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Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2012


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Discover is a travel guide aimed both at international tourists and visitors planning a trip or vacation to the islands – whether for an eco adventure, business trip, or beach holiday – and at local Trinidadians and Tobagonians looking to know and explore more about their native islands.
Published every year since 1991, Discover Trinidad & Tobago is one of the most trusted guides to Trinidad & Tobago simply because it is produced by people who know this country and care about getting it right. Our experienced team of writers, editors and photographers come from varied backgrounds and perspectives: some born and raised in Tobago or Trinidad, others who have come from across the globe and fallen in love with these islands and people.

Discover can help anyone wishing to learn more about Trinidad and Tobago – whether out and about exploring and adventuring, or laying back and learning more about this rich twin-island nation. Our comprehensive coverage of Trinidad and Tobago – from arts and culture to eco adventures, accommodation to sports, planning flights and transportation and more – can help anyone plan anything from a day trip or weekend escape, to a full-on an adventure holiday or leisurely vacation. It might take a lifetime to truly experience all that the islands have to offer, but at least we can show you where to start.

Standards & Feedback

The country’s tourism authorities run an annual inspection programme called the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC), particularly for accommodation (hotels, gueshouses, and bed & breakfast establishments). A special logo is used to indicate approval. The most recent information can be found at the TDC (Tourism Development Company) tourism website. We publish these lists in our print magazine and on our website as soon as they become available. Advertising in Discover is open to anybody, but does not imply editorial endorsement or participation in the TTTIC programme; use of advertisers’ services is at your own discretion and risk.

Every effort has been made to ensure that factual information in Discover Trinidad & Tobago is correct when we publish it. But things change and develop swiftly, so we can make no guarantees about its ongoing accuracy. If you find any errors, omissions, new information you would like to bring to the editor’s attention, or any comments about Discover, we take feedback seriously and would be delighted to hea

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Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2012

  1. 1. ER - IS INT L T Trinidad & Tobago Inter-Island AN T& Ferry Service T RA ER - I S INT L T L SP A T& ND O N OR TATION C . LTD TR SP AN OR O TATION C . Quality ServiceFamily Vacation
  2. 2. Contents Get Ready! Go! Contents & Credits 1 Discover T&T Editor’s note 3 National Festivals 24Avocat Falls, Trinidad Eco Spotlight 31Production team Turtle Watching 31 Diving 32Editor: Caroline TaylorConsulting Editor: Jeremy Taylor Get Set! Business 34Design: Bridget van DongenDesign Assistant: Kevon Webster Investment Opportunities 35Photography: Ariann Thompson T&T in a Nutshell 6 Shopping 38(unless otherwise credited)Sales: Denise Chin, Jacqueline Smith Time Capsule 7 Sports 40Research Assistance: Hazel Mansing,Ariann Thompson National Heroes 8 Weddings 47Production: Joanne Mendes, National Identity 9Jacqueline SmithGeneral Manager: Halcyon Salazar Festival & Events Calendar 11Cover: a corbeaux (vulture) glides overthe Northern Range towards Port of Travel & Transport 16 Discover TobagoSpain; photo by Chris Anderson International Travel 16 Accommodation 48Printers: Printweb Caribbean Domestic Travel 17 Real Estate 55 Tips & Tricks 20 Food & Dining 56 Touring & Exploring 58 Sightseeing 58A publication of Media & EditorialProjects Ltd. (MEP) Eco Adventure 626 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Beaches 64Spain, Trinidad & TobagoT: (868) 622-3821 / 5813 / 6138 Arts & Entertainment 68F: (868) 628-0639E: info@discovertnt.comW: www.discovertnt.comAnd connect with us online on: Maps Discover Trinidad Trinidad 108 Accommodation Port of Spain 110 Real Estate 79 Northwest Peninsula 112 Food & Dining North & Northeast 113 Touring & Exploring 84 Central 114 Sightseeing San Fernando 116 Eco Adventure 88 South 118 Beaches 92© 2012 Media & Editorial Projects(MEP) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part Tobago 119 Arts & Entertainment 97of this publication may be reproduced inany form whatsoever without the prior Scarborough 120 Carnival 103written consent of the publisher. 1
  3. 3. Sunset over Pigeon Point Beach2
  4. 4. Edit or’sNot eEditor’s NoteWelcome! Using This Guide About DiscoverYou’ve made a wonderful The introductory section – Get Published since 1991, this isdecision to discover Trinidad Set! – gives you an overview of our 23rd edition of Discoverand Tobago! Tobago is perfect the history and lifestyle of the Trinidad & Tobago – the onlyfor restoration: lazing on country. In the section, we first local guide which debutspicture-perfect beaches showcase the opportunities each year at London’s Worldor an escape into nature – and experiences of both islands Travel Market. Discover’s alsowhether silently observing (“Discover Trinidad & Tobago”), the islands’ most sustainablythe island’s diverse wildlife, before exploring in depth what produced guide. Startingor pushing your body to the you can find in each island. In in 2009, we’ve focused ourlimit while mountain biking or the back, we’ve produced maps print publication on thewindsurfing! Trinidadians work to help you in your discoveries! most important informationhard and play hard: the island’s you need on the go whilean economic powerhouse employing web offset printingand in some ways the festival technology. That’s savedcapital of the Caribbean. But nearly 3.5 million pagesthen there are oases like of paper, and reduced ourGrande Rivière, where you carbon footprint. MEP, ourcan spend the weekend turtle publisher, also recycles paper,watching, kayaking and hiking e-waste, plastics, glass andin near perfect peace. aluminium as part of their commitment to corporate social responsibility.i Our Websites Make sure to visit our new website,, where we hope you will find everything you need to immerse yourselves in every aspect of T&T life and culture. Join us on Facebook as well – – to stay connected to all things T&T wherever in the world you are! Standards & Feedback The country’s tourism authorities run an annual inspection programme called the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC). A special logo is used to indicate approval. Current information can be found at Advertising in Discover is open to anybody, but that does not imply editorial endorsement, quality assurances, or participation in the TTTIC programme. We can assure you that every effort has been made to ensure that information is correct at press time. But things change swiftly, so we can make no guarantees about ongoing accuracy. If you have any suggestions or queries, we would welcome your feedback. 3
  5. 5. T&T in a NutshellAirports: ANR Robinson International (1,864 sq miles) or 105x80km (65x50 miles)Airport, Tobago (10km/7 miles from Time Zone: GMT -4, EST +1Scarborough); Piarco International Airport, Government: parliamentary democracy;Trinidad (27km/17 miles from Port of Spain) ruling party the People’s Partnership (PP)Capital: national capital, Port of Spain (pop comprising the United National Congress45,000; 270,000 metropolitan); Tobago (UNC), the Congress of the People (COP),capital, Scarborough (pop 17,000) the Tobago Organisation of the PeopleClimate: tropical. Dry season January–May, (TOP), the National Joint Action Committeewet June–December (islands just south of (NJAC) and the Movement for Socialhurricane belt). Temperature range 72–95°F Justice (MSJ) under Prime Minister Kamla(22–35°C); average 83°F (29°C) Persad-Bissessar; President George MaxwellHighest Point: Trinidad’s El Cerro del Richards; People’s National Movement mainAripo (940m/3,085ft); Tobago’s Main Ridge opposition(549m/1,860ft) Language: English (official)Location: 11°N, 61°W. Trinidad & Tobago Population: 1.2 million (July 2011, est, CIA):33km (21 miles) apart, 10km (7 miles) from 40% Indian, 37.5% African, 21.7% mixed.Venezuelan coast 50,000 (primarily African descent) in TobagoSize: Tobago 300km2 (116 sq miles) or Religion: Roman Catholic 26%, other48x16km (30x10 miles). Trinidad 4,828km2 Christian 31.6%, Hindu 22.5%, Muslim 5.8% i QRC (Queen’s Royal College)6
