A 45-minute drive from Port of Spain, Maracas Bay, is more than just a beach, it's an institution, and on Sundays, it is the place to see and be seen. On weekdays it's much quieter – the sand is almost empty and the extensive facilities look a bit out of place.
Scenically overlooked by jungle-smothered mountains, the generous 1850-metre curve of fine off-white sand is fringed with groves of palm trees and bordered to the west by the Maracas Bay fishing village, and to the east by Uncle Sam's bar – pumping out reggae and soca at weekends. Swimming out to sea, you'll get a sublime view of the beach and the cloud-tipped peaks of the Northern Range. The water is usually clear but the tides and undercurrents are often dangerously strong; stick to the areas between red and yellow flags and listen to the lifeguards (daily 10am–6pm). The extensive facilities include numerous tasty bake and shark vendors (Richard's and Natalie's are the best), a huge car park (TT$10; you'll get a ticket if you park anywhere else at weekends) and changing facilities (daily 10am–6pm; TT$1).