Before I went to Trinidad, I didn't really know what to expect. I think we've all heard news stories about drugs and violence in the capital, Port of Spain, but my own experience couldn't be more different. While searching the internet, I came across the Acajou hotel, which is a small family run hotel on the northern coast of Trinidad. It's in a small fishing village called Grande Riviere which is totally unspoilt.
One of the reasons for the lack of tourism here is that it's quite hard to get to. The hotel will send a taxi driver to pick you up at the airport, and I have to say, it's well worth doing. The drive takes you right around the Northern mountain ranges; and even though I'm an experienced traveller, I wouldn't want to tackle some of the poor local roads and rickety bridges! The rooms are designed in the style of traditional wooden cottages, and have fabulous views out to sea. There are five cottages; all different shapes and sizes, and each one has a private sun deck.
The food at this hotel is incredible. The chef is Swedish, so the food is a real mix of the Caribbean and Sweden. They use locally grown vegetables, and they'll also cook your own catch if you get lucky on a deep sea fishing tour! There are also another two local restaurants to choose from, just a stone's throw along the beach, which are also good.
The beach in front of Acajou is definitely one of the highlights. When I was there it was almost always empty, so you can enjoy the rolling waves in complete isolation. I went to Acajou in March; and the only time there were others on the beach, it was for a very good reason. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs on this beach, and these wonderful pre-historic looking creatures are incredible to watch. Although it's supposed to be quite rare to see the leatherbacks, I spent three days at Acajou and saw at least one every day!
I booked a rainforest hike with the hotel, and my tour guide was my waiter from the previous evening's meal! He was very knowledgeable about the forest and made the hour and a half long excursion very interesting. You can even be taken to a hidden waterfall to go for a dip - lovely after a hot hike in the sun! Acajou is the perfect place to spend a few days chilling out (I took a 20 minute flight to Trinidad after spending the rest of my holiday in Tobago), and it's great fun to wander through the tiny village, where even at the end of your first day, the locals greet you like you're a long lost friend!
When you see the 'tongue in cheek' sign for the complaints department (above), you'll be pleased to hear I could find absolutely nothing to grumble about! Acajou was a great place to chill out, and witnessing the incredible leatherback turtles laying their eggs was an added bonus.
Top tip: Leatherbacks lay their eggs from March to September, and later in the season you can also watch the hatchlings surface from the sand, and make their way to the sea.