  6. 6. Time Capsule Time Capsule c 15,000–1,000 BC: islands Tobago quelled (limited franchise) part of South America; settled 1806: first Chinese workers 1931: Piarco International by Amerindians imported to Trinidad Airport opens 1498: Christopher Columbus 1807: slave trading abolished 1935–41: first steelpans lands in Trinidad on July 31, in British empire emerge in Laventille, Trinidad claims island for Spanish and 1808: great fire of Port of 1937: oilfield and labour names it after Catholic Holy Spain destroys much of the city strikes led in southern Trinidad Trinity 1814: Tobago ceded to British by Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler 1596: Tobago claimed by under Treaty of Paris 1940: Crown Point Airport British 1816: six companies of free opens in Tobago; national 1627–1650: Courlanders settle blacks from the United States airline British West Indies Tobago’s west coast near (mainly Baptist) settle in Airways (BWIA) commences Plymouth, and Dutch the east southern Trinidad, and one in operations 1699: Trinidad Amerindians Tobago 1941: Chaguaramas peninsula rebel against Capuchin 1834–8: slavery abolished: leased to United States for missionaries (Arena Uprising) slaves apprenticed (1834) then 99 years; American military 1757: Trinidad’s Spanish emancipated (1838) remain through World War II governor moves capital to Port 1834–1917: indentured labour 1945: public emergence of of Spain from St. Joseph imported to Trinidad from steelbands; universal suffrage 1768–9: first Tobago Assembly other islands, China, Portugal, 1951: repeal of ordinance established; Scarborough Syria, Lebanon, and India prohibiting activities of made island’s capital 1857: first oil well drilled in Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist 1776: oldest forest reserve Trinidad near Pitch Lake faith in western hemisphere 1858–84: Trinidad governor 1956: self-government designated in Tobago riminalises Carnival activities under Eric Williams’ People’s 1781: French seize Tobago, 1881: Canboulay Riots in National Movement (PNM) convert it to sugar colony Trinidad 1958: islands join short-lived 1783: Spanish governor 1884: Hosay Riots in Trinidad; Federation of West Indies Chacón’s Cedula de Población Tobago’s sugar industry 1960: Trinidad campus of entices Catholic white and free collapses University of the West Indies coloured settlers to Trinidad 1889–98: Tobago merged with (UWI) established with land incentives; rapid Trinidad; Tobago Assembly 1962: islands leave Federation, development begins disbanded gain independence from 1790: great fire of 1903: Water Riots in Port of Britain Scarborough destroys much of Spain; Red House burns down 1963: Hurricane Flora downtown; hurricane ravages 1908: commercial oil devastates Tobago island production begins in southern 1970: “Black Power” uprising 1797: Trinidad captured by Sir Trinidad in Trinidad Ralph Abercromby’s British 1914: first calypso recorded in 1974: Garfield Blackman (Ras fleet Trinidad Shorty I) releases first soca 1801: massive slave uprising in 1925: first national elections album 7
  7. 7. Time Capsule 1976: new republican constitution; president replaces British monarch as head of state Jamaat al Muslimeen; PNM regains power the following year 1995: coalition government economic boom 2008–9: Trinidad & Tobago host the 5th Summit of the Americas and the Commonwealth Heads 1980: Tobago House of between United National of Government Meeting Assembly restored; islands Congress (UNC), under Basdeo 2010: new five-party enjoy economic prosperity Panday, and the NAR unseats coalition People’s Partnership 1983: oil prices fall, crippling the PNM government ousts PNM at local economy 2002: PNM regains power general and local elections, 1986: National Alliance under Patrick Manning, ending with country’s first female for Reconstruction, under the hung parliament after the Prime Minister taking office; Tobagonian ANR Robinson, 2001 elections Caribbean Airlines completes HeroesNational Heroes unseats PNM 2007: Caribbean Airlines purchase of Air Jamaica; 1990: unsuccessful coup replaces BWIA as national country struggles with attempt by Afro-Islamist carrier; record oil prices fuel stagnating economy. i Some Stephen Ames: top 25 golfer Hasely Crawford: nation’s with four major PGA titles, first Olympic gold medallist, De Trini including historic victory over winning the men’s 100m all-star field with Tiger Woods (1976) Accent at the Players Championship Wendy Fitzwilliam: Miss (2006) Universe 1998 Ato Boldon: four-time Heather Headley: Trinidad- Last year, CNN listed Olympic medallist (2 silver, 2 born Tony Award- and Trinidad as having the bronze for 100m and 200m, Grammy-winning singer and 10th Sexiest Accent in 1996 and 2000), and 200m actress the World, saying: “For World Championship gold CLR James: prolific writer, fetishists of oddball medallist (1997) historian, cultural and political sexuality, the Caribbean Kelly-Ann Baptiste: figure, and leading voice in island of Trinidad offers sprinter who won the bronze Pan-Africanist movement an undulating, melodic medal in the 100m World Giselle La Ronde-West: Miss gumbo of pan-African, Championships 2011 World 1986 French, Spanish, Creole George Bovell III: nation’s Geoffrey Holder: Trinidad- and Hindi dialects that, first Olympic medallist in born, Tony Award-winning when adapted for swimming, winning Olympic (1975) theatre and film actor, English, is sex on a pogo bronze in the 200m individual dancer, painter, director, and stick...[a] rubber life raft medley (2004) designer. Best known on film bobbing on a sea of steel Janelle Penny Commissiong: for roles in Dr. Dolittle (1967) drums.” Miss Universe 1977 and Annie (1982) 8
  8. 8. National Identity Coat of arms: features national birds scarlet ibis (Trinidad), cocrico (Tobago) and hummingbird; three ships of Columbus and Trinity Hills’ “three sisters” peaks; fruited coconut palm native to Tobago; and national motto: “together we aspire, together we achieve” National anthem: “Forged from the love of liberty in the fires of hope and prayer, with boundless faith Wendy Fitzwilliam (Shirley Bahadur) in our destiny we solemnlyLennox Kilgour: Olympic the only artist to have seven declare: side by side webronze medallist in singles on the Billboard stand, islands of the blueweightlifting (1952) Hot 100 at the same time, Caribbean Sea. This, our nativeBrian Lara: multiple record- and the first female artist land, we pledge our lives toholding cricketer with two to be included on MTV’s thee. Here every creed andtest match score records (375 Annual Hottest MC List. Her race find an equal place, andruns not out in 1994 and 400 awards include: several BET may God bless our Nation.”not out in 2004); highest first Awards, a UK Asian Music (Patrick Castagne, 1962)class score (501 not out, also Award, a NARM Award forin 1994); all-time leading run Breakthrough Artist of thescorer in test cricket Year, Teen Choice Award,Josanne Lucas: Tobago-born and MTV Video Music Award,sprinter, and the island’s first among other nominationsfemale World Championship VS Naipaul: Trinidad-born,medallist (400m hurdles in knighted (1990) Nobel Prize2009) winner (Literature, 2000) National flag: red (fire, vitalityPeter Minshall: mas designer, Claude Noel: Roxborough of the sun); white (water,multiple winner of Band of native and nation’s first purity and power of thethe Year titles, winner of boxing World Champion, ocean); and black (earth, oneT&T’s first Emmy Award for lifting the WBA’s World people united on islands’ soil)costuming of the 2002 Winter Lightweight title in 1981 National flower: chaconiaOlympics opening ceremony Billy Ocean: born Leslie (“wild poinsettia” or “prideNicki Minaj: Trinidad-born, Charles in Trinidad, inter- of Trinidad and Tobago”), aUS-based Platinum Record- national pop star with hits like flaming red forest flower. iholding hip-hop star. She is “Caribbean Queen” (1984) 9
  9. 9. Heroes Jean Pierre: scored second World Champion the most goals in the Richard Thompson: 1979 World Netball double 2008 Olympic silver Championships to lead medallist (men’s 100m and T&T to victory, the first men’s 4x100m relay) country to host and win the Kwame Ture: born Stokely championships Carmichael in Trinidad, Renny Quow: Tobago-born former prime minister of sprinter, winning the island’s the Black Panthers, leader first medal (bronze) in the of the All-African People’s men’s 400m at the World Revolutionary Party Championships (2009) Rodney Wilkes: nation’s Ria Ramnarine: nation’s first Olympic medallist for first female World weightlifting (silver in 1948, Champion (2005), and WIBA bronze in 1952) Mini Flyweight title holder Dwight Yorke: Tobago- Talk de Talk (2009) Arthur NR Robinson: born football star and leading striker for UK teams former President of the like Manchester United Bacchanal: scandalous, republic, launched UN and Aston Villa. He was an social commotion, a General Assembly resolution integral part of Trinidad rowdy event for the establishment of the & Tobago’s heartbreaking Fête: party International Criminal Court World Cup campaign in Lime: hang out with Giselle Salandy: won her 1989, falling just one game friends first junior WBA and WBC short of qualification. Maco: to be nosy (or World Light Middleweight Seventeen years later, he someone who is nosy) titles in 2006, adding IWBF captained the national team Mas: Carnival, and WIBA titles by 2007. to an impressive debut masquerade Died tragically in 2009 at the 2006 World Cup in Wine: both a noun and Leslie “Tiger” Stewart: Germany, where the islands verb, describing sensual lifted the 1986 WBA Light made history as the smallest Trinbagonian dancing; Heavyweight belt; islands’ country ever to qualify. i ask for a demonstration!10
