Toco is situated on the north-eastern tip of Trinidad and is therefore the closest point to the sister isle of Tobago. A string of 14 villages is collectively referred to as the 'Toco Region' or the 'Matura to Matelot Region'. At one point this area was largely self-sufficient and known for thriving agricultural and fishing industries. At present, it is one of the poorest regions of the country and stands to reap major benefits from an ecotourism drive.
The Toco region is quite remote when compared to other parts of the country. As such, it has been somewhat shielded from development and is regarded as one of the few places in the Caribbean where the natural biological diversity has been preserved. In fact the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has recently taken the decision to designate a large part of the area as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).
An abundance of scenic bays, beaches and reefs make it a prime location for tourists who wish to get away from busier coastal areas. Perhaps the greatest draw of this region though is the Leatherback turtles which visit its shores to lay their eggs each year.
The Trust, in conjunction with the Matura to Matelot (M2M) Network, recognizes the potential for sustainable development of this area. The following key objectives have been identified:
- Creation of sustainable jobs for community members.
- Protection of visiting sea turtles, and the environment as a whole.
- Promotion of local cultural heritage.
- Provision of a safe and relaxing haven for both foreign and local tourists.