Discover Trinidad & Tobago Travel Guide 2010


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The print edition of Discover T&T 2010

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Discover Trinidad & Tobago Travel Guide 2010

  1. 1. 1
  2. 2. CONTENTS Welcome 5 T&T: the facts 11 Traveller’s tips 7 Events calendar 17 Discover Tobago Economy 44 Accommodation 24 Festivals 45 Arts & entertainment 29 Shopping 49 Beaches 32 Sightseeing 52 Dining 36 Sports 56 Eco adventure 39 Weddings 59 Discover TriniDaD Economy 96 Accommodation 62 Festivals 99 Arts & culture 70 Nightlife 103 Beaches 74 Shopping 105 Carnival 76 Sightseeing 110 Dining 82 Spas 116 Eco adventure 91 Sports 121 index 125 Maps 128 Editor: Caroline Neisha Taylor Consulting editor: Jeremy Taylor Design: Aisha Provoteaux Sales: Denise Chin, Samantha Rochard, Jacqueline Smith Writers: Laura Dowrich-Phillips, Onika Henry, Christine Schofield, Caroline Neisha Taylor Editorial assistant: Mirissa De Four Production: Joanne Mendes, Jacqueline Smith Cover Abir colours used during Phagwa (Edison Boodoosingh) A publication of Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. (MEP) 6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago T (868) 622-3821 • F (868) 628-0639 E • W And connect with us online on: • Facebook • Twitter • our Blog Above A hiker stands at the © 2010 Media & Editorial Projects (MEP) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may entrance of the Aripo Caves be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior written consent of the publisher. (Brian Kinzie) 1
  3. 3. WElCOmE! Congratulations on choosing to explore the unique Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, and thank you for allowing us to guide you on your journey. It might take a lifetime to truly experience all that the islands have to offer, but we can at least show you where to start! abouT T&T house are all locally based, uses significantly less energy and These two Caribbean islands so that our success ultimately paper during production. have retained their individual benefits the local community. characters, undiluted by large- We are also mindful of our explore… scale tourism. In both Trinidad carbon footprint. Starting with The introductory section of this and Tobago, distinct as they are, our 2009 edition, we’ve focused book gives you an overview of the you will find a spectacular natural our print publication on the history and lifestyle of both islands environment and a creative and most important information you together as a nation, before self-reliant people, brimming with need on the go, while publishing helping you to discover what humour and candour. additional information on our makes each island special. Tobago is perfect for an idyllic website – and saving 2.2 million So whether you are from a beach getaway, an escape into pages of paper over the last two neighbouring town or a distant nature, or heart-pounding eco years. We have also adopted the country, we welcome you. There is adventures on land or at sea. latest printing technology, which so much to discover! Trinidad, meanwhile, is the economic powerhouse (based on oil and gas), with a unique culture that spawns dynamic creative STaNdardS & FEEdbaCk industries and world-renowned • The country’s tourism authorities run an annual inspection festivals like Carnival. programme called the Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC). A special logo is used to indicate approval. abouT Discover Current information can be found at www.gotrinidadandtobago. This is the 21st edition of com. Advertising in Discover is open to anybody, but that does Discover, the trusted guide to T&T, not imply editorial endorsement or participation in the TTTIC produced by people who know programme; use of advertisers’ services is at your own discretion this country and care about and risk. getting it right. • Every effort has been made to ensure that information is By trusting Discover, you can correct at press time. But things change swiftly, so we can make be sure that you are investing no guarantees about its continued accuracy. If you have any in the islands: our contributors, suggestions or queries, we would be delighted to hear from you. production team and printing Above A magnificent owl butterfly distracts predators by mimicking the head of a lizard (Brian Kinzie) 5
  4. 4. TravEllErS’ TipS International travel air: scheduled flights are operated by Aeropostal, American Airlines, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Continental, Copa, Delta, LIAT, Monarch, Suriname Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. Others offer charter flights sea: the peak cruise ship season is November–April, with visits from Fred Olsen, Holland America, Ocean Village, Princess, Saga Travel, Seabourn, and Windstar lines enTry requireMenTs: you need a passport valid for three months beyond intended stay. Non-residents require documentation of return or sea: daily inter-island service between Port of Spain Ground transport onward travel and a valid local and Scarborough operated The Public Transportation Service address. Visas are generally not by Port Authority of Trinidad & Corporation (PTSC: www.ptsc. required for visits up to 30 days. Tobago (, and operates scheduled bus For yacht arrivals, clearance water taxi service between services (TT$2–12) alongside certificate from last port of Port of Spain and San privately operated, unscheduled call and vessel’s registration Fernando operated by National maxi and route taxis (TT$2–15). certificate (or authorisation for Infrastructure Development Legal, registered taxis have licence use) required Company (www.trinywatertaxi. plates beginning with H and are com): unmetered; confirm fare in advance Domestic air & • Warrior Spirit (5.5hrs): airporT Transfers: sea bridges TT$160 (cabin), TT$75 return (economy), children 3-11 authorised taxis operate outside arrivals halls at Piarco and Crown years half price Point airports; check approved air: daily flights between • T&T Express and T&T Spirit rates (on display at the taxi Trinidad and Tobago (20 mins, (2.5hrs): TT$100 return, stands) TT$300 round trip) on Caribbean children 3-11 years half price Airlines (625-7200, www. • Water Taxi (45mins): TT$15 buses: operate from hubs one way in Port of Spain, Chaguanas, Above A Caribbean Airlines Dash-8 comes in for a sunset landing at Crown Point, Tobago (Giancarlo Lalsingh) 7
