Top 10 Things to See and Do
1. Take a boat tour of the Caroni Swamp, an elaborate maze of mangrove-lined channels just a short way south of Port of Spain. The tours begin in the late afternoon and last until dusk, as this is when flocks of Trinidad and Tobago’s national bird, the beautiful rare scarlet ibis, fly home to roost in the trees that line the swamp.
2. Enjoy the islands’ resplendent scenery from a new perspective on a cruise along their coasts. Stop off for visits to secluded bays, stunning beaches and hidden lagoons, as well as opportunities for dives and a spot of lunch.
3. Tobago’s largest fortification, Fort King George perches atop a steep hill in the islands only large town of Scarborough. The historic site encompasses a lighthouse, a powder magazine, cannons and a guardhouse (which is now home to the intriguing Tobago museum), not to mention astonishing panoramic views out across the sparkling ocean.
4. Trinidad and Tobago’s National Museum and Art Gallery is well worth a visit to truly get under the skin of the islands’ unique cultural heritage; housed in a classic colonial building in Port of Spain, it contains exhibits which range from the Amerindian settlers and African slaves to those dedicated to celebrating Carnival costumes through the years, and displays on the local music scene. The top floor houses a rotating collection of artwork featuring pieces from the islands’ best known artists.
5. With its lush natural landscape and thick swathes of rainforest, Tobago is a veritable paradise for eco-tourism. Visit the islands Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which is the oldest protected rainforest in the entire western hemisphere. Enjoy the rainforests fantastic biodiversity and wildlife along a variety of misty hiking trails.
6. The crystalline turquoise waters that encircle both islands offer world-class diving opportunities, with a vibrant coral wonderland waiting to be explored. Several excellent, PADI-certified diving companies operate across the islands, and are able to cater to all levels of ability, with everything from beginners lessons to open-water diving certifications.
7. Rent a bike and explore the diverse landscapes of the islands on two wheels; several rental companies offer a variety of price packages, tours and even types of bicycle – tool around on a tandem if you’re in the mood for something a bit different!
8. From seemingly endless sweeps of pristine white sand, secluded coves, sheltered bays and sandy stretches backed by lively bars or misty jungle, one thing both islands certainly have no shortage of is beautiful Caribbean beaches. Take your pick and prepare to flop down and wile away the hours under the baking tropical sun.
9. Cradled protectively by the Northern Range foothills, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital of Port of Spain is well worth setting aside a day (and a night!) to explore. Although not a city expressly designed to cater to tourists, Port of Spain is rich in atmosphere, with many bustling market stalls, shady squares and ornate colonial buildings. Head to the outerlying neighbourhoods of St James and Woodbrook harbour for vibrant, hedonistic nightlife, and visit during carnival season for a truly electric atmosphere.
10. If you do decide to dive into the nightlife of Port of Spain (and we’d certainly recommend that you give it a whirl) a visit to a panyard should be top of your list. Located throughout the city, they are the outdoor areas where steelbands gather to practice and where fans gather to listen to the music and begin the nights festivities.
Culture in Trinidad & Tobago
The vibrant culture of Trinidad and Tobago reflect a myriad of ethnic influences, including African, Indian, Amerindian, Chinese, British, French and (to a somewhat lesser extent) Spanish and Portuguese. The presence of these many different cultures and religions mean that there is always something to celebrate on the islands; religious and national festivals are common, while Carnival is the ultimate cultural celebration of the islands, a two day explosion of colour, costume, music and drama that takes place in the capital of Port of Spain.