  10. 10. CalendarofCalendar of Events Event January s 1 (public holiday): New Year’s Day Carnival season begins Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Spring Garden, Plymouth and Mt. Pleasant Sailing season begins Tobago Carnival Caravan 23: Chinese New Year (year of the dragon) February Carnival countdown begins Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn and Bon Accord Tobago Carnival Caravan Carnival cooldowns Tobago Carnival Regatta (Tobago) 17: Soca Monarch finals (Trinidad) 18: Panorama finals (Trinidad) 19: Dimanche Gras (Trinidad) 20-21: Carnival Monday and Tuesday March Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Mt. St. George, Mason Hall, Roxborough, Bon Accord; Missionary Love Feast in Moriah on Palm Sunday Jazz Artists on the Greens (St. Augustine, Trinidad) Phagwa (Holi) Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament Trinidad & Tobago Golf Open Turtle nesting season begins 30 (public holiday): Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist Liberation Day commemorates the end of the colonial ban on the “Shouter” Baptist faith, a fusion of African and Christian traditions, with performances and religious observances Carnival (Keown Thomas) 11
  11. 11. April May June 6–9 (with public Maypole Festival (Tobago) 3 (public holiday): Corpus holidays): long Easter Beacon Cycling Series Christi celebrated by weekend features hot Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Catholics in honour of the cross buns, horse racing Whim, Delaford, Belle sacramental Eucharist at the Santa Rosa track in Garden and Mason Hall Ganga Dhaara River Festival: Arima (Trinidad), and goat La Divina Pastora (Siparia, honours the descent of and crab races in Tobago’s Trinidad) India’s sacred River Ganges Mt. Pleasant (Monday) and Rainbow Cup International (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad) Buccoo (Tuesday) Triathlon (Tobago) Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Jazz Artists on the Greens Bocas Lit Fest: The Trinidad Lambeau, Bloody Bay and (Pigeon Point, Tobago) & Tobago Literary Festival Roxborough Jazz on the Beach (Tobago) Red Earth Eco Arts Festival Junior Tobago Heritage Pan Jazz in de Yard (Trinidad) Festival Tobago Jazz Experience Trinidad & Tobago Fashion St. Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Harvest Festival (Tobago): Week Festival (Tobago) Goodwood 23–25: Trade & Investment WeBeat Festival (St. James, Pan in the 21st Century Convention (Trinidad) Trinidad) Point Fortin Borough Day 30 (public holiday): Indian 19 (public holiday): Labour (Trinidad): full week of Arrival Day Day, marked by trade union J’ouvert, mas, pan and marches and gatherings in parties Fyzabad (Trinidad)12
  12. 12. Event s Rainbow Cup Triathlon – Tobago July August Charlotteville Fisherman’s Fest (Tobago) 1 (public holiday): Emancipation Day Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Castara and Arima Borough Day: J’ouvert, steelpan, Black Rock calypso and parties marking the borough’s Jazz on the Hill (Trinidad) anniversary (Trinidad) Prime Minister’s Charity Golf Classic Best Village competition begins, runs (Tobago) through November Soca for Summer and other big Carib Great Race concerts featuring local and Castara Fisherman’s Fête (Tobago) international stars Harvest Festival (Tobago): Speyside South Caribbean Open Golf Muhtadi International Drumming Festival: Tournament (Tobago) started in Canada by Trinidad-born Steelpan Music Festival (Trinidad) Muhtadi Thomas, and highlights different Tobago Games cultures around the call of the drums Tobago Heritage Festival (Tobago) Tour & Explore T&T: displays, tours, and Osun River Festival: marked by Orisa live entertainment, hosted by the TDC devotees celebrating the goddess of love, Great Fête Weekend (Tobago) fertility and inland waters Santa Rosa Festival (Arima, Trinidad) 31 (public holiday): Independence Day 13
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  14. 14. Event sSeptember November TBD (public holiday): Eid-ul-Fitr TBD (public holiday): Divali International Open Water Swim Best Village competition finals Horse racing classics in Arima: Royal Oak Derby, Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Plymouth, Santa Rosa Oaks and Caribbean Champion Stakes Black Rock, Les Coteaux, Moriah, (Trinidad) Scarborough, Montgomery Panyard Sensations Pan is Beautiful Parang season: begins with competition at Scarborough Cup Golf Tournament month’s end, runs through December (Trinidad) (Tobago) San Fernando Jazz Festival (Trinidad) Tobago Christmas Caravan Tobago Fest: parties, street parade and J’ouvert Tobago International Gospel Festival Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival Turtle watching season ends 24 (public holiday): Republic Day DecemberOctober Assembly Day: Tobago House of Amerindian Heritage Day, where descendants Assembly celebrates and awards from around the region gather for a smoke Tobagonians’ achievements, along ceremony and street procession in Arima with exhibitions and a sports and (Trinidad) recreation day Blue Food Festival (Tobago) Paramin Parang Festival (Trinidad) Coast-2-Coast Adventure Race (Trinidad) Tobago Flying Colours: annual kite European Film Festival (Trinidad) flying festival in Plymouth Harvest Festival (Tobago): Patience Hill Hosay (Trinidad) National Tourism Week 25 (public holiday): Christmas Day Ramleela festival 26 (public holiday): Boxing Day, Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad) marked with horse racing and parties Taste T&T: the Trinidad & Tobago Culinary Festival Many dates are set just before the events are scheduled, and are always subject to change or cancellation. iLeft Divali celebrations are held annually in November and feature the lighting of oil-filled, clay deyas 15
  15. 15. Travel Transport Travel & &Transport Water taxi to San Fernando International Travel By Air Scheduled flights are operated by Aeropostal, American Airlines, Avior, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Continental, Copa, LIAT, Martin, Monarch, Surinam Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Others offer charter flights. By Sea Cruise Ships: the peak cruise ship season is November–April, with visits from Fred Olsen, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America, Ocean Village, Oceana, P&O, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Saga Travel, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Silversea, Thomson, and Windstar lines Yachts & Sail Boats: with its well-serviced marinas and boatyards, Chaguaramas, Trinidad is the hub of yachting activity, with strings of maintenance and repair yards and marinas. There are no official anchorage sites in Tobago, but Mt. Irvine Bay, Grafton Beach, Store Bay and Englishman’s Bay are popular locations. On the southeast coast, Anse Bateau is a good anchorage and fuelling point. 16
  16. 16. Travel Smart Entry Requirements Legal, registered taxis A passport valid for three months beyond intended stay have licence plates Non-residents require documentation of return or onward beginning with H and travel and a valid local address are unmetered. Confirm Visas are generally not required for visits up to 30 days the fare in advance, and For yacht arrivals, clearance certificate from last port of call for airport transfers and vessel’s registration certificate (or authorisation for check the approved use) required when checking in with Customs & Immigration rates on display at the at CrewsInn in Chaguaramas, Trinidad; or Scarborough or taxi stands. Charlotteville in Tobago.Domestic Air & Sea BridgesAirDaily flights between Trinidad and Tobago (20mins, TT$300 round trip) are operated by CaribbeanAirlines (625-7200, Cairbbean Airlines operates daily flights between Trinidad and Tobago (Giancarlo Lalsingh)Daily inter-island service between Port of Spainand Scarborough is operated by the Port Authorityof Trinidad & Tobago (, andintra-island service between Port of Spain and SanFernando is operated by National InfrastructureDevelopment Company ( Water Taxi (45 mins) to San Fernando: TT$15 one-way. Infants under the age of one travel free and senior citizens (65 and over) travel free on off-peak sailing times Warrior Spirit Ferry (5.5 hrs) to Tobago: TT$160 (cabin), TT$75 return (economy). Children 3–11 years half price; children under three and senior citizens (65 and over) travel free T&T Express and T&T Spirit Fast Ferries (2.5 hrs) to Tobago: TT$100 return. Children 3–11 years half price; children under three and senior citizens (65 and over) travel free. 17
  17. 17. Travel &Transport Ground Transport The Public Transportation Services Maxi Taxis Corporation (PTSC: operates scheduled bus services (TT$2–12) alongside privately operated, unscheduled maxi and route taxis (TT$2–15). These 12–25 seat minibuses operate similar set routes like route taxis, departing Airport Transfers downtown Port of Spain from City Gate; San Fernando from near King’s Wharf; and lower Scarborough opposite the port. Authorised taxis operate outside arrivals Bright colour bands indicate service areas: halls at Piarco and Crown Point airports. Black (San Fernando–Princes Town): Buses connections to Mayaro Blue (throughout Tobago) Brown (San Fernando–La Romaine– They operate from hubs in Port of Spain, Siparia–Point Fortin) Chaguanas, and King’s Wharf, San Fernando Green (Port of Spain–Curepe– (Trinidad); and Sangster’s Hill, Scarborough Chaguanas–San Fernando): runs from City (Tobago). Gate; lower end of Southern Main Road (for San Fernando) and Eleanor Street Car Rental (for Port of Spain) in Chaguanas Red (Port of Spain–Arima): connections to Blanchisseuse, and Matelot via Sangre Local and international companies operate Grande nationwide (see the Touring & Exploring Yellow (Port of Spain–Diego Martin– sections). Chaguaramas). Route Taxis Tour Operators These stop to pick up or put down passengers as necessary, servicing specific routes from designated taxi stands. You can get taxis to several destinations from See the Touring & Exploring sections. i hubs in Port of Spain, Chaguanas and San Fernando (in Trinidad); and Scarborough (Tobago). See our maps at the back of this book for more information. 18
