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Chaguaramas lies in the North West Peninsula of Trinidad west of Port of Spain; the name is often applied to the entire peninsula, but is sometimes used to refer to the most developed area. The entire peninsula was leased to the United States in 1940 for the construction of a naval base under the Destroyers for Bases Agreement.
The base was also used during the early 1960s as a BMEWS early warning radar site, as well as serving as a missile tracking site on the U.S. Air Force Eastern Test Range.
The base was scaled back in 1956 and the area was returned to Trinidad and Tobago control in 1963. Chaguaramas was the location slated for the construction of the capital of the short-lived West Indies Federation. It is also the place where the Treaty of Chaguaramas was signed, establishing Caricom, the Caribbean Community and Common Market, in 1973.
The Chaguaramas Peninsula supports one of the few remaining areas of dry forest in western Trinidad. It has been the center of Yachting activity in Trinidad.
The Chaguaramas area also contains some dockside facilities, mostly for the transfer of bauxite ore between ship and shore, or from smaller boats to ocean-going vessels. The function of such docks is easily recognizable as the docks and buildings are colored pink from the bauxite dust.
The waterways in this area are considered excellent by divers and fishermen.
. It is a twenty minute drive along the coast from Port of Spain, the capital city. This peninsula is surrounded by an archipelago of five islands and eight islets.
The area so named by the Amerindians because of the numerous palms that once fringed it bay, is an extension of the northern range.
Chaguaramas is a National Park within which are marine related industries, educational institutions, a military museum, Defence Force headquarters, helicopter services as well as pubs and restaurants.
Three main rivers flow through Chaguaramas. Cuesa. The largest river, drains Tucker Valley, the most extensive lowland area. It meanders through the valley, beneath a canopy of overhanging bamboo stands. Lush vegetation along the river bank provides a habitat for a variety of animals including caiman, water fowl, egrets, crabs, turtles, river conchs, monkeys as well as several species of birds. Where the river meets the sea, a brackish water swamp has developed. At this point, bamboo stands give way to mangrove. Numerous crabs and snails find homes among the twisted roots of the mangrove. The brackish water is also a spawning ground for a variety of fishes.
Several sheltered beaches fringe the coast of the north west peninsula. The most popular is Chagville on the south coast followed by Macqueripe on the North coast.
The hills, rivers, valleys, parks, swamps, beaches, offshore islands together with its history and institutions provide a variety of recreational and educational opportunities for interest groups of all ages. Outdoor activities can include golfing, tennis, swimming, jogging picnicking, fishing, boating, hiking, snorkeling, nature study, photography, guided tours and kayaking.
The Chguaramas Public Golf Course in Tucker Valley offers a splendid golfing turf of nine holes and eighteen tee boxes which can be completed in ninety minutes by the average player. Extremely low green fees, golf club rentals and caddy services and available.
Eco-Education tours are available on the Chaguaramas mainland as well as the offshore island of Gasparee. A mainland tour includes:
An audiovisual presentation of the Flora, Fauna, History and scenic beauty of Chaguaramas. A tour of our Interpretive Centre with its nature displays, general information and history of Chaguaramas; live exhibits, (Boa Constrictor, Caiman, etc) and souvenir shop. A visit to one or more Institutions, or historical tour of this former U.S. Naval Base. A hike on one of our trails. Eco-Educational Tours of the mainland take a maximum of 5 hours. A full day tour is recommended, but any section of this tour is available on request. The following trails are highly recommended:
A 7 km hike through lush vegetation to a ridge 530 metres above sea level, and down through cultivated forest to the North Coast.