Trinidad measures 55 miles long by 40 miles
with an acreage of 1,754 sq. miles, while Tobago measures
26 by 7.5 miles, totally 116.25 sq. miles.
The island of Trinidad has three mountain
ranges; the Northern Range, the Central Range, and the Southern
Hills, all running in an east-west direction. The highest
point in the Northern Range, El Cerro del Aripo rises to over
3,000 feet, and is formed mostly of phyllite, quartzite, and
some limestone. It has a rather poor soil on the whole. Elfin
woodlands, rain forest and mountain forests characterize the
vegetation of this area.
These hilly ranges are interspersed by rich
alluvial plains such as the Caroni floodplains and belt of
The southern plains are home to more deciduous
type forest, and fringing our coast and draining our hills
are two main swamps. To the west is the brackish water Caroni
Swamp, to the east, the freshwater Nariva Swamp. The south-westerly
region drains into the Los Blanquizales Swamp.
Tobago, famous for its fringing reefs and
blue-green waters, has only one range running north-east to
south-west across the island, with its highest point (Pigeon
Peak) rising to over, 1,800 feet. The eastern end of the island
is fringed by several islets, including Little Tobago island,
home to the now extinct Greater Bird-of-Paradise. There is
a belt of rainforest on eastern Tobago, but the rest of the
island could be described as being dry, deciduous forest.
Xerophytic and scrub vegetation characterized some coastal
areas on the island. Rock type is predominately limestone.
Tobago boasts the oldest legally protected reserve in this
hemisphere -- the main ridge Pigeon Peak Reserve, established
The variety of habitats gives rise to the
quantum and diversity of species on the islands, and acts
as a gateway to the tropical ecology on the South American
The climate of Trinidad and Tobago is mainly
seasonal, with wet and dry seasons, each lasting about six
months annually. The dry season last from November to May,
with rain in the remaining months. The islands are swept by
north-east trade winds that dump over 140 inches of rain annually,
particularly in the most easterly regions. The more dry and
scrubby areas to the West receive an average of 40 inches