Arima, Trinidad and Tobago

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Arima, Trinidad and Tobago

Region: Arima


Geographic Coordinates: 10.633300, -61.283300
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Arima, Trinidad and Tobago vary throughout the year.
Population: 65623
Language: English

Arima, Located in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, Is a vibrant and culturally rich town that offers a unique blend of history, Natural beauty, And modern amenities. Nestled in the northern part of Trinidad, Arima serves as one of the country’s major urban centers outside of the capital city, Port of Spain. With a population that reflects diverse ethnic backgrounds such as Afro-Trinidadians, Indo-Trinidadians, Chinese-Trinidadians, And others, Arima showcases a harmonious coexistence where various cultures intertwine.

This diversity is most evident during festivals like Divali (Festival of Lights) and Carnival when residents come together to celebrate their heritage through music, Dance performances known as limbo, Vibrant costumes adorned with feathers and sequins. One cannot miss visiting the bustling Arima Market Square. Here you can immerse yourself in local flavors by sampling exotic fruits like mangoes or soursop while browsing through stalls selling fresh produce such as vegetables and aromatic spices like curry powder or saffron. The market also offers an array of artisanal crafts including handwoven baskets made from indigenous materials like bamboo.

For nature enthusiasts seeking adventure off the beaten path nearby attractions like Asa Wright Nature Centre beckon. Situated atop the verdant Northern Range mountains overlooking lush valleys below; this renowned bird-watching destination boasts over 400 species including hummingbirds and toucans amidst its tropical rainforest setting. Visitors can embark on guided hikes along well-maintained trails to explore breathtaking waterfalls or simply relax while enjoying panoramic views from observation decks. History buffs will find great interest in exploring some historical landmarks within Arima itself.

One notable site is Fort Cleaver which dates back to colonial times when it served as a defensive structure against potential invasions from rival European powers vying for control over Trinidad’s valuable resources. Additionally visitors can delve into indigenous culture by visiting the Santa Rosa Carib Community. This settlement is home to the descendants of the island’s original inhabitants, The Caribs. Here you can learn about their traditional way of life, Witness traditional dances and rituals, And even purchase handmade crafts like pottery or woven baskets.

Arima also offers a range of modern amenities including shopping malls, Restaurants serving both local delicacies and international cuisine, As well as vibrant nightlife with bars and clubs hosting live music performances featuring genres such as calypso or soca. Arima is a captivating destination that beautifully encapsulates Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural diversity while providing opportunities for exploration of its natural wonders. Whether it be immersing oneself in the vibrant market scene or venturing into lush rainforests for bird-watching adventures Arima offers an enriching experience that combines history with contemporary urban living.



Important Landmarks

  1. Asa Wright Nature Centre: A renowned birdwatching and nature center with lush rainforest trails, known for its diverse bird species.
  2. Santa Rosa Carib Community: A traditional indigenous village that offers cultural tours, showcasing the history and traditions of the Carib people.
  3. Arima Dial: The central clock tower located in Arima’s town square, serving as a symbol of the city’s heritage.
  4. Cleaver Woods Recreation Park: A family-friendly park with picnic areas, hiking trails, a mini-zoo, playgrounds, and beautiful scenery.
  5. Mount St. Benedict Monastery: Located just outside of Arima, this historic Benedictine monastery offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  6. La Vega Estate: An agricultural estate that features a farmers’ market selling fresh produce and local crafts, as well as a restaurant serving traditional Trinidadian cuisine.
  7. Paria Springs Eco-Community: Known for its sustainable practices and eco-friendly initiatives, this community offers guided tours through their organic gardens and permaculture projects.
  8. Hollis Reservoir & Dam: A picturesque reservoir surrounded by lush vegetation where visitors can enjoy fishing or simply relax by the water’s edge.
  9. Santa Rosa Race Track: If you’re interested in horse racing or want to experience an exciting event during your visit to Arima, this race track is worth checking out.
  10. Arima Velodrome: Known as one of Trinidad’s premier cycling facilities, it has hosted many national events including Pan American Games 1987.

Primary Industries

  1. Manufacturing: Arima has a significant manufacturing sector, with companies involved in food processing, beverage production, textiles, and printing.
  2. Retail: The town boasts a thriving retail industry with numerous shops, boutiques, supermarkets, and shopping centers catering to both local residents and tourists.
  3. Agriculture: Arima is surrounded by fertile agricultural lands where various crops are cultivated such as cocoa, coffee, citrus fruits (oranges), vegetables (tomatoes), root crops (yams), poultry farming, and livestock rearing.
  4. Construction: The construction industry plays a vital role in Arima’s economy due to ongoing infrastructure development projects including residential buildings, commercial complexes as well as road networks.
  5. Tourism: While not as prominent as some other areas of Trinidad and Tobago like Port of Spain or Tobago’s tourist hotspots; Arima attracts visitors due to its historical sites like the Santa Rosa Carib Community Center & Museum or the Asa Wright Nature Centre which offers birdwatching tours.
  6. Financial Services: There are several banks operating branches within Arima providing financial services such as banking products for individuals and businesses alike.
  7. Education: With numerous primary schools and secondary schools located within the town limits along with tertiary institutions like University College of Caribbean (UCC) – Eastern Campus; education is also an important sector contributing to employment opportunities in Arima.
  8. Healthcare Services: The healthcare industry has a significant presence through medical clinics/hospitals offering primary care services along with specialist medical practitioners serving the community’s healthcare needs.
  9. Transportation & Logistics Services: Given its strategic location near major highways connecting different parts of Trinidad island, there are transportation companies providing logistics services including trucking/freight forwarding/warehousing facilities etc., supporting the movement of goods and services.

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other smaller industries and businesses operating in Arima as well.


Noteable History

  1. The Arrival of the Amerindians: Arima has a rich indigenous history, with the arrival of the Amerindian peoples to Trinidad dating back thousands of years. They inhabited the area long before European colonization.
  2. Spanish Settlement: In 1757, Spanish colonizers established a Catholic mission in Arima called Mission San Francisco de los Arenales. This marked the beginning of Spanish settlement in the region.
  3. Cedula of Population: In 1783, King Charles III of Spain issued a decree known as Cedula of Population, which encouraged immigration to Trinidad by offering land grants to settlers from various European countries. This led to an influx of French planters and their African slaves into Arima.
  4. The Merikins: After Britain abolished slavery in its colonies in 1834, many former African slaves settled in Arima as free men and women. Among them were the Merikins – ex-slaves who had fought for Britain during the War of 1812 between Britain and America.
  5. The Santa Rosa Festival: One of Arima’s most significant cultural events is the annual Santa Rosa Festival held on August 30th each year since 1781. It celebrates Saint Rose de Lima, patroness saint not only for Arima but also for all Latin American countries.
  6. Dr Eric Williams: Although not born in Arima itself but nearby Port-of-Spain, Dr Eric Williams was a prominent political figure associated with both Trinidad and Tobago as well as with Caribbean nationalism overall. He served as Prime Minister from independence until his death in 1981 and is considered one of Trinidad’s founding fathers.
  7. Larry Gomes: Born in nearby Curepe but raised in Arima, Larry Gomes is a notable cricketer who represented both West Indies and Trinidad & Tobago. He was part of the West Indies team that won the first-ever Cricket World Cup in 1975.
  8. Darcus Howe: A prominent Trinidadian-born British writer, broadcaster, and civil rights campaigner, Darcus Howe was born in Arima. He played a significant role in the British Black Panther Movement and later became a well-known journalist and commentator.

These are just a few examples of historical events and notable people associated with Arima, Trinidad and Tobago. The region has a rich history with many more stories to explore.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Asa Wright Nature Centre: A must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, this center offers breathtaking views of the surrounding rainforest and a variety of bird species.
  2. Santa Rosa First Peoples Community: Learn about the indigenous heritage of Trinidad and Tobago at this community center, which showcases artifacts and provides insights into the history and culture of the First Peoples.
  3. Arima Dial: Located in Arima’s town square, this iconic clock tower is a historic landmark that represents the town’s rich history.
  4. Cleaver Woods Recreation Park: Enjoy a day amidst nature at this park, which features walking trails, picnic spots, and beautiful flora and fauna.
  5. Yerette Hummingbird Sanctuary: Discover an array of vibrant hummingbirds up close at this sanctuary while enjoying a guided tour by knowledgeable staff.
  6. The Heights of Guanapo Church: Situated on a hilltop overlooking Arima, this church offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside along with religious significance.
  7. San Raphael Roman Catholic Church: Explore one of Trinidad’s oldest churches known for its stunning architecture and religious importance to locals.
  8. The Royal Chartered Bank Building: Admire the colonial-style architecture while learning about its historical significance as one of Arima’s oldest buildings.
  9. National Museum & Art Gallery (Port-of-Spain): While not located in Arima itself, it is worth mentioning as it houses an extensive collection showcasing Trinidadian art, history, archaeology, and natural sciences just a short drive away from Arima in Port-of-Spain.
  10. Caroni Bird Sanctuary (nearby): Although not directly in Arima either but nearby in Caroni Swamp area; take a boat tour through mangroves to witness flocks of scarlet ibises returning to their roosting grounds during sunset—a truly mesmerizing experience!


