and Tobago are the last links in the Lesser Antilles
island chain before it bumps into South America. The
southern tip of Trinidad sits just 7 mi/11 km from the
coast of Venezuela. The northern third of Trinidad contains
mountains known as the Northern Range, which include
the island's highest peak, Cerro del Aripo (3,085 ft/941
m). The center and south of the island are relatively
flat, consisting of fertile plains that give way to
mangrove swamps and beaches at the coast. Tobago, 21
mi/32 km northeast of Trinidad and considerably smaller
in size, is dominated by rain-forested hills in the
center of the island, with sandy beaches and lush jungles
forming its perimeter.
Trinidad is alluring, but it's not just another carbon-copy
paradise. Culturally diverse, the island is a melting
pot of people of more than 40 nationalities and ethnic
groups, the largest of which are of East Indian and
African descent (each accounting for about 40% of the
population). The medley is reflected in everything from
food, design and language to music, dance and humor.
At Carnival time, Trinidad throws the grandest, wildest
party in the Caribbean. Divali, the Hindu festival of
lights, draws big crowds, too.
The islands' capital, Port of Spain is a bustling metropolitan
hub of approximately 300,000 people. It only holds a
small percentage of the country’s array of diverse tourist
attractions. The city’s attractions include a mix of
19th and 20th century architecture, shopping, botanical
gardens, fine dining and indigenous restaurants and
The pulse of the city is the Brian Lara Promenade, named
after the country’s premiere Cricketing hero. The promenade
is flanked by Independence Square - not really a square
at all, but rather two long streets bordering a it.
At Independence Square you can pick up a taxi, find
travel agents, banks and cheap eats.
A relatively small island with no large urban center,
Tobago can be enjoyed at a slower pace than its bigger
neighbor to the southwest. While Trinidad is high energy,
Tobago is tranquil - a temptress with idyllic white-sand
beaches, shallow offshore reefs and mountain jungles.
It's the Caribbean of yesteryear, where a question about
a restaurant's hours is likely to be met with: "We
open any time for you, sweetheart. You come, we take
care of you."
The airport town of Crown Point is in the middle of
Tobago's main resort area. It's surrounded by palm-fringed,
white-sand beaches with good year-round swimming and
snorkeling. The attractive fishing villages of Speyside
and Charlotteville are interesting out-of-the-way destinations,
and the nearby uninhabited islets of Little Tobago,
Goat Island and St Giles Island are ecotourist destinations
with abundant birdlife.
Serving Trinidad & Tobago
TRAVEL: TRINIDAD-TOBAGO AIRBRIDGE
There is a regular air service, or air bridge, between
Trinidad and Tobago. This service is run by Caribbean
Airlines, Trinidad and Tobago's national air service
If you are travelling to Tobago via the air bridge it
is important to note that during peak periods (Easter
weekend, Plymouth Jazz Festival in April and Great Race
weekend in August) the service is often over subscribed
and it is possible to face long delays, even when holding
a confirmed ticket.
travellers and tourists must produce passports valid
for three months longer than the intended stay and a
return ticket, for entry into Trinidad and Tobago. For
tourism and business related visits of up to 90 days,
visas are not required for citizens of the United States,
Caricom (except Haiti), European Union and British Commonwealth
with the exception of the following countries:
* Czech Republic
* New Zealand
* Papua New Guinea
* South Africa
* Sri Lanka
from countries outside the United States and European
Union must hold a passport valid for six months past
their travel date, a return ticket and valid visa for
entry into Trinidad and Tobago. Applications for entry
visas must be submitted to a Trinidad and Tobago Mission
abroad or where there is no office, to a British Embassy
or Consulate in a non-Commonwealth country.
The buses serve main commuter routes and are differentiated
into two services the transit and express commuter services
(ECS). Schedules can be obtained from the Public Transport
ECS service is also available to points east of Port
of Spain and runs along a dedicated transit highway
Taxis and maxi-taxis (colour coded mini-buses) run on
fixed routes and generally operate from designated stands.
