Trinidad and Tobago Vacations - Destination Guide
Welcome to Trinidad and Tobago vacation - a paradise that is more than just a tropical island, but is also a fairytale filled with fun, excitement, carnivals and festivals, music, dancing and never ending choices of unique and amazing activities. Divers will not be able to resist the word-class dive sites and snorkeling reefs, nature and hiking fans will absolutely love the island's cacao plantation tours, luscious rainforests and mountain hikes and beach lovers will have the time of their lives sunbathing on the most gorgeous stretches of velvety-sand beaches. Top it up with some of the most exquisite resorts and their top-notch amenities and this action-packed getaway will definitely be the one remembered!
Why vacation in Trinidad and Tobago?
Here are the top reasons that attract tourists to Trinidad and Tobago:
Trinidad and Tobago, a twin-island country in the Caribbean is considered one of the most economically established tropical destinations in the world, not only attracting tourists but also playing an important role in business gatherings and world summits.
Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean countries that depend on their tourism economies, Trinidad and Tobago's wealth is based on the country's large reserves, exploitation and the industrial production of oil and natural gas. That is why Trinidad and Tobago is the third richest country in the Americas after the United States and Canada.
Although belonging to the same country, Trinidad and Tobago are all about contrasts. Trinidad, a cosmopolitan oasis beats with music, entertainment, cultural eclecticism, celebrations, commerce and diversity. Even though the island is always celebrating, the biggest event of the year is the Carnival. The dates for this important event vary by year, so double check with the schedule and join this astonishing party on your Trinidad and Tobago vacation.© Granderiviere | Dreamstime.com - A Group Of Dancers Dressed In Spanish Style Represent Trinidad And Tobago\'s Spanish Cultural Heritage Photo
Maracas Bay, architectural buildings and historical monuments, ancient Cathedrals and Churches, majestic parks and blooming gardens are all worth a visit while staying in Trinidad.
Trinidad is also perfect for bird watching, as Caroni Bird Sanctuary gives an amazing outlook on many species of birds, their behaviours and life routines. Nylon Pool, located in the middle of the ocean, is calling for a different yet thriving experience from your typical beach day. Buccoo Reef and Emperor Valley Zoo are some of the best family-friendly activities during Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
While here, fully explore the country's capital Port of Spain, the nearby San Fernando and the amazing Sangre Grande, where you will have a chance to meet one of the 12,000 nesting leatherback turtles while taking an interactive city tour to spend a day outdoors.
As Trinidad boasts with life, excitement and partying, Tobago, its quiet sister island, is popular for its beaches, soft-white sand and a variety of water sports and is the ultimate destination for beachgoers.
Visitors to Tobago will find nothing but fabulous surroundings, picture-perfect beaches, hotels with the most top of the line amenities, an abundance of water activities, daily tours and captivating landmarks to discover. Tobago's turbulent and strong military past has left many forts that now play a major role in the island's historical heritage. Betsey's Hope, Cambelton Battery, Fort George and Fort James are just some of the few military fortifications in Tobago. Travel to Scarborough, the village-like port capital of this small island to fully dive into the local history peak inside the Tobago's Museum.
There are many great reasons to go on Trinidad and Tobago vacation, and whether you are here for business or pleasure, you will find plenty to do, a ton to see and so much to discover.
Best time to go to Trinidad and Tobago
One of the most important aspects when planning your trip to a Caribbean destination is asking yourself when is the best time to visit? This all depends on your preference of what you are looking for, whether it's joining a fun Carnival in January, enjoying the island in peace and quiet in the off season or simply looking for an affordable Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
High season in Trinidad and Tobago runs from December to May. By the middle of May, tourism starts to slow down and resumes back by mid-December. If you are on a planned budget, January to May might not be the best times to travel here as the lodging rates in the high season are expensive. However, this time of the year is all about having fun, so if you are up for it, this is the best time to pay a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. The islands get crowded with tourists and locals, there is so much to do and celebrate and the weather stays hot with clear blue skies at 31-33 degrees Celsius (87-91 degrees Fahrenheit).
