Caribbean Travel: Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago: perfect Caribbean Islands to explore
Trinidad and Tobago are the pair of Caribbean Islands with the perfect blend of Asian, African, English and Indian cultures, vibrant nightlife and amazing flora and fauna. Being the home to largest Carnival celebrations in the entire Caribbean, the country even flaunts the strongest economy in the Caribbean and the capital serves to be the bustling city of a huge population. Trinidad is featured with incredible wildlife and Tobago serves to be the small jewel that is still unspoiled by the mass tourism. Being the true Caribbean Islands, Trinidad and Tobago provides the travelers and guests with amazing experience that is not just exciting but memorable as well.
What to enjoy in Trinidad and Tobago?
Though Trinidad is famous for its beaches, they are not that picturesque like those of Tobago. The ones to north shore like the Balandra Bay are great for swimming. Even the Maracas Bay is famous with the locals and offers amazing facilities. On the other hand, on Tobago, the Pigeon Point Beach is great, the Englishman’s Bay is wild while the Great Courtland Bay is featured with crystal clear waters.
Entertainment options are aplenty
The nation that gave origin to the Caribbean music traditions like soca, steel drum and calypso, Trinidad provides great set of entertainment options to the locals and tourists alike. Nightclubs, bars, music and dance are some amazing options that you can choose to indulge in when in Trinidad.
Enjoy the Caribbean touch
If you wish to get active, just enjoy the hike along amazing trails of Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago. You can take pleasure in some of the best hiking of the country here. Or just take the benefit of amazing water sports at the magnificent beaches along east and north coasts of Trinidad and indeed all around the Tobago region.
The cuisine on the islands is the great melting pot of Indian, English, African, Chinese, Spanish and French influences. You can enjoy sandwiches, tortillas, wraps, vindaloo from India, pelau from Spain, rice and coconut milk chicken. Ensure that you even drink the amazing native fruit juice.
What to see?
There are even various sights to enjoy in Trinidad and Tobago such as the Argyle Falls hiking trails that go towards Fort King George. As Tobago is believed to be a bit laid back than Trinidad, it is even popular for its beachfront and diving spots that are considered to be the most magnificent in the whole Caribbean. The disparity between the two islands ensures that the travelers enjoy best of both the worlds. You can truly enjoy pure Caribbean entertainment, lively atmosphere and a lot more by spending your time at these splendid islands.
You will surely enjoy your visit to the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The islands not just excel in offering a mix of culture, traditions and natural beauty; they even ensure that the best of facilities and entertainment are provided to the visitors as well. So, the next time you want to enjoy the pure Caribbean flavors, make your bookings in advance and head towards Trinidad and Tobago for an exciting vacation.
Trinidad and Tobago Hotels and Resorts
No Caribbean travel is complete without a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. With its fast growing reputation of being the ideal vacation point, accommodation is never an issue in these parts of the world. From cheap bed and breakfast joints to the most luxurious and opulent 5 stars, all kinds of hotels and resorts are there in abundance. The two islands are very different from each other and make for the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. While Trinidad is known for its sports and festivals, Tobago is rich with a lot of history and is also an ideal place for weddings. In addition to its beautiful rainforests, pristine beaches, historic forts, hotels and resorts are also an ideal setting for enjoying to the utmost in these exotic locations. Here’s a list of the top 5 hotels in the islands.
Plantation Beach Villas
This resort is the height of good living. Right on the beach of Stone haven Bay, it consists of 6 beach villas styled in the Caribbean way but with all the modern creature comforts. The housekeepers and the staff are extremely helpful and ready to be of service at all times. Within walking distance of it is a great restaurant called ‘Fish Pot’ but if you want to just curl back, relax and soak in the local cuisine then the housekeepers can cook you delicious meals in the villa. If you’re a city person though, you might need to get adjusted to waking up at the crack of dawn by the chirping of birds and the waves crashing down at the beach. It’s a resort that you absolutely must visit for its serenity, calmness and nature bliss.
