Discover Trinidad & Tobago Travel Guide 2013


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Discover Trinidad & Tobago Travel Guide 2013

  1. 1. Vacation Family Quality Service Trinidad & Tobago Inter-Island Ferry Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Service Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad &Trinidad & r-Ir-I y Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Service INTER - IS r-Ir-I y Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Service INTER - IS r-Ir-Issllandandllandll y Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Servicey Service llandandllandllllandandllandllandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandandand y Servicey Service andandandandandandandandandand T andand & andand & andand T INTER - ISL A TRRRTRTAAARARRARRAR NNANA S N S N POPOP RORO TTTRTR AAATATTATTAT TTTATAATAATA IIITIT OOOIOI NNNONO T& T INTER - ISL A ND TRAN SPORTATION CO . LTD Quality ServiceQuality ServiceQuality ServiceQuality Service FamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamilyFamily
  2. 2. Production team Managing Editor Caroline Taylor Consulting Editor Jeremy Taylor Assistant Editors Bridget van Dongen, Desirée Seebaran Editorial & Design Assistant Marissa Rodriguez Design & layout Bridget van Dongen, Kevon Webster Sales Denise Chin Production Joanne Mendes, Jacqueline Smith General Manager Halcyon Salazar Cover Our national bird, the scarlet ibis. Photo by G Lalsingh Printers Caribbean Print Technologies A publication of Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. (MEP) 6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago T: (868) 622-3821 / 5813 / 6138 F: (868) 628-0639 E: W: Connect with us online on: Blog: © 2013 Media & Editorial Projects (MEP) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior written consent of the publisher. Contents Welcome 3 About Trinidad & Tobago How to get here 6 Travel tips 7 Out and about 8 T&T in a nutshell 11 World-class Trinbagonians 12 Time capsule: how did we get here? 13 What’s going on? Festivals and events in 2013 14 Doing business with T&T 28 T&T Specialities Arts & culture: rhythm of a people 32 Nature’s bounty: turtles, diving & hiking 36 The shopping challenge 40 Play hard: the sporting life 44 Tying the knot 49 In Trinidad Where to stay? 50 Dining out 60 Fieldwork: where to go, what to see? 66 Take a “wine” 76 Liming on the avenue 80 I want to buy a house here 84 Beach bumming in Trinidad 85 In Tobago Where to stay? 90 Owning your piece of paradise 97 Tobago by night: food, drink and play 98 Tobago by day: where to go, what to see? 100 Life’s a beach 108 Maps Trinidad 116 Port of Spain 118 Northeast Trinidad 120 Northwest Trinidad 121 Central Trinidad 122 San Fernando 124 South Trinidad 126 Tobago 127 Scarborough 128 Index 129
  3. 3. Welcome If you’re visiting Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), or planning to, you’ve made a good decision – congratulations! Discover Trinidad & Tobago is here to help you make the most of a visit, no matter what your priority is – baking on a picture-perfect beach, diving in clear blue water, experiencing the frenzy of Carnival, or patiently watching the turtles nesting on the coast. Our two islands are very different in character. Tobago is quiet, peaceful, blessed with wonderful beaches and waters; Trinidad is larger, faster-paced, more industrialised, festive and celebratory. Two different experiences to immerse yourself in. Or of course you can have both. How to use this guide p The first section of Discover gives you the hard facts you’ll need to understand our country and to get around (pages 6-31) p The second section contains snapshots of some aspects of national life – arts and entertainment, shopping, sport, the environment (pages 32–49) p The third section zooms in on Trinidad, to help you decide where to stay, how to navigate the island’s food and restaurants, the things to see and places to visit, the Carnival, the beaches, and after-dark entertainment and diversions (pages 50–87) p The fourth section does the same for Tobago (pages 88–115) p At the back of the book you’ll find detailed maps of both islands and the main urban centres, showing the location of places mentioned in the text (pages 116– 132), and an index to help you navigate the magazine About Discover p Published regularly since 1991, Discover Trinidad & Tobago appears towards the end of each year, in time to debut at the annual WorldTravelMarket in London p It is distributed free to dozens of local outlets in both islands, and is used for tourism marketing p It is available online at, where you’ll also find additional material and updates to the current issue p You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook. com/discovertnt and Twitter @meppublishers Pinkpouitreesatsunrise StePhenJayPhotograPhy Standards & feedback p The tourism authorities run an annual inspection programme called Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC) (see A special TTTIC logo is used to identify approved hotels and tourism operators p Advertising in Discover is open to anybody, but the publication of an advertisement does not imply editorial endorsement, quality assurance, or TTTIC approval p Every effort is made to ensure that information is correct at press time. But things change swiftly, so we can make no guarantees about ongoing accuracy
  4. 4. Experience the amazing sights and sounds of Trinidad’s Carnival or let the beauty of Tobago’s romance and serenity leave you breathless. It all happens right here… Email: Trinidad:; Tobago: Germany:; United States: Canada:; United Kingdom: Scandinavia:; India: Visit us • Contact us at: (868) 675 7034/669 5196 Email: Trinidad:; Tobago: Germany:; United States: Canada:; United Kingdom: Scandinavia:; India: Visit us • Contact us at: (868) 675 7034/669 5196 and my dream wedding... And swam in the waters of life... Today I floated over the streets...
  5. 5. 6 trinidad&tobago How to get here Scheduled carriers p Aeropostal, American Airlines, Avior, British Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Condor, Continental, Copa, LIAT, Monarch, Surinam Airways, Virgin Atlantic p Check travel agents for current charter flights TIP: Fly carbon neutral: most airlines allow you to offset carbon dioxide emissions from your flight Major international gateways p Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Toronto, London Airports p Trinidad: Piarco International Airport (27km/17 miles from Port of Spain) p Tobago: ANR Robinson International Airport (10km/7 miles from Scarborough) entering t&t p You will need to show a passport valid for three months beyond your intended stay p Non-residents must have documentation for return or onward travel and a local address p Visas are generally not required for visits up to 30 days, but double-check with your airline or travel agent before leaving Arriving by air Unless you are being met privately, take an authorised taxi from the airport to your destination, confirming the fare in advance (a list of fares is displayed in the arrivals area). If in doubt, check the taxi dispatcher. Authorised private taxis have licence plates beginning with “H” (for “Hire”), and are not metered. Arriving by sea (yachts & sailing boats) p Arriving yachts should have a clearance certificate from the last port of call, and the vessel’s registration certificate (or authorisation for use) p In Trinidad, check in with Customs & Immigration at CrewsInn in Chaguaramas p In Tobago, check in with Customs & Immigration in Scarborough or Charlotteville p Chaguaramas in Trinidad is the hub of yachting activity, with sheltered anchorage maintained by the Yachting Association and strings of maintenance and repair yards, marinas and essential services p There are no official anchorage sites in Tobago, but Mount Irvine Bay, Grafton Beach, Store Bay and Englishman’s Bay are popular. On the southeast coast, Anse Bateau is a good anchorage and fuelling point Cruise ships p Several cruise lines visit Trinidad & Tobago; most depart from Miami between November and April p They include Fred Olsen, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America, Oceania, P&O, Princess, Saga Travel, Seabourn, Sea Dream, Silversea and Thomson
  6. 6. Travel tips Money matters p Money: ABMs (ATMs) and credit/debit cards are routinely used p Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar (TT$); US$1= approximately TT$6.4 (floating exchange rate) p Taxes: 10% room tax + 10% service at hotels; 15% VAT (value added tax) on most goods and services Media p Press: there are three daily national newspapers (Express, Guardian and Newsday), several weeklies and one tri-weekly; Tobago is served by the Tobago News p Radio: over 30 FM stations, two AM stations p Television: 12 local stations (some are available only via cable or on one island); cable and satellite; most hotels and guesthouses provide foreign cable channels Driving p Driving is on the left. Seatbelts are required by law p Speed limits: Trinidad 80kph (50mph) on highways, 55kph (34mph) in settled areas; Tobago 50kph (32mph) p Driving permits: visitors can drive for up to 90 days on a valid foreign/international licence Utilities p Electricity: 115v/230v, 60Hz p Water: tap water is safe to drink (boil to be doubly sure); bottled water is widely available p Mail: TTPost operates the national mail service; FedEx, DHL, UPS and others provide courier service Land of the hummingbird Trinidad’s Amerindian name was Iere, which translates as “land of the hummingbird”. Or maybe it simply meant “island”. Whichever it is, more than 20 species of these magnificent tiny birds are found in Trinidad. Telecommunications p Country phone code: 868 p Landline telephones: provided by Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) and FLOW. Prepaid international phone cards are available p Mobile telephones: bmobile (TSTT) and Digicel operate on GSM networks; prepaid SIM cards are available for unlocked phones neaL youn g Public wi-fi p In Trinidad, Piarco Airport and Rituals coffee shops provide public wi-fi p TSTT’s BZone offers 4G wi-fi hotspots at the Chaguaramas Boardwalk, Maracas Bay, the Trinidad Ferry Terminal, Ariapita Avenue, the Cruise Ship Complex, West Mall, Grand Bazaar, Long Circular Mall, Trincity Mall and Gulf City Mall p In Tobago, Bzone offers wi-fi at the Ferry Terminal, Store Bay, Pigeon Point, and Gulf City Mall (Lowlands)
  7. 7. 8 trinidad&tobago Out and about p There are basically five ways of getting around in Trinidad & Tobago: private taxis; public taxis and maxi-taxis (both plying specific routes); buses; a rented car; or with a tour operator p Bicycles are hardly ever used except for sports: roads are generally unsafe for cyclists p There are ferries between Trinidad and Tobago, and between Port of Spain and San Fernando p 20-minute flights between Trinidad and Tobago operate several times a day Private taxis p Available at the airports and the larger hotels; otherwise summoned by phone Public taxis p “Route taxis” (cars registered as taxis, bearing “H” plates) work specific routes, picking up and dropping off passengers anywhere along the way p They have designated stands in Port of Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas and other main towns p Maxi-taxis (12- to 25-seat mini-buses) operate in the same way, mostly connecting urban centres (e.g. Port of Spain to San Fernando) or servicing suburbs (e.g. Port of Spain to Chaguaramas, Diego Martin, Petit Valley, Maraval, St Ann’s, Cascade) p Maxi-taxis carry brightly-coloured bands according to their area: Black: San Fernando–Princes Town, with connection to Mayaro Blue: Tobago Brown: San Fernando–La Romaine–Siparia–Point Fortin Green: Port of Spain (City Gate)–Curepe–Chaguanas (lower Southern Main Road southbound; Eleanor Street northbound)–San Fernando (King’s Wharf) Red: Port of Spain–Arima, connections to Blanchisseuse, and to Matelot via Sangre Grande Yellow: Port of Spain–Diego Martin–Chaguaramas Buses p Buses operate from Port of Spain (City Gate) to most towns, sometimes on an “express” basis, and from hubs in Chaguanas, San Fernando (King’s Wharf) and Scarborough (Sangster’s Hill) p Check the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) at for current schedules and fares Car rentals & tour operators Local and international rental companies operate in both islands and at both airports See Where to go, what to see under both Tobago and Trinidad, or check the Yellow Pages for good places to start. Bush Bath Suffering from a string of colds, minor accidents and general bad luck? You may be told to take a bush bath, which is a special brew of potent herbs and plants (depending on what’s wrong with you) steeped in water. It is said to speed your recovery, wash off the “maljo” (bad luck, curses, whatever), and bring good fortune.