Trinidad is a more of a business district rather than a busy tourist destination, so accommodation rates on this island are more or less stable throughout the year. In contrast, during the island's off (wet) season, Tobago's hotels offer significant discounts. If you are looking for a more private, secluded and budget-friendly Trinidad and Tobago vacation, travel here anytime from June to December. The weather stays pleasantly hot at 31-32 degrees Celsius (88-90 degrees Fahrenheit) with little humidity, light tropical breezes, and a small chance of afternoon rains.
Where are Trinidad and Tobago on the map?
The two-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is located 11 km (7 miles) off the coast of Venezuela, 116 km (103 miles) south of Grenada and is surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Atlantic ocean. Trinidad's total land area is 4,768 km2 (1,841 sq miles), with 80 km (50 miles) in length and 59 km (37 miles) in width. Tobago, compared to its neighbouring sister Trinidad is a rather small island with the total area of 300 km2 (120 sq mi), 41 km (25 miles) in length and 12 km (7.5 miles) in width. The terrain of these distinctively appealing islands is a mixture of mountains and plains, so hiking adventures through the country's many rainforests and mountains are popular among and local population as well as among tourists on Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
Capital cities of Trinidad and Tobago
Although sharing one country, Trinidad and Tobago are two distinctive islands with their own charisma and personality. Port of Spain, Trinidad's capital city, is home to the largest container port on the island, exporting agricultural and manufactured goods. Port of Spain is located on the northwest coast of Trinidad and has a population of about 135,000. Port of Spain is the second largest capital city in the English-Speaking Caribbean district and is booming with life, art galleries and delectable cuisine.
The city's major event of the year is the Carnival, where thousands of people gather on the streets to dance, party and celebrate. Since the capital of Trinidad is all about excitement and busy life, all the larger hotels are located a little further away from Port of Spain, carefully tucked away in the tropical nature. However, here in the center of it all you will find an abundance of historical buildings, monuments, statues, Churches, Cathedrals, museums and forts. The activities offered here are endless, timeless and fun, and once you come for Trinidad and Tobago vacation, you will want to dive right into the local atmosphere.
Tobago is a more peaceful paradise where the most exciting event is the palm trees beautifully swaying above the long coastlines with the waves breaking at the shores. Tobago's thriving wildlife and its big lush forests are highly treasured and protected here, so tourists can expect to see rare species of plants, birds and animals such as leatherback turtles, southern stingrays, Trinidad mot mot bird, Atlantic spotted dolphins and many others. Scarborough, Tobago's capital and the largest city, is located on the island's western coast. It is also the main destination for Tobago's economic and cultural sector, with its rapidly growing population of approximately 30,000 people.
While on Tobago vacation, explore some of the island's most famous landmarks and historical places, such as Tobago's Historical Museum, Scarborough's Botanical Garden, Argyle Waterfall and Fort King George. While booking scuba diving, spear-fishing or snorkelling adventures, check out the sightseeing excursions where you can do some amazing interior hiking in the mountains and discover Tobago's national bird cocrico.
Population in Trinidad and Tobago
Based on the latest census figures, the 2016 population of Trinidad and Tobago is 1,369,088 residents. While 96% of this nations' inhabitants live in Trinidad, only 4% reside in the smaller island of Tobago.
The population of Trinidad and Tobago is dominated by two main ethnic groups: Africans and Indians. Both of these groups descend from the freed black people that were enslaved by the British to work on plantation fields, and the imported Indian workers that came to Trinidad and Tobago after the slavery was abolished.
The predominant religion in Trinidad and Tobago is Protestant Christianity and most African residents practice this faith. The Indian population are Hindus, but other religions here also include Roman Catholic Christians, Muslims and Chinese.
Local Language in Trinidad and Tobago
English, also known as "Trinidad and Tobago Standard English" and abbreviated as "TTSE", is the official language of Trinidad and Tobago, so you will have absolutely no problem communicating during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
Trinidad and Tobago both have their own dialects. They are called Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole and are widely spoken among the local residents, with a beautiful, song-like accent. Both of these dialects are influenced by a number of African languages. Trinidadian Creole also has elements from French Patios. Several segments of the island's population also speak languages such as Hindu, Chinese and Spanish, which is used in its rapidly growing Spanish-speaking contingent.
