Trinidad and Tobago Holiday Planning Guide
With its two landmasses offering different, but complementary Caribbean flavors, the dual island nation of Trinidad and Tobago attracts visitors looking for relaxation and adventure. Cities and bustling market towns set the pace of cosmopolitan Trinidad, by far the larger of the two Caribbean sisters. Holidays in Tobago tend to be more relaxed affairs, with the island offering some of the nation's finest resorts and best kept beaches, along with a wealth of protected areas boasting diverse and abundant wildlife. Both have become famous for their Creole culture and traditions, with holidays in Trinidad and Tobago offering plenty of culinary and musical highlights, including red hot curries and spicy calypso music
Places to Visit in Trinidad and Tobago
Islands of Trinidad and TobagoTrinidad
: The bigger island thrives both with lively bars and restaurants, plus it’s rich in wildlife. In just couple of hours you can do the complete Trinidad tour across the vibrant coastline, swamps, and forests.Tobago
: Escape to the smaller sister island to enjoy a holiday amidst rustic villages, powdery beaches, and exciting diving sites.The island is very well connected to Trinidad, so if you seek a bit more action you can always find it there.
Cities in Trinidad and TobagoPort of Spain
: The lively capital has a reputation of being a fun and vibrant town, known for parks and historic sites. Include the town on your Trinidad and Tobago itinerary to feel the buzz of local culture. San Fernando
: The second-largest town in the country is the industrial capital of Trinidad and Tobago, so it’s often avoided by tourists. However, a trip to the town will satisfy the curiosity of those travelers wishing to see regular day-to-day life devoid of mass tourism. Scarborough
: One of the places to see on Tobago is this small town with the biggest performing arts theater in the Caribbeans.
Things to Do in Trinidad and Tobago
Popular Trinidad and Tobago tourist attractionsMaracas Bay
: One of the most popular beaches offers a landscape of blue seas, green mountains, and palm tree-shaded white sand beach.Pigeon Point Beach
: Include this beach on your Trinidad and Tobago itinerary to enjoy water sports, pristine nature, and the iconic beach huts packed with refreshments.Nylon Pool
: One of the places to see is this natural pool, featuring rich coral life and a warm sea, making it an ideal snorkeling and swimming site.Argyle Waterfall
: Cool off under the streams of Tobago’s highest waterfall, which cascades down three levels into multiple pools. Queen's Park Savannah
: While on your Trinidad and Tobago holiday, visit one of the most popular urban parks in Port Spain and mingle with locals, enjoy a picnic, and feel the pulse of the city.Fort King George
: One of the most prominent tourist attractions features a 18th-century fort replete with cannons, a museum, and views of the town. Asa Wright Nature Centre
: A must-see stop for bird lovers, this center is inhabited by colorful tropical birds and brims with waterfalls and hiking trails; you can even stay overnight here. Royal Botanic Gardens
: Plants and trees, instead of flowers, dominate this lush garden site, a popular spot for families and joggers. Emperor Valley Zoo
: This zoo contains more than 2,300 animals and features over 200 species of animals, including lions and tigers.Store Bay
: Situated adjacent to the turquoise sea, the bay serves as a popular tourist attraction for indulging in local street food and buying handicrafts.
Planning a Trinidad and Tobago Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Trinidad and Tobago with Kids
Even though both islands have a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing, nature, and historic sites, families usually opt for Tobago. Tobago has much lower risks of crime, plus it’s smaller and easier to explore, and has a more relaxed vibe. The island has a handful of calm-water beaches, lagoons, pools, and water activities. One of the places to visit is Pigeon Point Beach
, thriving with amenities and shallow waters. Near Scarborough, the biggest town on the island, you’ll find large shopping malls with cinemas and go-karts which will satisfy the needs of teenage kids. The town is also popular for the botanical gardens appropriate for the whole family. If planning a holiday in Trinidad, check out the water parks scattered around the island or take a hiking trip through the swamps. Northeast Coast
is a very popular destination for families to enjoy guided tours through forests and glass-bottom boat excursions.
Things to Do in Trinidad and Tobago with Kids
When it comes to nature, Trinidad and Tobago is most known for nesting turtles from March to September. Usual sites stretch across the eastern and northern coasts of both islands. It is recommended to hire a tour operator to guide you to the restricted areas. Tobago thrives with fun water activities appropriate for all ages--kayaking, windsurfing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, ziplining, and hiking. Enjoy a relaxing day at the calm waters of Nylon Pool
, ideal for small kids and snorkeling. A trip to the Emperor Valley Zoo
will be interesting for the whole family, while in theAsa Wright Nature Centre
you can observe colorful bird life of Tobago.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Trinidad and Tobago
Safety is a really big issue when planning a Trinidad and Tobago holiday. Generally, most of the crime happens in Trinidad, where you should avoid remote areas, beaches, and parks even during daylight. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry and accessories, especially in tourist areas and during Carnival. When looking for accommodation, be sure to book apartments with safety bars and video surveillance. Tobago, on the other hand, is much safer, but be careful of pickpocketing. Villas in Tobago usually have swimming pools and other kid-friendly amenitiesm and most of the larger beaches have safeguards and food stalls. Unguarded beaches and those which are unsafe are marked with red-flags, and the safe ones with white and yellow flags.