  8. 8. Ferries Trinidad/Tobago p Daily inter-island car and passenger ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough is operated by the Port Authority of Trinidad & Tobago ( p The T&T Express and T&T Spirit do the trip in about two and a half hours each way p Fares: TT$100 return; children 3–11 years half price; children under three and senior citizens (65 and over) travel free (but must present ID) p Tickets can be bought from the ferry terminals, and from some TT Post offices and travel agencies p Passenger vehicle charge is TT$600 p You can find the ferry schedule at Port of Spain/San Fernando p The ferry water taxi service between Trinidad’s two cities is operated by the National Infrastructure Development Company ( p The trip takes about 45 minutes each way p TT$15 one-way (at press time – check website for current rates). Infants under the age of one travel free; senior citizens (65 and over) travel free on off-peak sailings Trinidad/Venezuela p Pier 1 in Chaguaramas operates a weekly ferry on Wednesdays to Venezuela for TT$1,380 round-trip plus departure tax. Call 634-4426 for information Airbridge p Caribbean Airlines operates several flights a day between Trinidad and Tobago (625-7200, p Both airports have separate departure/arrival areas for airbridge passengers The ferry T&T Spirit arrives in Scarborough our national flag Red (for fire, vitality of the sun); white (for water, purity and the power of the ocean); black (for the earth, one people united on the islands’ soil).
  9. 9. 10 trinidad&tobago Safety Like much of the planet, there is crime in Trinidad & Tobago, and driving habits can be … eccentric. Some practical tips: On the road p Drive with care; practise defensive driving p Always lock your vehicle p If you suspect you are being followed, raise an alarm and head to the nearest police station p Do not leave car windows down when stopping, especially at night Property p Leave valuables (jewellery, money, passports, credit cards, etc.) at home or well concealed p Lock your room/house door p Keep windows closed at night and when you go out p Do not wear extravagant jewellery p Do not leave handbags or wallets lying around p Do not leave laptop computers or other valuables in your car p Do not use an ABM if you sense someone suspicious nearby; if your card gets stuck, call the bank immediately Personal security p Move in company whenever possible p Always be aware of your surroundings p Do not venture into deserted or unfamiliar areas alone p Do not engage in any altercations with strangers emergencies p Ambulance (public hospitals): 811 p EMS (emergency medical services): 624-4343 (north Trinidad), 653- 4343 (south/central Trinidad), 639-4444 (Tobago) p Hyperbaric medical facility (decompression chamber, Roxborough, Tobago): 660-4369 p Fire: 990 p Office of Disaster Preparedness: 640-1285 (Trinidad), 660-7489 (Tobago) p Police: in Trinidad, 999 or 555; in Tobago, 639-2520 or 639-5590 Contacts p Division of Tourism, Tobago: 639-2125, p Immigration Division: 623-6569 (Trinidad), 639-2681 (Tobago), (click on Divisions and Agencies) p Tobago House of Assembly: 639-3421, p Tourism Development Company: 675-7034,, p Tourist information offices: 639-0509 (ANR Robinson Airport, Tobago); 635-0934 (Cruise Ship Complex, Tobago); 669-5196 (Piarco Airport, Trinidad) p Trinidad & Tobago government online:
  10. 10. T&T in a nutshell Capital p National capital: Port of Spain p Tobago capital: Scarborough Climate p Tropical p Dry season from January to May; wet season from June to December p The islands are just south of the main hurricane belt p Temperature range: 72–95°F (22–35°C); average 83°F (29°C) Highest points p Trinidad: El Cerro del Aripo (940m/3,085ft) p Tobago: Main Ridge (549m/1,860ft) Location & coordinates p 11°N, 61°W p Tobago and Trinidad are 33km (21 miles) apart p Trinidad is 10km (7 miles) from Venezuela at the nearest point Size p Trinidad: 4,828km2 (1,864 sq miles); 105 x 80km (65 x 50 miles) p Tobago: 300km2 (116 sq miles); 48 x 16km (30 x 10 miles) Time zone p Atlantic Standard Time year-round (GMT/UTC -4, EST +1) Government p Trinidad & Tobago is a parliamentary democracy; elections have been held regularly since self-government in 1956 p President: George Maxwell Richards p Prime Minister: Kamla Persad-Bissessar p Ruling party: the People’s Partnership (a four-party coalition) p Official opposition party: People’s National Movement p Opposition leader: Dr Keith Rowley Official language p English Population p 1.2 million (2010 census) p 40% are of Indian descent, 37.5% of African descent, 21.7% mixed p 26% are Roman Catholic, 31.6% are Christians of other denominations (including Anglican), 22.5% are Hindu, 5.8% are Muslim p Port of Spain has a population of 45,000; metropolitan areas combined nearly 270,000 people; Tobago has a population of 50,000 (Scarborough 17,000 people) our national anthem Forged from the love of liberty in the fires of hope and prayer With boundless faith in our destiny we solemnly declare: Side by side we stand, islands of the blue Caribbean Sea This, our native land, we pledge our lives to thee. Here every creed and race finds an equal place, and may God bless our Nation (x2) Patrick Castagne, 1962
  11. 11. 12 trinidad&tobago CourteSy heather he adLey World-class Trinbagonians p AtoBoldon:four-time Olympicmedallist(2silver,2 bronzefor100mand200m, 1996and2000),and200m WorldChampionshipgold medallist(1997).Afrequent athleticscommentatorforthe USnetwork,NBC p GeorgeBovellIII:our firstOlympicmedallistin swimming:bronzein200m individualmedley(2004) p Janelle“Penny” Commissiong:MissUniverse 1977,thefirstblackwomanto winthetitle p HaselyCrawford:ourfirst Olympicgoldmedallist, winningthemen’s100m(1976) p WendyFitzwilliam:Miss Universe1998(thesecond blackwomantowinthetitle) p HeatherHeadley:Trinidad- bornTonyAward-andGrammy- winningsingerandactress(Aida, TheBodyguard) p GeoffreyHolder:Trinidad- born,TonyAwardwinner (1975),theatreandfilmactor, dancer,painter,director,and designer.Bestknownonfilmfor rolesinDr.Dolittle(1967)and Annie(1982) p CLRJames(1901–1989): prolificwriter,historian,cultural andpoliticalfigure,leadingvoice inthePan-Africanistmovement p GiselleLaRonde:MissWorld 1986(beatingAmericanactress HalleBerryintosixthplace) p BrianLara:multiplerecord- breakingcricketerwithtwo Testrecords(375notoutin 1994and400notoutin2004); highestfirstclassscore(501not out,1994);leadingrunscorerin Testcricket p PeterMinshall:Carnival designer,multiplewinnerof BandoftheYeartitles,winner ofT&T’sfirstEmmyAwardfor costuming(openingceremony, 2002WinterOlympics) p NickiMinaj:Trinidad-born, US-basedPlatinumhip-hop star.Theonlyartisttohaveseven singlesontheBillboardHot100 atthesametime,andthefirst femaleartisttobeincludedin MTV’sAnnualHottestMCList p VS(SirVidia)Naipaul: Trinidad-bornwriter,knighted (1990),NobelPrizefor Literature(2000) p ClaudeNoel:from Roxborough,Tobago,ourfirst boxingWorldChampion(WBA WorldLightweighttitle,1981) p BillyOcean:bornLeslie CharlesinTrinidad, internationalpopstarwithhits like“CaribbeanQueen”(1984) p ArthurNRRobinson:former PresidentandPrimeMinister, launchedUNGeneralAssembly resolutiontoestablishthe InternationalCriminalCourt p KeshornWalcott:oursecond Olympicgoldmedallist(javelin 2012),theyoungesteverwinner ofthateventandthefirstnon- Europeantowinitin60years p DrEricWilliams(1911–81): Caribbeanhistorianandour firstChiefMinisterandPrime Minister,servingfrom1956 untilhisdeathin1981 p DwightYorke:Tobago-born footballstarandleadingstriker (ManchesterUnited,Aston Villa).AkeyplayerinTrinidad& Tobago’sWorldCupcampaign in2006–hecaptainedthe nationalteamtoanimpressive debutattheWorldCupfinals inGermany(T&Twasthe smallestcountryevertoqualify) our coat of arms Features the national birds – scarlet ibis (Trinidad) and cocrico (Tobago) – and the hummingbird; the three ships of Columbus and the peaks of the Trinity Hills; the fruited coconut palm native to Tobago; and the national motto, “Together we aspire, together we achieve”.
