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Retreat to Balandra Basins
Island Hikers is resuming its jaunts across the country tomorrow with a visit to Balandra Basins. Hikers are supposed to assemble at 7 am the corner of O’Meara Road and Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Arima, and the trek begins 45 minutes after.
For those of you who might not know, Balandra is a small cove situated on the north-eastern coast between Salybia and Rampanalgas. Its sheltered waters makes it a preferred spot for sea-bathers. The rich landscape filled with natural resources and the area capitalises on agriculture, fishing and beach resorts. The name Balandra is a Spanish word that means Yacht, and in early times, the tranquil waters provided a safe location for Spanish sail boats.
The Balandra forest is situated opposite to the bay at Alcindor’s Trace, and its vegetation consists mainly of Mora (Mora Excelsa). These are large, heavily buttressed rainforest trees that grow up to 130 feet (40 metres) in height (to 200 feet (61 metres). It is one of the few rainforest trees to grow in pure stands and its trunk is used for timber production. Because of its resistance to wear, strength and durability, it is used for heavy construction, industrial flooring, boat building and the manufacture of guitars. In the 1960’s, loggers exploited the land creating a network of forest trails. Many of these footpaths lead to captivating rivers and waterfalls and extend all the way to Rio Seco and surrounding villages. In recent times, with the road resurfaced small development is taking place, and there is a nature resort.
The river, used mainly for short agriculture, flows inconspicuous in the valley, however concealed along its course are the spectacular Balandra Basins. The trek to the Basins will take 30 minutes and starts at Alcindor Trace. The walk begins with a short descent to the river and continues upstream to the pools. Along the channel, there are two pools to discover. The first is broad and shallow and ideal for non-swimmers, while the other located further downstream has a deep hollow basin. Placed alongside the river huge boulders provide a comfortable spot to sit and revel in the beautiful, calm surroundings. Its crystals clear waters appear emerald green in the tree-filtered sunlight, and playing hide and seek between the rocks are the numerous crayfish.
After the hike, there is the option to spend the rest of the day at the nearby beach.
For more information, contact www.Islandhikers.com or Mario (749-2956); Jamal (761-1889); or, Marcia (490-2421).
On Sunday, January 7, Island Hikers visits the Balandra Basins
Assembly: 7 am Corner of O’Meara Road and Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Arima.
Depart by 7.45 am
Rating: 2 easy
Hiking time estimate: 30 minutes suitable. Lifejackets provided.
The hike is suitable for children five years and older. Registration is on the morning of the hike. Bring along an extra change of clothing and shoes.
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