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  19. 19. Tips&&Tricks Tips Tricks Practicalities Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar (TT$); US$1= TT$6.4 (floating) Driving: on the left. Trinidad speed limits 80kph (50mph) highways and 55kph (34mph) settled areas; 50kph (32mph) in Tobago. Seatbelts required. Visitors can drive up to 90 days on valid foreign/international licences Electricity: 115v/230v, 60Hz Money: ABMs (ATMs), credit/debit cards and travellers’ cheques in general use Taxes: 10% room tax + 10% service at hotels; VAT 15% on goods and services Water: tap water is safe to drink (boil to be even safer); bottled water is widely available. Media & Communications Country phone code: +868 Stay Safe Mail: TTPost national mail service; plus FedEx, DHL, UPS and others Landline telephone: Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) and Always: drive with extreme care and practise FLOW. Prepaid international phone cards defensive driving; leave valuables (jewellery, available money, passports, credit cards, etc) at home Mobile telephone: bmobile (TSTT) and or well concealed; walk in company; lock your Digicel operate on GSM networks; prepaid vehicle; lock your room/house door; keep SIM cards available for unlocked phones windows closed at night or if you are going Press: three daily national newspapers out; be aware of your surroundings; raise an Express, Guardian, Newsday, several alarm and head to the nearest police station weeklies and one tri-weekly if you suspect you are being followed Radio: 37 FM stations; two AM stations Television: 12 local stations, five free-to-air Never: venture into deserted or unfamiliar (NCC-4, CCN TV6, Gayelle, CNC3 and C-TV), areas alone; wear extravagant jewellery; seven available only via cable (ACTS, IBN, leave handbags or wallets lying around; use ieTV, Parliament Channel, Synergy, Tobago an ABM if you sense someone suspicious Channel 5, Win-TV); some only available on nearby (if your card gets stuck, call the bank one island immediately); leave laptop computers or Public Wi-Fi: Piarco Airport; Rituals coffee other valuables in your car; leave car windows shops (nationwide); Sweet Lime Restaurant down when stopping, especially at night; (Woodbrook); Trincity Mall (food court); engage in any altercations with strangers. and a growing number of other locations. 20
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  21. 21. In case of Emergency: Ambulance (public hospitals): 811 Police: 999 or 555 (Trinidad); 639-2520/5590 (Tobago) EMS (emergency medical services): 624-4343 (north Trinidad), 653-4343 (south/central Trinidad), 639-4444 (Tobago) Fire: 990 Hyperbaric Medical Facility: 660-4369 (Roxborough, Tobago).Travel Smart Bargain Hunting Driving: gas stations are Hotel rooms average US$125 a night, guesthouses $65; but concentrated around discounted rates and packages are often available – particularly in urban areas and major the current global economic climate. Peak season is December– towns, so make sure you April, and rates increase dramatically around Carnival time. top up your tank before Island-wide, last-minute rooms are usually available, make sure you go exploring. If you you book ahead for any international events and conferences, plan to drive into the or traditionally popular periods like Easter, Carnival, Christmas mountains or off-road, and New Year’s, the Jazz Festival and holiday weekends where consider a 4WD vehicle. Trinidadians and expats flock to Tobago to unwind and let loose. Drive with extreme Visit and caution at night, and for current deals and offers. be prepared that some Sustainable Travel areas may not have adequate street lighting Lifeguards are typically on duty 9am–5pm Buy local CDs, books and DVDs from authorised retailers or 10am–6pm where (not pirated copies); and purchase locally produced food and available, but not at souvenirs (not any made from endangered species) all beaches. Red flags Fly carbon neutral: most airlines allow you to offset carbon indicate unsafe bathing dioxide emissions from your flight areas Mind your gas: choose the smallest vehicle to suit your needs Sunscreen and insect when renting (or buying) a car; drive within the speed limit; repellent are essential – don’t let your car idle; keep your tires inflated; try to carpool; tropical sun can quickly and when you can, walk or cycle give light skins a bad Recycle: Ace, Carib Glass, Piranha, Recycling in Motion (RIM) and burn, even through SWMCOL process plastic, glass, aluminium, paper, cardboard cloud, and mosquito- and electronics (e-waste); some sponsor receptacles around the born illnesses like islands dengue fever are still Reduce: turn off electrical devices when you don’t need them; health threats. avoid plastic bags and styrofoam; buy and consume only what you need; reuse when you can. i22
  22. 22. Fesivals t Festivals Trinbagonians love to celebrate – and the island’s religious and cultural diversity means that they don’t have to look very hard for a reason to do so. The islands have more national holidays than almost anyone else in the world, with 14 – excluding Carnival Monday and Tuesday which are unofficial holidays. Here’s a roster of T&T’s main reasons to celebrate life, culture…and time away from work! Amerindian Heritage Day Descendants from around the region gather for a smoke ceremony and street procession in Arima on 14 October to honour the heritage of Caribs, Arawaks and other Amerindian groups. Blue Food Festival ( Tobago) This unique event highlights the use of local root crops, with specific focus on dasheen. Dasheen can turn varying shades of blue and indigo when cooked, so the expression “blue food” has become a catchall phrase for all root crops, including sweet potato, cassava, yams, etc. The event is hosted each October by the Bloody Bay, L’Anse Fourmi and Parlatuvier village councils. A blue food cooking competition is the highlight of the event, as skilled cooks vie for prizes based on their ability to create fine dishes from dasheen: bread, cookies, lasagne, and even ice cream. The festival includes a cultural show, a mini zoo and sometimes a queen show. Carnival The Mecca of Carnival is Trinidad (see our coverage in the Discover Trinidad section). Tobagonians enjoy a more laid back season which focuses on the theatrical and folk elements. Most play traditional mud mas, but others play “pretty mas” in one of the 30-odd costumed bands. The Carnival Caravan, Soca Spree, Junior Carnival competition (Roxborough), Soca Under the Samaan Tree, THA’s Inter-department Queen and Calypso Show, the Roxborough Afro-Queen and Windward Calypso Show, are all staple seasonal events, in Tobago. Corpus Christi (National Holiday) Catholics process through Port of Spain as a public profession of faith, a practice dating back to Spanish colonial days. For most, however, this June festival is a traditional day for planting crops, as it is believed that it always rains on Corpus Christi. Right The spectacle that is Trinidad Carnival (Chris Anderson) 24
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  24. 24. Fesivals t Divali (National Holiday) Celebrated according to the moon, this Hindu festival honours Mother Lakshmi (goddess of light, beauty, riches and love) and celebrates the return of Lord Rama from exile: thousands of flickering deyas light his way. The Ramleela, theatrical re-enactments of stories from the Hindu scriptures, takes place just before Divali (usually in October). Hindus across Trinidad attend the outdoor spectacles, which involve bright costumes and an epic finale. Felicity in central Trinidad is among the most popular venues. In the nine days leading up to Divali, Trinidadians of all ethnicities and religions visit the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas, with hundreds taking part in the breathtaking lighting of deyas at dusk on Divali day itself. Eid-ul-Fitr (National Holiday) This Muslim festival celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim year, according to the moon), a period of prayer and fasting from dawn to dusk. Morning communal worship in mosques and large open spaces throughout the country is followed by alms-giving and Salat, when people visit with family and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets. Sweets are shared with non-Muslim friends and neighbours, among whom sawine, a milk-based vermicelli dessert, is a holiday favourite. Emancipation Day (National Holiday) Celebrated on 1 August each year, it commemorates the abolition of slavery in 1838. The locale of the Emancipation Day celebrations is the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village in Port of Spain, which features lectures, exhibitions of African art, a trade exposition and live entertainment. There is also a street procession – canboulay or kanbule – through the street of Port of Spain. Goat & Crab Racing Festival ( Tobago) Started almost 80 years ago, racing goats was Tobago’s answer to the colonial tradition of racing horses. The action takes place on Easter Monday and the Tuesday following at Mt. Pleasant and Buccoo (the main location). The influence of horse racing is still evident: there are stables, trainers, live commentators, and “jockeys” – who run alongside their prized animals, whips in hand. Great Fête & Great Race The Great Race (August) is a major event that draws Trinidadians to Tobago in droves. First held in 1969, this 84-mile speedboat race from Trinidad’s Gulf of Paria to Scarborough in Tobago ends in the ultimate beach party (which starts well before the boats reach the finish line and ends in the wee hours of the next morning). The race starts early, and the first boats normally arrive at about 9am on the beach in Tobago. Originally tied to the Great Race festivities, Tobago’s Great Fête Weekend (July/August) is now a separate five-day beach party at Store Bay, Pigeon Point and Mt. Irvine. 26
