Ascend a mere 20 minutes into the hills of Paramin and you’ll find yourself at the rustic glass-walled cabin located on the La Vapeur Estate. Nestled amidst towering greenery; set against the backdrop of panoramic ocean views, the estate offers a unique escape unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in Trinidad & Tobago.
It’s #staycationgoals on steroids. And, during these unprecedented times, that have rendered me a beach-less beach-bum, a mas-less masquerader, and a trip-less traveler…this little jaunt into the jungle served as the perfect diversion after months of unanticipated stagnation.
Intentionally designed to blend in with the natural environment, the cabin’s floor to ceiling windows create nearly uninterrupted sight lines. Minimal but functional furnishings and fittings blend into the natural aesthetic. And large french doors open up onto the balcony, allowing for cool breeze and fresh air to flow freely throughout.
Book your trip to the cabin in Paramin
We booked the cabin through Airbnb at a very reasonable rate of US $80 a night. While we did have to make a request, the process was seamless and we received confirmation from the host, Gizelle, in less than 24 hrs.
The estate also has a website with a contact form but I recommend using Airbnb as I imagine turnaround time is a lot quicker.
Getting to the cabin in Paramin
The drive may not be long, but it certainly is not easy. Steep inclines, sharp turns and narrow thoroughfares make the trek up to level 4 of Paramin a tricky drive for those unfamiliar with the terrain, and near impossible for anyone without a 4-wheel drive.
Truth be told, we did see quite a few cars along the way, but I’d make an educated guess that they belong to residents, as opposed to visitors. That being said, I highly recommend hiring a driver. We paid TT $300 roundtrip and I can safely say it’s money well spent.
Driver’s contact info: Andre Calliste, 1 (868) 348-6286.
What to pack for the cabin in Paramin
Before your stay you’ll receive a lovely message from Gizelle, advising you on what’s available at the cabin, as well as what you should bring to maximise comfort.
She’ll make note of the fact that the cabin is about a minute walk from the roadway, however I’ll expand on that by pointing out the 1-minute walk is down a rugged path. I strongly advise wearing sneakers and avoiding roller suitcases because they made the trek to and from the cabin a lot more tedious.
Whatever luggage you use, here are a few items you should pack:
- Warm sleepwear, including socks (it gets nice and chilly at night)
- Active wear (in case you want to hike)
- Hoodie (it gets chill if it rains during the day)
- Bright clothing (if you’re looking for photo ops that pop)
- Laptop/tablet/phone (there’s electricity and strong wifi, embrace them)
- Toiletries (shampoo and shower gel are provided but not enough for 2 people for multiple days)
- Masks (for check-in, as well as any outdoor activities)
- Hand sanitiser (for any outdoor excursions)
NB: If you’re particular about your pillows, I’d also advise bringing one from home as that was literally my only complaint – the pillows were NOT ideal (or maybe I’m just a sleep-diva).
A couple things I thought I needed but actually didn’t:
- Towels and wash cloths are provided
- While there are other little bugs about, I did not have a single issue with mosquitoes the entire weekend so mosquito repellent wasn’t required
What to eat at the cabin in Paramin
The kitchenette is equipped with a mini refrigerator and a two-burner hot plate, while cutlery and crockery are in limited supply. I don’t know about you, but for me, limited tools mean meal prep should be kept to a minimum.
For meals I recommend the following to avoid too much hassle in the kitchen:
We were greeted with a complimentary welcome basket of fruit, mud-oven sweetbread, chips and water. Tea bags, coffee and sugar packets were also available. All lovely and convenient but if you’re like me and require a full breakfast, I recommend bringing the following provisions:
- Bread (we did pancakes but it was too much work and cleanup)
- Fruit (Bonus: there’s a guava tree at the top of the hill and a plum tree a little further down the road)
- Tea (they had a limited selection so I suggest walking with your own if you’re particular. Bonus: you get to drink it in an enamel cup!)
Lunch & Dinner
The more prepped food you can bring with you the better, but also keep in mind that the cabin only has a mini fridge so storage is limited. For lunch and dinner, we kept the menu simple with hotdogs and wings. We also supplemented with fruits and munch-able snacks throughout the day.
NB: The cabin is stocked with salt, pepper, oil and sugar packets so there’s no need to bring those.
What to do at the cabin in Paramin
Top of my list of things to do at the cabin in Paramin would be: Nothing. With those views, in that environment, I was perfectly content to sit and stare at the scenery for most of the day, with intermittent Netflix breaks to give me a laugh or two.
However, for those of you who want to be even more “at one with nature”…
Take a hike
The Saut D’eau hiking trail is just outside the entrance to the property. The trail is rumoured to be the most difficult in all of Trinidad & Tobago (which explains why I did not make the trek), with a 1 hour descent and 2 to 3 hour climb back up.
Other than that, your options beyond the confines of the cabin include:
- A stroll around the property (won’t take more than a few minutes but you get to enjoy great views from different angles)
- A walk to explore a bit of the village (just remember what walks down must walk back up)
- A tour of the lower levels of Paramin, where you’ll be able to visit the cave and experience more of village life (however it seems those tours are on pause due to the pandemic)
- A photo shoot (the space may be small but photo ops abound, and with little else to occupy your time, why not capture a few gorgeous snaps for posterity?)
It’s no secret that “beach” is my default vacation setting. If the dress code doesn’t include swimwear, you won’t find me there. However, this cabin experience at La Vapeur Estate has helped me redefine the word “retreat”.
I know now that I don’t need to wait for borders and beaches to open to feel alive again. Serenity and solitude can just as easily be found hundreds of feet above sea level, at a tiny cabin tucked away among the foliage of Paramin’s rolling hills.
That being said, if what you’ve just read sounds like your cup of tea as well, go ahead and book your stay today!
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