How to get to Trinidad and Tobago
Both airports in Trinidad and Tobago are able to handle international air traffic, but the majority of international flights arrive at Piarco International Airport, located in Piarco, a town situated 30 km (19 miles) east of Trinidad's capital city, Port of Spain. You can catch a nonstop flight to Trinidad from several major cities in the United States, including Houston, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, New York, and New York-Newark. Direct flights for Trinidad and Tobago vacation are also available from Toronto, Montreal and the United Kingdom.
Although, there are no nonstop flights to Tobago provided by the international airline companies, they still provide flights to Trinidad's sister island making quick connecting stops at the following Caribbean places: Antigua, Trinidad, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, Barbados, Tortola, St. Martin/St.Maarten and St.Kitts. You may also reach Trinidad and Tobago from many other Caribbean islands including Anguilla and Curacao.
Tobago's A.N.R. Robinson International Airport is a smaller facility, located on the south western tip of the island and 13 km (8 miles) from Tobago's capital Scarborough, handles domestic and small international aircrafts only. A lot of main villas, hotels and guesthouses are conveniently situated just 15 minutes away from the airport.
The island ferry is a reliable inter-island service that takes its passengers from Trinidad to Tobago twice daily, early mornings and late afternoons. During busy times in the high season ferries operate more frequently, but with later service on the weekends, so check their schedules prior, to avoid missing your ride.
Trinidad and Tobago vacation options
Trinidad and Tobago both offer a vast selection of accommodation options and depending on your preference. You will undoubtedly find the best lodging with top amenities that will make your Trinidad and Tobago vacation on either island pleasurable.
Trinidad is a very popular business destination for businessmen, investors and world leaders. Therefore, the island's accommodation sector has developed greatly to welcome the needs and budgets of all types of visitors. Major hotel chains and business hotels are all situated around Trinidad's capital Port of Spain. Guesthouses, small inns, hotels with all-inclusive packages, bed and breakfast options and even eco retreats are situated a little further from the downtown core but provide a comfortable stay while you are enjoying the busy life of Trinidad.
Trinidad is not the best choice if you are looking for a typical sand-and-sun Trinidad and Tobago vacation. This island boasts more with large business districts, fun, excitement, entertainment, bars, nightlife, adrenaline-fuelled activities and the hotels that cater to that.
Top of the line hotel facilities and conference bureaus make Trinidad not only a business centre for many local and international operations but also a popular tourist destination.
Tobago on the other hand has a mix of midsize resort properties, where some offer facilities on the more luxurious and fancy side than others, but all provide the best service for you to enjoy the sun, the beach and stunning local scenery during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation. Prior to booking your accommodations, carefully check if the resort of your choice offers all-inclusive packages and what amenities are included in the price. Although, there are only two all-inclusive resorts in Tobago, some hotels offer their patrons the opportunity to select an all-inclusive package at the time of booking. This idea is perfect if you are on a budgeted plan as it will ensure you will stay within your financial limits. Aside from regular and two all-inclusive resorts, you will also find a selection of guesthouses, oceanfront villas, small inns and cottages for rent.
Weather In Trinidad And Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago enjoy a pleasantly warm, low humidity weather with little temperature variation throughout the year. January through May are considered to be the hottest months with numbers rising as high as 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit). June to December are the wettest months of the year, and even though daily afternoon precipitation is a common occurrence here, the weather stays nice and hot between 31-33 degrees celsius (88-90 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep in mind that Trinidad and Tobago are not located in the Hurricane belt, so there are few chances of a hurricane or a severe storm striking the islands during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
Public Transportation in Trinidad And Tobago
Public transportation in Trinidad and Tobago offers a safe, reliable, affordable and regular service that runs from Monday to Saturday with Sunday operations on selected routes only. Depending on your budget and preference, there are a number of options available to choose from if using the public transportation system is in your plans. Leave the driving to someone else while getting up close and personal with the Caribbean life of Trinidad and Tobago on your vacation!
Public Transport Service Corporation is the only state-owned organization that provides commercial bus services. This is the cheapest yet quite dependable way to explore both islands and their surroundings. Buses are easily identifiable with the company's name in the front window. They travel practically anywhere including major cities, small villages and even rural areas.