  5. 5. Edison Boodoosingh and King’s Wharf, San Fernando Chacon Street Maxi-Taxis: 12–25 (Trinidad); and Sangster’s Hill, • Curepe-Sangre Grande: lower Henry seat minibuses, similar set Scarborough (Tobago) Street routes, departing downtown • Diego Martin/Petit Valley: Port of Spain from City Gate; car renTal: local and Abercromby Street San Fernando from “the Stand” international companies operate • Maraval: Duke and Charlotte on Chancery Lane; and lower nationwide: Streets Scarborough opposite the port. • Budget: 669-1635, • San Fernando: Broadway and Bright colour bands indicate South Quay service areas: • Frankie’s (Tobago): 631-0369, • San Juan: lower Charlotte Street • Black (San Fernando–Princes • St Ann’s/St James: Hart Street Town): connections to Mayaro • Kalloo’s (Trinidad): 622-9073, • Wrightson Road/Long Circular Road: • Blue (throughout Tobago) lower Chacon Street • Brown (San Fernando–La • Sherman’s (Tobago): 639-2292, • Chaguaramas: Park and St Vincent Romaine–Siparia–Point Fortin) Streets • Green (Port of Spain–Curepe– • Thrifty (Tobago): 639-8507, In Chaguanas (Trinidad): Chaguanas–San Fernando): • Couva (and nearby towns): higher runs from City Gate; lower end Southern Main Road of Southern Main Road (for rouTe Taxis: stop to pick • Curepe: Chaguanas Main Road San Fernando) and Eleanor up or put down as necessary, • Port of Spain: lower Southern Street (for Port of Spain) in servicing specific routes from Main Road Chaguanas designated taxi stands: In San Fernando (Trinidad): • Red (Port of Spain–Arima): In Port of Spain (Trinidad): • All areas: “The Stand”, car park connections to Blanchisseuse, • Cascade: Charlotte and Prince parallel Chancery Lane and Matelot via Sangre Grande Streets In Scarborough (Tobago): • Yellow (Port of Spain–Diego • Chaguanas: South Quay, opposite • Carrington Street Martin–Chaguaramas) 8 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  6. 6. privaTe Taxis: listings available in the Yellow Pages Emergency Numbers • Ambulance (public hospitals): 811 Tour operaTors: see • Crime Stoppers: 800-TIPS, advertiser directory • EMS (emergency medical services): 624-4343 (north Trinidad), general inforMaTion 653-4343 (south/central Trinidad), 639-4444 (Tobago) • Division of Tourism • Fire: 990 (Tobago House of Assembly, • Hyperbaric Medical Facility: 660-4369 (Roxborough, Tobago) Scarborough): 639-2125, www. • Office of Disaster Preparedness: 640-1285 (Trinidad), 660-7489 (Tobago) • Immigration Division: 625- • Police: 999 (Trinidad); 639-2520/5590 (Tobago) 3571 (Trinidad), 639-2681 (Tobago), www.immigration. • Ministry of Tourism (Port Ship Complex, Tobago); 669- • Kidnapping hotline: 623-6793 of Spain): 624-1403, www. 5196 (Piarco Airport) • Lifeline (suicide prevention): • ttconnnect (Trinidad & Tobago 645-2800, 645-6616 • Tobago House of Assembly government online): • National AIDS hotline: 800- (Scarborough): 639-3421, 4448, Help neTworks • National Family Services: • Tourism Development • Childline: 800-4321, www. 624-8218 (Trinidad), 639- Company (Barataria, Trinidad): 1512 (Tobago) 675-7034,, www. • Domestic violence hotline: • Rape Crisis Society: 622- 800-SAVE 7273 (Port of Spain), 657- • Tourist Information offices: • Families in Action 5355 (San Fernando) 639-0509 (Crown Point hotline: 628-2333, www. • Rebirth House (substance Airport); 635-0934 (Cruise abuse): 623-0952 9
  7. 7. prECauTiONS Like much of the world, the islands are affected by crime, particularly Trinidad. Always: drive with extreme care and practise defensive driving; leave valuables (jewellery, money, passports, credit cards, etc) at home or well concealed; walk in company; lock your vehicle; lock your room/house door; keep windows closed at night or if you are going out; be aware of your surroundings; raise an alarm and head to the nearest police station if you suspect you are being followed Never: venture into deserted or unfamiliar areas alone; wear extravagant jewellery; leave handbags or wallets lying around; use an ABM if you sense someone suspicious nearby (if your card gets stuck, call the bank immediately); leave laptop computers or other valuables in your car; leave car windows down when stopping, especially at night; engage in any altercations with strangers SuSTaiNablE TravEl Both climate change and globalisation can hit developing island nations particularly hard. Here’s what you can do to safeguard the islands’ natural and cultural treasures: Buy local: buy local CDs, books and DVDs from authorised retailers (not pirated copies); and purchase locally produced food and souvenirs (not any made from endangered species) Fly carbon neutral: most airlines allow you to offset carbon dioxide emissions from your flight Mind your gas: choose the smallest vehicle to suit your needs when renting (or buying) a car; drive within the speed limit; don’t let your car idle; keep your tires inflated; try to carpool; and when you can, walk or cycle Recycle: Ace, Carib Glass, Piranha, and SWMCOL process plastic, glass, aluminium, paper, cardboard and electronics (e-waste); some sponsor receptacles around the islands. The International School of Port of Spain also runs a recycling programme Reduce: turn off electrical devices when you don’t need them; avoid plastic bags and styrofoam; buy and consume only what you need; reuse when you can Right Palm Tanager (Atiba Williams) 10 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  8. 8. Trinidad & Tobago: ThE FaCTS The islands airporTs: Crown Point International Airport, Tobago (10km/7 miles from Scarborough); Piarco International Airport, Trinidad (27km/17 miles from Port of Spain) capiTal: national capital, Port of Spain (population 45,000; 270,000 metropolitan); Tobago capital, Scarborough (pop 17,000) cliMaTe: tropical. Dry season January–May, wet June–December (islands just south of hurricane belt). Temperature range 72–95°F (22–35°C); average 83°F (29°C), with 60–75% humidity HigHesT poinT: Trinidad’s El Cerro del Aripo (940m/3,085ft); Tobago’s Main Ridge (549m/1,860ft) locaTion: 11°N, 61°W. Trinidad & Tobago 33km (21 miles) apart, 10km (7 miles) from Venezuelan coast at the nearest point size: Tobago 300km2 (116 sq miles) or 48x16km (30x10 miles). Trinidad 4,828km2 (1,864 sq miles) or 105x80km (65x50 miles) TiMe zone: GMT -4, EST +1 11
  9. 9. Media & communications waTer: tap water safe to drink (boil to be safer); bottled water widely available counTry pHone coDe: +868 Mail: TTPost national mail service; plus FedEx, Public wi-fi DHL, UPS and others • Piarco Airport lanDline TelepHone: • Rituals coffee shops (nationwide) Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago • Sweet Lime Restaurant (TSTT) and FLOW (Columbus Communications). Prepaid international phone cards available Society Mobile TelepHone: bmobile (TSTT) and Digicel operate on GSM networks; prepaid SIM governMenT: parliamentary democracy; cards available for unlocked phones ruling party People’s National Movement under Prime Minister Patrick Manning; President George press: 3 daily national newspapers (Express, Maxwell Richards; United National Congress Guardian, Newsday), 7 weeklies (including Tobago Alliance main opposition News), 1 tri-weekly language: English (official) raDio: 37 FM stations; two AM stations. For all-local fare, try Radio Trinbago 94.7FM populaTion: 1.3 million: 40% of Indian descent, 37.5% African, 21.7% mixed. 50,000 Television: 12 local stations, five free-to-air (primarily African descent) in Tobago (NCC-4, CCN TV6, Gayelle, CNC3 and C-TV), seven available only via cable (ACTS, IBN, ieTV, Parliament religion: Roman Catholic 26%, other Channel, Synergy, Tobago Channel 5, Win-TV); some Christian 31.6%, Hindu 22.5%, Muslim 5.8% only available on one island Practicalities currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar (TT$); US$1=TT$6.3 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 in general use Taxes: 10% room tax + 10% service at hotels; departure tax TT$100; VAT 15% on goods and services (Photo by Martin Farinha) 13
