extremely hard and the jerky waters slammed against the protruding rocks adding to the awesomeness of the place. There were a few people present besides us: some were couples who held close to each other enjoying the scenery and others were older kids who had there fun on the outcrop.

On our way back we also observed that many of the older structures such as the old police station along Paria Main Road (a new structure is currently under construction to the back of this building), the old court house along Paria Main Road, the defunct Toco United Consumers Co-op Society Limited building and the old post office on Reverend Hill, off Paria Main Road, were still in existence. Many of the older structures have either been destroyed or modified so it was good to see a bit of the older historical buildings still in existence (although not in use).

The Toco region has remained one of the most beautiful and well preserved areas in the country and its people, warm and friendly. will return again to taste the sweet that is Toco.

Balandra, Cumana and Toco in pictures:

Toco | Homepage | Special Events | Photo Gallery