  25. 25. Goat racing in Tobago (Edison Boodoosingh) Independence Day (National Holiday) Celebrated on 31 August each year, this marks Trinidad & Tobago’s independence from Britain in 1962. The day starts with a morning parade of protective services through the streets of Port of Spain and Scarborough. A National Awards ceremony honours outstanding citizens. At night fireworks displays are held throughout the islands, most notably at the Queen’s Park Savannah. There are huge concerts and an Independence Day Cycling Classic.Indian Arrival Day (National Holiday)Arrival day on 30 May commemorates the arrival of the first Indian workers toTrinidad on the Fatel Razak in 1845. Communities re-enact the arrival of this groupon beaches around the country. Outstanding members of the Indo-Trinidadiancommunity are rewarded for their contributions during celebrations which involvemusic and dancing. The Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas is a focal point. La Divina Pastora A Catholic feast and procession celebrated in Siparia each year on the second Sunday after Easter, in which Hindus also participate. A wooden statue of a black Virgin Mary, “the Divine Shepherdess” decorated with flowers and dressed in white, is processed through the streets. Hindus revere the statue as Siparee Kay Mai and join the procession.PhagwaAlso known as Holi, the Hindu spring festival is held in March, characterised byparticipants dousing one another in colourful vegetable dyes known as abir.Traditional folksongs called chowtals are sung to the pulsating rhythms of dholakdrums. Especially popular is the Children’s Phagwa celebration at the TunapunaHindu School. 27
  26. 26. Fesivals tRamleela (CaféMoka) Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition Ten counties in Trinidad and Tobago vie for the titles on offer in the Prime Minister’s Best Village trophy competition. This heats up at mid-year, and culminates in October/November. Villages compete in various aspects of folk tradition, including food, storytelling, Carnival, dance, music, theatre and the selection of the Best Village Queen, La Reine Rivé. Ramleela Also known as Ramdilla and Ramlila, this nine-day festival precedes Divali. Portions of Hindu scripture about the life of Lord Rama are re-enacted with music and dancing. The best-known celebrations are held in Couva and Felicity, in central Trinidad. Red Earth Eco Arts Festival ( Trinidad) Hosted at natural oases like Chaguaramas and Blanchisseuse, the festival raises environmental awareness through environmental and arts events. It is held around World Environment Day (5 June). Republic Day (National Holiday) Observed on 24 September, marks the adoption in 1976 of a new Republican constitution for Trinidad & Tobago – in which the President replaced the British Queen as the head of state – and the first meeting of Parliament under the new constitution. Events include the Hyundai Open Water Classic at Maracas Bay (Trinidad), and the Republic Day Cycling Challenge and 5K Fun Run. 28
  27. 27. Santa Rosa Festival ( Trinidad) Fesivals t A month-long Amerindian/Catholic festival in August commemorating the death of St. Rose de Lima, the Roman Catholic patron saint of the New World. It begins with the firing of a cannon on 1 August from Calvary Hill in Arima and ends on the Sunday following the feast day of St. Rose (23 August). A statue of Santa Rosa de Lima is borne through the streets of Arima in a procession involving members of Trinidad’s Carib peoples, including the Carib Queen, and members of the Roman Catholic faith.Spiritual (Shouter) Baptist Liberation Day(National Holiday)Observed on 30 March, the holiday celebrates the repeal of the colonial-eraShouter Prohibition Ordinance of 1917, which banned the activities of this Afro-Christian religion. Tobago Culinary Festival Produced each May by the Tourism Department of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), this free international culinary event invites you to Pigeon Point to sample dishes from around the world, and especially those native to Tobago.Tobago Harvest & Fisherman’s FestivalsHarvests started off as thanksgiving celebrations by village farmers. Today, thesefestvals – always held on a Sunday – have mushroomed into massive villagecookouts involving farmers and non-farmers, locals and visitors alike. Fisherman’sfestivals take place in the coastal villages during the year, mainly on St. Peter’s Day(29 June). Like the Harvest festivals, the days begin with church services in themorning and end with eating, drinking, and partying in the night! Tobago Heritage Festival The Tobago Heritage Festival was started in 1987 and is dedicated to preserving the cultural traditions of the people of Tobago. Aside from the opening and closing nights’ shows, most of the other productions take you to a village in Tobago, where you are introduced to the dances, food and customs particular to that village. Each year has a specific theme that all presentations invoke. Some of the most distinctive events include The Ole Time Tobago Wedding in Moriah, Folk Tales and Superstitions in Golden Lane and Lekoto, and Games We Used to Play. The festival runs from mid-July to 1 August. 29
  28. 28. Fesivals t Tobago Jazz Experience Previously known as the Tobago Jazz Festival (first held in 2005) this second incarnation started in 2009. Held at Pigeon Point Heritage Park, it showcases talents from many musical genres, including calypso, soca, chutney, Latin, contemporary and of course jazz. The Experience is normally held during the last week of April, starting on a Thursday and culminating on the Sunday night. During the four days, events are held throughout the island like Jazz on the Beach at Mt. Irvine, which has special appeal to jazz purists. In the past, international headliners have included Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Sting, George Benson, and Diana Ross. Muhtadi International Drumming Festival ( Tobago) Started in Canada by Trinidad-born Muhtadi Thomas in 2000, the festival has had a two-day Tobago edition each August since 2005. It celebrates the drum in all its forms through the talents of of drummers from all over the globe. The event includes workshops during the day and live performances at night. In the past, it has drawn performers from the Ivory Coast, Guadeloupe, India, and of course, Trinidad & Tobago. Trinidad & Tobago Fashion Week Founded in 2008, the event showcases some of the most talented local and regional designers and models, both established and emerging, every May. Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival This September festival started in 2006 and is now the second largest of its kind in the region. It showcases a range of dramatic, documentary, short, and animated films from or about the Caribbean and Latin America, and hosts a number of workshops and educational programmes. WeBeat Festival ( Trinidad) An annual festival in June centred around the Western Main Road in St. James, featuring vintage kaiso (calypso), talent shows, a pan explosion and a steelband parade at the end. i Meiling with House of Jaipur unveils the Jaipur line (Mariamma Kambon) 30
  29. 29. Eco Spot ht lig Eco Spotlight A leatherback turtle makes its way to the sea Turtle after nesting (Giancarlo Lalsingh) Watching The islands, especially Trinidad’s northeast and Tobago’s southwest coasts, are one of the most important turtle nesting grounds in the world. During nesting months (March– August) from mid-eveningthrough early morning, female turtles – endangered leatherbacks as well as hawksbill, green and rarelysighted loggerheads and olive ridleys – heave themselves out of the ocean to come ashore and laytheir eggs. They laboriously dig nests in the sand, camouflaging them after laying. Two months later,the eggs hatch, and the baby turtles make a dash for the sea; few survive the predators and make it tomaturity.Trinidad’s Grande Rivière (the second largest leatherback nesting site in the world) and Matura arepopular sites and both protected beaches. In Tobago, the turtles frequent the beaches of the Leewardcoast, particularly Stonehaven and Courland (or Turtle) beaches. Turtle Watching Tips & Tricks Permits are required, which any good tour operator can obtain for you. If you stay overnight nearby, hotels and guest houses can usually help to obtain permits and wake you when there are sightings Go with a guide, and give nesting turtles lots of space, especially during the digging and covering process Lights and activity can disorient turtles and hatchlings. Be quiet and unobtrusive on beaches during the nesting season, particularly at night; do not use flashlights or flash photography Don’t drive on nesting beaches as vehicles can crush entire clutches of eggs beneath the sand The Turtle Village Trust comprises the islands’ leading turtle conservation groups: Nature Seekers; the Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association; the Matura to Matelot (M2M) Network; the Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group; and SOS (Save our Sea Turtles) Tobago. These are a great place to start. 31