Fares range from TT$2 - TT$10 on average. Off route
transfers usually cost more.
Car rental agencies are located in Port of Spain, San
Fernando and at Piarco International Airport. International
rental agency presence at airport. All major credit
cards are accepted.
Visitors in possession of valid licenses issued in U.S.,
Canada, France, U.K., Germany and the Bahamas may drive
for up to three months. International licenses are also
accepted. Driving is on the left side of the road.
official language of Trinidad and Tobago is English,
but Spanish and to a lesser extent French patois, Hindi
and Chinese is spoken by some segments of the population.
As a rule, the day starts at 8am and ends at 4pm, from
Monday to Friday at most Government Departments and
private business. Shops open from 8 am to 5 pm from
Monday to Saturday - except for stores in malls, which
are open from 10am to 7pm.
Most malls and shops are closed on Sundays and Public
10% service charge, 10% Hotel Room Tax
Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge
to the bill. If it isn't included, tip 10%-15%.
The local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.
US dollars are widely accepted at an approximate rate
of TT $6 to US $1 and you can find rate information
at local banks, or the daily newspapers. Euro's and
the Pound Sterling (GBP) are not as widely accepted
as US dollars. Traveller's cheques and international
credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants
and malls. ATM machines are located at the airport,
banks, malls, cities and towns. Banks are open on Monday
to Thursday, 8am-2pm and Friday, 9am-12noon and 3-5pm.
Banks located in shopping plazas and malls are the exception
to this rule with business hours from 10am to 6pm.
Major shopping malls also either contain ABMs (Automated
Banking Machines) or full service branches and generally
keep later opening hours ranging from 0800 - 1800hrs.
The banking system features LINX, which enables client
access to accounts from any ABM regardless of agency
in the country. LINX can also be used to make purchases
at retail outlets throughout the country. ABMs can also
be used to access advance cash withdrawals for VISA,
MasterCard and VISA Plus clients.
Food and Dining
Trinidad & Tobago abounds with diverse culinary
delights due to the cosmopolitan nature if its people.
Some favorites include roti, doubles, shark and bake,
pelau and a host of other mouth watering dishes. But
fast food is for many people the way to go.
Tap water is usually drinkable, bottled water is available
115 volts/230 volts (+/- 6%); 60hz
Both islands offer top-notch nouvelle Creole, East Indian,
Chinese, French and other cuisines. Local dishes include
crab back (stuffed crab), curried crab, curried goat,
callaloo soup (subtly seasoned and made from the leaves
of dasheen, a spinachlike plant), roti (various items
- meat, shrimp, vegetables - enfolded in a soft, Indian-style
pancake), phuloorie (deep-fried balls of chickpea batter
served with hot mango sauce), kingfish, conch and dolphin
Trinidad and Tobago has some duty-free shopping. Among
the items for sale are French porcelain, doeskin gloves,
English china and crystal, and items from Asia. There's
also a wide variety of local handicrafts, such as coco-pod
earrings, dolls, carved-bamboo vases, copper goods,
colorful island clothing, rum, straw and leather goods,
and wood carvings. There is some fine local art as well.
There is a 15% value-added tax (VAT) on many products
and services, which is incorporated into the price of
items before purchase (i.e., price tags already include
the VAT). It is not possible to claim a refund on this
Tobago has multiple breaks within close proximity to
where you'll be staying. There is a right break that
ranges from waist high to double overhead and there's
almost always something to ride.
You can also hire a fisherman to take you out to offshore
reefs where an early session will deliver glassy lefts
and rights, and you can finish off the morning with
snorkeling or by pulling in a nice kingfisher. To the
south, you'll find a hollow right and to the north a
quick left. If you get tired of surfing great reef breaks,
depending on the swell, other opportunities exist for
several beach breaks to really turn on.