Sports Teams

  1. Arima Football Club: Founded in 1954, the Arima Football Club has a rich history in Trinidad and Tobago’s football scene. They have competed in various divisions of the country’s football league system, including the TT Pro League. Although they haven’t won any major titles yet, they have consistently represented Arima with pride.
  2. Prisons FC: Based at Golden Grove Prison in Arouca (near Arima), Prisons FC is one of the most successful football clubs from the area. They have won several national championships and have produced talented players who went on to represent Trinidad and Tobago at international levels.
  3. Merry Boys Cricket Club: Established in 1922, Merry Boys Cricket Club is one of the oldest cricket clubs in Trinidad and Tobago. While not directly located within Arima itself, it is based nearby in Diego Martin but has attracted players from across the region over its long history. The club has achieved success at both regional and national levels.
  4. Cunupia FC: Although not strictly based solely within Arima but nearby Cunupia Village, Cunupia FC represents an emerging force within Trinidadian football circles. Founded relatively recently (in 2015), they quickly rose through various divisions to reach the TT Pro League by 2018-2019 season.

These are just a few examples of sports teams associated with or near Arima that have made an impact on their respective sporting disciplines over time.



Cultural Events

  1. Santa Rosa Festival: Held annually on August 30th, this festival celebrates the patron saint of the town, Santa Rosa de Lima. It includes a procession, music, dance performances, and traditional food.
  2. Divali Nagar: This is a week-long celebration of the Hindu festival of lights (Divali) held in late October or early November. It features cultural performances, religious ceremonies, food stalls, and lighting displays.
  3. Arima Borough Day: Celebrated on August 1st each year to commemorate the establishment of Arima as a borough in 1888. The event includes parades, live music performances, art exhibitions, sports competitions, and fireworks.
  4. Carifesta: As an international multicultural festival held every two years in different Caribbean countries including Trinidad and Tobago; it showcases various forms of Caribbean arts including music concerts, dance performances, theater shows, and visual arts exhibitions.
  5. Parang Festivals: Parang is a traditional folk music genre originating from Venezuela but widely celebrated in Trinidad during Christmas time (December). Various parang bands perform throughout the season at venues across Arima with lively singing and dancing accompanied by instruments such as guitars and maracas.
  6. Carnival celebrations: While not exclusive to Arima but celebrated nationwide during February or March each year; Trinidad’s carnival is one of the most famous festivals globally with vibrant costumes displays (Mas), calypso competitions (Calypso Monarch), steelpan contests (Panorama), street parties (J’ouvert) leading up to massive parades known as The Greatest Show on Earth.

These are just some examples of cultural events that take place in Arima throughout the year; there may be other local community events specific to certain neighborhoods or organizations within the town as well.


Cuisine

  1. Doubles – A popular street food made with two pieces of fried bread filled with curried chickpeas (channa) and topped with various chutneys.
  2. Roti – A traditional Indian dish consisting of a flatbread filled with curried meat or vegetables.
  3. Bake and Shark – A famous Trinidadian sandwich made with deep-fried shark meat served in a fried bread called bake and topped with various sauces.
  4. Pelau – A flavorful one-pot dish made with rice, meat (usually chicken), pigeon peas, vegetables, and spices.
  5. Calalloo – A leafy green vegetable stew often cooked with crab or salted meats like pigtail or beef.
  6. Blue Crab Restaurant & Grill – Known for its fresh seafood dishes including crab cakes, shrimp scampi, lobster thermidor, and grilled fish.
  7. Jumbo Foods Ltd – Offers a variety of local dishes such as roti wraps, curry chicken, oxtail stew, jerk chicken, and doubles.
  8. Tandoori Hut Indian Cuisine & Barbecue Grill – Serves authentic Indian dishes including tandoori kebabs, biryanis (spiced rice dishes), butter chicken curry, naan breads, and vegetarian options.
  9. Big M’s Restaurant & Bar – Offers a mix of local Caribbean cuisine including pelau rice bowls, fried fish platters served with provisions (root vegetables), jerk pork/chicken sandwiches, soups/stews like callaloo soup or cow heel soup.
  10. Chaud Creole Restaurant & Catering Services Ltd – Known for its fusion cuisine combining French culinary techniques with local flavors; offers dishes such as coconut shrimp bisque soup to start followed by main courses like Creole-style snapper fillet or braised oxtail ragout.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Heights of Guanapo: A popular hiking spot with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  2. Santa Rosa Park: A large park that hosts various events, including concerts, festivals, and sporting events.
  3. Asa Wright Nature Centre: A nature reserve with guided birdwatching tours and hiking trails.
  4. Cleaver Woods Recreation Park: Offers picnic areas, walking trails, a playground for children, and a small zoo with local animals.
  5. Hollis Reservoir: A reservoir where visitors can enjoy fishing or boating activities.
  6. Arima Velodrome: An outdoor cycling track that hosts local cycling races and events.
  7. La Vega Estate Recreational Park: Features a swimming pool, picnic areas, playgrounds for children, and walking trails surrounded by lush greenery.
  8. Trincity Millennium Lakes Golf Course: A golf course located in nearby Trincity that offers scenic views while playing golf.
  9. Mount St Benedict Monastery Grounds: Provides peaceful surroundings for walks or meditation with stunning views of the Northern Range mountains.
  10. Quare River Recreation Grounds: Offers open spaces for picnics or sports activities like football or cricket near the Quare River.

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