  12. 12. How did we get here? Pre-Columbian era Both islands are intermittently joined to South America; both are settled by Amerindians moving north from the South American coast from around 5000 BC. Separate colonies Trinidad 1498 Christopher Columbus lands in Trinidad on 31 July, claims the island for Spain and names it after the Holy Trinity 1757 Port of Spain becomes Trinidad’s capital 1797 Trinidad has been a neglected Spanish colony for nearly 300 years; the Amerindians have been decimated; now French Catholic planters have started to arrive, African slaves are being imported, and swift development is under way 1797 Trinidad is captured by the British 1838 The end of slavery in the British empire; labour recruited from other islands, China, Portugal, Lebanon, Syria 1845 Britain starts importing indentured labourers from India – 144,000 arrive by 1917 1857 The first oil well drilled near the Pitch Lake 1858 The British start trying to suppress Carnival Tobago 1498 Leaving the Gulf of Paria, Columbus sights Tobago and names it Magdalena 1627 European powers (and pirates) will squabble over Tobago till the late 18th century 1768 First Assembly established; Scarborough becomes the capital 1776 First forest reserve in the western hemisphere is designated in Tobago 1781 French seize Tobago and make it a sugar colony 1814 Tobago ceded to Britain under Treaty of Paris 1838 The end of slavery in the British empire 1884 The sugar industry collapses 1889 Tobago comes under Trinidad control; its Assembly is disbanded one nation 1898 Tobago is merged with Trinidad as one country 1908 Commercial oil production begins in Trinidad 1912 First commercial calypso recording (New York) 1925 The first national elections (limited franchise) 1930s The first steelpans are evolving 1940 National airline BWIA commences operations 1956 Internal self-government 1960 Trinidad campus of University of the West Indies (UWI) established 1962 Independence from Britain 1963 Hurricane Flora devastates Tobago 1970 “Black Power” uprising in Trinidad 1976 T&T becomes a republic within the Commonwealth 1980 Tobago House of Assembly restored 1990 Unsuccessful coup attempt by Afro- Islamist group Jamaat al Muslimeen 2007 Caribbean Airlines replaces BWIA as national carrier (buys Air Jamaica in 2010) 2010 New coalition government under first female Prime Minister
  13. 13. 14 trinidad&tobago What’s going on? Festivals and events 2013 Note: under each month, events are listed in the following order and colour coded: (a) national events with dates, (b) national events with no dates, (c) Tobago events with or without dates, (d) Trinidad events with or without dates. Public holidays are in red January p 1: New Year’s Day (public holiday) p Carnival season begins p Sailing season begins p Tobago: harvest festivals in Pembroke, Parlatuvier, Spring Garden, Plymouth p Tobago: Carnival Caravan February p Carnival countdown begins p 10: Chinese New Year (year of the snake) p 11–12: Carnival Monday and Tuesday p Carnival cool-downs p Tobago: harvest festivals in Hope, Adelphi, Buccoo, Franklyn, Bon Accord p Tobago: Carnival Regatta p Trinidad: Chutney Soca Monarch finals p Trinidad, 8: Soca Monarch finals p Trinidad, 9: Panorama finals p Trinidad, 10: Dimanche Gras Carnival in tobago Carnival frenzy is centred on Trinidad: Tobago enjoys a more laid-back season focusing on theatrical and folk elements. There’s traditional “mud mas”, and “pretty mas” with 30-odd costumed bands. Staple events: Carnival Caravan, Soca Spree, Junior Carnival (Roxborough), Soca Under the Samaan Tree, Tobago House of Assembly’s Interdepartmental Queen and Calypso Show, Roxborough Afro Queen, Windward Calypso Show. ediSonBoodooSingh
  14. 14. our national flower The chaconia (“wild poinsettia” or “pride of Trinidad & Tobago”), a flaming red forest flower. There is a push to have the double chaconia declared the national flower as it is unique to Trinidad and is a more spectacular flower than the single bract blossom. In fact, all cultivations (worldwide) of the double chaconia can be traced back to one single plant which was discovered alongside the Blanchisseuse road in 1957. carolramjohn Phagwa (holi) The Hindu spring festival features traditional folksongs (chowtals), dholak drums, and liberal splashings of the colourful vegetable dyes known as abir (or abeer). The Children’s Phagwa celebration at Tunapuna Hindu School is especially popular. March p Turtle nesting season begins p 29: Good Friday (public holiday) p 30: Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day (public holiday) p 31: Easter Sunday p Tobago: harvest festivals in Mount St George, Mason Hall, Roxborough, Bon Accord p Tobago, 24: Missionary Love Feast in Moriah p Tobago: International Game Fishing Tournament p Trinidad & Tobago Golf Open p Trinidad, 16: Jazz Artists on the Greens (St Augustine) p Trinidad, 27: Phagwa (Holi) Shouters The Spiritual Shouter Baptists draw on both African and Christian spiritual traditions. They were banned for 34 years during the colonial era (perhaps all that hand-clapping, bell-ringing, drum-beating and chanting unnerved the authorities). Liberation Day on 30 March commemorates the lifting of the ban in 1951. ChriSanderSon
  15. 15. 16 trinidad&tobago April p 1: Easter Monday (public holiday) p Tobago, 20–28: Tobago Jazz Experience p Tobago: Harvest Festival in Goodwood p Trinidad: Pan in the 21st Century p Trinidad, 25–28: Bocas Lit Fest, the Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival (of which we are a proud sponsor) p Trinidad, 30: Point Fortin Borough Day, a full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan and parties easter Apart from its religious significance, the long Easter weekend involves hot cross buns, horse racing at the Santa Rosa track in Arima (Trinidad), and goat and crab races in Tobago – Mount Pleasant on Monday, Buccoo on Tuesday. Started almost 80 years ago, racing goats was Tobago’s answer to the colonial tradition of racing horses. There are stables for the goats, trainers, live commentators, and jockeys who run alongside their prized animals, whips in hand. Cafémoka Jazz The Tobago Jazz Experience at Pigeon Point showcases calypso, soca, chutney and Latin as well as jazz. Events are spread across the island. Previous headliners have included Chaka Khan, Erykah Badu, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Sting, George Benson and Diana Ross.
  16. 16. May p 30: Indian Arrival Day (public holiday) p Tobago Harvest Festivals in Whim, Delaford, Belle Garden, Mason Hall p Tobago: Rainbow Cup International Triathlon p Tobago: Maypole Festival p Trinidad, 8: La Divina Pastora (Siparia) La divina Pastora A Catholic feast and procession in which Hindus join. The 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 same statue as Siparee Kay Mai. a riannthompson indian arrival day Marks the landing of the first Indian indentured workers in Trinidad in 1845, after the abolition of slavery. Some communities re-enact the event; outstanding members of the Indo-Trinidadian community are recognised; there is music and dancing. The Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas is a focal point. edisonboodoosingh
  17. 17. 18 June p 3: Corpus Christi (public holiday) p 19: Labour Day (public holiday): trade union marches and rally in Fyzabad p 29: St Peter’s Day Fisherman’s Festival p Tobago: Harvest Festivals in Lambeau, Bloody Bay, Roxborough p Tobago: Junior Tobago Heritage Festival p Tobago: Culinary Festival, Pigeon Point Heritage Park p Trinidad: We Beat Festival (St James: vintage calypso, talent shows, steelband music and parade) p Trinidad: Ganga Dhaara River Festival, Blanchisseuse (honours the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges) p Trinidad, 12–15: Trade & Investment Convention Corpus Christi In honour of the sacramental Eucharist, Roman Catholics process through Port of Spain in a public profession of faith, a practice dating back to Spanish colonial days. For many, it is a propitious day for planting crops, since rain is supposed to fall (and often does). trinidad&tobago the tobago heritage festival Aims to preserve the cultural traditions of Tobago. Various villages present their own dances, food and customs, including the “Old-time Tobago Wedding” in Moriah, “Folk Tales and Superstitions” in Golden Lane, and “Games We Used to Play”. July p 2014 Carnival band launches (July–September) p Tobago: Charlotteville Fisherman’s Fest p Tobago: Harvest Festivals in Castara and Black Rock p Tobago: Prime Minister’s Charity Golf Classic p Tobago: Underwater Carnival p Tobago: Tobago Games p Tobago, 12 July–1 August: Tobago Heritage Festival p Tobago, 25–28: Great Fête Weekend (five-day beach party at Store Bay, Pigeon Point and Mt Irvine) p Trinidad: Tourism Park (displays, tours, live entertainment, hosted by the Tourism Development Company) p Trinidad: Jazz on the Hill (San Fernando) p Trinidad: J’ouvert in July p Trinidad: Steelpan Music Festival tobago underwater Carnival A week-long dive festival, with daily diving excursions, underwater photography seminars hosted by industry professionals, marine biology, equipment care, and fish identification. Plus a Discover Scuba initiative for kids and non-divers.
  18. 18. 19 Printer’sAd
  19. 19. trinidad&tobago emancipation day Marks the end of slavery in the British empire in 1838. The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village in Port of Spain features lectures, exhibitions of African art, a trade exposition and live entertainment. There is a street procession – canboulay or kanbulé – through the streets of Port of Spain. Independence Day 2012: Trinidad & Tobago celebrated 50 years of Independence 20 August p 1: Emancipation Day (public holiday) p 8: Eid-ul-Fitr (public holiday) p The Carib Great Race (84-mile speedboat race from Trinidad to Tobago, with big beach party) p Best Village Competition begins (continues through November) p 31: Independence Day (public holiday): marks Trinidad & Tobago’s independence from Britain in 1962: parade, national awards, fireworks, huge concerts, Cycling Classic p Tobago: Castara Fisherman’s Fête p Tobago: Harvest Festival in Speyside p Tobago: Muhtadi International Drumming Festival (highlights different cultures around the call of the drums) p Trinidad: Arima Borough Day (J’ouvert, steel pan, calypso, parties for Arima’s anniversary) p Trinidad: Osun River Festival (Orisa devotees celebrate the goddess of love, fertility and inland waters) p Trinidad: Santa Rosa Festival, Arima Santa rosa festival Month-long Amerindian/ Catholic festival 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, and ends after the feast day of St Rose on 23 August. A statue of Santa Rosa is carried through the streets in a procession of Trinidad’s Carib peoples, including the Carib Queen, and Roman Catholics.
