Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2018 (#29)

meppublishers

Discover T&T has published 29 issues since 1991, and helps readers discover where to stay, dine, lime, party, and shop; and what to see (including the islands’ best sites) and experience (festivals, arts and culture, sports, and eco escapes), in both islands. There’s also a national calendar of events; info on getting here and getting around; tips for safe and sustainable travel; T&T history and society in a nutshell, maps; and more.

For the third edition in the row, the magazine features a distinctive dual-cover design, with one cover for each island — a ruby topaz humming- bird photographed in the Arima Valley (photograph by Wendell Stephen Jay Reyes) and the relaxing scene of someone lounging atop a glass- bottom boat in the Nylon Pool (photograph by Tarique Eastman).

Discover T&T is aimed at local and international explorers planning getaways to the islands — whether for an eco adventure, business trip, or beach holiday. For more: http://www.discovertnt.com

RAPSO IMAGING

TRINIDAD

8 Welcome message from the Ministry

of Tourism

10 Intro

ESSENTIALS

12 Places to stay

16 The taming of the stew — where

(and what) to eat

24 Arts, entertainment & shopping

30 Carnival & Festivals

39 Sports

What’s inside

A hibiscus flower

OTHER ESSENTIALS

76 National calendar of events

80 Getting here & getting around

82 Tips for safe and sustainable travel

86 T&T history and society in a nutshell

TOBAGO

91 Welcome

ESSENTIALS

92 Places to stay

98 Savour the flavours — where (and

what!) to eat

101 Arts & entertainment — where to

lime, and shop

EXPLORE…

43 Beaches, rivers & waterfalls

47 Outdoor adventures

52 Seeing green — eco experiences

(turtle-watching, birding, & more!)

60 Sightseeing (architecture & built

heritage, easy day trips, familyfriendly

fun, & more!)

MAPS

68 Trinidad Maps

WET & WILD

105 Beaches, rivers, waterfalls, and

water sports

109 Diving

112 Game fishing

113 Turtle-watching

114 Sightseeing & day trips

120 Birding

125 Festivals & events

130 Sports

132 Tobago Map


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RAPSO IMAGING

An Oropendula (Psarocolius) commonly

known as a cornbird waits his turn for

food at Asa Wright Nature centre

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Escape the ordinary.

Discover Hyatt Regency

Trinidad.

It’s good not to be home.


DESTINATION TRINIDAD & TOBAGO REBORN!

Welcome to Trinidad & Tobago.

The islands are a

melting pot of cultures and

warm, friendly people. Our

heritage, rich and diverse

culture, and extraordinary biodiversity will

provide you with an experience unlike any.

As a guest to our shores, you will be wowed

from the moment you arrive and be sure to

return again and again.

There is a new energy in our country’s

travel and tourism industry, which

is certain to improve how you experience

and explore destination Trinidad &

Tobago. In Carnival 2017, the Ministry of

Tourism launched a new travel app called

GoTrinBago — the first of its kind for T&T.

Increasingly, travellers conduct travel

searches and book their vacations via digital

channels. The GoTrinBago app is therefore

filled with detailed information about

the various tours, sites and attractions in

both islands. Prominently featured in the

Welcome

app is our dynamic calendar of events,

which can be found in the first category:

Lime 365. A quick search through this category

will show you that there is always

something to do in Trinidad & Tobago! The

app is available for download — in English

and Spanish — in both the iOS App Store

and the Google Play Store. Full German and

French translations will be completed in

the near future.

The Government of Trinidad & Tobago

continues to focus on development of the

sector. As such, in the coming year you can

expect major upgrades to our sites and

attractions. You can also look out for an

increase in our room stock with the introduction

of two 5-star hotels: The Brix Hotel

in Trinidad, and Sandals in Tobago.

Thank you for choosing Trinidad & Tobago

— two islands, two unique experiences.

Tobago is clean, green, and serene,

while Trinidad’s energy is not just from oil

and gas, but from our people and our culture.

Whatever travel experience you seek,

you are certain to find it in Sweet Trinbago!

– THE MINISTRY OF TOURISM

COURTESY TDC

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It’s complicated, as host Anthony

Bourdain concluded on CNN’s Parts

Unknown last year. Trinidadians are

every flavour of the Caribbean mixed

up in one — and served with pepper.

Playful, witty, warm, friendly, and colourful

are just a few of the words used to describe

Trinis. Home to rare and endangered species

like the golden tree frog, and one of the

most important global nesting sites of giant

leatherback turtles, Trinidad is also the

most industrialised island in the region. We

are a hub for commerce, trade, shopping,

entertainment, and ecological research. We

are complex — spiritual yet sensual; a little

crazy, but cool. The kind of people who can

take old oil drums and hammer out an orchestra.

Welcome to our magic

Intro

island.

Credits

Editor: Caroline Taylor

Text: Nazma Muller

Consulting editor: Jeremy Taylor

Editorial & design assistant: Shelly-

Ann Inniss

Designer: Bridget van Dongen

Consulting designer: Kevon Webster

Business development: Denise Chin,

Yuri Chin Choy, Evelyn Chung

Production: Joanne Mendes,

Jacqueline Smith

General manager: Halcyon Salazar

Ministry font courtesy Victor Tognollo

/ Tognollo Hand Lettering

Cover Trinidad: A ruby topaz hummingbird

photographed in the Arima Valley.

