Couva is an urban town (45,362 in 2011 census) in west-central Trinidad, south of Port of Spain and Chaguanas and north of San Fernando and Point Fortin. It is the main urban and commercial centre of Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo, and the Greater Couva area includes the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and the Port of Point Lisas. It is one of the fastest growing towns in the country. Couva's southern boundary is at the village of California and Point Lisas, and to the north Couva stretches to McBean (both on the Trinidad Southern Main Road). To the east of Couva is Preysal. To the west of Couva is the road to Waterloo and Carli Bay, which are located on the Gulf of Paria. Couva is part of the Caroni County. Couva is considered a major power base for the United National Congress (UNC), whose headquarters are located here.
The first British map of Trinidad, made in 1797 after the island was surrendered by Spain, suggested the existence of a river in the area now known as Couva called "Rio de Cuba". Over time, perhaps due to the Spanish "B" having a sound similar to that of the letter "V" in English, the river became known as "Rio de Couva" which was eventually translated as "Couva River". British settlement of what is now referred to as Couva began a little to the north of the mouth of this river.
For many years, the village was little more than a clearing in a sugarcane field. The population was mainly indentured workers of Indian origin with a smaller number of former African slaves and numbered no more than a few hundred. This all changed with the arrival of the railway to Couva in 1880. By 1921, it had grown to a population of 2,667 but, in the decade leading up to 1931, this number fell to 1,895. During World War II, the Camden (Field) Auxiliary Air Base was established as an emergency airstrip. It included one paved runway with extensive taxiways and dispersed camouflaged parking bays for USAAC, USN and RN. It was defended by US Army infantry and AAA units.
Couva continued to grow in size with the national census recording a figure of 3,572 persons in 1980. Historically, the majority of its people have worked on the nearby sugar estates but due to its strategic locations many residents have found employment with the oil refinery at Pointe-a-Pierre, only 13 km (8 mi) away and at the Point Lisas industrial estate located west of the town centre.
Couva was profoundly affected by the closure of Caroni (1975) Ltd. in the early 2000s, particularly its residents who worked on the nearby sugar cane estates and the associated small and medium enterprises which supported this industry. Since this period the town has recovered through utilization of the now open sugar lands for new housing and business initiatives. Consequently, while the nearby town of Chaguanas has evolved and expanded significantly to become the de facto administrative and commercial capital of Central Trinidad, Couva's character has changed to become magnet for industrialization, commercial, sports, health, education, aviation and residential projects.
Flora and fauna
The climate of Couva is tropical, and temperature varies little between the wet and dry seasons.
|Couva, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Fees and permits
Monday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM, and Saturday and Saturday from 10AM to 4PM. You can only visit and see the grounds by appointment. Admission is $5, which includes a guided tour. Call 658-4200 to make a booking.