Grafton Beach Resorts
This is the ideal place to celebrate a vacation at with big families. The rates are not sky-rocketing and the resort itself is beautiful. With most rooms facing the ocean, you can see sunsets while sipping on some great cocktails and dining on delicious sea-food. Its two restaurants- Neptune and Ocean view are known for their eclectic menus and as perfect star-gazing sites.
Le Grand Courlan Resort and Spa
This one is glamorous and swanky on the outside but warm and inviting as far the staff goes. It’s known for its spa treatments and one spa per person is included in the rate for the rooms. In addition to it they have extensive beauty care treatments, pools, a fully-equipped gym, floodlit tennis courts, Jacuzzis, saunas and everything imaginable for a high class life.
Hilton Trinidad Hotel
For anyone looking to live the high life while they are in the serene environs of Trinidad, Hilton is the place to be in. From a 24-hour Business Centre to a Kids’ wading pool, they have it all, complete with two Tennis Courts, a 5000 sq. ft. Fitness Centre and all the contemporary facilities one could hope for at this calm slice of heaven on earth. The culinary fares of the Hilton are marvelous and come highly recommended. From a light snack at the Coffee house to letting your hair down at the Lobby bar to experiencing the best of the Chef’s culinary delights at the Pool terrace garden restaurant, there’s plenty to indulge into!
Located at Cotton hill, St. Clair, Kapok is a hotel that seamlessly blends in with its surroundings to give you a true feel of the local spirit. It offers you highly amenable rooms with high speed internet connection, Wi-Fi service in the public areas, Conference rooms, a 24-hour snack store and a Pool & Sundeck. However, its true charm lies in its themed restaurants of Tiki Village and Bois Cano Bistro & Bar. To ensure that you cherish these moments for a lifetime, they have the Wiri store which specializes in handicraft, local art and indigenous jewelry to adorn your shelves forever.
Mount Irvine Bay Hotel & Golf Club
If you seek a quiet holiday, away from even the minimal hustle and bustle of the Caribbean, Mount Irvine, set amidst an old sugar and coconut plantation, is the place to be in. Offering the loveliest of views, this hotel comes with its own Golf course, where you can test your skills & afford yourself the inner peace that you seek. To satiate your appetite, Le Beau Rivage combines its enticing menu of Gourmet French and Nouvelle Creole cuisine with the vintage wines & champagnes in its cellar to leave you smacking your lips!
Coco Reef Resort & Spa
Widely claimed to be the best resort in the Caribbean, this hotel does justice to its tag by providing its guests with the best of both worlds. For those seeking to rid themselves of the worries of the world, the specialized spa offers an array of services that promise to take you to a different dimension of existence altogether. Guests can also choose to relax on the two Tennis courts, utilize the Mt. Irvine Golf course, go Horseback riding on the beach or pick from the various Water-sport activities. Along with its Terracotta tile lobbies and splendid Caribbean Palladian architecture, Coco Reef offers exceptional Dining venues which have incorporated local delicacies to make memories that last a lifetime.
Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts
This one is tucked away on its own palm fringed beach. It’s one of the most child friendly spaces as all of the resort is smoke-free. The hotel is luxuriously done up with outdoor and indoor pools, tennis courts and a swim-up bar. Morning walks on the sandy beach tell the tale of discarded shells of baby leatherback turtles, which gave the beach its name. Dinner at the Kiskadee in-house restaurant is quite a fare, followed by cultural shows and music performances.
Blue Inn Resort
If you aren’t looking for a pretentious up-market place but still want comfort and luxury, this is the place to go to. It’s easy to overlook it as it’s off the main road in a by lane but the location is its biggest advantage. Activities here include fishing, boating, snorkelling and diving. It’s a great place to just kick back, simply ‘wind-down’ or enjoy a really romantic honeymoon at the picturesque beach. This is one place which is highly recommended for it’s the perfect idyllic vacation spot.
Blue Mango Cottages
Located in the tiny fishing village of Castara, with its two lovely beaches, Blue Mango offers a warm, homely accommodation to ensure that you feel loved while you take in the beauty of this quaint village. The simple cottages provide comfortable four poster beds with mosquito nets, hot and cold showers, electric fans, food from the homely Clay kitchen and wireless internet services & offer delightful views of the sea, the misty mornings, the to and fro of fishing boats, the double rainbows and a million more. Be warned though, that there are only three of these charming cottages available and book well in advance!
