Nestled in the sublime forests of Talparo Trinidad, lies a dreamy escape from reality known as Hacienda Jacana. Only an hour’s drive from Port-of-Spain; you can find the most perfect combination of comfortable lodging, scrumptious food, breathtaking nature at its best, hospitable people and the rest is left up to your imagination.
Somewhat off the beaten path is a secluded utopia that few know about. It’s an adventure worth exploring since once you leave your comfort zone, you’d experience a (local) paradise that parallels those seen on The Travel Channel.
Forget the wildly popular phone app – ‘Waze’ and GPS; because once you’ve booked your trip, you are provided with flawless directions. Buckle up and grab an old fashioned map as part of the adventure and learning!
“Once you’ve reached San Raphael RC Church, you can’t get lost” the directions read. A few more roads and corners later, I was led to a little trace and ‘went brave’ just as instructed and drove until there were no more houses.
The little white arrow that pointed to Hacienda Jacanda was akin to following a treasure hunt and my excitement grew as I entered the gates and was granted access inside for the next couple days. We were directed to our cabin and the real adventure began as we got a tour of the estate.
Sitting on 22 acres of land, Hacienda Jacana consists of four wooden cottages outfitted with Greenheart wood imported from Guyana. The cabins are each named after birds: Gallinule, Lapwing, Nightjar and Wood Rail. The name was derived from the Spanish influence and a Caribbean feel reflecting the tastes of the owners. The name Hacienda translates to ‘a large estate or plantation with a dwelling house’ and Jacana is the name of a bird found on the estate.
After considering several sketches and designs for years, the owner finally decided on a rustic appeal that is both charming and homely complementing the outdoor environment. Keeping it local, the décor is adorned with fresh flowers from the garden and mounted colour photography by Gregory Scott which were carefully selected by the owner.
Each cottage is equipped with a fully functional kitchen, two air conditioned bedrooms, bathroom, dining and living rooms and a porch overlooking the most magnificent view of the lake that seems to stretch as far as the eye could see! As you take in the view from the porch, it is easy to get mesmerized as you watch the reflection of light on the water and the various species of birds that hop to and fro on the lily pads way down below.
The most spectacular sight of nature to witness, were the various coloured hummingbirds that came up to the feeders that hung right above my head. I was amused by the fight that ensued with this one particular green hummingbird that marked his territory chasing all the other hummingbirds away!
Constructed in 2010, the cottages are available for vacations, church, staff or writer’s retreats, plant, bird and even bat conservationists or anyone in need of quiet time to relax and unwind from the stresses of daily life. They can safely accommodate 25 persons for a one-day event.
During the day; guests can enjoy a stroll around the grounds, canoeing in the lake or fishing where you can catch big guabins, tilapia and pacu. For the less adventurous, the pool is available for you to relax. There are also tours available for foreign visitors who are so inclined to visit. These include the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Wild Fowl Trust, Nariva or Caroni swamps, Tamana caves or Waterloo mudflats.
I got a welcome geography, agricultural and history lesson all rolled into one as we walked around the estate. There were some fruits that I did not know except what I was told about by my father as a child such as shaddock and Tamarind des Indies (Chinese tamarind). More familiar ones include caimite, pomerac, tangerine, sapodilla, five finger, chataigne, breadfruit, hog plum, barbadine, citrus and more.
Many animals can be seen on the estate including: chickens, agouti, caiman, manicou, mongoose, morocoy, iguanas, squirrels, fish, birds like the famous Jacana and several species of hawks. There are two donkeys, one of which was made famous since making its way onto the cover of a book sold on Amazon. Other occasional visitors guests seldom get to see are deer, ocelot, otter and tattoo. Interesting to behold are a wide and unique variety of butterflies.
At night, guests can relax on the porch, watch Direct TV or fall asleep to the sounds of nature. If you’re lucky to visit when there is a full moon, you are in for a special treat as you get a front row seat to the magnificent view.
For those interested in booking a romantic getaway, family get-together, or just a quiet escape to study, write or complete business projects, the quietest periods are from August to October, while the peak season is January to the end of May.
There were so many favourites during this wonderful escape from reality to a utopia that seemed almost like a fantasy. But if I had to choose only one; the food brought to our door was like a dream I didn’t want to wake up from. I feasted my palate on mashed yams, veggies, baked lamb, salad, soup, pineapple chicken, scalloped potatoes, sweet corn and THE most delicious dessert I’ve tasted in a long time!
Hacienda’s refreshingly humble and down to earth owner says that his legacy for the estate is to be a hallmark of excellence:
All photo credit attributed to Carolyn K. Correia (c) 2015
HIC OMEGA CONSULTING Copyright 2015.
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