Trinidad and Tobago Travel Guide
A pair of islands sitting in the southeast corner of the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago stand out from the rest of their cousins. With substantial oil and gas deposits, this nation has been blessed with petro wealth for generations.
Not needing income from tourism, and with its population of 1.5 million people making it less attractive to those looking for a stereotypical Caribbean experience, Trinidad and Tobago flies beneath the radar of most mass tourism operators.
Rest assured that there are plenty of paradise beaches that can be found on both these islands, especially on Tobago. However, the true appeal of this nation lies in its cultural diversity, so be sure to give both islands equal time. This will allow you to do the best-kept secret in the Caribbean the justice it deserves.
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago Dollars
Languages: English, Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
What To Do
Make Fort King George the first attraction that you check out in Trinidad and Tobago. Built by the British in the late 18th century, it is its best preserved historical site. Restored to its former colonial glory, its stone walls are lined with the cannons that helped defend the island of Tobago for countless generations.
The views up here are incredible, but there is also a museum that contains military and indigenous artifacts, as well as art that dates back to the early 19th century.
Make the Dattatreya Temple your next stop. This place of worship highlights the cultural diversity of Trinidad and Tobago, as it is home to one of the tallest Hindu statues in the world outside of India.
Dattatreya Temple’s 85 foot tall Hanuman Murthi is definitely the highlight here, but this pink structure built in the Dravidian style of Indian architecture offers plenty to impress the avid photographer.
Break up your time at the beach in Tobago by paying a visit to Argyle Waterfall. Cascading down 175 feet in three stages, it is an awesome sight to behold.
While most visitors stick to the gorge at the bottom, adventurous travelers can hike to the pools at the higher levels, both of which can be swum in safely.
One thing that makes Trinidad and Tobago stand out from the rest of the Caribbean is its oil wealth. A visible example of the petrochemical deposits it possesses can be found at La Brea Pitch Lake.
Filled with steaming bitumen, it has been mined for generations. Indeed, the asphalt found here helped to pave the roads of New York City and Washington DC in the early 20th century.
The lake is only one of several in the world, which form when the edges of tectonic plates allow subsurface oil deposits to seep through to the surface.
Trinidad and Tobago is not on the radar of many tourists that visit the Caribbean. This is to your benefit, as there are many beaches here that are often blissfully empty.
Pigeon Point Beach is a favorite spot for locals and travelers in the know. It is home to perfect white sand, aquamarine water, and a jetty containing a thatch-roof that graces the front of many postcards.
Do consider booking a tour to the Nylon Pool when you are at Pigeon Point. An extensive area of shallows close to many coral reefs just offshore, it is a popular place for snorkeling.
While the island of Trinidad may not as well known for its beaches, Maracas Bay definitely figures among the best spots in the country. Boasting a strong locals scene and a gorgeous mix of beach and mountain scenery, it also has snack shacks that offer Bake and Shark (you will learn more about this in ‘What to Eat’ below), a distinctly Trinidadian delicacy.
What to Eat
When you are climbing (local slang for chilling out) on beaches like Maracas Bay and feel a rumble in your stomach, head over to a canteen and order some Bake and Shark.
This flat bread wrap consists of fried shark, lettuce, tomatoes, pineapple, and a variety of condiments which often includes chili sauce. If you are sensitive about eating shark, you can also order wraps that have catfish or ray in them.
Pelau is another popular dish that you will find throughout Trinidad and Tobago. This stew contains chicken or beef along with rice, onions, tomatoes, pigeon peas, as well as plenty of seasonings. This one-pot classic is frequently found at beach cookouts, and at local restaurants across the island.
When the time comes for dessert, try some Cassava Pone. Boasting a consistency that lies somewhere between a pie and a pudding, this sweet treat contains cassava, coconut, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla essence. Good luck not having a second serving of this addictive dish!