Trinidad and Tobago Attractions
Store Bay, Tobago
The mesmerizing Store Bay beach situated in the southern part of Tobago is by far the most popular tourist destination for the islanders. This beach is almost always swarming with variegated tourists from all parts of the world. Its kaleidoscopic scenery, clear blue water and warm moist sand make visiting this beach a worthwhile experience. Store Bay is also famous for its sundry shacks providing sumptuous snacks and exquisite sparkling wines. Also, there is a reef at the western end of the beach which is perfect for snorkeling.
Pigeon Point, Tobago
The Pigeon point beach in southern Tobago is famous for its wide variety of water sporting activities like jet skiing and water surfing. It is a white sand beach and ranks right up there with the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
But perhaps the most striking feature of this particular beach is its extremely pretty thatched roofed jetty which makes Pigeon Point beach an instant hit amongst tourists.
The Trinidad Carnival is arguably the most important cultural event in the Trinidadian calendar of festivities. It is an annual extravaganza which encompasses loud calypso music, massive masquerading bands, wild dancing, fancy colorful costumes, blaring drums, limbo competitions and rapturous applause. This is one such festival which quite literally takes your breath away and makes one absorb the incredible carnival vibe.
Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad
The Asa Wright Nature Centre is the ultimate paradise for aspiring ornithologists. It is a nature resort and a bird watching spot rolled into one and hence caters to a wide variety of people. This non-profit nature centre was established in 1967 by an enthusiastic bunch of nature lovers and bird watchers. Its surroundings comprise of an amazing diversity of flora and fauna which makes it a perfect getaway for a naturalist.
Tobago Heritage Festival
The Tobago Heritage Festival is a fifteen day celebration of the cultural, ethnic, religious and regional diversity of Tobagonian island and its inhabitants. During this period the Tobagonians embark on a spiritual escapade across the length of the island celebrating the customs, beliefs, traditions, dances and practices of its people and pay tribute to their rich cultural heritage.
Trinidad and Tobago Nightlife
Nightlife in Trinidad and Tobago
Given how laid-back and relaxed all coastal regions, especially Trinidad and Tobago are, one would think that all the action dies down after sunset. Surprisingly, you couldn’t be further from the truth because these folks sure know how to live it up. With more and more sophisticated clubs and pubs opening up, the nightlife here is geared to keep even the wildest of party animals occupied through the night. Though there are an increasing number of nightspots in the city, here’s a list of our favourites.
51 Degrees Lounge, Trinidad
This club in Port of Spain hosts Renaissance Wednesdays which showcase local talent in music, fashion and comedy. For sushi lovers, this is the place to be at. Yummy Tao Sushi, affordable platters and great cocktails coupled with live music make this quite a favourite with the locals.
Coco Lounge, Trinidad
One of the most striking things about the club, strangely enough, is its architecture. Remodelled of a typical colonial house built in 1880, this is what the vibe of the place is too – a modern coat to a traditional setting. If you are feeling outdoorsy, there is a huge veranda where you can take in the nightlife, have a drink and watch the sunset. The place is known for its music, upscale setting and great food and drinks.
Drink! Wine Bar, Trinidad
This club is the newest sensation in town. It’s got something for everyone. Whether you want a ladies night out, or just have beers and watch the game, plan a party without the congestion of a club or even have a quite drink with a book, this place practically changes every night on rotation. You can’t come away from this place without falling in love with it. It’s a big hit with the expats so the company is always mixed and friendly.
It is located in one of the most charming hotels of Toucan Inn. Situated close to the airport, it’s one of Tobago’s biggest assets. The food is what it is known for, from steaks to soups in Caribbean and American style. Most people who frequent the place are regulars who know exactly what they want in the one page menu. It’s also a great place to just sit back and have a drink, especially if you are travelling to and from the airport.
