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Tour of Pitch Lake (La Brea)

Scheduled Date: Thursday 21st August, 2014

The Pitch Lake located in La Brea in South West Trinidad is the world largest natural deposit of emulsified asphalt.The lake is approximately 100 acres at it’s surface and 250 feet deep and was formed when rising oil combined with clay and water to create pitch or tar.What is fascinating about the lake is if you were to dig a forty foot hole it would replenish itself  within a few days .There is enough pitch to last  400 years and evidence of it’s veins spread through out the village and roads of La Brea.

The history of the Pitch Lake goes back to 1595 when Sir Walter Raleigh visited Tierra De La Brea and used the pitch to caulk his ships .The Amerindians named the black substance (piche) and they believed the lake was formed when the gods buried a tribe for eating the sacred humming bird that possessed the souls of their ancestors.The lake was a reminder for the retribution of their evil ways and local villagers believe this legend to be true since many Amerindian artifacts has been found along with the fossil of a pre-historic sloth.

The mining of the pitch started in 1867 and  Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago (1978) Ltd mines and process the raw pitch into pellets,making it suitable for export to China,Germany,USA,Brazil and England to be fed into hot mix plants to be later refined and manufactured into high grade products for the paving of roads and roofs. The Pitch Lake is one of three natural asphalt lakes in the world the other being in California and Venezuela and is the only one commercially viable.The pitch lake apart from providing employment for villagers attracts thousands of visitors each year.

In the dry season the heat of the sun causes the lake to be an inferno while in the rainy season one can bathe in the various pools and cracks that has accumulated rain water some as high as ten feet .It is believed that the sulphur mineral waters is a good remedy for skin diseases and has miraculous healing powers for arthritis, pimples, infections and rashes. A variety of plants, waterlilies and microbial life flourish in the mineral waters of the lake. There is a newly establish Tourism Development Company (TDC) Museum exhibiting artifacts ,historical data,labour movement and strikes in the oil belt between 1917-1937 featuring oil  legends Uriah Butler and A A Cipriani.

La Brea - Pitch Lake



Mario Russell
c/o Island Hikers,
#152 Frederick Street,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago/

Phone: (868) 749-2956,

email :islandhikers

Marcia 490-2421,Michael 719-3368,

Jamal 761-1889,Robin 681-1389,

Camille 620-314, Michelle 726-5195,

,Petronilla 342-1072, Pooran 764-2041

Dennis 678-2768, Adrian 349-9316,

Bob 685-5355, Pedro 346-3460

Ian 682-6177,  Danny 372-7798