Excellent diving exists on Tobago from one end of the
island to the other. The northwestern coast is the most
protected and calm area and on the rough days diving
is done in the sheltered bays. Water conditions vary
greatly. During the rainy season (July through September)
the visibility of the water is affected (especially
at the surface) due to overflow from the Orinoco River
in Venezuela. At this time it is between 50-90ft. During
the winter months visibility can easily reach as much
as 125-150ft. Temperatures are very comfortable (78F
in the winter and 81F in summer), a dive skin or light
wet suit usually being sufficient.
Snorkel or SCUBA dive the pristine coral reefs and witness
colors you have never seen before. Equipment can be
rented, boat dives are available, and the fish are eager
You can play golf at Mount Irvine Bay Hotel's non-exclusive,
18 hole, championship course. This course has been host
to both Shell and Johnny Walker tournaments and is complete
with carts, caddies, a pro shop and a resident pro.
Fishing goes without saying in the Caribbean. The adjacent
bays: Buccoo, Mount Irvine, and Black Rock all have
fisherman that are willing to share there boat for the
day. If you want to go a little more first class, charters
are available as well.
The nightlife in Tobago is unique to the island and
there is plenty to see within walking distance of Mount
Irvine. Catch a steel pan competition in one of the
local panyards, jimbay drums thumping at the club down
the street, or dance soca, calypso, or rub-a-dub at
some of the local watering holes.
Because Trinidad and Tobago blend a number of different
cultures, a vital tradition of festivals exists on the
island, the most popular being Carnival, when the whole
island comes alive with joy and celebration as brightly
costumed revellers parade through the streets. Visitors
should note that accommodations are scarce during Carnival,
and it is best to book way in advance.
Additionally, the local festival of Hosay, the Hindu
festivals of Divali and Phagwa have become an intrinsic
part of the local culture. Secular events which celebrate
the local history and music, respectively, include the
Tobago Heritage Festival and the Parang Festival.
Bird Watching and Eco Tourism
For avid bird lovers, there are extensive tours to showcase
over 400 species in Trinidad and 210 in Tobago. The
species of birds include the Tufted Coquette, Toucan,
Yellow Headed Parrot, Red-billed Macaw, Osprey and of
course the Scarlet Ibis which is the national bird.
One of the most popular tours is the Asa Wright Nature
Centre near the Eastern Borough of Arima, which offers
the most accessible colony of oilbirds on their 200-acre
conservation in North Trinidad. The centre offers buffet-lunch,
2 hour guided tours and visitors are encouraged to bathe
in its waterfall and pool. The Point-A-Pierre Wild Fowl
Trust in South Trinidad offers daily tours around their
resource and learning centre, that protects endangered
There is the flora and fauna for the nature lovers who
enjoy ecological wonders, tropical flowers, magnificent
trees and rich plant life. In April and May the hills
are alive with the flamboyant pink and yellow colours
of the Poui tree. Both islands offer botanical gardens
that are free to the public and have accessible information
about the plant life, without the use of guides. There
are several trails to explore, with tour guides to take
you through the lush, green tropical forest.
Waterfall hikes are very popular. The Paria Waterfall
in Trinidad offers one of the most scenic hikes on the
northern coastline. Other options are the Maracas Falls,
Maracas; Salybia Waterfall, Arima and the Rincon Waterfall
in Las Cuevas. In Tobago there is the Argyle Waterfall
Jet skiing, horseback riding, and bicycle riding can
be arranged by your accommodation provider.
Attractions Found Throughout the Islands
Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad
This small resort, buried among mountains deep in the
Trinidad rain forest, is famous for its amazing diversity
in animal and plant species.
Maracas Bay, Trinidad
This popular beach spot fulfills the fantasy of the
ideal Caribbean beach, but is just as famous for the
scenic rainforest drive that must be made to reach it.
Fort King George, Scarborough, Tobago
This impressively-preserved fort was built in the 1780s
as a British colonial outpost.
Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad
The home of the scarlet ibis, Trinidad's national bird.
Pigeon Point, Tobago
A popular public beach in southern Tobago that is accessible
to nearby resorts.