Kariwak Village, Tobago
The name derives from the two native tribes that originally inhabited Tobago – Caribs and Arawaks. It has a reputation of being a ‘holistic’ haven. The best jazz-calypso bands play here on Fridays and Saturdays. The chefs prepare the choicest meals which change nightly according to what is freshest in the market. The open-air setting is perfect to enjoy drinks and the local bands. The Friday or Saturday buffet is the best spread on the island and attracts locals and tourists alike.
Trinidad and Tobago Major Cities
The birthplace of calypso music, chutney and V S Naipaul, Trinidad and Tobago is a dream vacation spot. The mostly English speaking islands were the first in the Caribbean to be settled in some 7000 years ago. With Columbus first discovering the islands, Trinidad and Tobago changed hands between Spanish, British, Dutch and Courlander colonisers. This is probably why the islands are so diverse in character and culture.
This bazaar town located on the flat sugar plains of Caroni is a must visit for its bustling energy and unique cultural mix of Trinidadian culture and Indian ethnicity. The islands have 25% Indian population which accounts for its eclectic Trinidadian and Indian cultural milieu. It effuses this kind of charm and culture not only during the Indian festivals of Diwali (the festival of lights), Holi (spring festival) and the Muslim Eid-ul-Fitr Ramadaan but regularly through the Indian Council for Culture by organising frequent carnivals. The town is full of temples, historic sites and boasts of its unique local cuisine.
There is a breath-taking 80 ft statue of the Hindu god Hanuman which serves not only as a religious site but also has aesthetic value. A Hindu saint by the name Shivdas Sadhu spent 25 years building the Temple of Waterloo which is a living monument of the deep Hindu tradition in Chaguana.
The Caroni National Lagoon Park is a treat for nature enthusiasts. It boasts of 200 avian species. Fridays and Saturdays are the best days to go shopping in this bargain abode for shopaholics. Though the town has 4 big malls, its charm lies in the main street bazaars.
Port of Spain
It is the country’s capital and one of the most developed cities in the entire Caribbean. The pre-Lenten Carnival is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. St. James, the ‘up-town’ of the city has seen a boom in malls, nightlife and fine dining over the years. It is also a gigantic cultural hub and various art, dance and cultural performances are show-cased at The Little Carib, Queen’s Hall, and The port of Spain National Academy for the Performing Arts. The National Institute of Trinidad and Tobago is located here. It displays art from the Carnival, life during World War II and artefacts from the autochthonous Amerindians.
San Fernando, or ‘Sando’ as the locals refer to it is the industrial capital of the country. The Navet Reservoir located just off the city is mostly woodland, while the dam stretches out far and wide. It is popular with the locals and well as with tourists as its ideal for relaxed picnics and for frolicking in the meadows. Another place just off San Fernando is the Pitch Lake, often referred to as one of the natural wonders of the world. It’s almost 5000 years old and has a museum on site. The San Fernando Hill is a big tourist spot with the hill having the most incredible view of the southern part of Trinidad and overlooks Venezuela too.
Trinidad and Tobago Shopping Locations
Trinidad and Tobago offers its people and tourists a great plethora of goods and items. One would be spoilt for choice and probably left dazzled by the shopping culture here. From malls/plazas to family run businesses to the small, variety shops on the main road; it’s a shopaholic’s delight and the materialist’s indulgence. Crafts, fabrics, accessories and liquor are the best buys. So who wouldn’t want, to take back home, a piece of this culturally rich island? Here are top 5 shopping stations to reload your backpacks at.
The 101 Art Gallery, Trinidad
The rich cultural heritage of Trinidad and Tobago comes out in bold strokes at the 101 Art Gallery that exhibits some of the finest national art. Located at the 101 Targaret Road, Woodbrook; this gallery is owned by Mark Pereira who has 25 years experience as an art dealer and publisher. They feature a new artist every month, holding about 22-24 formal shows annually. The gallery attracts art enthusiasts as well as corporate collectors.