  10. 10. Identity we stand, islands of the blue Caribbean Sea. This, our native Heroes land, we pledge our lives to coaT of arMs: features thee. Here every creed and race sTepHen aMes: world national birds scarlet ibis finds an equal place, and may top 25 golfer with three major (Trinidad), cocrico (Tobago) God bless our Nation.” (Patrick PGA titles, including historic and hummingbird; three ships Castagne, 1962) victory over all-star field with of Columbus and Trinity Hills’ Tiger Woods at the Players “three sisters” peaks; fruited naTional flag: strips Championship (2006) coconut palm native to Tobago; of red (fire, vitality of the sun); and national motto: “together we white (water, purity and power of aTo bolDon: four-time aspire, together we achieve” the ocean); and black (earth, one Olympic medallist (2 silver, 2 people united on islands’ soil) bronze for 100m and 200m, naTional anTHeM: 1996 and 2000), and 200m “Forged from the love of liberty in naTional flower: World Championship gold the fires of hope and prayer, with chaconia (“wild poinsettia” or medallist (1997). Current boundless faith in our destiny we “pride of Trinidad & Tobago”), a broadcaster for NBC in the USA solemnly declare: side by side flaming red forest flower george bovell iii: nation’s first Olympic medallist in swimming, winning Olympic bronze in the 200m individual medley (2004) Janelle penny coMMissiong: Miss Universe 1977 Hasely crawforD: nation’s first Olympic gold medallist, winning the men’s 100m dash (1976) Talk dE Talk Bacchanal: scandalous, social commotion, a rowdy event Fête: party (both noun and verb) Lime: hang out with friends Maco: to be nosy (or someone who is nosy) Mas: Carnival, masquerade Wine: both a noun and verb, describing sensual Trinbagonian dancing; ask for a demonstration! Above Former Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam in carnival array (Martin Farinha) 14 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  11. 11. HeaTHer HeaDley: Trinidad-born Tony Award-winning and Grammy-nominated singer and actress clr JaMes: prolific writer, historian, cultural and political figure, and leading voice in Pan- Africanist movement lennox kilgour: Olympic bronze medallist in weightlifting (1952) brian lara: multiple record-holding cricketer with two test match score records (375 runs not out in 1994 and 400 not out in 2004); highest first class score (501 not out, also in 1994); all-time leading run scorer in test cricket giselle laronDe-wesT: Miss World 1986 resolution for the establishment of the International Josanne lucas: Tobago-born sprinter, Criminal Court and the island’s first female World Championship medallist (400m hurdles in 2009) Jizelle salanDy: won her first junior WBA and WBC World Light Middleweight titles in peTer MinsHall: mas designer, multiple 2006, adding IWBF and WIBA titles by 2007. Died winner of Band of the Year titles, winner of T&T’s tragically in 2009 first Emmy Award for costuming of the 2002 Winter Olympics opening ceremony leslie “Tiger” sTewarT: boxer lifted the 1986 WBA Light Heavyweight belt; islands’ vs naipaul: Trinidadborn, knighted (UK, second World Champion 1990) Nobel Prize winner (Literature, 2000) ricHarD THoMpson: double 2008 clauDe noel: Tobago native and nation’s Olympic silver medallist (men’s 100m dash and first boxing World Champion, lifting the WBA’s World men’s 4x100m relay) and World Championship Lightweight title in 1981 silver medallist (men’s 4x100 relay) billy ocean: born Leslie Charles in kwaMe Ture: born Stokely Carmichael Trinidad, international pop star with hits like in Trinidad, former prime minister of the Black “Caribbean Queen” (1984) Panthers, leader of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party Jean pierre: scored the most goals in the 1979 World Netball Championships to lead roDney wilkes: nation’s first Olympic T&T to victory, the first country to host and win the medallist for weightlifting (silver in 1948, bronze championships in 1952) renny quow: Tobago-born sprinter, winning DwigHT yorke: Tobago-born football star the island’s first medal (bronze) in the men’s 400m and leading striker for UK teams like Manchester at the World Championships (2009) United and Aston Villa. He was an integral part of Trinidad & Tobago’s unsucessful World Cup ria raMnarine: nation’s first female World campaign in 1989. Years later, he captained T&T Champion (2005), and WIBA Mini Flyweight title to an impressive debut at the 2006 World Cup in holder (2009) Germany, where the islands made history as the smallest country ever to qualify arTHur nr robinson: Former President of the republic, launched UN General Assembly Above Stephen Ames, T&T’s US PGA Tour golf professional (Mark Meredith) 15
  12. 12. T&T: NOW aNd ThEN THen 1884: Hosay Riots in Trinidad; Tobago’s sugar c 15,000 islands part of South America; settled by industry collapses -1,000 BC: Amerindians 1889-98: Tobago merged with Trinidad; Tobago 1498: Christopher Columbus lands in Trinidad Assembly disbanded on July 31, claims island for Spanish and 1903: Water Riots in Port of Spain; Red House names it after Catholic Holy Trinity burns down 1596: Tobago claimed by British 1908: commercial oil production begins in 1627–1650: Courlanders settle Tobago’s west coast southern Trinidad near Plymouth, and Dutch the east 1914: first calypso recorded in Trinidad 1699: Trinidad Amerindians rebel against 1925: first national elections (limited franchise) Capuchin missionaries (Arena Uprising) 1931: Piarco International Airport opens 1757: Trinidad’s Spanish governor moves capital 1935-41: first steelpans emerge in Laventille, to Port of Spain from St Joseph Trinidad 1768–9: first Tobago Assembly established; 1937: oilfield and labour strikes led in southern Scarborough made island’s capital Trinidad by Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler 1776: oldest forest reserve in western 1940: Crown Point Airport opens in Tobago; hemisphere designated in Tobago national airline British West Indies Airways 1781: French seize Tobago, convert it to sugar (BWIA) commences operations colony 1941: Chaguaramas peninsula 1783: Spanish governor Chacón’s Cedula de 1945: public emergence of steelbands; universal Población entices Catholic white and free suffrage implemented coloured settlers to Trinidad with land 1951: repeal of ordinance prohibiting activities incentives; rapid development begins of Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist faith 1790: great fire of Scarborough destroys much of 1956: self government under Eric Williams’ downtown; hurricane ravages island People’s National Movement (PNM) 1797: Trinidad captured by Sir Ralph 1958: islands join Federation of West Indies Abercromby’s British fleet 1960: Trinidad campus of University of the West 1801: massive slave uprising in Tobago quelled Indies (UWI) established 1806: first Chinese workers imported to Trinidad 1962: islands leave Federation, gain 1807: slave trading abolished in British empire independence from Britain 1808: great fire of Port of Spain destroys much 1963: Hurricane Flora devastates Tobago of the city 1970: “Black Power” uprising in Trinidad 1814: Tobago ceded to British under Treaty of 1974: Garfield Blackman (Ras Shorty I) releases Paris first soca album 1816: six companies of free blacks from the 1976: new republican constitution; president United States (mainly Baptist) settle in replaces British monarch as head of state southern Trinidad, and one in Tobago 1980: Tobago House of Assembly restored; 1834-8: slavery abolished – slaves apprenticed islands enjoy economic prosperity (1834) then emancipated (1838) 1983: oil prices fall, crippling local economy 1834-1917: indentured labour imported to Trinidad 1990: unsuccessful coup attempt by Afro- from other islands, China, Portugal, Syria, Islamist Jamaat al Muslimeen Lebanon, and India 1857: first oil well drilled in Trinidad near Pitch now Lake 2007: Caribbean Airlines replaces BWIA as 1858-84: Trinidad governor criminalises Carnival national carrier; record oil prices fuel activities economic boom 1881: Canboulay Riots in Trinidad 2008: economic slowdown Opposite page Design by Shurnel at T&T Fashion Week 2009 (Edison Boodoosingh) 16 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  13. 13. Events CalENdar 17