  20. 20. eid-ul-fitr The Muslim festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim year, a period of prayer and fasting from dawn to dusk). Morning communal worship in mosques and large open spaces; alms giving and Salat, when people visit family and friends exchanging gifts and sweets. Sawine, a milk-based vermicelli dessert, is a holiday favourite. chrisanderson
  21. 21. 22 September p 18 September–1 October: trinidad+tobago film festival p 24: Republic Day (public holiday) p Beacon Cycling Series p Tobago: International Cycling Classic p Tobago: Tobago Fest (parties, street parade, J’ouvert) p Tobago: International Gospel Festival p Trinidad: Maracas Open Water Swim Classic p Trinidad: Derby Horse Racing Classic, Arima p Trinidad: Panyard Sessions p Trinidad: Parang season begins (continues through December) p Trinidad: San Fernando Jazz Festival trinidad+tobago film festival The second largest film festival in the region showcases Caribbean and diaspora drama, documentary, shorts and animated films, with workshops and educational programmes. republic day In 1976 Trinidad & Tobago adopted a new republican constitution, under which a President replaced the British Queen as head of state. Events include the Hyundai Open Water Classic at Maracas Bay (Trinidad) and the Republic Day Cycling Challenge and 5K Fun Run. trinidad&tobago Horse racing in Arima courtesyroberttaylor
  22. 22. October p Taste T&T (grassroots festival with community cooking competitions, plus an international event where the country’s best chefs demonstrate T&T’s haute cuisine) p National Tourism Week p Tobago: Blue Food Festival, L’Anse Fourmi/Bloody Bay recreation ground p Tobago: Harvest Festival in Patience Hill p Trinidad, 8–14: Amerindian Heritage Day (descendants of First Peoples from around the region gather for a smoke ceremony and street procession in Arima) p Trinidad: Coast-2-Coast Adventure Race p Trinidad: European Film Festival p Trinidad: Ramleela Festival p Trinidad: Steelpan & Jazz Festival tobago’s Blue food festival Promotes local root crops, especially dasheen, which can turn varying shades of blue and indigo when cooked. The expression “blue food” has become a catch-all name for all root crops, including sweet potato, cassava and yam. A blue food cooking competition is the highlight of the event. Skilled cooks vie for prizes for creating fine dishes from dasheen: bread, cookies, lasagne, even ice cream. There’s a cultural show, a mini zoo, and sometimes a queen show. ramleela In this impressive nine-day festival preceding Divali, parts of Hindu scripture concerning the life of Lord Rama are re-enacted with music and dance and an epic finale (see November). The best- known celebrations are in Couva and Felicity, in central Trinidad. Amerindian Heritage Day cafémoka
  23. 23. trinidad&tobago November p 3: Divali (public holiday) p Best Village competition finals (villages compete in various aspects of folk tradition, including food, storytelling, Carnival, dance, music, theatre, and the selection of a Best Village Queen, “La Reine Rivé”) p Tobago: Harvest Festivals in Plymouth, Black Rock, Les Coteaux, Moriah, Scarborough, Montgomery p Tobago: Scarborough Cup Golf Tournament p Tobago: Christmas Caravan p Trinidad: Pan is Beautiful divali Hindu festival that honours Mother Lakshmi (goddess of light, beauty, riches and love) and celebrates the return of Lord Rama from exile. Thousands of flickering deyas (tiny clay pots containing candle wicks) light his way. In the nine days leading up to Divali, Trinidadians of all ethnicities and religions visit the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas: the lighting of deyas at dusk is breathtaking. Divali in Felicity ariannthompson 24
  24. 24. trinidad&tobago December p Shopping frenzy p 25: Christmas Day (public holiday): p 26: Boxing Day (public holiday)(horse racing, parties) p Tobago: Flying Colours (kite flying festival, Plymouth) p Tobago: Assembly Day (the Tobago House of Assembly celebrates and rewards local achievements; exhibitions and a sports/recreation day) p Trinidad: Paramin Parang Festival p Trinidad: Hosay Festival and procession based on historic Islamic events Quick Tips p All dates and events are subject to change p Exact dates may not be set till nearer the event Hosay drummers stephenjayphotography hosay This originally Islamic festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hussain, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, and later murder of his brother Hassan. The lively three-night celebrations culminate in a procession of exquisitely made tadjahs (fanciful replicas of the tomb of Hussein) which are carried through the streets to the thunder of tassa drums; and are eventually cast into the sea. Popular venues for watching and joining Hosay activities are St James, Curepe, Tunapuna, Couva, and Cedros. Dates vary each year according to the moon. 26
  25. 25. 28 trinidad&tobago Doing business with T&T z kilian Cocoa Trinidad & Tobago’s fine flavour cocoa is some of the best in the world. It won first prize in the “spicy” category in the prestigious Salut du Chocolat in Paris in 2011. Entrepreneurs have been working on creating delicious, locally branded chocolate from cocoa grown right here. The Trinidad & Tobago economy is one of the strongest in the Caribbean, and the most industrialised, thanks to its own oil and natural gas. Petrochemicals, LNG, steel and various downstream industries are clustered at the Point Lisas industrialestateonthewestcoast, and other estates further south towardsLaBreaandPointFortin. Methanol Holdings Trinidad, at Point Lisas, is the world’s largest producer of methanol from a single plant. The energy sector is crucial to the national economy, but crude oil production has been declining inrecentyearsatanalarmingrate. In addition, the country is losing its major market for LNG, the United States, which is steadily turning into a net exporter rather than an importer, thanks largely to its shale gas. Not long ago, Trinidad&Tobagowassupplying 70% of US LNG imports. Trinidad & Tobago’s current emphasis, therefore, is on market diversification, refinery upgrading, a new generation of downstream industries, new investment, and an aggressive exploration programme to boost crude oil production, in deep as well as shallow water. There is also enthusiasm for becoming a knowledge-based economy and for boosting tourism. The Tamana InTech Park taking shape at Wallerfield in eastern Trinidad is envisaged as a state-of-the-art science and technology park targeting established and emerging companies in information & communication technology software development, high- tech manufacturing, and agro- processing. The state-owned company eTecK (Evolving TecKnologies) also manages 16 other more conventional industrial parks. Tourism has been hard hit by the global financial upheaval of recent years. One strategy has been to establish a conventions bureau to market Trinidad’s extensive conference and meetings capacity, while Tobago has seen the opening of a major new hotel, the Magdalena Grand, formerly the Tobago Hilton. Tobago depends heavily on tourism, the only other major employer being the public sector. But some serious diversification is under way in the shape of the Cove Eco-Industrial Estate and Business Park, designed to promote knowledge-based industries, light manufacturing, information technology, and selected intermediate goods processing.Itwillalsobethelocal terminal for a proposed natural gas pipeline to Barbados. Trinidad & Tobago provides several advantages to potential investors, even outside the energy sector; its location, as a sort of hinge between the Caribbean, South America and North America, and its trade agreements with Europe, Canada, the United States, Caricom, and parts of Central and South America.
  26. 26. It also claims the largest and newest conference infrastructureintheEnglish-speakingCaribbean;high- quality ICT infrastructure and telecommunications; a good track record with FDI; excellent and reliable accessfrommajorinternationalaviationhubs;bilateral investment and taxation treaties; no foreign exchange controls; and, for qualifying projects, exemption from VAT, customs duty and other taxes. (Not to mention a lifestyle that integrates laid-back island charm with a vibrant cultural landscape and a competitive and sophisticated business climate.) Quick tips p For information on property investment, see the Real Estate articles in both the Trinidad and Tobago sections p For information on tourism and investment, visit,,, or The Petrotrin refinery at Pointe-à–Pierre stephenjayphotography
  27. 27. The Trinidad & Tobago Convention Bureau (TTCB) offers a wide range of complimentary services that will take the hassle out of event planning and ensure an amazing experience for groups, including: • working with meeting planners to design innovative and unique itineraries, whether it be an eco- adventure, cultural extravaganza, or a little bit of everything T&T • liaising between planners and suppliers (hotels, tour operators, etc.) to negotiate rates • hosting site inspections for meeting planners considering a programme in T&T. Website: Email: Meeting facilities & amenities The Southern Caribbean’s leading business tourism destination, Port of Spain – the capital of Trinidad and Tobago – boasts the newest and largest conference facilities in the southern Caribbean. The city’s eight major event venues include the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, the modernised Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, and the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA). Overlooking the serene emerald waters of the Gulf of Paria, the Hyatt Regency Trinidad offers the best of Caribbean hospitality and international luxury with over 43,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, grand ballrooms, an exceptional business centre, a waterfront restaurant, rooftop pool and sundeck. Also boasting scenic views and top-notch technology is the recently upgraded Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, with 40,000 square feet of meeting space. Overlooking the lush Queen’s Park Savannah, the venue offers more than 400 rooms, including four presidential suites. There also exists a wide range of charming smaller properties for more intimate gatherings. In the tranquil sister isle of Tobago, the newly re-opened Magdalena Grand Beach Resort offers 178 deluxe ocean front king and double rooms plus 22 suites with private jacuzzis, all with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean from large terraces or balconies. The property also includes over 5500 square feet of meeting space. Island buzz Eat For the epicures at heart, come tantalise your taste buds on Trinidad’s restaurant district. Ariapita Avenue features a range of dining fare, from fine restaurants to intimate jazz lounges and swanky tropical spots. Drink Discover the world’s most expensive rum on a tour of the renowned Angostura Rum Distillery, which is also home to the popular Angostura Bitters. Be merry Known as “The Greatest Show on Earth”, Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is like no other. Enjoy rhythmic indigenous music, from soca to steelpan, or join the costumed parade. Outside of Carnival you can join a conga line and dance the night away while savouring steelpan music and exquisite local food at an authentic Trini Pan Lime. Trinidad and Tobago is incomparable in the Caribbean in its unsurpassed energy, diversity and distinctive cultural heritage. Enjoy a world of multi-ethnic festivals in Trinidad or come unwind in scenic Tobago and be mesmerised by its enchanting rainforests and pristine beaches. And for meeting planners seeking something exciting and new in the Caribbean, the Trinidad & Tobago Convention Bureau will work closely with you to plan the perfect programme. At Your Service! A D V E R T O R I A L TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Meetings and so much more!
