I’ve been planning this blog post for months now. I got in touch with my friends back home for insider intel on evening entertainment in Trinidad. Much has changed in the 17 years I’ve been away, you see. Then, I got distracted with my family summer staycation in Pembrokeshire. On my return, I went to the gym and I overheard two ladies from my Zumba class chatting. One had recently been to Trinidad. She had a good time. However, the second lady replied ‘I’ve been to the other islands but not Trinidad. They don’t rely on tourism. It’s just for business’. Although I get why she might think that but in reality, Trinidad isn’t the plain snobbish big sister of Tobago. The island has it’s own rare natural beauty. So, I dusted off the notes from my local Intel, did an online search based on my memory of favourite childhood/teenage haunts… viola. Here’s why Trinidad is not just for business.
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Days Out In Trinidad
Trinis work hard and party harder, with family and friends. It’s not unusual for a family or friend to just pop round or call and invite you on a lime (to hangout). An outdoors lime could mean a trip the beach, a stroll around the Queen’s Park Savannah (260 acres of land that is the oldest recreation ground in the West Indies), cinema our visiting a nature reserve.
As a visitor to Trinidad, I would recommend the following attractions if you are a nature lover; they listed in no particular order:
- Asa Wright nature reserve
- Caroni Bird Sanctuary
- La Vega
- Lopinot Village
- Mount St. Benedict Abbey
- Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir- Temple in the Sea
- The Wildfowl Trust
Insider Tip For Days Out
Pax Guest House, Mount St Benedict Abbey serves high tea and you don’t need to be a guest. Simply call to book. You will have a panoramic view of the lush mountain range and the sweet chirps of the hummingbirds will accompany your meal.
I an also recommend the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir listed above. Whether you are a practicing Hindu or not, The Temple in the Sea is a physical representation of on man’s commitment to his faith. The site is very peaceful and offers a space to reflect and have a mindful moment.
The list above are only a few suggestions. If you are not sure when to visit, check out the islands events calendar for some inspo.
Walkabout In Trinidad
If you are staying in the capital Port-of-Spain and you can handle the heat, why not take walk around the savannah? While on your walkabout, try to spot our Magnificent 7 buildings. They have connections to our history of colonization but are much loved.
Fear not you will not go thrisy on your sourjorn. There will be street food venders dotted along the path. You can drink from freshly cut coconuts and munch on phulourie or doubles.
Hiking In Trinidad
For the thrill-seekers who like to go off the beaten path there are many stunning hike locations in Trinidad. Two of my most memorable hikes were from Paramin Village to Saut D’eau Beach. There are no roads to get to the beach. The only access is on foot down the rugged hills of Paramin. Once of the beach along with the stunning sea view, there is a statue of the patron Saint Cion which looks out to sea.
Then of course there’s Cumaca Caves (also known as Oropouche). It’s a natural heritage site. Once since inside you walk along a river path to spot the oil birds and other natural wonders. The name Oil Bird comes from the young birds which become quite fat, often 50% heavier than their parents. The island’s indigenous peoples boiled the fat young birds for their oil. The site is also linked to tragedy.
In 1964, two members of the Trinidad branch of the British Sub Aqua Club lost their lives in during their pursuit to ‘find a further unexplored, open cave through which this underground river ran.’
Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalists regularly conduct hikes. Members, as well as hiking enthusiasts are welcome. As a visitor, it’s advised that you club directly for further information. There are other hike groups on the island, I chose to list them due to my fond memories of hiking and learning with them. I wish had more pics to share with you from those days but we weren’t as snap happy back then. (photo seen was taken when I did a hike with the Rotaract Club).
Beaches In Trinidad
Depending on how low you are stopping in Trinidad, now visit is complete without a trip to the beach. My personal favourite as a child was Macqueripe Bay. Baranfudle Bay in Pembrokeshire reminds me a bit about Macqueripe. The way down to Macqueripe Bay is a combination of concrete stairs and walkway. Parking is free but there is a toll to pay on the Tucker Valley Road before entering the final stretch to parking area and beach. Changing rooms and a small shop is located next to the parking area.
Insider Tip For Beaches
Along the Tucker Valley Road, Chaguaramas before you get to the toll booth for Macqueripe Bay, you will find the entrance to the well know a natural heritage site known as the Bamboo Cathedral. It’s a 300 metre stretch of roadway where the bamboo stalks bend towards each other above the road forming a natural archway way, hence the name. You don’t want to miss this attraction. You might even spot cheeky monkeys along your walk, playing among the bamboo!
Other firm favourites are:
- Blanchisseuse Beach
- Los Iros
- Manzinilla Beach
- Salybia Beach
Night Life & Eateries In Trinidad
Talking about food which is a sure way to get a Trini to your door, there are many eateries to try. Trini street food has been influenced by our Indo-Trinidadian and Afro-Trinidadian culinary history. Off The Avenue, in Woodbroke is a vibe for a late evening lime and it’s family-friendly too. However, Trinidad is a cosmopolitan country and has restaurants and food courts ( in the shopping malls) that serve Chinese, European, American and Mediterranean cuisines, to mention a few.
I have it on good local authority that these are the places you need to know about:
Shopping/ Arts & Crafts In Trinidad
No holiday is complete without a shopping trip, or is that just me?! I’ve noticed many of the malls don’t’ have websites but have a Facebook page. Here are my personal favourite shopping malls that still exist:
- C3 Mall, San Fernando
- Centre City Mall, Chaguanas
- East Gates Mall, Trincity
- Gulf City Mall, San Fernando
- Long Circular Mall , Port-of-Spain
- The Falls at West Mall , Port-of-Spain
- Trincity Mall, Trincity
They are relatively easy get to via taxi or bus. There are others but these are the largest on the island. If you are looking for national crafts, t-shirts and such for souvenirs, you can purchase in the shopping malls, or from independent traders in the cities and towns, as well as in Piarco International Airport.
For a taste of local talent, the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) hosts events from time to time. You can expect music from the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, Folk Theatre and Ballet amongst a host of other performances. Their Facebook page shows upcoming events
Culture Trip & Tour Companies
If you love to travel and immerse yourself in the culture, Trinidad has quite a few public holidays that are of cultural, historical or religious significance. You can then plan your stay to concede with the holiday that intrigues you. There are about 14 official public holidays per calendar year, from Christian holidays like Christmas to Hindus’ Diwali (the festival of lights), to Emancipation Day (from slavery) and Spiritual Baptist (Shouter) Liberation Day.
I’ve never had cause to use a tour company but I thought it might be useful to include a few. Their websites and the services look good. However, those are not the only ways to choose a provider. Still check for reviews before settling on a tour company:
Foreign Consulates In Trinidad
As an aside, I think it’s handy to know where your local consulate is when you are travelling aboard. There are several foreign consulates in Trinidad. The embassies page has a listing.
I could rattle on but then the this post will be even longer. Feel free to message me if you have any questions and I don’t know I’ll try to point you in the right direction.
Finally, if you every make to Trinidad do let me know how your stay went. Also, if you’ve visited Trinidad in the past what was the highlight for you? Do you have any travel tips to share?
Comment in the box below.