  14. 14. January • 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 February • Carnival countdown begins • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn and Bon Accord • Tobago Carnival Caravan • 12: Soca Monarch finals (Trinidad) • 13: Panorama finals (Trinidad) Top Carnival Queens semi-finals: Kadaffi Romney plays “Manzandaba In Flight” from “Africa – • 14: Dimanche Gras (Trinidad); Her People, Her Glory, Her Tears” (CaféMoka) Above An Orisha elder and devotee perform a ritual in honour of Oshun at the Ojubo Orisa Chinese New Year (year of the Omolu shrine in Chaguanas (Mariamma Kambon) Tiger) 18 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  15. 15. of the colonial ban on the June “Shouter” Baptist faith, a fusion of African and Christian • Ganga Dhaara River Festival: traditions, with performances honours the descent of and religious observances India’s sacred River Ganges (Blanchisseuse, Trinidad) • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): April Lambeau, Bloody Bay and • 2–5 (with public holidays): Roxborough long Easter weekend features • Junior Tobago Heritage hot cross buns, horse racing Festival at the Santa Rosa track in • St Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Arima (Trinidad), and goat Festival (Tobago) and crab races in Tobago’s Mt • 3 (public holiday): Corpus Pleasant (Monday) and Buccoo Christi celebrated by Catholics (Tuesday) in honour of the sacramental • Jazz Artists on the Greens Eucharist (Pigeon Point, Tobago) • 4–12: WeBeat Festival (St • Pan Jazz in de Yard James, Trinidad) • Harvest Festival (Tobago): • 19 (public holiday): Labour Goodwood Day, marked by trade union • Jazz on the Beach (Tobago) marches and gatherings in • Pan in the 21st Century Fyzabad (Trinidad) • Point Fortin Borough Day (Trinidad): full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan and parties July • Tobago Jazz Experience • Charlotteville Fisherman’s • 11th Annual Trade & Fest (Tobago) • 15–16: Carnival Monday and Investment Convention • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Tuesday (Trinidad) Castara and Black Rock • Carnival cooldowns • Jazz on the Hill (Trinidad) • 19–21: Tobago Carnival • Prime Minister’s Charity Golf Regatta (Tobago) May Classic (Tobago) • Beacon Cycling Series • Soca for Summer and other • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): big concerts featuring local and March Whim, Delaford, Belle Garden international stars • Argyle Falls cool down and Mason Hall • South Caribbean Open Golf (Tobago) • La Divina Pastora (Siparia, Tournament (Tobago) • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): Trinidad) • Steelpan Music Festival Mt St George, Mason Hall, • Maypole Festival (Tobago) (Trinidad) Roxborough, Bon Accord • 29: Rainbow Cup • Tobago Games • Missionary Love Feast in International Triathlon • Tobago Heritage Festival Moriah on Palm Sunday (Tobago) • Tourism Adventure Park or T&T • 20: Jazz Artists on the Greens • Taste Trinidad & Tobago: Road Trip: displays, tours, and (St Augustine, Trinidad) celebrates the islands’ culinary live entertainment • Phagwa (Holi) dexterity • 30–Aug 4: 11th Great Fête • Tobago International Game • Tobago Culinary Festival Weekend (Tobago) Fishing Tournament • Rapsofest: the Power of the • 4–7: T&T Golf Open Oral Traditions • Turtle nesting season begins • Trinidad & Tobago Fashion August • 30 (public holiday): Spiritual Week • 1 (public holiday): “Shouter” Baptist Liberation • 30 (public holiday): Indian Emancipation Day Day commemorates the end Arrival Day • Arima Borough Day: J’ouvert, 19
  16. 16. steelpan, calypso and parties the goddess of love, fertility runs through December marking the borough’s and inland waters (Trinidad) anniversary (Trinidad) • 24: Santa Rosa Festival • San Fernando Jazz Festival • Best Village competition (Arima, Trinidad) (Trinidad) begins, runs through November • 31 (public holiday): • Tobago Fest: parties, street • Carib Great Race Independence Day parade and J’ouvert • Castara Fisherman’s Fête • Tobago International Gospel (Tobago) Festival • Harvest Festival (Tobago): September • Trinidad & Tobago Film Speyside • Eid-ul-Fitr (public holiday) Festival • Muhtadi International • International Open Water • Turtle watching season ends Drumming Festival: started Swim • 24 (public holiday): Republic in Canada by Trinidad- • Horse racing classics in Day born Muhtadi Thomas, and Arima: Royal Oak Derby, Santa highlights different cultures Rosa Oaks and Caribbean around the call of the drums Champion Stakes (Trinidad) October (Tobago) • Panyard Sensations • 14: Amerindian Heritage • Osun River Festival: marked • Parang season: begins with Day, where descendants from by Orisa devotees celebrating competition at month’s end, around the region gather for 20 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010 20 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2010
  17. 17. Opposite page Celebrating Divali in Felicity (Edison Boodoosingh) Above Part of the annual Independence Day Parade (Mariamma Kambon) a smoke ceremony and street • Harvest Festivals (Tobago): recreation day procession in Arima (Trinidad) Plymouth, Black Rock, Les • Paramin Parang Festival • Blue Food Festival (Tobago) Coteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, (Trinidad) • Coast-2-Coast Adventure Montgomery • Tobago Flying Colours: annual Race (Trinidad) • Pan is Beautiful XII kite flying festival in Plymouth • European Film Festival • Scarborough Cup Golf • Hosay (Trinidad) (Trinidad) Tournament (Tobago) • 25 (public holiday): Christmas • Harvest Festival (Tobago): • Tobago Christmas Caravan Day Patience Hill • University of the West Indies • 26 (public holiday): Boxing • National Tourism Week International Half Marathon Day, marked with horse racing • Ramleela festival (Trinidad) and parties • Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad) Many dates are set just before December the events are scheduled, and • Assembly Day: Tobago House are always subject to change or November of Assembly celebrates cancellation. For more, see our • Divali (public holiday) and awards Tobagonians’ Festivals sections under each • Best Village competition achievements, along with island, and visit us online at finals exhibitions and a sports and 21