  28. 28. 32 Rhythm of a people Despite our infamous fête culture, we don’t actually spend all our time jumping and “palancing”, a term invented by soca duo JW & Blaze to describe the total abandon with which Trinbagonians dance at Carnival time. There’s a rich and varied arts scene, for example, with enough theatre groups, fashion designers, writers, musicians, filmmakers, dance companies and visual artists to keep you busy and engaged every night of the week. Dance p Caribbean people being natural dancers, a dance performance might mean folk, ballet, jazz, modern, Indian, Latin, Chinese... p Some companies worth looking out for are the Cascade Festival Ballet, Metamorphosis, the Noble Douglas Dance Company, and Elle; some interesting smaller troupes also experiment with multi-media presentation p In the second half of the year, the Best Village competition keeps folk dance traditions alive in local communities p The Northwest Laventille Cultural Movement and the Shiv Shakti dance company are renowned for presenting African-based and traditional Indian dance fashion & jewellery p Trinidad & Tobago has a strong sense of style, so don’t be surprised to find very trendy fashion by designers like Heather Jones, Meiling, Claudia Pegus and Robert Young (The Cloth) p New fashion ideas are creeping into the Carnival too, e.g. through young designers Kathy and Karen Norman of K2K, who will launch an haute couture evening wear line in 2013 p Anya Ayoung-Chee, former Miss T&T Universe (and winner of Season 9 of the hit American television series Project Runway) has her own fashion line p And there’s lovely handcrafted jewellery from artists like Barbara Jardine, Chris Anderson and Gillian Bishop trinidad&tobago ediSonBoodooSingh
  29. 29. film & cinema p Trinidad & Tobago is quickly catching on to the possibilities of filmmaking, backed by a national film company p The best place to see recent work is the trinidad+tobago film festival in late September/ early October (it also screens local and diaspora films in local communities during the year) p That’s followed immediately by the European Film Festival (October), screening new and classic European movies p Meanwhile the trend for mainstream Hollywood titles is moving away from stand-alone screens towards multiplexes (MovieTowne in Port of Spain, Chaguanas and Tobago; Caribbean Cinemas 8 in Trincity) p The latest novelty is an IMAX cinema in St James, Port of Spain p Classic and independent films are screened by Campus Film Classics at the University of the West Indies Michael Mooleedhar (far right) directs a scene from his movie The Cool Boys CourteSymiChaeLmooLeedhar Music p The music that was invented and developed in Trinidad & Tobago – calypso, soca, steelpan (“pan”) – is best heard at Carnival time, though there are shows of one sort or another most months of the year p Especially interesting is the way the music has been evolving from local roots into various kinds of “world music”: look out for Mungal Patasar, Ella Andall, David Rudder, Maximus Dan, Orange Sky, 12theband, jointpop, 3canal, or recordings by the late André Tanker. Rock, pop, reggaeton, R&B, jazz, rapso, reggae and Indian-flavoured “chutney” are all part of the mix p Meanwhile both amateurs and professionals stage light classics, opera and musical theatre during the year, and there are some outstanding choral groups (the Marionettes, Love Movement, the Lydian Singers, Signal Hill, Jeunes Agape) p The University of the West Indies (UWI) has an industrious Festival Chorale, and a couple of amateur orchestras are taking shape. The UTT (University of Trinidad & Tobago) Musicians present free classical concerts at the huge National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain p Less susceptible to change is the Spanish-flavoured “parang” music (paranda) associated with Christmas
  30. 30. 34 trinidad&tobago Literature p A new generation of writers (Monique Roffey, Elizabeth Walcott- Hardy) is establishing itself alongside such veterans as VS Naipaul, Earl Lovelace, Michael Anthony and the late Sam Selvon p Bookshop chains (Nigel R Khan, RIK) have a presence in the shopping malls, and there are some fine independent bookshops like the Readers Bookshop near Long Circular Mall and Paper Based in the Hotel Normandie p The excellent National Library is on Abercromby Street in Port of Spain theatre p With several theatrical companies and venues, offerings vary from popular farces to lavish song and dance musicals (local, localised and foreign) or intimate solo shows and dramas. University departments also mount productions, while Lilliput presents children’s theatre. All are advertised in the daily newspapers. p The epic ritualised Hindu drama of Ramleela is staged in central Trinidad locations in the run-up to Divali. The annual Best Village competition is where many local actors and playwrights cut their teeth
  31. 31. Visual arts p Trinidad & Tobago has produced some distinguished visual artists, whose work is displayed in the seven- gallery National Museum and city art galleries, and a significant art market has developed p Key names include sculptors Ralph and the late Vera Baney, Edward Bowen, Leroy Clarke, Chris Cozier, Jackie Hinkson, Dermot Louison, Shastri Maharaj, Wendy Nanan, Lisa O’Connor, Irénée Shaw, Peter Sheppard and Sundiata p Work by earlier generations is highly valued (MP Alladin, Sybil Atteck, Pat Bishop, Isaiah Boodhoo, Jean- Michel Cazabon, Carlisle Chang, Boscoe Holder, Noel Vaucrosson) Quick tips p Check the daily papers for current performance and exhibition information 15’x6’ (painted on 15 2’x3’ canvas panels) “In my little world” by Peter Sheppard Acrylic on canvas 2009 (private collection in Barbados)
  32. 32. Turtles, diving & hiking trinidad&tobago Leatherback hatchling stephenbroadbridge Turtle watching Trinidad’s northeast and Tobago’s southwest coasts are among the world’s most important turtle nesting grounds. During nesting months (March–August), from mid-evening through early morning, female turtles – endangered leatherbacks as well as hawksbill, green and occasional loggerheads and olive ridleys – heave themselves out of the ocean and crawl up the beach. Laboriously they dig nests in the sand and deposit their eggs, carefully camouflaging the spot. Two months later, the eggs hatch, and the baby turtles make a dash for the sea; few survive the predators and make it to maturity. Trinidad’s Grande Rivière (the second largest leatherback nesting site in the world) and Matura are both popular sites and protected beaches. In Tobago, turtles frequent the beaches of the Leeward coast, especially Stonehaven and Courland (or Turtle) beaches. ancient visitors Trinidad and Tobago are among the most important leatherback nesting sites in the world, with about 18% of the total world population nesting here. Sadly, as few as one in a thousand baby sea turtles will survive long enough to return to T&T as an adult. 36
  33. 33. turtle tips p Permits are required: any good tour operator can arrange this. If you stay overnight nearby, hotels and guesthouses can usually help to obtain permits, and will wake you when there are sightings p Go with a guide, and give nesting turtles lots of space, especially during the digging and covering process. Do not touch or in any way disturb the turtles p 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. Do not pick up hatchlings or impede their progress to the sea p Don’t drive on nesting beaches, as vehicles can crush whole clutches of eggs hidden in the sand p The Turtle Village Trust is the umbrella body for 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 the places to start asking for more information Diving The islands’ extensive coral reefs, especially in Tobago, are a great draw for visitors and diving enthusiasts. Some are content with snorkelling, but naturally many want the thrill of scuba diving and exploring the submarine world. Blessed with nutrient-rich waters, Tobago enjoys a varied and abundant marine environment. Manta, eagle and sting rays are perennial attractions, 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. edwardmontserin
  34. 34. 38 The variety of dive types (wreck, drift and reef diving) and dive sites is among the best in the Caribbean. The major reef structures include the 10,000-year-old Buccoo Reef, Kilgwyn Flying Reef, Culloden Reef, Speyside (featuring the world’s largest brain coral), and Charlotteville Reef (home to manta rays from March to August). The most popular dive sites include Japanese Gardens, east of Goat Island; Black Jack Hole, east of Little Tobago; Book Ends, between Speyside and Little Tobago (best for advanced divers); and the wreck of MV Maverick off the west coast. In Trinidad, the best areas are off the Chaguaramas and Toco coasts. diving tips p 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 p Scuba diving opens up an exciting new world – but to appreciate it fully, a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) registered guide is recommended p Accredited dive operators in both Trinidad and Tobago offer courses for beginners, open water, advanced, rescue diver, drift diving, deep diving and wreck diving. The Tobago Underwater Carnival in July provides introductory courses p Both islands have accredited dive centres, e.g. in Chaguaramas, Charlotteville, Speyside, the Crown Point area and Arnos Vale p Average water temperature: 25–29°C/77–85°F p Average visibility: 24–37m/80–120ft; best visibility is January–August, especially May– July p Average depth: 18m/60ft; maximum depth 34m/110ft trinidad&tobago edwardmontSerin
  35. 35. Hiking & trekking p When outdoors, wear long trousers for lengthy bush treks, and never wear open-toed sandals; comfortable, water-proof shoes with good grip are recommended p For hiking, take a little knapsack with a change of clothes, socks and something to eat, stored in a waterproof bag. If you carry a camera that’s not waterproof, keep it here too p Avoid wearing black: it attracts mosquitoes and, if you’re in the open, soaks in the heat p Bring enough water to stay hydrated Quick tips p Please recycle: Ace, Carib Glass, Piranha, Recycling in Motion (RIM), It’s Up to Me nvironmental, and SWMCOL (Solid Waste Management Authority) process plastic, glass, aluminium, paper, cardboard and electronics (e-waste); some also sponsor receptacles around the islands, or will collect your recyclables p Please 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 tips & tricks p Use guides registered with the Trinidad & Tobago Incoming Tour Operators’ Association (TTITOA); they are professionally trained and have public liability insurance p Permits are needed for some locations and activities (e.g. camping, turtle- watching), but any reputable guide or tour operator can arrange these p Natural hazards are 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 present Icacos sunrise marCaBerdeen
  36. 36. 40 trinidad&tobago The shopping challenge For some, of course, this will not be a problem. But for the others … Shopping malls p There are five major shopping malls in Trinidad: The Falls at West Mall foand Long Circular Mall fpin the western suburbs of Port of Spain; Trincity Mall fqnear Piarco airport; Grand Bazaar (Valsayn) fr; and Gulf City (San Fernando) fs p While you will find branches of popular downtown stores there, the malls also house high-end stores you won’t find anywhere else p In Trinidad there are several smaller shopping plazas and mini-malls (e.g. Valsayn ftand Ellerslie gu Plazas, and the ever-popular Excellent City Centre gl in the heart of Port of Spain) p In Tobago, the main mall (and cineplex) is Gulf City Lowlands gm, not far from Scarborough Downtown In every major urban centre in Trinidad, non-mall shopping is focused on a few key streets: Frederick and Charlotte Streets (Port of Spain); High Street (San Fernando); Main Street (Chaguanas); Milford Road Esplanade and the Market at Carrington Street in Scarborough, Tobago. online Though relatively new, online shopping is gaining traction. So far, food, shoes, clothing, lingerie and accessories are the main items that can be bought from local sites. trade fairs Indian businessmen have been doing brisk business in Trinidad over the last decade with trade fairs where they sell clothing, jewellery, household products, foodstuff and furniture at bargain prices. The Falls at West Mall horaCePeterS Numbers in the text refer to the relevant map pages 116–128
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  38. 38. 42 trinidad&tobago Best buys Just in case you’re stumped for ideas, whether for yourself or as gifts to take home, here are some local suggestions. Art & craft p Wood carvings, handmade soaps, belts, handbags, shell jewellery, calabash art, sandals, sarongs, wooden sculptures and carvings, accessories in leather and other natural materials (from shopping plazas in downtown Port of Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas and Scarborough, from souvenir shops in the malls, and from sidewalk vendors) p Local craft (from hotel shops and beach vendors) p Paintings, sculptures and other art (from local art stores and galleries, and at studios like Luise Kimme’s Castle and The Art Gallery in Tobago) Books & magazines p Local fiction and non-fiction, and locally produced magazines, of which there are many (from the Readers Bookshop in St James, the RIK or Nigel R Khan bookstore chains, or Paper Based at the Hotel Normandie) Music p Local CDs and DVDs (though you might not think so from the radio, local music is thriving: in addition to calypso, steel pan, soca and chutney music, you will find local rock, hip-hop, gospel, reggae, choral and Indian music at most music stores) p You can download local music from and from iTunes
  39. 39. Clothes & fabrics p Inexpensive mass-market clothing from China and the USA (local boutiques) p Up-market clothing from Europe and the USA (higher-end boutiques) p Ethnic clothing from India and Africa p Designer fare from celebrated local designers (see Rhythm of a people for more information) p Hand-dyed fabrics and batiks, swimwear and sportswear p Indian fashion, accessories, fabrics, textiles, home décor, and jewellery (e.g. from the unique House of Jaipur in Woodbrook) p In Tobago, don’t miss Batiki Point at the “Sunday School” venue in Buccoo TV & film p DVDs of locally produced television series and films, including Carnival shows and parades Food & spirits p Pepper and other sauces, roti skins, pastelles, chocolate, seasonings, spices p Award-winning Trinidadian rum, spirits and bitters p HiLo and TruValu are the big grocery chains, as well as PennySavers in Tobago Jewellery p Hand-crafted jewellery, precious stones (specialist stores, sidewalk vendors) Souvenirs p Mini steel pans, mugs, key chains, T-shirts, figurines, music, Carnival dolls, handcrafted copper trinkets (Excellent Stores is a good place to start) You can buy clothes and souvenirs from small shops like this one in Tobago ariannthomPSon Quick tips p As in many other parts of the world, piracy is a thriving business, and does untold damage to local artists, musicians and writers, so please buy from bona fide businesses, and avoid anything that looks as if it might have been bootlegged p Please also avoid souvenirs made from endangered species or rare materials (like black coral or turtle shell)
  40. 40. 44 trinidad&tobago Horse riding p In Tobago, you can go horseback riding on some beaches, including Stonehaven, Grand Courland and Canoe Bays. There are woodland trails in the southern half of the island. Most hotels can make arrangements, and there is an office at Canoe Bay p In Trinidad, dressage and show jumping instruction is available at Bays & Greys Riding Centre (Santa Cruz), Jericoe Stables (St Ann’s), and Goodwin Heights (the 250-acre former coffee and cocoa estate of Margaret “Muffy” Auerbach in St Ann’s). For trail riding, contact Hidden Valley (Chaguaramas) or Bonanza Stud Farm (Arima) Play hard: the sporting life Sports are big in Trinidad & Tobago. Football (soccer) and cricket are national passions. Over the years, the islands have been well represented internationally in track and field, football, cricket, hockey, boxing, martial arts, swimming, motor sports and shooting. The local sporting calendar is packed with competitions. And if you’d like to join the action … Diving p Tobago is a prime dive location, with over 60 established dive sites (mainly around the northern tip) – shallow reef dives, deep diving, wreck diving and drift diving. Most dive operators offer introductory courses; there is a decompression chamber at Roxborough Medical Facility, 20 minutes’ drive from Speyside p Trinidad cannot match Tobago as a diving destination, but there is still activity all year. The best is around the islands off Chaguaramas, particularly Chacachacare, sheltered from the muddy waters of the Orinoco; parts of the north and west coasts are also good dive sites p On either island, dive with a PADI registered operator gyms & health clubs p Gyms are everywhere, especially at larger hotels and malls; many offer weekly, monthly and daily passes which allow visitors access to group exercise classes, aerobics, spin, etc.  p Yoga and Pilates are popular ways of pursuing health and wellness, as are some non-traditional activities like pole dancing r BoSma alien invasion Lionfish have been spreading across the Caribbean. Strikingly beautiful, they are predators with no natural enemies, and decimate juvenile fish species on our reefs. They were spotted for the first time in Tobago last year .