  30. 30. EcoSpot ht lig Diving The spectacular coral reefs on the islands, especially in Tobago, are a great draw for visitors. Some are content with snorkelling, but many more want the thrill of scuba diving. Blessed with nutrient- Above Colourful, tropical fish abound on the reefs around Tobago (Edward Montserin) rich waters and situated Right Trained tour guides offer hikes to waterfalls like Aripo at the southern end of the Caribbean chain, Tobago enjoys a varied, unique, and abundant marine environment. Manta, eagle and sting rays can all be seen, as well as hammerhead, nurse and black- tipped reef sharks; hawksbill, green and leatherback turtles; moray eels; barracuda; dolphin, and pelagic species such as marlin. The variety of dive types (wreck, drift and reef diving) and dive sites is unparalleled in the Caribbean: there is the 10,000-year-old Buccoo Reef, Kilgwyn Flying Reef, Culloden Reef, Speyside (featuring the world’s largest and oldest big brain coral) or Charlotteville reef (home to manta rays from March to August) to name but a few. The most popular dive sites in Trinidad are off the Chaguaramas and Toco coasts, while in Tobago, choose from Japanese Gardens, east of Goat Island; Black Jack Hole, east of Little Tobago; The Wreck, Mount Irvine Bay; Book Ends, between Speyside and Little Tobago (popular among advanced divers); and the MV Maverick on the west coast. Diving Tips & Tricks Take care when diving and snorkelling not to touch the coral; it is easily damaged, and if you’re really unlucky you will get stung by fire coral Scuba diving opens up an exciting new world but to fully appreciate these oceanic wonders a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) registered guide is recommended Accredited dive operators in both Trinidad and Tobago offer a range of courses – beginners, open water, advanced, rescue diver, drift diving, deep diving and wreck diving Accredited dive centres are located throughout the islands with Chaguaramas, Charlotteville, Speyside, the Crown Point area and Arnos Vale among the best known Average water temperature: 25–29°C / 77–85°F Average visibility: 24–37m / 80–120ft; best visibility is January–August, but especially May–July Average depth: 18m / 60ft; maximum depth is 34m / 110ft. 32
  31. 31. Tips & Tricks for Eco Adventures Hire guides registered with the Trinidad & Tobago Incoming Tour Operators’ Association (TTITOA); they are professionally trained and have public liability insurance Permits also are needed for some locations and activities (like camping and turtle-watching) but any reputable guide or tour operator will arrange these. Natural hazards are relatively rare, but beware of the Portuguese Man-o’-War jellyfish, and the sap and fruit of the manchineel tree; seek local advice on whether these are present When outdoors, wear long trousers for lengthy bush treks, and never wear open-toed sandals; comfortable shoes with good grip are recommended. For hiking, take a little knapsack with a change of clothes, socks and something to eat, stored in a waterproof bag. If your carry a camera that’s not waterproof, keep it here too. Avoid wearing black: it attracts mosquitoes, and if you’re in the open, soaks in the heat. Bring enough water to stay hydrated.For many more of the islands’ eco adventures, see the Touring & Exploringcoverage in the “Discover Tobago” and “Discover Trinidad” sections! i 33
  32. 32. Business Business Trinidad’s economy has long been driven by oil and gas, which constitutes about 70% of the island’s exports. Tobago’s is equally divided between tourism and public service. In the face of fluctuating oil prices and finite hydrocarbon reserves plus challenges to the local tourism industry, diversification has been a goal for both islands. Diversification Several projects have emerged from this diversification thrust, as the islands open their doors for foreign investment. The current government, led since May 2010 by Kamla Persad-Bissessar – the country’s first female prime minister – plans to further develop industrial downstream programmes from existing methanol, ammonia and steel plants as well as renewable energy. Other sectors targeted for investment are film & television; fish & fish processing; food & beverage; yachting; printing & packaging, music & entertainment; leisure marine, and merchant marine industries. There are also plans to develop the agricultural sector. Major Projects Major developments include the Tamana InTech Park at Wallerfield, Trinidad, which is a state-of-the-art science and technology park targeting established and emerging companies in information & communication technology (ICT) software development, high- tech manufacturing, and agro-processing. The state-owned company eTecK also manages 16 other industrial parks. In Tobago, the Tobago House of Assembly ( has been developing the COVE Eco-Industrial Estate and Business Park, to promote knowledge-based industries, light manufacturing, information technology and related industries, and selected intermediate goods processing. Business Tourism Trinidad & Tobago is already a financial and information hub in the Caribbean and Latin America, with a high influx of business travellers (accounting for nearly 20% of all stop-overs). Consequently, in conjunction with the hosting of the Summit of the Americas (SOTA) and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2009, the Tourism Development Company (TDC, set up the Trinidad & Tobago Convention Bureau (TTCB), which began operations in August 2009. This is part of a thrust to position Port of Spain as the meetings and conventions capital of the southern Caribbean and culture capital of the region. 34
  33. 33. International Waterfront Centre (Marc Aberdeen) Investment OpportunitiesIn addition to being a regional economic powerhouse, even under trying economic conditions, theislands offer foreign investors a number of advantages. Their location is perhaps the country’sgreatest asset, being a gateway – outside of the hurricane belt – between the Caribbean, SouthAmerica and North America.Other key selling points for investors include: the largest and newest conference infrastructure in the English-speaking Caribbean; high quality physical and ICT infrastructure and telecommunications; a good track record for FDI (foreign direct investment); excellent and reliable access from major international hubs; bilateral investment and taxation treaties with no foreign exchange controls, and exemption from VAT, customs duty and other taxes; a number of services to help facilitate any investment in Trinidad & Tobago; and a lifestyle that integrates laid back island charm, a vibrant cultural landscape and a competitive and sophisticated business climate.For property investment, see the Real Estate articles in the “Discover Trinidad” and “Discover Tobago”sections. i 35
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  35. 35. Shopping Shopping Trinidad attracts shoppers of every taste and income, including visitors from the Caribbean and Latin America. Goods on offer range from high-end products from the USA and Europe to bargain goodies from Venezuela, India, Brazil and China. But on both islands, knowing what’s available and where to find it, is the key. Malls Downtown There are five major malls in In every major district in Trinidad, shopping is centred on a Trinidad: The Falls at West few key streets: Frederick and Charlotte Streets (Port of Mall, Long Circular Mall, Spain); High Street (San Fernando); Main Street (Chaguanas); Trincity Mall, Gulf City and and Milford Road Esplanade and the Market at Carrington Grand Bazaar. While you may Street in Scarborough, Tobago. In these areas, you can find find branches of popular high a myriad of things to buy from fabric to eating utensils and street stores at these locations, food; bargains are thick on the ground. they also house high-end stores you won’t find anywhere Online Trade Fairs else. In addition to the major malls, Trinidad has a number of smaller shopping plazas and Though relatively new, Indian businessmen have mini malls that house a range online shopping is gaining been doing brisk business in of stores. In Tobago, the main traction in Trinidad. So far, Trinidad over the last decade mall (and cineplex) is Gulf shoes, clothing, lingerie with trade fairs where they City Lowlands, not far from and accessories are the sell clothing, jewellery, Scarborough. main items that can be household products, bought from local sites. foodstuff and furniture at bargain prices. Good Buys Art & Craft: wood carvings, handmade soap, belts, handbags, shell jewellery, calabash art, sandals, sarongs, wooden sculptures and carvings and other accessories in leather or other natural material can be bought from sidewalk vendors, shopping plazas in downtown Port of Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas and Scarborough and souvenir shops in the malls. Hotels and beaches (like Maracas in Trinidad and particularly Store Bay in Tobago) have a variety of local craft on offer. Paintings, sculptures and other artwork can be found at local art stores and galleries, mainly in Port of Spain (Trinidad), and at studios like Luise Kimme’s Castle and The Art Gallery in Tobago Books & Magazines: a range of local fiction, non-fiction and magazines can be found at bookstores across the country Clothing & Fabric: numerous boutiques sell cheap, mass-produced clothes from China and the USA; high-end boutiques with clothing from Europe and the USA; ethnic clothing from India and Africa; and designer fare from celebrated local designers. Hand-dyed fabrics and batiques are also available, as is swimwear and sportswear. In Tobago, don’t miss Batiki Point at the Sunday School venue in Buccoo DVDs: locally produced television series and films are packaged for home viewing 38