  18. 18. TObagO The Arnos Vale waterwheel in Tobago (1857) (Mark Meredith) 23
  19. 19. TObagO hOSpiTaliTy Tobago offers something for everyone. From Where to start the busy southwest to the rainforests of the • Abraham Realty (Scarborough): 639-3325, interior, you can find comfortable, quality lodging. • Belleviste Apartments (Crown Point): 639-9351, You can choose a luxury or budget hotel, • Blue Haven Hotel a beach resort, an elegant villa, a self- (Scarborough): 660-7400, catering apartment, a homely guesthouse, • Blue Waters Inn (Speyside): or a simple cottage in a quiet fishing 660-2583, village. Most choices offer airport transfers • Crown Point Beach Hotel and visitor activities including tours led by (Crown Point): 639-8781, www.crownpointbeachhotel. experienced nature guides. com arounD crown poinT THeMeD HoliDays price & availabiliTy Hotels and resorts are thick on There are lodgings geared to Tobago is working to extend its the ground in Crown Point, near specific interests, whether you’re accommodation options. Two the airport, including Blue Haven, on a diving trip (try the Blue new large hotels are in the works, Crown Point Hotel and Tropikist. Waters Inn in Speyside), a golfing including the island’s first five-star There are self-catering apartments holiday (luxurious villas like Sans facility at Culloden Reef. at Belleviste and Store Bay Holiday Souci will help you rest up before Until then, make sure you book Resort, and stunning villas like teeing off), or an escape into ahead for traditionally popular those at Stonehaven, Seahorse Inn nature (try the Footprints Eco times of the year such as Easter, and Plantation Beach Villas a little Resort). Carnival, the Jazz festival and way up the coast. holiday weekends. 24 Discover Tobago 2010
  20. 20. • Footprints Eco Resort (Golden Lane): 660-0416, • Ocean Point Resort (Lowlands): 639-0973, • Plantation Beach Villas (Black Rock): 639-9377, • Seahorse Inn (Black Rock): 639-0686, • Store Bay Holiday Resort (Crown Point): 639- 8810, • Tropikist Beach Hotel (Crown Point): 639-8512, Crown Point Beach Hotel Tel: (868) 639-8781/3 • Fax: (868) 639-8731 • Villa Sans Souci (Lowlands): 639-3325, E-mail: • Villas at Stonehaven Set on seven acres of beautifully landscaped (Black Rock): 639-0361, grounds overlooking Store Bay, we offer ocean view accommodation with kitchenette. The Chart House poolside restaurant and Sundowners bar cater for your entire food planTaTion beacH villas and beverage requirements. Recreational The Caribbean sea, a beautiful beach, 6 facilities include tennis courts, table tennis, luxurious villas, a grove of trees. Ideal for shuffleboard and free internet facilities for families, weddings and reunions. We assure you our guests. From our grounds you can walk a taste of paradise. down steps that lead to Store Bay Beach.
  21. 21. muSiC and the arts Once, Tobago was strictly a place to relax and unwind. Not any more. The entertainment landscape has been expanding, and Tobago is attracting international acts and patrons Veteran calypsonian Winston Bailey (The Mighty Shadow) performs as a special guest at Dimanche Gras, 2009 (Mark Lyndersay) 29
  22. 22. bars & clubs For chilling out after sunset, there are plenty of bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants that offer good drinks, live performances, tasty food and good company. For happy hours, try Sundowners Bar with its sunset views of Store Bay, or the Pavilion Restaurant and Seahorse Inn which both offer exquisite views of Stonehaven Bay. Sports bars like the snazzy folk perforMance new Bar Code in Scarborough The Itsy Bitsy Folk Theatre presents dinner theatre several (639-CODE, www.barcodetobago. Tuesdays during the year. The dance and music communities com) are an emerging format (particularly the drummers) are quite vibrant on the island: in Tobago. Here you can enjoy many groups meet regularly every week for practice, and guest an array of signature drinks and at various events. These are also the groups who take the stage local or international dishes, at the Tobago Heritage Festival in July – not to be missed if you while taking in a seaside view. really want to know Tobago. You can shoot some pool 30 Discover Tobago 2010
  23. 23. afterwards, catch one of the cineMas aficionados descending on the sports games on their big-screen There is one cinema in island for the annual jazz festival. TV, or enjoy a live performance. Scarborough, and a multiplex While the clubs are really cinema at the new Gulf City visual arTs pumping on the weekends, some – Lowlands Mall. There is a small but impressive especially in the Crown Point area visual arts community in – present mid-week entertainment, Music Tobago. Artists like Luise Kimme with local bands, drummers, Tobago is staging big music (639-0257, www.luisekimme. dance groups and theme nights. concerts these days, often com) and Martin and Rachael In season, Golden Star presents featuring Jamaican dancehall or Superville (owners of The Art variety shows and the Scouting for reggae singers – more choices on Gallery) have impressive studios Talent competition (followed by DJ the entertainment menu. with original artwork on display music and dancing). Not that music is confined or for sale. The Tobago Museum Friday and Saturday are big to big events. Bars, clubs, hotels (639-3970) at Fort King George nights at The Shade nightclub, and restaurants feature local in Scarborough exhibits local art. while Tobago’s other club, The performers as regular and rotating Other well-known artists include Deep, is open every night. And of headliners, with theme nights Jim Armstrong, Kevin Ayoung- course, you can’t forget “Sunday reserved for hip-hop, jazz, Latin, Julien, Edward Hernandez, David School” every Sunday night at reggae, R&B, and of course Knott, and Earl Manswell. Buccoo Village, where both tourists calypso, soca and steelpan music. and locals gather along the streets April is jazz month, with for much more, visit of the village to enjoy local food, local, regional and international us online at www. steel band music, and popular DJs. jazz (and non-jazz) talent and Opposite page (top) Folk Fiesta Heritage dancer doing the belè (Oswin Browne) Opposite page (bottom) Tambrin drums are warmed by the fire which gives them their unique sound (Oswin Browne) 31
  24. 24. Buccoo Bay (Mark Meredith) 32 Discover Tobago 2010
  25. 25. Beauty and ThE bEaCh Tobago is truly a beach-lover’s paradise. Here are some of our favourites. 33
