OverviewMount Tabor is in the Central Range of Trinidad and above the Mount St Benedict Monastery. Unfortunately the trails to the summit have been overgrown and some old guidebooks are out of date. In order to reach the true summit, bushwhacking is required and many of the plants are razor sharp, thorny, or sting like h___. Luckily the trail through the pine forest to the fore summit is quite pleasant and the views are good (and in fact are better from the fore summit than the main summit).
The fore summit provides views all the way from Port of Spain to Arima as well as much of the Central Range.
The area is rich in birdlife and there is much other wildlife as well. We saw many birds including some huge vulture like birds on the mountain. There are ruins of an old monastery on the summit, but there isn’t that much left.
Getting ThereThe trail starts at the Mount St Benedict Monastery, which is about 14 kms/9 miles east of Port of Spain. You can reach the area from Arima or Port of Spain.
From either Port of Spain on the west or Arima on the east, take the bus, taxi, or a car to St Augustine on the Eastern Main Road. Turn north on St Johns Road just west of Scotia Bank. Route taxis leave for the monastery from the opposite of Scotia Bank every few minutes. There are also sporadic buses from Curepe.
If driving, from St Johns Road near Scotia Bank, follow the road past the UWI School, and to the end of St Johns Road. There is a private road to the left which is the road to the monastery. Proceed up the road to the monastery.
The trailhead is not at the main complex of the monastery. Avoid following the sign to the church. Continue straight uphill to some switchbacks. Pass the Drug Rehabilitation Center and past Benet Hall at Top of the Mount. The trail begins here. If taking a bus, backtrack from the main monastery complex and find the Drug Rehabilitation Center and follow the directions above.
RouteFrom Top of the Mount, follow the short paved road that ends at the Sanctuary. Continue along the trail past a radio reflector on the right. The trail climbs steeply to an old fire lookout. From the fire lookout the trail continues through a beautiful pine forest to the fore summit. There are a few old rest benches along the way.
You may wish to turn around at the fore summit, which has the best views of the hike. If you choose to climb to the true summit, there are scraps of old trail visible at times and the occasional ribbon on a tree, but the route is a difficult and time consuming bushwhack with many sharp, thorny, or stinging plants. I would not repeat it. Good luck!
Red TapeThere is no red tape, but make sure to be respectful since you are monastery land.
When to Climbanuary through May is the “dry” season, with February through April being the driest. December is an in between season. June through November are very wet and especially July and August. Even in the so called dry season, prepare for possible rain.
Although prices in Trindad aren’t as effected except during Carnival, if you are visiting Tobago on the same trip, prices sky rocket between mid-December and mid-April. Carnival in Trindad is in February or March depending on the year. If going to Trinidad during Carnival, make sure to book accommodation far in advance. Even though a bit wetter, early to mid December and May can be good months to climb since it’s not tourist season.
Camping and AccommodationThere are places on the mountain where people have camped, but you will have to take your own water. If you do camp, be very respectful and leave a clean campsite. Near the trailhead and a part of the monastery is the Pax Guesthouse. It is very reasonably priced. Their website contact is below:
Pax Guest House
You can also stay in Arima or Port of Spain.
Mountain ConditionsWeather averages for Brasso Seco are below, but the mountains will be a bit wetter and cooler than Brasso Seco.
CLICK FOR BRASSO SECO WEATHER FORECAST
|Month||High (° F )||High (° C)||Low (° F )||Low (° C)||in. Rain||mm Rain||Rain Days|
GuidebookIt isn't cheap, but if you plan on doing much hiking in Trinidad and Tobago, The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club Trail Guide is a very valuable resource.
The Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club Trail Guide
The guidebook is currently out of date on the Mount Tabor Hike, but it is a very good source for hiking in Trinidad and Tobago.