El Cerro Del Aripo or sometimes called Mt. Aripo or Aripo Mountain is a 3,084 feet (940 meters) giant. This is the highest point in the twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago.
It is one of the two mountains on Trinidad’s Northern Range that reaches at least 3,000 feet. The other is El Tucuche. Mt. Aripo is covered in tropical rainforest and montane forest with elfin woodland at its summit. This bio diverse forest holds life to a variety of birds such as the Brown Violeter or Hepatic, Blue-crowned and the Swallow Tanagers and if luck permits you may even see the Ocelot (a wild cat). Before one can grace the summit of the mountain, the trail is rugged with steep continuous slopes that sometimes seem never ending. This route is called devil ladder because the journey is very difficult to go up. Once you reach the top you are offered great panoramic views for miles. This hike is only recommended for the fit hiker.
Q & A ABOUT El Cerro Del Aripo
The cloud forest or elfin woodland is a stunted forest at the highest level of the mountain. As the name implies, this region almost always is covered in clouds, mist and haze. It’s nickname of elfin woodland shows that early European naturalists who explored the high altitudes of the Caribbean had a sense of imagination and wonder. To them, the combination of twisted and stunted vegetation, moss, dense foggy atmosphere, clouds and the eternal eastern trade winds must have seemed a sinister, mysterious place…just the kind that the elves of German literature were said to inhabit. In the high cloud forest, trees grow thicker and further apart than at lower levels. Due to the harsh conditions of cold and wind, they also grow much more slowly than in the lower rain forest. Whereas the canopy of the lower rain forests may reach well over 100 feet, elfin forest trees rarely stretch above 15 to 20 feet. Only about 40 species of trees and shrubs have adapted to the harsh weather and high humidity at the mountain’s highest points, a far lower diversity compared to the hundreds of species found in the lowland rain forest.
Rating: Challenging (7)
Duration: 2 ½ hrs one way