A Legendary Journey: Trinidad

Our boat bounces through the magically named Dragon's Mouths off the northwest coast of Trinidad. A group of us are heading "down the islands" as we Trinis say, touring five that most visitors have never heard of: Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande and Gasparillo; they are about a 15-minute boat ride away from the mainland.

Highlights are a stop on Gaspar Grande where I bathe in cold, clear cave pools, a host of stalagmites standing lifeguard duty. Then we skirt Chacachacare, which has a sad past as a place where Hansen's disease (leprosy) victims were once sent.

On the island we head to its black-sand beach, La Tinta, for a swim and picnic amid these whispers of the past. Back on the mainland, we stop at my favorite: Scotland Bay, a tiny, shallow inlet accessible only by boat.

Here, after a full day relishing nature, sun and sand, I relax and savor the sweetness of my childhood island of Trinidad.