Maxi Taxis are passenger vans that pick up and drop off passengers as they travel. Maxi taxis operate on both Trinidad and Tobago and have different-colour bands for easy route identification. There are no specific bus stops or times and fares are ridiculously cheap. You may hail down a maxi taxi day or night on all main roads and intersections in both Trinidad and Tobago.
Routes and destinations of maxi taxis are indicated by the colour of these buses. For example, in Trinidad buses that have yellow bands travel around Port of Spain only, those that have red bands pick-up and drop-off passengers around the areas of eastern Trinidad. Green-banded buses travel through the southern parts of the island, and minibuses that contain black bands are taking their travellers for Princess Sound. There are also brown-banded buses, and their routes are situated between San Fernando and some of the southwest parts of Trinidad.
Tobago, a smaller sister island of Trinidad only has blue-band buses that indicate the bus is travelling through Tobago and no other places outside of Tobago's boundaries.
Public taxis are not metered but are available throughout the islands. You may find them at the airports, along the streets of Port of Spain and Scarborough or at the hotels, but those might cost you an extra buck or two. For longer trips, hire a private taxi. It's a great alternative to other methods of travelling since a fare can be negotiated and you get to travel in the comfort of a car. But be on the lookout for unlicensed taxis, since there are more of those rather than licensed.
Water Taxis only operate in Trinidadian cities, taking their passengers between Port of Spain and San Fernando. Although they have their own schedules and operate during the morning and afternoon hours only, they are a great and super affordable way to escape that rush hour traffic on the roads. Water vessels are all air-conditioned with comfortable seating so you will be travelling in ease and relaxation at a fraction of the cost.
Going on a sightseeing adventure by foot is always an option, as you may choose your own pace, time and it won't break a wallet. However, think wisely and responsibly when choosing this method of travelling during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation, and avoid being on the streets when it's dark.
Rent a car in Trinidad And Tobago
Renting a car in Trinidad and Tobago is the ultimate option if you are planning on touring the islands without a tour guide. While taxi rides can become expensive, renting a car will allow you to explore the surroundings on your own time and at a cheaper cost. Driving is on the left, British style, on both islands, but drivers should be extra cautious while operating the vehicles on your Trinidad and Tobago vacation, especially at night, as the locals can be aggressive on the roads and drive erratically.
You must have either an international driver's permit or a valid driver's license from either United States, Canada, Germany, France, England or the Bahamas in order to be qualified to rent vehicles in Trinidad and Tobago.
Roads on both Trinidad and Tobago are kept in pretty good condition; however, in some places, expect common Caribbean road problems such as uneven pavement, curvy and unexpected turns, bumps and potholes. It might be unusual for foreign drivers to see locals using their hands to indicate various road signals such as turns and stops, but it's a common practice, so just pay close attention to what's going on around you while driving. Look around for pedestrians that are used to cross the roads practically anywhere, even if there isn't a marked crossing area. Animals such as cows, chickens and sheep walk around the streets of both islands, and might cross the roads unpredictably, watch out for them as well. U-turns are illegal and all passengers are required to wear seat belts.
Trinidad's speed limit on the highways is 80 kph (50 mph) and 50 kph (31 mph) in built-up areas. If you are driving in Tobago, do not exceed their speed limit of 50 kph (31 mph) that's enforceable throughout the island.
Mopeds and trailbikes are very popular in Trinidad and Tobago, so if you want to avoid traffic jams and save a little on the cost of renting, this is another great and affordable way to go on the exploration adventure during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
Parking is available in Trinidad and Tobago almost anywhere you see a free spot. Although, parking is free, paying a couple of bucks will get you a long way since capital cities and other larger towns have tight and limited parking space. So if you are planning on parking your car and spending a few hours enjoying the local surroundings, leave a couple of coins at the parking meter to secure yourself a good spot.
Money in Trinidad And Tobago
Trinidadian Dollar is the official currency of Trinidad and Tobago and is abbreviated as "TT$". Although most businesses here accept US dollars and all major credit cards, it is suggested to take advantage of the local favourable exchange rate and pay your way through with Trinidadian dollars.
Foreign debit cards might only work to withdraw funds from ATM machines, rather than paying for your retail purchases in the stores, so prior to going on a shopping adventure during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation, visit a bank or a nearby ATM to get cash. Both islands have a number of bank branches and ATMs scattered throughout, they can be easily located in all but remote areas in Trinidad, as well as in Scarborough and at the airport in Crown Point Hotel in Tobago.