  26. 26. Around Crown Point food stalls, changing rooms grange beacH (aka THe wall): Just past the Mt pigeon poinT: Tobago’s canoe bay: Tobago’s Irvine Golf Course, this is an ideal most famous beach. Protected calmest and shallowest bathing beach for swimming by Buccoo Reef, the calm waters beach, perfect for young families. make it ideal for families. Great Rarely crowded, with excellent sToneHaven bay: for watersports enthusiasts; facilities including bar and magnificent, rugged beach with some glass-bottom boat tours beachfront cabanas. Entrance fee good facilities start from here. Entrance fee MT irvine: a pair of Leeward coast sTore bay: extremely beaches offering excellent popular (and busy) beach for facilities, snorkelling and surfing casTara: stunning, quiet both locals and visitors. Great for (in season). The Mt Irvine Beach and unspoilt beach in a friendly swimming, and snorkelling under Hotel side offers refreshments and fishing village, with calm water coral cliffs at southern end. Glass- beach amenities. Snorkelling gear, and fine golden sand. Enjoy the bottom boat tours leave from canoes and hobie cats can be sight of fishermen bringing in their here. Excellent craft shopping, hired onsite nets (“pulling seine”) or bread baked in old-fashioned dirt ovens. Excellent facilities including a restaurant, stores and craft stalls. Accommodation nearby englisHMan’s bay: quiet and secluded crescent- shaped bay, hidden by trees. Its deep, clear waters offer good swimming and snorkelling. Craft shopping and restaurant onsite culloDen beacH: good snorkelling. Follow the signs to Footprints Eco Resort king peTer’s bay: quiet, calm bay with dark sand. Good snorkelling and spear fishing parlaTuvier: fishing village with a tranquil beach and a few snackettes blooDy bay: secluded, breezy beach with clear blue waters, nothing at all like its name! Man o’ war bay: main beach near Charlotteville, ideal for swimming. Accommodation nearby piraTe’s bay: stunning and unspoilt beach with crystal- clear water and a fabulous view. Accessed via half-mile long dirt track, or by sea 34 Discover Tobago 2010
  27. 27. Windward coast bacoleT bay: used as a location in the 1960s Swiss Family Robinson film, this black-sand beach is popular with surfers bellevue bay: accessed off the Belle Garden Bay Road junction, the waters here are calm by windward-side standards king’s bay: picturesque long stretch with calm water and good facilities. Fresh fish on sale; fisherman “pull seine” in the evenings speysiDe: Tobago’s dive capital. Speyside and Blue Waters beaches both offer tranquillity and great snorkelling; bE iN ThE kNOW… the offshore reef is within swimming distance. Glass- Lifeguards are typically on duty 9am–5pm or 10am–6pm bottom boat trips to Angel Reef, where available, but not at all beaches. Red flags indicate Goat Island and Little Tobago unsafe bathing areas start here. Watersports facilities, accommodation and restaurants Permits are required both for camping and for turtle-watching abound on the nation’s beaches. Contact a reputable tour guide, your hotel, or the Forestry Division to make arrangements for much more, visit us online at www. Tropical sun can quickly give light skins a bad burn, even through cloud, so use your sunscreen From top Store Bay, Crown Point (Mark Meredith), Carnival visitor Tomas Mikuzis from Miami relaxing in Tobago after enjoying his first Carnival (Peter Sheppard) Opposite page Pigeon Point, Tobago (Peter Sheppard) 35
  28. 28. lET’S EaT OuT As in every culture, food and festivity go hand in hand in Tobago. 36 Discover Tobago 2010
  29. 29. Many of Tobago’s good restaurants take advantage of the island’s exquisite landscape. Breathtaking hillside or ocean views, waterwheels and sugar mills can all be part of the dining experience. Most restaurants are in the island’s touristy southwestern tip, Scarborough and the northeast. Roadside eateries abound, serving home-style Tobagonian dishes, while trendy sports bars offer their own cocktails of food, drink, and entertainment. No matter where you eat, you’re unlikely to go wrong if you choose fresh seafood, Tobago’s signature crab-and- dumpling, or freshly squeezed tropical juices. And Tobago’s snacks and desserts will indulge any sweet tooth. Where to start www.crownpointbeachhotel. entertainment at peak times com of year. 639-0686, www. • Bar Code Sports Bar & Grill • Cocoa House Restaurant (Scarborough): this stylish & Bar (Golden Lane): 660- new sports bar is located 0416, www.footprints-resort. right at the Scarborough port, com giving you relaxing views of • Sea Horse Inn Restaurant the ships and ferries coming & Bar (Black Rock): featured and going. Enjoy a range of on the UK’s Richard & Judy signature drinks and local and show (GMTV) and the Travel international dishes (including Channel, there’s a little a local staple, fish broth); something for any palette shoot some pool; watch big – from seafood to steaks, sports games on their big- local creole to international sHore THings screen TV; or rock to the beat and fusion. Enjoy beautiful 25 Milford Road, Lambeau. of their live music acts. 639- oceanside breezes and views T: 635-1072 CODE, www.barcodetobago. of Stonehaven beach, where Delightful seaside verandah com giant leatherbacks come dining for brunches, lunches • Blue Waters Inn Restaurant ashore March–August. Sip and teas in a setting of (Speyside): 660-2583, www. delicious cocktails at the Caribbean craft and rhythm. bar, or dive in to a delicious Mon-Fri 10am–6pm, Sat • Chart House Restaurant 3-course meal under 8am–4pm. (Crown Point): 639-8781, the stars. There’s nightly Above A selection of herbs, seasonings and vegetables used in local cooking (Giancarlo Lalsingh) Opposite page This local creation of sliced baigan (melongene) topped with sliced onion, fresh tomato, cheese and local herbs is a tasty appetiser (Marc Seyon/Very Caribbean Limited – 37
  30. 30. Taste of Tobago… sauce with lime, cucumber, balls, sugar cake, cashew pepper and onion cake, cassava pone, coconut Baked pig: the whole pig is sweetbread, black cake, ice cooked in the earth, most often Curried crab ‘n dumpling: cream and desserts flavoured at the Saraka (Salaka) Feast Tobago’s signature; delicious with fruit, coconut and even during the Tobago Heritage and extremely filling! Guinness … how many pounds Festival have you gained? Oil down: breadfruit and meat Blue food: any ground provision boiled down with coconut milk Tom tom: cooked half-ripe or root vegetable (dasheen, plantain pounded in a mortar, eddoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, Pacro water: broth made with making a kind of pudding et al) chiton or “sea cockroach” (said to have aphrodisiac properties) Yabba: thick soup with Bush tea: brewed from herbs dumpling, fish, pigtail, potato, and plants like graterwood, Squash: drink made from lime breadfruit, cassava, dasheen, trumpet, bois canot, lemon and lemon juice green banana and anything grass, lime bud and fever grass else the chef feels moved to Sweets: toolum, guava cheese, include. Other popular soups Conch souse: large sea snails pawpaw balls, shaddock are sancoche, cowheel and fish boiled and served cold in a salty candy, tamarind balls, benne broth Below Fried samosas stuffed with meat or vegetables have been adopted into the local cuisine of Trinidad and are often served as appetisers or party snacks. (© Marc Seyon/Very Caribbean Limited - 38 Discover Tobago 2010
  31. 31. Bon Accord Lagoon (Oswin Browne) Small island, big advENTurE Tobago has been voted the world’s top eco-tourism destination (World Travel Awards, 2003). Fertile and pristine, and blessed with continental biodiversity from the time when Tobago (and Trinidad) were joined to the South American mainland, Tobago is home to a wealth of ecosystems. It brims with activities and adventures to satisfy the most active eco-explorer – and there’s plenty to interest the more laid-back nature lover too. 39