  41. 41. Kayaking p 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; so is the Nariva Swamp, where the Godineau River takes you through saltwater mangrove swamps and freshwater marshland p For sea kayaking, the Kayak Centre in Chaguaramas offers the sheltered waters of Williams Bay, and provides equipment p In Tobago, you can pick up kayaking tours and lessons at Man-o’-War Bay. Kayaks can be rented at some beaches, and at beach resorts like Grafton Bay Resort and Le Grand Courlan. Take extra care in the rainy season golf p Trinidad has three 18-hole courses, at St Andrew’s Golf Club in Moka, Millennium Lakes in Trincity, and the Pointe- à-Pierre Golf Club at the Petrotrin refinery near San Fernando. There are nine-hole courses at Brechin Castle, Usine Ste Madeleine and Chaguaramas p Tobago is served by two fine 18-hole golf courses at Mt Irvine Hotel and Tobago Plantations Sailing p Trinidad has one of the largest racing fleets in the Caribbean, and Chaguaramas is a major sailing hub. The racing season begins around November– December and continues till May–June p Dry season winds are stronger (northeast trade, consistent force 4–5), while in the wet season they tend to be lighter (1–3) p The Sailing Association hosts over a dozen races, including general handicap races where any boat can take part p Most of Trinidad’s north coast bays offer good daytime anchorage, but only professional captains should attempt the windward side p The Tobago Carnival Regatta (formerly Sail Week) is a popular annual event, not only for the sailing but for the partying which follows. It provides racing for varying levels, from the highest racing class to racer cruiser, cruiser and charter class p Some tour operators operate sightseeing sailboat tours and diving trips Tennis p There are public courts at King George V Park in St Clair, Trinidad, and at Store Bay, Tobago (reservations required). Courts can be rented by the hour at the Trinidad Country Club and some hotels. Courts at Tranquillity and Westmoorings require yearly membership p Play in the early morning or late afternoon if you want to avoid the scorching midday sun
  42. 42. Sport fishing p For sports fishing aficionados, Trinidad means tarpon. Onshore fishing in Trinidad is popular in Chaguaramas, Las Cuevas, Galera Point and the mouth of the Nariva River p 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) p Many highly prized pelagic species, such as blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, wahoo and dorado, patrol Tobago’s reef and shelf drop-offs; Charlotteville’s waters are particularly productive. There is also inshore, river, mudflat and fly fishing p The key offshore seasons are October– April for marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna and dorado; and May–September for barracuda, kingfish, bonito, and snapper p The two major competitions are 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: a 400kg (890lb) blue marlin was caught in the 2008 TTGFA tournament, setting a junior world record p The importance of conservation is recognised, so competitions and charters use the tag-and-release system trinidad&tobago lydenthomas Surfing p Trinidad’s north coast beaches provide favourable swells from November to March, though the wet season (and the occasional hurricane passing further north) can generate strong waves as well. But even in peak season, patience is needed, as surfing isn’t possible every day p Sans Souci, Las Cuevas, L’Anse Mitan, Grande Rivière, Roughside and Salybia are the most popular surfing spots p In March, the Surfing Association stages the CSN Sans Souci, the first event in the cross-Caribbean Carib Challenge Cup series. It also hosts the International Surf Festival in May, and national championships in July p In Tobago, Mt Irvine and Bacolet are major surfing spots that can generate perfectly shaped waves; board rentals and lessons are available 46
  43. 43. Spectator sports If you’d rather sit back and watch other people sweat, then you might like: Athletics The big local events are the annual Hampton Games at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain and the Southern Games at Guaracara Park, Pointe-à-Pierre. There are 45 athletics clubs across the country; the presiding body is the National Amateur Athletics Association Basketball The Jean Pierre Complex (Port of Spain) and the Sport & Physical Education Centre (St Augustine) are the main venues, with others in Maloney, Point Fortin and Pleasantville. The Super Ten (October–December) and the National Club Championship are major events. In Tobago, the venue is Shaw Park; 22 other hard courts are open for public use Body building Great entertainment for the mercilesscrowd,butparticipantsinthejuniorand senior championships take things very seriously Cricket The Twenty/20 format has reinvigorated cricket. The Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain is a beautiful venue for international Tests and One- Day Internationals, and has been the home of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club since 1896. Shaw Park is Tobago’s premier location. Trinidad is the home of master batsman and former West Indies captain Brian Lara Cycling Major events are the Beacon Cycling Series, the Tobago Cycling Classic, the Rainbow Cup Triathlon, West Indies vs the World, the Easter International Grand Prix and the National Championships. Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Savannah and the Arima Velodrome are popular venues Dragon boat racing A young sport which caught on in 2006; in 2011, the national team won several medals at the International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Tampa, watersports p Equipment rental and lessons in all manner of watersports – kitesurfing, parasailing, surfing, kayaking, waterskiing – are readily available at beaches across the country, especially in Tobago. Crown Point and Speyside are great locations p In late August, powerboats vie for supremacy on an 84-mile route from Trinidad to Tobago in the Carib Great Race lydenthomas The Carib Great Race
  44. 44. 48 trinidad&tobago Florida. Regattas have taken place in both Trinidad and Tobago, mainly around Chaguaramas and Pigeon Point Football Pretty much the national sport. There are male and female national teams (the Soca Warriors and Soca Princesses), plus professional and secondary school leagues and clubs for children. The Soca Warriors reached the finals of the World Cup in 2006 (T&T was the smallest nation ever to qualify). Matches are held at 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 Hiking & hashing Hiking is popular, especially guided weekend hikes to some of the island’s most breathtaking caves and waterfalls. The Port of Spain Hash House Harriers is a 100-strong bi- weekly event, with healthy attention to the social necessities Hockey The hockey year is split in two: an indoor season (September–January) and an outdoor season, on Tacarigua’s Astroturf in Trinidad and at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago (March–August) Horse racing Trinidad’s horse racing track is at Santa Rosa Park near Arima (with an AmTote betting system). Thoroughbreds pound the dirt most Saturdays and public holidays, totalling about 40 race days a year. Prestige events include New Year races, Derby Day, Diamond Stakes, Midsummer Classic, President’s Cup and the Santa Rosa Classic Martial arts Very popular now, especially in Trinidad: capoeira, kung fu, karate, bushido, aikido, judo, jujitsu, tai chi, 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. The full contact combat sport MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), aka cage fighting, used to be unregulated but is now an accepted item on the calendar. Caribbean Ultimate Fist Fighting (CUFF) has held a number of local events featuring international professionals Motor sports Rally Trinidad and Rally Tobago are the big events. The Rally Club (TTRC) has hosted legs of the Caribbean Speed Stages Rally Championship. Drag racing is popular, though it is yet to find a permanent base. Locations in south and central Trinidad include the popular Zig Zag and Indian Trail tracks in Couva. American autocross defensive driving competitions and karting events are held in the car park of the Santa Rosa race track Mountain biking Mountain Bike Magazine called Tobago the “mountain biker’s island paradise.” In Trinidad, Chaguaramas is ideal for beginners, but the Santa Cruz valley and Matura- to-Matelot stretch are also popular. Tobago provides great terrain for all levels. Muddy trails can be hazardous in the wet season. Unless you already know the terrain well, go with a guide LydenthomaS Motorcross
  45. 45. Tying the knot Want to get married in T&T? No problem. And if you need someone to plan your wedding, that’s no problem either. Wedding planners can organise part or all of your arrangements, including the actual ceremony. They can find the perfect venue and source anything from flowers and decorations to photographers and entertainers. A church wedding, a wedding on the beach, even an underwater wedding? An all-inclusive honeymoon package, an oceanside vista, accommodation for a hundred guests? Villa, hotel or resort for your honeymoon? Tobago in particular has locations and service providers to suit any couple’s needs. what you need to know p First, you must establish temporary residency in Trinidad & Tobago by scheduling any wedding activities no less than three full days after your arrival p Obtain a special marriage licence (US$55) at the Inland Revenue Department, with proof of identity (e.g. valid passport) and a valid return air ticket p If you are divorced or widowed, you must provide evidence of your single status, and show the relevant divorce decree or death certificate. Documents which are not in English must be accompanied by a notarised English translation p If you are under 18, you must have the written consent of your parent or guardian p At your wedding ceremony you will need two witnesses, identified by their passports p The marriage must be performed between 6am and 6pm p You will receive two marriage certificates that are accepted in most countries. (It’s wise to confirm this and check for any additional requirements in your home country well in advance) celestehartphotography
  46. 46. 50 trinidad Where to stay? For the business traveller p Business hotels in Trinidad tend to be grand or simply practical, but they provide what the average businessperson needs to prepare for meetings and stay in touch p Several international hotel brands have properties in and around Port of Spain p There is plenty of flexible conference and meeting space in the city, and a conference bureau to assist p Excellent hotels and facilities are part of the reason why Trinidad is the business centre of the Caribbean p Some properties popular among business travellers: KapokDiscoverT&TMag(O).indd 1 17/09/2012 16:29 Port of Spain p Hyatt Regency Trinidad on the city waterfront p Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre overlooking the Savannah p Carlton Savannah in St Ann’s p Courtyard by Marriott, near MovieTowne p Kapok Hotel in Maraval Near the airport p Holiday Inn Suites San Fernando p Royal Hotel p Tradewinds Hotel p Cara Suites