Castara Bay, Tobago
Trinidad Dance Theater, Trinidad
A touring dance group, which doubles as a dance school
for novices interested in learning Trinidadian dance
such as calypso.
Pitch Lake, Trinidad
The oddest attraction in Trinidad is Pitch Lake, a 40ha
(99ac) continually replenishing lake of tar which is
the source of the world's single largest supply of natural
bitumen - however, as a sight it's reminiscent of a
huge parking lot.
Little Tobago, Northeast Coast, Tobago
A tiny island off the coast of Tyrrel's Bay, also known
as Bird of Paradise, that has been transformed into
a wildlife reserve popular among birdwatchers.
St. Giles Islands, Northeast Coast, Tobago
These tiny islands off the northern coast of Tobago
are an important breeding area for several bird species
and are also known for their spectacular underwater
scenery for divers.
La Brea Pitch Lake, Trinidad
This 100-acre lake releases asphalt from the depths
below and is the largest natural asphalt lake in the
Manzanilla Beach, Trinidad and Tobago
Emperor Valley Zoo, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Store Bay, Tobago
This popular southern Tobago beach is almost always
packed with tourists.
Arnos Vale Reef, Tobago
Stingray sightings are common at this shallow reef.
Piparo Mud Volcano, Trinidad
One of Trinidad's several mud volcanoes which usually
sit dormant, but occasionally spew mud hundreds of feet
into the air.
London Bridge, Tobago
This large rock has a hole right in the middle of it,
with half the passage above the water surface and the
other half submerged, making this site a thrilling dive
Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, Trinidad
Refuge containing two lakes, nature trails and a wide
variety of different birds.
Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Also called Independence Square, the recently refurbished
center of Port of Spain is popular place to relax, with
benches, street vendors and free concerts.
Argyle Falls, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This 600-foot waterfall, set against the background
of an old cocoa plantation, is a dramatic sight.
Mount St. Benedict Monastery, Trinidad
This peaceful community of monks, one of the oldest
in the Caribbean, has a guesthouse for visitors.
Paschimkashi Hindu Mandir, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Attraction type: Religious site
Black Jack Hole, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This reef, which reaches a depth of 120 feet, has a
large quantity of sponges and corals.
TDE Special, Tobago
A short knife-edge coral ridge covered in volcanic rock
is a popular underwater site, giving divers an excellent
chance of seeing a wide variety of sea life.
Tobago Forest Reserve, Tobago
Established in 1763 to combat European deforestation
of the island, this was the Western Hemisphere's first
The Shallows, Tobago
This underwater plateau is home to dolphins, turtles
and occasional sharks.
Flying Reef, Tobago
Divers at this site can often see rays and morays.
Mount Irvine Wall, Tobago
Night divers may bump into lobsters, eagle rays and
Tobago Historical Museum, Scarborough, Tobago
This museum contains many artifacts of the island's
history, both from centuries past and from modern times.
The Sisters, Northeast Coast, Tobago
Near the Brothers, these rock formations protrude from
the ocean near the coast of Tobago and are one of the
island's more popular diving sites.
Batteaux Reef, Northeast Coast, Tobago
A popular dive site near Speyside.
Angel Reef, Northeast Coast, Tobago
One of the many popular dive sites near Speyside.
Bookends, Northeast Coast, Tobago
A popular dive site near Speyside where tarpon frequently
Japanese Gardens, Northeast Coast, Tobago
A popular dive site near Speyside where sponges are
Sleeper, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This dive site is a rock formation where a turtle sighting
Flying Manta, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This dive site near Speyside is a popular place for
viewing manta rays.
John Rock, Northeast Coast, Tobago
Divers are likely to cross paths with a sea turtle at
this popular dive site near Speyside.
Kamikaze Cut, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This reef is one of Tobago's best dive sites and has
extremely diverse fish life.
Devil's Woodyard, Trinidad
One of Trinidad's most well-known mud volcanoes, Devil's
Woodyard erupts infrequently but dramatically.