  32. 32. World-renowned biodiversity For centuries, Tobago’s unique worth has been appreciated and protected, on both land and sea. Tobago’s central mountain range (rising to 876m/1,890ft) encompasses the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere, which became a reserve in 1776. In 1973, Buccoo Reef was designated a nationally protected marine area. The Buccoo Reef/Bon Accord Lagoon Complex is the island’s first Ramsar Site, recognised as a wetland of international importance. It embraces the ancient inshore coral reef system on the leeward coast and the Bon Accord mangrove swamps and seagrass beds, where the rarely seen green sea turtle may be found. Here are some of our favourite eco adventures. Eco adventures on land Trails: hiking, mountain biking and horseback trails carry you into the heart of the island. The most frequented hiking area is the Main Ridge forest, easily accessibly by the Gilpin and Niplig trails. Biking enthusiasts can opt for easy trails, like those passing through the boardwalk around the Lowlands area, or extreme mountain trails that can be reached only on foot – all offer spectacular vistas. Guides are recommended or required waTerfalls: experienced guides can escort you through the rainforest or to the 3-tiered Argyle Falls near Roxborough. Visitors to Rainbow Waterfall can experience local cultivation techniques while literally sharing in the fruits of their labour Tobago cocoa esTaTe: a working cocoa plantation and heritage park, where visitors can participate in the fermentation and drying processes. Once considered a dying art, these techniques are being revitalised for the first time since Hurricane Flora decimated Tobago’s cocoa crops in 1963 grafTon caleDonia wilDlife birD sancTuary: formerly a cocoa plantation, it is now a nature centre complete with winding trails frequented by the ‘king of the woods’, or mot mot. Twice daily feedings guarantee excellent bird sightings offsHore islanDs: superlative places for bird watching. The imposing frigate birds seen circling high above the ocean roost on St Giles. Rare red-billed tropic birds nest December–July on Little Tobago aDvenTure naTure reserve: a 12-acre estate in Arnos Vale shelters many wild birds. The prolific flora attract butterflies, and there are established organic orchards including mango and citrus TurTle waTcHing: one of Tobago’s best-known nature activities is watching the ancient nesting ritual of the sea turtles (March–August). 40 Discover Tobago 2010
  33. 33. Although five species of marine turtles are either native to or migratory to Tobago, the most common are the giant leatherback, hawksbill and green. All (and their eggs) are legally protected. Leatherbacks come ashore primarily in Black Rock, while the coral reefs of the northeast welcome hawksbills. Greens can be found near seagrass beds around the island Eco adventures at sea glass-boTToM boaT Tours: one of the most popular marine activities, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. A tour of Buccoo Reef includes the intriguingly named Nylon Pool, and the other-worldly Coral Gardens replete with staghorn and star coral, sea fans and other octocorals. Speyside visitors have a chance to see the world’s largest brain coral Above A newly hatched turtle makes a dash across Grafton Beach Tobago for the safety of the sea (Giancarlo Lalsingh) Below Gilpin Trail, one of many in Tobago’s Main Ridge (Oswin Browne) 41
  34. 34. snorkelling & Diving: available island-wide bE iN ThE kNOW… for every level of expertise. Drift • Permits are needed for some locations and activities (like snorkelling and diving in coastal camping and turtle-watching), but any reputable guide or areas minimises damage to tour operator will arrange these the living reefs. In addition to an assortment of tropical fish, • Don’t attempt a long hike or eco adventure without a in November–June huge manta reputable, certified guide: it’s easy to get lost or have an rays glide silently alongside the accident undersea visitor • Snakebites and scorpion stings are rare; the biggest waTersporTs: enjoy kite natural danger is the Portuguese Man-o’-War (vinegar surfing, kayaking, and jet skiing: is good if you get stung), and the sap and fruit of the popular spots are Pigeon Point, manchineel tree (most common on beaches). Seek local Mt Irvine and Charlotteville. For advice on whether these are present traditional surfboarding, Mt Irvine and Grange Bay are exceptional; • Wear long trousers for lengthy bush treks and never wear and the wind is just right for kite open-toed sandals. Comfortable shoes with good grip are surfing at Little Rockly Bay. There recommended are chartered boats that sail up the coast serving refreshment in a • Take a little knapsack with a change of clothes, socks and wonderful Caribbean atmosphere something to eat, stored in a waterproof bag. If you carry a camera that’s not waterproof, you’ll want to keep it here gaMe fisHing: for those too who prefer catching fish to swimming alongside them, the • Avoid wearing black: it attracts mosquitoes and if you’re in T&T Game Fishing Association the open, soaks up the heat has six fishing tournaments scheduled for 2010. For two • When turtle watching, do not use flash photography, touch years running, blue marlin or otherwise disturb nesting turtles, as this can cause them over 800lbs have been caught severe distress here. Environmentally sound techniques are employed; a • Please keep Tobago clean: don’t discard your rubbish in catch and release programme waterways and in the outdoors ensures that non-champion sized catches are tagged and returned Whatever your pleasure, you are far more likely to run short to the sea. Tobago’s peak fishing of time than of things to do in Tobago; perhaps this is why so season runs November–May many visitors return, year after year. Opposite page A cocrico (Ortalis ruficauda), the national bird of Tobago, Grafton Bird Sancuary, Tobago (Giancarlo Lalsingh) 42 Discover Tobago 2010
  35. 35. Where to start • Footprints Eco Resort (Golden Lane): 660-0416, • Frankie’s Tours & Rentals (Mt Irvine): 631-0369, • Ocean Experience (Crown Point): 631-8430, A world of diversity Tobago has an incredible degree of biodiversity for its small size. Its • Plantation Beach Watersports abundance of flora and fauna include: (Bon Accord): 639-SAIL, • 210 recorded bird species • 133 species of butterflies (including the impressive blue emperor) • 25 species of snake (none of them poisonous) • Sherman’s Auto Rentals & • 17 species of bats Ground Tours • 14 species of frog (Lambeau): 639-2292, • 12 species of mammals • 5 species of marine turtles (including the endangered giant leatherback) for more, visit us online • 6 species of lizard at www.discovertobago. com 43
