Cumaca Oilbird Cave
Your journey starts on the fringes of the remote village of Cumaca. Its Oilbird cave is one of Trinidad & Tobago's natural treasures. This one has fun, education and eeriness, rolled into one!
The Cumaca Oilbird Cave is quite a large cave system. It is tucked away in the eastern part of Trinidad's Northern Range, in the remote village of Cumaca. It is truly a naturalists paradise!
To get to our start point for this expedition, you embark on an 8 km/5 mi 'jeep road' drive, a short distance after the Valencia junction and into the village of Cumaca. For this leg you can enjoy superb views of Northern Range Valleys and the Central Plains.
From our drop off point, the trek to the caves takes about 1.5 HRS. The trail terrain is quite easy to navigate; it passes through abandoned cocoa estates, some old concrete crossings and a dilapidated abandoned house.
Venturing inside the cave is optional and can prove to be eerie for some. This segment requires a (red light) headlamp, getting wet and traversing through soft silt. This silt has a large concentration of bat guano. Inside the caves, you will have close encounters with the only flying nocturnal fruit eating birds in the world, the Oilbird. Dubbed the Guácharo by early Spanish settlers, these unique birds forage at night and navigate by echo-location (much like bats). This navigation medium is a high-pitched clicking sound and is audible to humans.
This cave system is home to the largest colony in Trinidad and they nest on the walls of each side in their hundreds. Inside the caves you would also be able to observe bats, mice and the semi-blind catfish.
The cave itself is approximately 200m/650ft long and flowing through it is the start of the Oropuche River. It emerges from an underground source in the vicinity of Aripo.
One the return leg of this expedition, there is the option of diverting off the main path and continuing along the river to see the sulphur springs. If not, just stay on course and enjoy a refreshing river bath at the end.
* The Oilbird gets its name as this species has a high concentration of oil in its flesh. This is due to their
diet which comprises select forest fruit/seeds rich in oil.
* Native Amerindians and early Spanish settlers used oil extracted from Oilbird chicks for lamp and torch
* In 1964, two divers from the British Sub Aqua Club lost their lives while exploring the depths of the caves
using SCUBA; only one body was recovered.
Cumaca, Trinidad and Tobago
Shorts/sport leggings(dry fit)
Sport top (dry fit)
Nutrition & water for 4.5 HRS
Suggested daypack items:
Red headlight/flashlight (10 TTD rental fee)
Headlight/flashlight (10TTD rental fee)
Waterproof phone case/bag
Back pack with water reservoir (15 TTD rental fee)
Gloves (5 TTD rental fee)
Estimated total distance:
Map of Route
Elevation Profile of Route
Estimated total elevation: