Caribbean Islands

Trinidad and Tobago

The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state just off the coast of Venezuela. Trinidad is the main island, Tobago is much smaller, only 6% of the surface. And then there are numerous small islands around the main islands. The islands were originally Spanish colonies, but became British later, since 1962 they are independent and became a republic within the Commonwealth in 1976.

Trinidad has three mountain belts and two lowland belts running from east to west, starting with the Northern Range. This is a mountain range with the highest peak of the island, El Cerro del Aripo (940 m asl), the rocks are mainly Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous metamorphic rocks. The next belt are the Northern Lowlands (East-West Corridor and Caroni Plains) consisting of younger shallow marine clastic sediments. The Central Range is a fold and thrust belt consisiting of Cretaceous and Eocene sedimentary rocks. The Southern Lowlands consist of Miocene and Pliocene sands, clays, and gravels, overlying oil and natural gas deposits. The southern coast is formed by the Southern Range consist of Miocene sandstones, shales, siltstones and clays, uplifted during the Pleistocene.

There are numerous areas with limestones and marbles and some caves. The biggest cave system of the island is Aripo Caves, which are also noted for the presence of oil birds. The cave also has a big bat colony, but it is ot developed and accessible only after a three hour hike.

Another wild cave which is also accessible only by a three hour hike is Cumaca Caves. It also has a colony of Oilbirds, which was the reaso why it was visited by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America, in 1911.

Many caves on the island are named with the plural caves, although there is just a single cave. Also chambers are called caves, so a system with numerous chambers obviously deserves the plural. Although this is not the way the terms are used normally, we decided to keep the names in their original form.