  47. 47. 52 trinidad for the vacationer p Adventurers and budget travellers often prefer the smaller, homelier hotels, guesthouses, and bed-and-breakfast properties p Luxury seekers gravitate to the large hotels; all the business hotels mentioned will cater for vacation needs. Several large hotels, like the ones on the previous page, cater for both the business traveller and the luxury seeker. Most have world-class spas and luxurious rooms, and can organise tours or shuttles to the island’s places of interest courtesyhyatttrinidad Luxurious room at the Hyatt
  48. 48. With a prime location in the heart of downtown Port of Spain, Hyatt Regency Trinidad is the premiere hotel for any type of getaway. Spacious suites offer spectacular gulf views, flat-screen televisions and our signature Hyatt Grand Bed, while our 9,000 square-foot locally inspired spa and rooftop infinity pool overlooking the gulf provide a luxurious retreat. World-class cuisine and deluxe facilities designed to accommodate weddings, events and parties of all sizes ensure guests will get the most out of their stay. For reservations, call 868 623 2222 or visit escape the ordinary. discover hyatt regency trinidad The trademarks HYATT, and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. © 2012 Hyatt Hotels Corporation. All rights reserved. 868 623 2222
  49. 49. 54 trinidad Guesthouses and B&Bs p These are many and varied, with full service and business amenities at one end of the scale, and basic self- catering at the other p Most are located in or close to the cities, but there are some excellent places in the countryside as well p The Allamanda (Woodbrook), Sundeck Suites (Port of Spain) and Par-May-La’s (Newtown) are handy for Port of Spain r&r So you’ve toured from coast to coast, limed the night away, shopped till you dropped … now it’s time for a little indulgence. The Face & Body Clinic – in the spa business for over 25 years – has locations in San Fernando, Port of Spain, Tobago, and Chaguanas. Their products, treatments and professional programmes are based on those of Spanish spa and body-care giant Germaine de Capuccini. So go ahead: pamper yourself! courtesy face & bodyclinic
  50. 50. 56 trinidad For the eco-enthusiast p Trinidad rewards eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts with a wide range of flora and fauna within the confines of a small island, and plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure p Many come to Trinidad to visit the forest and wetlands, or to watch birds or turtles p There are some wonderful nature-oriented havens in remote parts of Trinidad – some on the beach, some in the mountains Nariva River
  51. 51. stephenjayphotography Nature lodges p Asa Wright Nature Centre in the hills above Arima p Beachfront properties in Grande Rivière, where guests can get close to endangered leatherback turtles as they nest between March and August p Hacienda Jacana near Talparo p Pax Guest House at Mount St Benedict
  52. 52. 58 trinidad Bargain hunting p In 2012, hotel room rates averaged US$125 a night, guesthouses $65 p  Discounted rates and packages are often available p The peak visitor season is December– April (expect higher rates); prices also increase around Carnival time p Last-minute rooms are often available, but it’s best to book ahead for any international events and conferences, and for traditionally popular periods like Easter, Carnival, Christmas and New Year p Visit and for current information trini talk Bacchanal: a scandalous, confusion, commotion, a rowdy event Fête: a party (hence “to fête”) Lime: to hang out with friends (hence “a lime”) Maco: nosy person, a busybody (hence “to maco”) Mas: Carnival, masquerade Wine: sensual dancing (hence “to wine”) Palance: party, lime, dance (hence “to palance”) stephen broad bridge
  53. 53. Nestled within the picturesque Cascade valley, The Carlton Savannah is Trinidad’s trendiest boutique hotel. Located minutes away from the eventful capital, Port of Spain and adjacent to the world’s largest roundabout, the Queen’s Park Savannah, we are your home away from home. Our chic 148 guest rooms can be transformed to 49 stylishly designed suites including fully equipped office spaces or a luxurious living room. Apart from our spacious air-conditioned rooms with 32 inch flat screen televisions we also provide complimentary internet access, in-room tea and coffee, laundry facilities, heated salt water lapped-style swimming pool and fitness centre. Excite your palate with dishes from our casual dining restaurant, RELISH or our award winning, AAA 4-diamond, fine-dining restaurant, CASA. Rest assured... It's all about you!
  54. 54. 60 trinidad Dining out It would be a real shame to visit Trinidad and stick to steaks and hamburgers, pizzas and fries. Especially when there are so many interesting local alternatives. The people of Trinidad are descended from every corner of the planet: from West Africa, India and China, Europe and North America, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. So the island has inherited a whole variety of culinary traditions. Each of them has contributed its own techniques and preferences to the national pot; they have fused with each other, combined and adapted to their new surroundings, to Bake & shark Trinidad is famous for its bake and shark, especially at Maracas. But shark populations worldwide have been declining rapidly, including those in T&T’s waters. Their disappearance would wreak havoc on our marine ecosystem. So why not help protect it by ordering catfish, king fish, shrimp or cheese with your bake? shirleybahadur
  55. 55. produce Trinidad’s distinctive national cuisine. The resilience of the Chinese tradition, for example, explains the multitude of Chinese restaurants and takeouts (and the traffic in chefs from the various Chinas). Pre-partition India has bequeathed a rich legacy of curries and accessories, and some richly rewarding Indian restaurants. The legendary “doubles” and the roti served up by sidewalk vendors and roti shops are local derivatives of Indian taste. The same pattern lies behind the kebabs and tabouli of Syria and Lebanon. Both Italian and Thai cuisine have established themselves, though curiously French cooking has never really caught on. The African tradition has consolidated itself into mainstream “creole” cooking, with its delight in rice-and-peas, stews and pelaus, callaloo and root vegetables. And while purely Bitters pill? The world-renowned Angostura bitters is native to Trinidad & Tobago, and the company has kept its legendary recipe a secret since 1824. (For more Angostura bitters trivia, visit CourteSy ang oStura
  56. 56. 62 trinidad African restaurants are still a rarity, solid creole cooking underlies many of today’s fusions and crossovers. Among the finest Creole restaurants is Veni Mangé in Woodbrook. So in Trinidad the options range from fine dining restaurants with their sophisticated menus, décor and atmosphere, to spicy street food and the corn soup, roast corn and coconut water sold by vendors around the Queen’s Park Savannah. In between are the more casual restaurants (but don’t mistake casualness for bad food), congenial all-day bistros like Adam’s Bagels in Maraval, American-style sports bars like Zanzibar at MovieTowne, franchises such as Subway, coffee- shops, and a whole range of fast-food chains peddling pizzas, hamburgers and fried chicken. gurukast Sushi has become very popular in Trinidad Chow A ceviche of sliced green or half-ripe fruits like mango, plums, pineapple, pommerac or cucumbers, seasoned with salt, good hot pepper and maybe a little lime juice and sugar to taste. It’s been said that once it’s a fruit, a Trini can make chow out of it. CariBBeanPot.C om
  57. 57. If you are interested in sampling local food, here are some of the things you should know: p Accra: a fritter made with flour, black-eyed peas or grated yam, flavoured with saltfish, thyme and pepper; also popular in Jamaica p Aloo pie: spicy mashed potato filling between elongated, soft, fried bread p Barra: a soft shell made from flour, split peas and turmeric p Blue food: starchy vegetables such as dasheen (blue-tinted yam), cassava, breadfruit, plantains, yams p Buljol: salted codfish shredded and seasoned with pepper, onions, tomatoes and olive oil, and served in hops or bake p Callaloo: soup-like dish made from dasheen leaves (something like spinach), with okra and other ingredients like coconut or pig-tail p Corn soup: a split peas-based soup with corn and dumplings p Cou-cou: a mixture of cornmeal, okra and butter boiled and stirred till firm enough to be sliced; often served with callaloo p Doubles: popular Indian snack consisting of a soft, fried flour-and-split pea shell filled with curried chick peas p Float (or fry bake): leavened dough that ‘floats’ to the top as it is cooked in hot oil p Pastelles: a Christmas specialty similar to Spanish tamales – spiced ground meat with raisins and olives wrapped in a casing of cornmeal and steamed in banana leaves p Pelau: a one-pot dish of rice, pigeon peas and meat, often cooked in coconut milk p Pholouri: small, deep-fried balls of highly seasoned ground split peas and flour, served with spicy chutney p Roti: a hefty flour wrap (often with ground split peas) filled with your choice of curried vegetables and/or meat. Sada roti is a slightly stiffer, greaseless variation, commonly served with choka and vegetables sautéed Indian-style p Shark &bake: richly seasoned shark fillets stuffed into a fried leavened bread (bake) and dressed with pepper, garlic and chadon beni (cilantro) sauces. Since shark populations worldwide are on the decline we encourage you to replace the shark filling with kingfish, shrimp or cheese – just as delicious! p Sorrel: a red drink made from the fruit of the same name, popular at Christmas p Souse: boiled pork, served cold in a salty sauce with lime, cucumber, pepper and onion slices Satlfish accra ShirLeyBahadur
  58. 58. trinidad fast food All Trinis love their doubles: two fried pieces of dough (barra) filled with curried channa (chickpeas) and spiced with cucumber, mango and pepper sauce – “slight”, “medium” or “plenty” according to taste. Doubles are sold by street vendors across the country. There’s even an app (on Android) called “Eat ah Doubles”, which helps you to locate your nearest vendor whenever you have a craving. If you are feeling adventurous, try to find the source – the little known doubles “factory” in El Socorro. Doubles with everything 64
  59. 59. Quick tips p Street vendors should display an official food badge p Several good Trinidad & Tobago cookbooks are available at the better bookstores
