Turtle nesting season in Trinidad and Tobago runs from March 1st to August 31st each year. Trinidad and Tobago is also home to one of the largest leatherback turtle nesting sites in the world, Grand Riviere. It’s about a 3 hour drive from the capital city of Port-of-Spain, but in all my years at home, I’d never been there. My sister was visiting from abroad, so we decided to go turtle watching in Grand Riviere with our mother and aunt. Turtle watching is a night time activity, so rather than do a long drive back at night we looked for places to stay in Grand Riviere. The decision was pretty last minute but after some checks on availability, we chose Le Grand Almandier for our stay.
The property has rooms that can accommodate up to six persons, but we opted for two of the smaller rooms, which gave us an extra bathroom. Breakfast was included and there were good options both international and local. Le Grand Almandier has a pretty nice restaurant and is willing to cater for any dietary restrictions. This family of chicken eaters ate only at the restaurant during our stay and everything was pretty good. They serve a really delicious and rich chocolate cake. I don’t have a photo because it’d didn’t last long enough to be photographed (confessions of a chocoholic)…sorry. There are other dining options available in the area; a restaurant at the neighbouring hotel and a there’s small food shed located in the carpark of the turtle watching visitor’s centre which opens late at night only. Mobile data coverage isn’t great in this area as it’s a bit remote but there’s free Wi-Fi in the lobby area.
The hotel is on the beachfront which made getting to and from the beach for turtle viewing easier. This was a major selling point for us because the older folk in my group have limited mobility. Our rooms faced the ocean and each had a small balcony. If there’s enough light, you are able to see turtles on the beach without leaving your room. The hotel also has a viewing gallery, so if your room doesn’t have a balcony you don’t miss out. Le Grand Almandier is also located obliquely opposite to the Grand Riviere Visitor’s Centre, where you make arrangements for a tour guide and beach permits with ease. There is also a river about a 2-minute walk from the hotel and canoe rentals are available nearby.
Overall our stay was great. Staff were generally helpful. Before going on to the beach, we were advised that sea conditions at this time of year was good for bathing and about the large dips in the sand left by the turtles. They even suggested some hiking options to nearby trails.
Since the drive up is pretty long, I recommend making a few stops along the way to admire the views. It’s also a good idea to pack a lunch and take a short detour to the Toco lighthouse. It’s quite scenic and a nice place to sit and have a meal.
Price Range $$$
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