  36. 36. The Falls at West MallFood & Spirits: pepper and other sauces, roti skins,pastelles, chocolate, seasonings, spices, and ofcourse award-winning Trinidadian rum and spiritsare favourites among Trinis and visitors alike! HiLoand TruValu are the big grocery chains, as well asPennySavers in TobagoJewellery: from precious stones to naturalmaterial, jewellers in Trinidad cater to every pocketand taste with their creations, available fromsidewalk vendors or at select storesMusic: though you may not hear it on the radio,local music is thriving in Trinidad. Apart fromcalypso, steel pan, soca and chutney music, you canfind local rock, hip-hop, gospel, reggae, choral, andIndian music at most local music stores. You can alsobuy local music online at www.TrinidadTunes.comand on iTunesSouvenirs: mini steel pans, mugs, key chains,T-shirts, figurines, music, DVDs, Carnival dolls andhandcrafted copper trinkets make perfect gifts foryour friends and family back home. i 39
  37. 37. Sport s Sports Trinidad & Tobago has a healthy appetite for sports – especially for football (soccer) and cricket. Over the years, the islands have been particularly well represented on the international stage in track and field, football, cricket, hockey, boxing, martial arts, swimming, motor sports and shooting. They are also prime locations for eco-adventurers, and Tobago offers world-class opportunities for diving enthusiasts. The local sporting calendar is packed with competitions held throughout the year. Not surprisingly, the government is looking at seriously developing sports tourism, and to upgrade facilities and infrastructure. Basketball is becoming increasingly popular Athletics Basketball Each year, locals get to see their stars in action at the Hampton Games, the biggest athletic event Increasingly popular, basketball is played that is held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in nightly on community courts nationwide, Port of Spain. The sector is presided over by the as well as in seven zonal leagues and on National Amateur Athletics Association. There are national teams. The Jean Pierre Complex 45 clubs nationwide and the Southern Games at (Port of Spain) and Sport & Physical Education Guaracara Park is one of the biggest annual meets. Centre on the University campus in St. Augustine are the main venues in Trinidad, Body Building with others in Maloney, Point Fortin and Pleasantville. Major events are the Super Ten (October–December) and the National Club Great entertainment for the merciless crowd, but Championship. In Tobago, games are played participants in the junior and senior championships at Shaw Park every night, while 22 other hard take things very seriously. Darrem Charles courts are open for public use in towns and was ranked 10th last year on the IFBB men’s villages across Tobago. Bodybuilding Professional Rankings list. 40
  38. 38. Dragon boat racing in Chaguaramas (Martin Farinha)CricketPerhaps the only sport to rival football’s popularity, cricket hasgained new interest and new fans thanks to the Twenty/20format; the national team is considered a regional powerhouse.This is also the home of Brian Lara, the former West Indiescaptain who has held just about every record available to a Cyclingbatsman. The Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain is one of theCaribbean’s most beautiful cricket grounds and the venue forinternational Test and One-Day International matches, and hasbeen the home of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club since 1896.Scarborough’s Shaw Park is Tobago’s premier cricket location, The Beacon Cycling Series,hosting regional first-class fixtures as well as top local league the Tobago Cycling Classic,games. Impromptu games are played nationwide. Rainbow Cup Triathlon and West Indies vs. the World are highlights of the racingDragon Boat Racing calendar, which includes the Easter International Grand Prix and NationalDragon boating is a relatively new sport in Trinidad, having Championships. Trinidad’sbeen introduced in a big way in 2006 as part of the Chinese Queen’s Park Savannah andBicentennial Day celebrations. Since then, regattas have the Arima Velodrome aretaken place in both Trinidad and Tobago (primarily around popular venues, while legsChaguaramas and Pigeon Point). In 2011, the new National of big competitions happenDragon Boat Team won several medals at the International across both islands.Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa, Florida. 41
  39. 39. Sport s Diving Trinidad cannot match Tobago as a diving destination, but there is diving all year. The best is around the islands off Chaguaramas, particularly Chacachacare, sheltered from the muddy waters of the Orinoco. The north coast and Gulf of Paria are other sites. It is Tobago, however, which is a prime Caribbean dive location, with over 60 established dive sites (mainly around the northern tip) offering everything from shallow reef dives to deep diving, wreck diving and drift diving. Observe turtles, sharks, moray eels, barracuda, tarpon, parrotfish, rays (sting, eagle and manta), huge corals (big brain), sponges and sea fans. Most operators offer introductory courses. There is a recompression chamber at Roxborough Medical Facility, 20 minutes drive from Speyside. On either island, diving with a PADI registered operator is strongly recommended. Football With a male and female national team (Soca Warriors and Soca Princesses), professional and secondary schools’ leagues and clubs for children of all ages, football is a national sport in Trinidad & Tobago. In 2010, the country hosted the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, and hosted the men’s equivalent in 2001. The Soca Warriors team represented T&T as the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup in 2006. Primary venues are the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago, and the Hasely Crawford, Marvin Lee, Larry Gomes, Ato Boldon, and Manny Ramjohn stadiums in Trinidad. The Pro League runs April–December. Ad hoc and fête matches, meanwhile, are played on beaches and parks nationwide. Golf Trinidad has three 18-hole courses: Moka’s St. Andrew’s Golf Club, Trincity’s Millennium Lakes and Petrotrin’s Pointe-à-Pierre Golf Club. Nine-hole courses exist at Brechin Castle, Usine St. Madeleine and Chaguaramas. Tobago is served by two 18-hole golf courses at Mt. Irvine Hotel and Tobago Plantations. Gyms & Health Clubs Gyms are everywhere, including some of the larger hotels and malls; many offer weekly, monthly and daily passes which allow visitors access to group exercise classes, aerobics, zumba and spin, etc. Yoga and pilates are increasingly popular ways of pursuing health and wellness, as are non-traditional activities like pole dancing! Hiking & Hashing Started in 1984, the Port of Spain Hash House Harriers has evolved into a 100-strong bi-weekly event – with a healthy emphasis on the social side. Hiking is also very popular, with formal tour guides and informal groups of eco-adventurers leading hikes to some of the island’s most breathtaking caves, waterfalls and more on the weekends. 42
  40. 40. Trinidad & Tobago’s Soca Warriors in action (Mariamma Kambon) Hockey The hockey year is split in two: the indoor season September–January and the outdoor season (on Tacarigua’s Astroturf in Trinidad and Tobago’s Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago) March–August.Horse RacingSanta Rosa Park is Trinidad’s only horse racing track, and it has an AmTote betting system.Thoroughbreds pound the dirt nearly every Saturday and public holiday, with about 40 race daysannually. They include New Year races, Derby Day, Diamond Stakes, Midsummer Classic,President’s Cup and the Santa Rosa Classic. Horse Riding In Tobago, you can enjoy horseback riding on some beaches, including Stonehaven, Grand Courland and Canoe Bays. There are woodland trails on the lower half of the island. Most hotels can organise trips and there is an office at Canoe Bay. In Trinidad, dressage and show jumping instruction is available from Bays & Greys Riding Centre (Santa Cruz), Jericoe Stables (St. Ann’s), and Goodwin Heights (the St. Ann’s 250-acre former coffee and cocoa estate of Margaret “Muffy” Auerbach). For trail riding, contact Hidden Valley (Chaguaramas) or Bonanza Stud Farm (Arima). 43