This is one of the many Souvenir and Gift Shops in Trinidad. The shop is known for its good quality knick knacks like painted plates, ceramics, aromatic candles, wind chimes, carved-wood pieces and instruments, metallic ornaments, show pieces and hundreds of other things that one would want to take back with himself/herself and show off to those who were unfortunate enough not to be here! Located in the Long Circular Mall, Long Circular Road, Cockey should surely be a shopper’s stop.
De Lima’s, Trinidad
Located at the main road at Chaguanas in Trinidad, de Lima’s is popular for the traditional luxury goods it has to offer, like precious metals, stones, jewelry, handicrafts and artworks. These goods are sold duty free, thus making this store a hit with one and all. And well if you have a beautiful lady back home, waiting to be gifted with something exquisite, this is where you shop from!
Cotton House, Tobago
The Cotton House is located just outside the Scarborough. One can shop for jewelry, scarves, beach wear and a lot of other imaginative batik work and handicrafts that act as wonderful souvenirs and gifts. The cotton house in fact invites visitors/buyers to make their own batik prints on clothes and experience creating their own piece of art, upstairs at the studio all free of cost.
Forro’s Homemade Delicacies, Tobago
This one’s a foodie’s delight. Eileen Forrester supervises the kitchen, located at The Andrew’s Rectory, Bacolet St, Scarborough, Tobago. You know you are having Forro’s Homemade delicacies when you take a bite from jars of tamarind chutney, lemon and lime marmalade, hot sauce, and guava and golden-apple jelly. These are incredibly tasty treats, cutely packed in little straw baskets or bamboo and totally inexpensive. Go, grab one!
Trinidad and Tobago Restaurants
No matter what the reason, no matter what the occasion, fine dining and drinking is everybody’s call. No one says no to an experience of a well cooked meal, served with just the right amount of seasoning, in a place brimming with elegance. And Trinidad and Tobago give one plenty of opportunities of experiencing the same. Here is a list of the top 5 eating joints and restaurants where one can indulge and experience the taste of perfection in the ambience of the classiest sorts.
BUZO Osteria Italiana
Ranked number 1 out of the 49 restaurants in Port of Spain, BUZO Osteria Italiana is a foodie’s paradise. Popular for its Italian cuisine, it offers mouth watering delicacies like pastas, pizzas, seafood and meat entrees, vegetables, salads, soups and desserts. It is the one stop shop for the family man, the business man and the laid back man finding a reason to chill, with its lively bar, good available menu and a very comforting, warm vibe. The experience is somewhat like tasting the Italian love, hospitality and of course most of its delicacies.
To get a delightful snack or a creative meal, for having a good chit chat with the locals, to getting the ‘feel’ of Trinidad and Tobago at its natural best; visit Chino’s, a laid back café that is just too good, custom made to sit back and unwind. The restaurant provides a get away from the mental agonies of the daily chaos and boasts of a menu so appealing, that one is sure to return. It’s a glutton’s meditation zone. Try it.
The Garden Grille Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
True to its name, the restaurant is actually situated in an open air, beautiful blooming garden allowing one to indulge in some soulful dining. The food items include mainly East Indian delights filled with local and international flavoring. One has to give this restaurant a definite visit for there is nothing more fulfilling than an exotic meal, with your loved ones in a place that resembles the gateway to heaven.
Whether it’s a business mélange, a family gathering, a friends’ get-together or simply a rendezvous with the inner self, Mélange offers the cosy space one requires for all of the above. Seven years into the dining and hospitality business, the restaurant has gained good reputation as the provider of the most ‘imaginative’ food on the island, like the curried-crab-and-dumplings, the main course of succulent filet of chicken breasts and scrumptious desserts. Every dish has a taste so rich and yet so distinct! Once on the plate and tasted, it’ll be forever on the mind!
Shore Things Cafe and Craft
This restaurant is a metaphor of happy endings it seems. Offering a magnificent, dream like, ocean view; impressive dishes to make one lose all senses and also providing as a souvenir shop, helping its visitors to materialize this brilliant moment and take it back with them! Dining at the ‘Shore Things Cafe and Craft’ is a brilliant idea and a memorable experience. It is for the dreamy souls who ALWAYS believed in fairytales. It is for the cynical who would WANT TO believe in fairytales.