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.
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 the island, I would recommend the following attractions if you are a nature lover; they listed in no particular order:
- Caroni Bird Sanctuary
- Asa Wright nature reserve
- Lopinot Village
- La Vega
- The Wildfowl Trust
- Mount St. Benedict Abbey
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.
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.
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 was 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).
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 … so think lots of steps to get to the beach. Other firm favourites are:
- Blanchisseuse Beach
- Los Iros
- Manzinilla Beach
- Salybia Beach
It really depends on if you want swim or surf. Your travel provider should be able to advise, of not, feel free to DM me on Insta or Twitter.
Night Life & Eateries
Talking about food which is a sure way to get a Trini to your door, there are many eateries to try. Our street food has been influenced by our Indo-Trindadian and Afro-Trinidadian culinary history. However, Trinidad is a cosmopolitan country and restaurants that do Chinese, European and American cusines.
I have it on good local authority that these are the places you need to know about:
The Residence https://www.facebook.com/residencett/
Haze Nightclub https://www.facebook.com/HAZENightclubTT/
The Avenue Pub house https://www.facebook.com/pubhousett/
Movie Town http://www.movietowne.com/
Shopping/ Arts & Crafts
No holiday is complete without spot of shopping, or is that just me?! I’ve noticed many of the malls don’t’ have websites but here are my personal favourites which still exist are:
- West Mall (Port-of-Spain)
- Long Circular Mall (Port-of-Spain)
- Gulf City Mall http://www.gulfcitymalltt.com/ (Lowlands)
- Colsort Mall (Port-of-Spain)
- Trincity Mall https://www.facebook.com/TrincityMall/ (Trincity)
- Centre City Mall https://www.excellentstorestt.com/ (Chaguanas)
They are relatively easy get to via taxi or bus. There are others but those are amongst the largest on the island.
For a taste of local talent, the National Academy for the Performing Arts 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..
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.