The Market at the Normandie Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad
An interesting collection of small shops, including
bookstores, clothing stores and cafes, all specializing
in Caribbean goods.
Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad
This park features mansions from the Spanish colonial
era, interesting stores and street vendors.
Coral Gardens, Tobago
View these underwater gardens of coral either by glass-bottom
boat or up-close-and-personal during a dive.
Buccoo Reef, Tobago
This 10-acre coral reef and the tropical fish that inhabit
it have long been popular among tourists, but have suffered
in recent years from the many visitors.
Grafton Caledonia Wildlife Sanctuary, Tobago
Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve, Tobago
La Vega Garden Centre, Trinidad
Mayaro Bay, Trinidad
A quiet beach on Trinidad's southeastern coast.
Independence Square, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Also called Brian Lara Promenade, this crowded area
runs the width of the center of Port of Spain.
The Red House, Port of Spain, Trinidad
This building houses the Parliament of Trinidad and
Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Established in 1959 by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott,
this troupe stages popular dramatic performances.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah Memorial Mosque, Port of Spain,
Mount Irvine Bay, Tobago
A crowded southern Tobago beach that is popular with
Stonehaven Bay, Tobago
Wide, unspoiled beach is surrounded by many of the island's
Nariva Swamp, Trinidad
Several different species of birds inhabit this swamp,
one of the largest wetlands in the Caribbean.
Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Trinidad
Englishman's Bay, Tobago
A mysteriously uncrowded beach that is great for swimming
Arnos Vale Waterwheel and Nature Park, Tobago
A park established on the grounds of an old sugar plantation
to preserve Tobago's wildlife.
Pirate's Bay, Tobago
Although one of Tobago's more pristine and less crowded
beaches, Pirate's Bay has the rougher waters typical
of most northeastern beaches on the island.
Peter's Bay, Tobago
Although less crowded than beaches in southern Tobago,
this scenic beach features rougher waters, like most
northern beaches on the island.
Scarlet Ibis, Tobago
This 350-foot-long ferry was recently placed 100 feet
below the ocean's surface to form a new site for divers.
Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Tobago
This mountainous rainforest covers the length of the
island and is home to an incredible amount of biological
Lure Estate Waterfalls, Tobago
This tropical waterfall offers great swimming in the
pool that forms below the falls.
Bloody Bay, Tobago
Goat Island, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This tiny island off the coast of Tobago serves as a
wonderful diving site for viewing coral and beautiful
Keleston Drain, Northeast Coast, Tobago
A popular dive site on a coral reef flat off the northern
coast of Tobago.
The Brothers, Northeast Coast, Tobago
Near the Sisters, these rock formations protrude from
the ocean near the coast of Tobago and are one of the
island's more popular diving sites.
Manta City, Northeast Coast, Tobago
This reef derives its name from the frequency with which
Manta Rays can be found here.
Cathedral, Northeast Coast, Tobago
Located off the shore of Little Tobago, this reef has
a more abundant supply of coral and sponges than it
This mysterious, uninhabited island, once the site of
a colony of lepers run by a group of nuns, is only five
miles off the northwest coast of Trinidad.
Marine Bay, Trinidad
The quiet bay on the southwestern shore of Chacachacare.
Caroni Lagoon National Park, Trinidad
This new national park was recently commissioned to
help preserve Trinidad's wildlife.
Lalaja Falls, Trinidad
A small waterfall located on Trinidad's northeastern
Carib Brewery, Trinidad
With prior arrangements, visitors can receive a tour
of the facilities where several popular Caribbean beers
Tours are given of the facilities where this famous
drink is made.
Paria Falls, Trinidad
One of the island's more stunning waterfalls.
National Museum and Art Gallery, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Home to a large collection of works by Trinidad artists
and a number of exhibits on the cultural history of
Western Main Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad
This street is home to much of the trendy part of town,
including restaurants, bars and stores.
Maracas Falls, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Royal Botanical Gardens, Port of Spain, Trinidad