  36. 36. buSiNESS braNChES OuT Tobago’s economy is almost equally divided between the public sector and tourism, and the global economic climate, including a new travel tax implemented in the UK, has significantly impacted the tourism industry. The Airports Authority tallied international visitor air arrivals to Tobago at 56,517 for 2008, down 15% from 66,266 in 2007. Tobago has also suffered from inflationary pressures over the last few years, particularly in the area of food prices. While the tourism industry is expected to recover and rebound strongly after the downturn, economic diversification is not only desirable but necessary. To this end, the much- publicised Cove Eco-Industrial Estate and Business Park (CEIDP), brainchild of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), is nearing completion. Promoting light industry, CEIDP will accommodate knowledge-based industry including information technology, light manufacturing, agro- processing and export as well as selected downstream activities related to natural gas. It will also Where to start house a receiving/metering facility for natural gas from Trinidad. Cove Eco-Industrial & Business Park: Tobago House of Assembly Investment is encouraged (Scarborough): 631-2683, through various tax holidays, Tobago Hotel & Tourism Association (Carnbee): 639-9543, www. incentives and exemptions, including those on import duty. Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce: Tobago Division Additional incentives apply to the (Scarborough): 639-2669, export-processing zone. Potential Trinidad & Tobago Entertainment Company: 624-0514, www. investors are invited to apply for space in the business park Trinidad & Tobago Film Company: 625-FILM (3456), www. and can contact Vernie Shield, Chairman, Tobago Division of the T&T Chamber of Commerce, for for much more, visit us online at www. information concerning investment in Tobago. 44 Discover Tobago 2010
  37. 37. Above Goat racing at Buccoo (Oswin Browne) Opposite page Unit Trust building, Scarborough (Oswin Browne) ThE FESTivE SpiriT Tobago stages a major festival or event every few months and mini- festivals every month. It’s a wonder there’s time to rest. Here are some of the biggest. 45
  38. 38. HarvesT & fisHMerMan’s fesTivals There are Sunday harvest festivals in one of the island’s villages every month, where villagers share food and drink and communal celebration. Fisherman’s festivals take place in the coastal villages during the year, mainly on St Peter’s Day (June 29). Both events begin with church services in the morning and end with eating, drinking, and partying in the night! carnival Tobagonians enjoy a Carnival season that is more laid back than the sister isle’s, and focuses more on the theatrical and folk elements of Carnival. Most play traditional mud mas (said to be therapeutic for the skin) – which of course necessitates an ocean swim afterwards. The THA’s Inter-department Queen and Calypso Show, and the Roxborough Afro-Queen and Windward Calypso Show, are staple seasonal events. The legend of Gang Gang Sarah It’s a story that has been passed down for generations. Gang Gang Sarah was a wise witch (or, depending on who you ask, a soucouyant – a noctural bloodsucking creature of local folklore that can turn itself into a ball of fire) who flew from Africa to Tobago centuries ago in search of her family. In her old age, after her husband’s death, she climbed a giant silk cotton tree (sacred in many indigenous religions) hoping to fly back to her homeland. But having eaten local salt she was unable to fly, and fell to her death. The “Witch’s Grave” marks where she fell. goaT & crab racing At Easter time, only Friday and Monday are official holidays, but Easter Tuesday is not really a day for work in Tobago: everyone heads to Buccoo for the Family Day and Goat and Crab Races. There is special training for the goat ‘jockeys’, and a track has been constructed especially for this race; even Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson has taken part. The Festival has been hosted in Buccoo for nearly 80 years, and in fact is so nice it’s done twice: first from Easter Sunday to the following Tuesday, and then again for the Heritage Festival mid-year. Jazz fesTival April’s Tobago Jazz Experience replaced the Plymouth Jazz Festival in 2009. While it still has international headliners as part of the show, like its predecessor, the new focus is more on local, regional, and “world music” artists. A few shows are free, and there is a Caravan feature which takes some performances to different villages around Tobago. Tobago culinary fesTival Produced each May by the Tourism Department of the THA, this free international culinary event invites you to sample dishes from around the world, and especially those native to Tobago, all in the beautiful and relaxed environment of Pigeon Point. 46 Discover Tobago 2010
  39. 39. FESTival TradiTiONS Moriah Wedding: signature Tobago Heritage Festival event, featuring groom in stovepipe hat and tailcoat and bride with trousseau on head, processing slowly with the distinctive three-step “brush back” Tambrin: quintessential Tobagonian music, driven by three shallow goatskin tambrin drums (high pitched cutter, roller, and boom bass), fiddle, and steel triangle. Accompanies social events Reel, Jig and Saraka: indigenous dances from Pembroke, with roots in West African rituals invoking the ancestors, and accompanied by tambrin music. Libations are offered at the beginning of reels. Saraka feast held in Pembroke during Tobago Heritage Festival Speech bands: Tobago Carnival tradition, featuring cast of costumed characters speechifying in rhyme. Left A belè dancer performs during the visit of HRH the Prince of Wales to Tobago (Giancarlo Lalsingh) Right Royal Sweet Fingers, the most popular tambrin band in Tobago, warm their tambrins over an open flame (Oswin Browne) 47
  40. 40. Below The Great Race takes place at greaT feTe & carib greaT race the end of August (Martin Farinha) Opposite page Tobago’s new The Great Race (August) is a major event that draws Trinidadians to Tobago Lowlands Mall in droves. First held in 1969, this 84-mile speed-boat race from Trinidad’s Gulf of Paria to Crown Point 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 in the morning, and the first boats normally arrive at about 9am on the beach. 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. HeriTage fesTival sees the dasheen plant – all of The Heritage Festival (July) is it – used to prepare all kinds of the premier cultural event on the mouth-watering dishes, including island, with a new theme every bread, cookies, lasagne, and year. Each village produces an even ice-cream. The festival takes event showcasing the island’s place in the countryside amidst unique mores and traditions in the lush green forest of the Main dance, music, cuisine, story- Ridge, and includes a culinary telling, drama and more. The competition, a cultural show, a festival serves not only as an mini zoo and sometimes a queen entertainment event, but a way show. of teaching and passing on communal values and customs. for a full listing of annual events and blue fooD fesTival public holidays, visit the This October event brings the calendar section of this whole island to Bloody Bay on book. and for much more, the northwest coast. A truly visit us online at www. unique culinary experience, it 48 Discover Tobago 2010
  41. 41. a NEW lEvEl of shopping in Tobago Tobagonian ingenuity ensures that your shopping experience here will be unique. Rustic or elegant, utilitarian or ornamental, there is truly something for everyone’s taste and shopping list (including yours!). 49