Asa Wright Nature Centre
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Trinidad and Tobago
Cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago
The multicultural nature of Trinidad and Tobago is reflected in its cuisine influenced by European, American, Asian, Jewish, Chinese, African, and Arab dishes. Most of the dishes are barbecued, stewed, or curried. While on your Trinidad and Tobago holiday don’t miss the chance to taste callaloo, a spicy side dish of African roots made from dasheen leaves served with sweet potatoes or crabs. Other dishes include pilau, a rice-based dish, curry duck with roti and rice, macaroni pie, ox tails, and many others.
Shopping in Trinidad and Tobago
Shopping in Trinidad and Tobago includes both exploring the vast shopping malls of the Gulf City Lowlands Mall and finding handicrafts and artwork in small boutiques. Original food specialties are jellies, jams, hot sauces, tamarind balls, and sugar cake. Small arts and crafts stores usually sell pottery, calabash art, ceramics, shell jewelry, rasta hats, and wooden sculptures. One of the most popular souvenirs is the miniature version of a local instrument--steel pan, which is sold with sheet music.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Trinidad and Tobago
Interesting Facts About Trinidad and Tobago
- The Popular dances calypso and limbo originate from Trinidad and Tobago.
- Steel pan--the only new instrument invented in the 20th century--was invented in Trinidad and Tobago.
- Trinidad’s accent was ranked as 10th sexiest accent in the CNN’s top ten sexiest accents in world.
Things You Should NOT Do in Trinidad and Tobago
Nudity and going topless is prohibited on all beaches. Be sure not to cause any offence to locals, since you might have to deal with police. Don’t go alone in isolated areas, especially after dark. In case you are interested exploring more remote sites, arrange a tour guide from certified tour operators. Don’t carry a lot of cash or visible jewelry, and don’t leave laptop bags or cell phones in visible places. Be careful with taxis, the official ones feature the letter “H” on plaques.
Holidays & Festivals in Trinidad and Tobago
The most popular time of year is definitively during the Carnival in February, when both islands celebrate with loud Caribbean music, parades, flashy costumes, and sensual dances. For a great opportunity to explore local culture through a series of folklore dances, cuisine, and songs, visit during Tobago Heritage Festival in July. Trinidad and Tobago has several jazz and film festivals year-round as well. One of the most popular holidays, along with Easter, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas, is the Hindu festival of colors--Holi.
Useful Trinidad and Tobago Travel Tips
Common Greetings in Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidadians and Tobagonians are considered very social and friendly people, although you might curb your enthusiasm relating to business matters. The laid-back nature of the islanders is especially reflected in punctuation, when “in a while” could mean hours. It is considered to impolite to speak about work at parties and similar events. For a most pleasant Trinidad and Tobago vacation, greet with “good morning,” “good afternoon,” or “good night” when entering a room, answering a phone, or entering a taxi.
Climate of Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago enjoys a tropical climate with little temperature variance, the lowest reaching around 20°C (68°F) and the highest around 30°C (86°F). The islands have two seasons--dry season from January to mid-May and a rainy season from mid-May to December. Months with the most rainfall are June, July, and August, with more than 200 mm (7 in) of rainfall, but bear in mind that humidity is high year-round. Seasonal winds blowing from northeast make Tobago a bit cooler than Trinidad. The most popular time to take a Trinidad and Tobago vacation is during dry season; sea temperatures rarely go under 26°C (78°F).
Transportation in Trinidad and Tobago
Most popular way of getting around Trinidad and Tobago are maxi-taxis, used both by locals and tourists. Maxi-taxis can also be chartered for a whole day, or you can book a typical car rental service. Regular taxis are well developed, although keep in mind to check the license plates for the letter “H”--unofficial taxis breed crime and theft. Both islands have a network of public transport systems and ferries which connect them. When planning a Trinidad and Tobago tour, be prepared to travel the whole day because of heavy traffic and frequent traffic jams. The official way of driving is on left side.
Tipping in Trinidad and Tobago
In general, tips are not part of Trinidad and Tobago culture, and there is no norm in terms of percentage, but a few exceptions exist. High-end bars, restaurants, and hotels where foreigners visit are the places where you should tip 10-20 percent, and some restaurants add a service charge to the bill. Tip $5-$20 TT for assistance with luggage, carrying the things you need is recommended. When it comes to services like hairdressing, you can also tip with $5-$10 TT. Maxi-taxi’s drive on fixed prices and tips are forbidden, but if you find services of a private taxi exceptional, it is up to you to tip.