  41. 41. Sport s Kayaking In Trinidad, river kayaking is best in the wet season when rivers are full. The Yara and Marianne Rivers on the north coast are popular spots, as is the Nariva Swamp where the Godineau River takes you through saltwater mangrove swamps and freshwater marshland. For sea kayaking, the Kayak Centre in Chaguaramas offers the sheltered waters of Williams Bay, and provides equipment. In Tobago, you can pick up kayaking tours and lessons at Man-o’-War Bay. Kayaks can be rented at some beaches, and beach hotels like Grafton Bay Resort and Le Grand Courlan. Take extra care in rainy season. Martial Arts A plethora of martial arts is practised, especially in Trinidad, including capoeira, kung fu, karate, bushido, aikido, judo, jujitsu, tai chi and kickboxing. Several dojos teach martial arts styles, from kung fu to wushu. Purple Dragon, founded by Professor Don Jacob, teaches Trinidad’s only indigenous form of karate, don jitsu ryu, and operates several schools locally. Motor Sports Rally Trinidad and Rally Tobago are perhaps the biggest motor sports events in T&T, attracting enthusiasts and competitors from all over the region. The Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club (TTRC) has hosted legs of the Caribbean Speed Stages Rally Championship. Drag racing is popular, though it is yet to receive a permanent base. Rallying locations are big in south and central Trinidad, including the popular Zig Zag and Indian trail Tracks in Couva. American autocross defensive driving competitions are held in the car park of the Santa Rosa race track, as are karting events. Mountain Biking In Trinidad, Chaguaramas’ trails and varying terrain are ideal for beginners, including forest paths, old military and agricultural roads. Other locations include the Santa Cruz valley and Matura to Matelot stretch. For a lung-burster try the Blanchisseuse to Morne La Croix Road. Meanwhile, Tobago provides some great terrain for mountain bikers of all levels, from breathtaking downhills to easy-coast cruises. Mountain Bike Magazine calls Tobago the “mountain biker’s island paradise.” Explore coastal tracks, rainforest rides through the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, isolated beaches and remote villages, some inaccessible by car. Note that muddy trails can be hazardous in the wet season. Make sure to go with a guide. Right Conditions in Trinidad & Tobago are perfect for sailing (Oswin Brown) 44
  42. 42. SailingTrinidad has one of the largest racing fleets in the Caribbean, andChaguaramas is a major sailing hub. The racing season begins aroundNovember–December and continues till May–June. Dry season winds arestronger (northeast trade, consistent force 4–5), while in the wet seasonthey tend to be lighter (1–3). The Sailing Association hosts over a dozenraces, including general handicap races where any boat can take part.Most of Trinidad’s north coast bays offer good daytime anchorage, butonly professional captains should attempt the windward side. The TobagoCarnival Regatta (formerly Sail Week) is a popular annual event, not onlyfor the sailing but for the partying which accompanies it. It provides racingfor varying levels from the highest racing class, to racer cruiser, cruiser andfinally charter class. There are also tour operators who operate sightseeingsailboat tours, and diving trips. 45
  43. 43. Sport s Sport Fishing Trinidad means tarpon, for sports fishing aficionados the world over. Onshore fishing in Trinidad is popular in Chaguaramas, Las Cuevas, Galera Point and the Nariva river mouth. Popular boat-fishing spots include the Chaguaramas islands, where fishermen “troll” for carite, kingfish and cavalli and “bank” for redfish, salmon and croakers (or grunt). Many highly prized pelagic species, such as blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and dorado, patrol Tobago’s reef and shelf drop-offs, with Charlotteville’s waters particularly productive. There is also inshore, river, mudflats and fly-fishing to be enjoyed. The key offshore seasons in T&T are: October–April for marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and dorado; and May–September for barracuda, kingfish, bonito, and snapper. There are two major tournaments: the Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament at Charlotteville and the Trinidad & Tobago Game Fishing Association Tournament at Speyside. There have been record catches in the last few years, with a junior world record 400kg (890lb) blue marlin caught in the 2008 TTGFA tournament. Conservation is important, so competitions and charters use the tag-and-release system. Surfing November–March, Trinidad’s north coast beaches provide favourable swells, but the rainy season and hurricane season can offer strong waves as well. Even in peak season, patience is needed as surfing isn’t possible every day. Sans Souci, Las Cuevas, L’Anse Mitan, Grande Rivière, Roughside and Salybia are the most popular spots. In March, the Surfing Association stages the CSN Sans Souci, the first event in the cross-Caribbean Carib Challenge Cup series, and hosts the International Surf Festival in May, and its national championships in July. In Tobago, Mt. Irvine and Bacolet are major surfing spots that can provide some perfectly shaped waves, with board rentals and lessons available. Tennis Tennis is a vibrant sport in the islands, especially at junior level. There are public courts at King George V Park in St. Clair, Trinidad and at Store Bay, Tobago; reservations are required. There are also courts for hourly rental at the Trinidad Country Club and some hotels. Courts at Tranquillity and Westmoorings require yearly membership. Play in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the scorching midday sun. Water Sports Equipment rental and lessons in all manner of watersports – kitesurfing, parasailing, surfing, kayaking, waterskiing and more – are readily available at beaches nationwide, but are particularly common in Tobago. Crown Point and Speyside are great for watersports. Each August, also look out for the Carib Great Race. Powerboats vie for supremacy on an 84-mile route from Trinidad’s Gulf of Paria to Scarborough in Tobago. i 46
  44. 44. Weddings WeddingsWeddings are all about romance, and Trinidad and Tobago delivers just that. With a variety ofstunning backdrops to choose from the mood is easily set.Tobago in particular has several resorts and wedding service providers who offer packages to suit acouple’s needs. Wedding planners can facilitate your event on the day, or help you plan every detailand work with you every step of the way to plan your dream wedding and honeymoon, includinglocating the perfect venue and sourcing everything from flowers and decorations to entertainment.Many hotels, resorts and villas offer honeymoon packages complete with oceanside vistas for yourwedding ceremony. Many also offer honeymoon packages.What You Need to Know first, establish temporary residency in Trinidad & Tobago by scheduling any wedding activities no less than three full days after your arrival have a valid return ticket obtain a special marriage license (US$55) at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) with proof of identity (valid passport), and evidence of your single status if divorced or widowed (including any relevant divorce decrees and death certificates). NB: non-English documents must be accompanied by notarised English translations you will receive two marriage certificates that are accepted in most countries. Check your nation of origin for any additional requirements those who wish to marry under the age of 18 must obtain the written consent of their parent or guardian your wedding ceremony will require two witnesses identified by passport, and must be performed between 6am and 6pm. i (Edison Boodoosingh) 47
  45. 45. Tobago The ocean view from poolside at Crown Point Hotel (Karen Pinheiro)AccommodationCrown Point & the SouthwestMost accommodation options are concentrated around the Crown Point area, near to the newly re-named ANR Robinson International Airport, and in Scarborough. This is the hub of tourist activity, withrestaurants, shopping, beautiful beaches, tours, historical sites and much more all in walking distanceof most properties. Most are huddled around the stunning beaches at Store Bay and Pigeon Point.Hotels and resorts are thick on the ground across the southwest, including Crown Point Hotel,Tropikist, Surfside, and the Arnos Vale Hotel.Self-catering aficionados should try apartments like those at Belleviste, and stunning villas like thoseat the Seahorse Inn, Tobago Plantations (including the beautiful Villa Sans Souci), Stonehaven andPlantation Beach Villas.Villas, indeed, are something one could easily get used to, and for a group it can be very affordable.At the luxury end you can live like royalty, and the simpler, cottage-style properties are verycomfortable too. Spectacular ocean and mountain views, colonial architecture and services like airporttransfers and tours are often included. These villas are perfect for wedding ceremonies and to hostfull wedding parties.48
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  47. 47. Accommodat ion Tobago accommodation (Skene Howie) Themed Holidays Tobago is a renowned destination for bird watching, diving, and a range of eco and outdoor activities. Just a few miles away from the buzz of Crown Point, Scarborough and the southwest, you begin to feel as if you are escaping into another world. Diving enthusiasts will probably want to head straight for the northeast of Tobago, near Speyside and Charlotteville, though there is great diving and snorkelling in the waters beyond the Arnos Vale Hotel on the west coast. 50
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