Tipping in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidadians are not accustomed to tipping but if you do, it is viewed as a gesture of kindness and gratitude for a service well done. There are a few places where tipping is not required, rather might be considered as an insult, so be careful not to draw the unnecessary attention to yourself. A roadside vendor, a village restaurant, a gas station attendant, and a rum shop are just some of the places where tipping is not needed. Having said that, a lot of Caribbean countries rely on their tourism industry quite heavily, so if you feel a service staff made your Trinidad and Tobago vacation extra special and memorable, give them a few extra dollars, it will be appreciated.
Many hotels in Trinidad and Tobago add a service charge of 10% or 15% to all of their invoices. Most restaurants and other dining establishments within the city normally include their gratuity of 10% in the bills as well; however, inspect the bill before paying the tab, and if the charge was not added, leave anywhere between 10%-15%. Remember, tips that are added onto the bills get split equally among the restaurant personnel, so if you feel that you want to tip the server directly, give them about $5-$10 in cash.
Housekeeping staff receive $1 or $2 per night, and bellhops get $1 for each bag they help you carry. Taxi drivers on the other hand do not expect a tip, so if you feel your cab driver did an awesome job or even acted as a tour guide while driving, be generous and leave him a 10% of the total fare.
While lounging on the beach you might spot local children selling various snacks and souvenirs. Even if you are not buying anything, spare some change for them, they will thank you.
Solicitation in Trinidad and Tobago
Although, all Caribbean destinations have a high concentration of hawkers, Trinidad and Tobago is no different, and some local vendors can become intimidating. While at times they can be quite helpful in assisting you finding that perfect souvenir or a gift to bring back home, at other times they can become annoying. The best way to avoid this is by not engaging in any conversations with them during your Trinidad and Tobago vacation, if you are not planning on purchasing their goods. Politely but firmly say "no thank you" and they will not bother you.
Safety in Trinidad and Tobago
While your Trinidad and Tobago vacation can be fun and enjoyable, you may also run into problems if you do not exercise general safety rules when visiting the islands. Trinidad is a safe and super exciting place to be, with endless gorgeous beaches and array of luscious rainforests, but tourists should be cautious and alert especially in the highly populated areas like downtown of Port of Spain and the island's east-west corridor. The problem of petty theft has grown over the past few years, so if you have any valuables, leave them in the hotel's safety box, and try not to attract unnecessary attention with flashy and high-end items. Avoid walking alone in the dark, always travel in groups and keep the car doors and windows locked at all times.
Tobago is a more quiet and secluded island, but is still a popular tourist destination. Petty theft is not a big problem here, but it still does exist so pay close attention to your wallet, cash, credit cards and any of your personal property. Tourists should still follow regular safety precautions and if expensive equipment is to be carried like cameras, phones etc. it should be packed away from everyone's eyes.
Military and camouflage clothing is strictly prohibited on this dual-island country, and is reserved solely for the local army, so they can be easily identifiable. Fines are large if you break this law, so leave all the apparel, shoes and anything else that could have a military theme at home. Public nudity is also restricted here, so cover yourself according to where you are, whether on the beach, strolling through the local streets or dining in a restaurant.
The sun in Trinidad and Tobago can be harsh, especially during the island's off season, so protect yourself accordingly, by bringing enough of sun protection cream, aftersun lotion and bug repellant on your Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
Water in Trinidad and Tobago
Even though some people are skeptical about drinking tap water in Trinidad and Tobago, it is still considered quite safe, although with a chlorine aftertaste. However, those that have sensitive stomachs can purchase bottled water available island-wide at the bars, neighbourhood shops, supermarkets, restaurants and food stalls.
Trinidad and Tobago have the old water infrastructure so the tap water at times can have sediment and might not come out very pure and tasty. In that case, quench your thirst with bottled or even boiled water.
Electricity in Trinidad and Tobago
The electricity in Trinidad and Tobago is at 110-120 volts with 60 frequency, same as in the United States and Canada. While American and Canadian vacationers can well be off with their devices and chargers only, European travellers would need adapters, transformers and/ or converters as well, to be able to use their appliances during their Trinidad and Tobago vacation.