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The borough of Arima in Trinidad is one of those towns that has remained true to its tradition and heritage. Arima which name means water was founded back in 1757 by Capuchin friars who were there to try to convert the people into Christianity. Back then the people comprised of Amerindians and they were soon joined by French settlers.
When the French settlers arrived the governor Jose Maria Chacon had ordered the Amerindians to move to other neighbouring towns. This move was pre-empted when the English Governor ordered the French settlers to leave instead when the United Kingdom took over the ruling in Trinidad. Following this, Arima received municipal status from Queen Victoria back in 1888. Today, Arimas humble beginnings are still being appreciated and celebrated. And it goes without saying that the richest historical part of the island is Trinidad is found in Arima.
There are a lot of historical nuggets you can pick up while you are here as there are many historical places to explore that would fascinate you. The weather in Arima is usually sunny and humid so you are advised to wear loose comfortable clothing and of course take along your sunscreen and a bottle of iced water wherever you may go.
Depending on when you travel there, you may encounter the rainy season which is a welcome change as it serves to cool the atmosphere. As you begin your tour to Arima, visit the Asa Wright Nature Centre located in Arima Valley. Here visitors are able to soak in all the beauty as they can take a nature walk or go for a swim at the freshwater pond.
This centre is also the perfect place for watching over 150 species of birds that also live here.
Arima was also the home of the Carib people and one can meet with and get more knowledge of this tribe from its descendants at the Santa Rosa Nature Centre. Besides the history lesson that you would get here, there are also indigenous items for sale as well. Clever Woods is another natural wonder here and it gives you the opportunity to enjoy nature walks and view Amerindian exhibits. If you ever wanted to experience how the Amerindians lived, then Clever Woods gives that experience as there are thatched huts that the Amerindians lived in which have been duplicated here making it one of the more popular places to visit.
The Arima Dial the towns little Big Ben and is one of the more noted landmarks in Arima. This clock has been the meeting place for many and if you ever get lost, people would always give you directions from the Dial.
Of course a visit to Arima would not be complete without visiting the Santa Rosa Catholic Church which was built in the 18th century. One of the popular features at this Church is the statue of the Virgin Mary which was said to have cried tears of blood within the last century. And although no one knows if it was divine intervention or just a hoax, Christians still travel far and wide with hopes of catching a glimpse of this phenomenon should it be repeated again.
If you are planning to spend holidays in Arima then prepare yourself for going several days and nights without sleep. For, this is a town that pays homage to its ancestors by hosting several cultural activities among other things. Arrive in Arima and stay at one of the accommodation facilities here.
You would find that there are many hotels here as well as guest houses, the latter which are privately owned properties that are rented out by residents. The holiday homes in particular are self-contained and offer all that you need to make your stay enjoyable. Arima does not have its own beach but you can travel some 15 to 20 minutes away to the pristine and popular beaches such as Maracas Bay Beach in the north or Blanchisseuse.
These beaches are ideal for water sports such as surfing, windsurfing and diving as well among others. Maracas Bay is the beach that most visit to cool down from the hot weather and because of its popularity it can get very overcrowded. However, no one seem to care about how overcrowded it is when they get there; the whiff of the authentic Trinidadian dishes coming from the food sheds there are enough to distract you.
In Arima your shopping experience begins downtown where you would find several stores that are situated closely together. Here you can purchase everything from clothing to high-quality gold and silver jewelry as well as souvenir items. While you are here you should make it a must to visit the Arima market where it is always lively and the people are friendly. As you walk in you are overwhelmed by the smell of fresh fruits that run the gamut of oranges to mangoes as it competes with the aroma of fresh seasoning and hot peppers among other things.
Vendors here use terms of endearment and of course bargains to lure you away from their competitors but they are all done in a friendly fashion. And speaking of competition Arima offers the finest in horse-racing competition at the Santa Rosa race-track. This is another activity that you would truly enjoy as seeing the horses compete can truly get your adrenalin pumping. Other entertainment here includes the Maypole activities where you can see the school children plait ribbons around a pole.
The Spanish heritage is very strong in Arima and so is its Parang culture as well. During the months of October to December one can travel to Arima to listen to groups compete in singing this Spanish music which uses traditional instruments such as a box bass, maracas and cuatro, the latter is a small guitar.
Arima has many restaurants which serve both local and international cuisines and of course there are also many fast-food outlets where you can get everything from pizza to Kentucky Fried Chicken. There are several bars and clubs around as well where you can party until the wee hours of the morning. No matter time you leave your party spot, you are always guaranteed to get transportation back to your hotel or holiday home.