  60. 60. 66 trinidad FieldworkWhere to go, what to see? Port of Spain The Queen’s Park Savannah 1 p This is the capital’s green heart, and reportedly the largest roundabout in the world. Very popular with joggers and sports enthusiasts p On the northern side are the renovated Emperor Valley Zoo 2, the Botanical Gardens 3with their extraordinary collection of flora, and the President’s House 4, now being renovated p On the western side are “the Magnificent Seven” 5, a row of beautiful colonial-era buildings, several in dire need of restoration: from south to north, Queen’s Royal College (a leading school); Hayes Court (Anglican bishop’s house); Milles Fleurs and Roomor (privately owned); Roman Catholic archbishop’s house; Whitehall (formerly the Prime Minister’s office); and Killarney or Stollmeyer’s Castle Numbers in the text refer to the relevant map pages 116–128
  61. 61. ariannthompson Queen’s Royal College (one of the Magnificent Seven) get started p Econo Car Rentals: if you’re looking to strike out on your own … Econo Car has been in business for over 20 years and has four offices – one at each airport plus Chaguaramas and Port of Spain. They offer free pick-up/delivery, unlimited mileage, and round-the-clock service p Trinidad & Tobago Sightseeing Tours, founded and run since 1984 by Charles Carvalho, offers sightseeing tours, city tours, Tobago day tours, historical tours, golf trips, nature tours including mild to strenuous hikes, boat tours, diving trips, turtle-watching and birding. There are no minimum numbers for tours, which can be booked for just one person. TTST offers trips into the Caroni Bird Sanctuary at any time of day, and can arrange hotel reservations, car rentals, aircraft charter, conferencing, and cultural itineraries
  62. 62. 68 The National Museum 6 p Just south of the Savannah, on upper Frederick Street, the museum presents new collections and retrospectives, period installations, mineral and marine displays, and ethnic artefacts p A collection of the work of 19th-century artist Jean-Michel Cazabon occupies the only temperature-regulated room, but the main hall shows most of the country’s major artists Concert halls p Just west of the museum is the contemporary National Academy of Performing Arts 7, with its multiple stages and performance spaces p The much older (but recently renovated) Queen’s Hall 8is at the northeast corner of the Savannah trinidad National Academy of the Perfoming Arts (NAPA) edisonboodooshing
  63. 63. horacepeters The Waterfront at night downtown p The Brian Lara Promenade 9runs down the middle of Independence Square, the focal point of downtown Port of Spain p At the western end, it is bordered by the new waterfront auand ferry terminal al, overlooked by the Hyatt Regency Trinidad; at the eastern end is the (Roman Catholic) Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception am, where T&T’s many ethnicities are depicted in the stained glass p In between are the blue semicircle of Nicholas Tower an, and the “twin towers” ao, which house the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance p A few blocks to the north is Woodford Square ap, laid out by a British colonial governor nearly 200 years ago. Often used for political rallies, it is bordered by the Red House aq(the traditional seat of parliament), the Hall of Justice ar (law courts), the National Library asand the (Anglican) Holy Trinity Cathedral at
  64. 64. 70 trinidad Chaguaramas &thenorthwestpeninsula Fort George bu p Colonial-era signal station on the crest of a ridge 335m (1,100ft) above the city (access from St James) p Cannon, a small museum, with magnificent panoramic views of the west coast Gasparee Caves stephenbroadbridge Chaguaramas Boardwalk bo Starting at Williams Bay, this new boardwalk provides not only a pleasing stroll by the sea but new facilities – bike trails, gazebos for cooking, liming spots and rest areas. It’s ideal for roller-blading and fishing, and a great place to bring family and friends. Chaguaramas national heritage Park p Chaguaramas is a playground for nature-lovers and eco- adventurers: hiking trails, historic landmarks, a military museum, a nine-hole golf course, restaurants, marinas, waterfalls, beaches (including the popular Macqueripe dr) p Land sports (cycling, hashing, mountain biking), water sports (kayaking, sailing, yachting, power boating, dragon-boat racing), and boats to the offshore islands p Two highlights are the 76m (250ft) Edith Falls bl, and Morne Catherine bm, the highest peak in the area p The area was a US military base during World War II, and several buildings survive from that time, as well as a signal station in the hills p Offshore, the 30m (98ft) deep limestone Gasparee Caves on Gaspar Grande island (“Gasparee”) bn are breathtakingly beautiful. Tours are arranged with registered tour guides, or the Chaguaramas Development Authority
  65. 65. Lopinot bq p In the Northern Range foothills, once a cocoa estate, Lopinot now has a small museum in the former estate house, near the old slave quarters and prison p The estate was developed by the Compte de Lopinot, who fled Haiti for Trinidad after the 1791 Haitian revolution (and is said to appear on stormy nights astride a white horse – Lopinot has featured on the popular US television show Ghost Hunters International) p The area is now popular for sports, river bathing, cave exploration, and parang music around Christmas time Cleaver Woods br p Just west of Arima, home to a small Amerindian museum, with a picnic area and nature trails National Science Centre bs p On the southern side of the highway to Arima: hands-on exhibitions for both adults and children galera Point, toco bt p A magnificent headland, with the newly rechristened Keshorn Walcott Toco Lighthouse at the northeastern tip of Trinidad, where the navy-blue Atlantic meets the electric-blue Caribbean Sea Grande Rivière cu p Beyond Toco, the road turns back on itself and follows the north coast westwards towards Grande Rivière and Matelot through forested hills and valleys p The beach at Grande Rivière is a major nesting area for leatherback turtles; there’s great hiking, bird watching, horse riding, boat trips and snorkelling Eastward mount St Benedict Church & monastery bp p Perched 240m (800ft) up in the Northern Range above St Augustine and Tunapuna, the oldest Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean offers panoramic views of the Caroni plains and beyond p Built in 1912, its 600 acres support nature trails, an art gallery and studio, a gift shop, and a guesthouse and café, as well as the central church Mount St Benedict
  66. 66. 72 trinidad Central Trinidad Temple in the Sea, Waterloo cm p A Hindu temple built literally in the sea a short way offshore, accessible by a causeway p Indian indentured labourer Siewdass Sadhu toiled for decades to build this temple in the sea, after being forbidden to build on colonial land Point Lisas cn p Trinidad’s major industrial complex sprawls along the west coast near Couva p It houses an international port and a range of plants fuelled by the country’s own natural gas, producing mainly steel and petrochemicals (methanol, ammonia, urea) p Guided tours available hanuman temple & dattatreya yoga Centre cl p The distinctive 26m (85ft) statue of the Hindu god Hanuman near Carapichaima is the tallest of its kind outside India, and towers over the Yoga Centre and mandir Hanuman statue ariannthomPSon La Vega Garden Centre co p This estate in Gran Couva, home to a range of plants and trees, is popular for picnics, kayaking, and outdoor activities divali nagar Centre cp p The Divali Nagar site just north of Chaguanas is the venue for many Hindu activities and performances – lectures, Indian trade fairs, cultural shows, Divali celebrations p A 12m statue of Swami Vivekananda keeps a watchful eye over the area Chaguanas cq p Home of traditional Indian pottery, and the site of Nobel laureate VS Naipaul’s childhood home (the Lion House) Pointe-à-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust cr p A magnificent 25-hectare sanctuary and breeding centre for endangered waterfowl, with a learning centre and eco-lodge p Reservations and permission are required, because the site is inside the Petrotrin oil refinery
  67. 67. Southward San fernando hill cs p In the middle of T&T’s second city, San Fernando, this hill is a national park despite being badly scarred by quarrying p It has magnificent views of the city, the Gulf of Paria, the Caroni Plains and Northern Range p There are picnic huts and a children’s play area devil’s woodyard mud Volcano ct p Near Princes Town, and not as terrifying as its name suggests (European settlers weren’t sure how to explain the bubbling and rumbling), this is one of many small mud “volcanoes” in the southland p Mud volcanoes emit hot mud through a vent or fissure, propelled by methane or other gases below the surface p Though usually quiet, the Devil’s Woodyard can occasionally produce large muddy eruptions the Pitch Lake du p A slowly-churning lake of natural bitumen, covering about half a square kilometre at La Brea p Natural springs, said to have healing properties, appear at its centre during the rainy season p Most of the surface is hard enough to walk on p Legend has it that a tribe of Amerindians was swallowed by the lake as punishment for eating hummingbirds, which hosted the spirits of their ancestors p A small museum houses some (sometimes bizarre) artefacts that have been recovered from the pitch Pitch Lake ariannthompson
  68. 68. 74 trinidad Banwari Trace dl p The oldest pre-Columbian site in the West Indies, on the southern shore of the Oropouche Lagoon south of San Fernando, dating to about 5,000 BC p Excavations have unearthed stone tools and the earliest human skeleton so far recovered anywhere in the Caribbean p The skeleton, unearthed in 1969-70 by Peter Harris and his colleagues of the Trinidad & Tobago Historical Society, was nicknamed Banwari Man (although it’s unclear if the person was male or female) p The remains of the Banwari burial are at the University of the West Indies p The site probably represents one of the first settlements established by the Caribbean’s Amerindians or First People as they migrated northwards from South America into the Caribbean islands Banwari Man deSireeSeeBaran Swamplands p Trinidad’s central plain, the island’s sugar belt, supports some of its richest ecosystems p The Caroni Bird Sanctuary dmis an extensive area of lagoon, marshland and swamp on the northwest coast. The highlight: flocks of rare scarlet ibis flying home to roost each evening at dusk – an unforgettable sight p Boat tours last a couple of hours from late afternoon to dusk (though T&T Sightseeing Tours operates tours all day) p On the opposite, east coast, the Nariva Swamp & Bush-Bush Wildlife Sanctuary dn is the largest swamp in either island p You’ll need a guide and permit to explore Nariva by kayak for a glimpse of manatees in their natural habitat, anacondas, caimans, and bird life Caroni Swamp chrisanderson