Photo: Wendell Stephen Jay Reyes

Cover Tobago: Relaxing atop a glassbottom

boat in the Nylon Pool. Photo:

Tarique Eastman

A publication of Media & Editorial

Projects Ltd. (MEP)

6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval,

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

T: (868) 622-3821 | F: (868) 628-0639

E: info@discovertnt.com

W: discovertnt.com

Connect with us online:

RAPSO IMAGING

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Guava skipper feeds on a rangoon vine

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ISSN 1680-6166

© 2017 Media & Editorial Projects (MEP)

Ltd.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication

may be reproduced in any form

whatsoever without the prior written

consent of the publisher.


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COURTESY THE HYATT REGENCY

Places

to stay

The high-end hotels feature

sought-after amenities, like topclass

restaurants and excellent

pool, gym, business, and conference

facilities. Downtown on the

waterfront, the full-service Hyatt Regency

Trinidad offers views of the Gulf of Paria;

across the road is the Radisson, with its

revolving restaurant at the top; and the

Courtyard by Marriott is further west beside

MovieTowne. The classy Kapok Hotel

and iconic Hilton both overlook the Queen’s

Park Savannah.

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Down south, the leading options include

Tradewinds, which also has monthly

residency options, and the Royal Hotel,

located just around the corner from the

entrance to San Fernando Hill. In the

east, there’s the Holiday Inn Express

near the airport, and academic visitors

appreciate the University Inn in St Augustine.

Among the most popular guesthouses,

B&Bs, and self-catering options

are The Allamanda (Woodbrook); Crosswinds

Villa Bed & Breakfast (Santa

Cruz); Forty Winks Inn (Port of Spain);

Culture Crossroads Inn (St James); and

the Coblenz Inn and L’Orchidée Guesthouse

(Cascade).


PARAMIN

Spectacularly located villa and

events venue perfect for







HIKING | BIRDWATCHING | GROUP CARNIVAL PACKAGES



















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Places to stay

Quieter, greener options exist for nature lovers: Paradise

Villas (Paramin); Asa Wright Nature Centre on the

Arima–Blanchisseusse Road; Hacienda Jacana (Talparo);

Petrea Place at the Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust;

Xanadu Resort (Lopinot); or Acajou, Le Grand Almandier,

and Mt Plaisir near Grande Rivière.

If you’re staying at hotels like the Hyatt, you’ll find

an array of opportunities for pampering right on site.

You can also find a variety of spa and beauty treatments

at The Face & Body Clinic’s four branches (Port of Spain,

San Fernando, Chaguanas, and in Tobago).

CHRIS ANDERSON

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All rooms and suites are air conditioned and outfitted with modern facilities for your every comfort

including internet access and direct dial telephone. Enjoy a meal at our restaurant which specialises

in a variety of tasty Caribbean and International cuisine, or just sit back and relax at our bar and

lounge or around our swimming pool.

Our new building includes conference facilities as well as an ideal settingfor wedding receptions,

cocktail parties and other special functions. Other facilities include our complimentary gym and

business centre with email and internet access, ideally suited for business or vacation.

We also offer special group and long term rates.

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The taming of the stew

Dining out

Foodies, pace yourself! At the Kapok Hotel in Maraval,

savour the flavours of the Orient (Tiki Village), or

brick-oven-baked pizza (Kava). Downtown at the Hyatt

Regency Trinidad, the Waterfront restaurant serves up

Caribbean and international cuisine.

At MovieTowne, the options include authentic Japanese

cuisine (Kaizan Sushi), international flavours (Zanzibar,

Ruby Tuesday), Italian (Rizzoni’s), a Brazilian-American

steakhouse (Texas de Brazil), or seafood and barbecue

dishes (Trader Jack’s).

On the Avenue (ie Ariapita Avenue) in Woodbrook, you

can choose from Italian (Angelo’s), Caribbean creole

(Veni Mangé), Chinese-Indian fusion (Hakka), or sushi

(More Sushi). At One Woodbrook Place, vegans and vegetarians

are catered to at Coloz (Caribbean) and Urban

Oasis (international).

In Maraval, head to Taste Vinoteca for small plates and

vintage wine, or to Aioli and Joseph’s for a taste of the

Mediterranean; while chef Khalid Mohammed creates

modern, international dishes with a Caribbean twist at

Chaud Restaurant in St Ann’s.

COURTESY AIOLI RESTAURANT

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Down south, sample Cuban cuisine at Arabian House

(which also serves Arabian dishes, of course) or visit

Atherly’s for creole and international flavours.

Alcohol & spirits

Make sure to sample our award-winning local

rums (like Angostura 1919), and cocktails made

with the world-famous Angostura Bitters.

Angostura’s Queen’s Park

Sizzle

2 oz Angostura® 7 yr old dark rum

1 oz Demerara simple syrup

1 oz fresh lime juice

12-14 mint leaves

6-8 dashes Angostura® aromatic

bitters

The taming of the stew

Method: Build in a highball glass.

Muddle mint leaves in lime juice

and simple syrup then fill glass

with dry crushed ice. Pour rum

over ice and swizzle well until

glass is ice cold and frosted. Pack

glass with more crushed ice and

top with Angostura aromatic bitters.

COURTESY ANGOSTURA

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Cocoa is king again

We happen to grow some of the finest cocoa beans

(Trinitario), which are in demand by high-end chocolatiers

in Europe. A cocoa renaissance has revived

the industry and gourmet concoctions are being

handmade with local fruits and flavours (like Cocobel’s

sublime sorrel and dizzying ponche-à-crème).

Other names to look out for: Cacique, Ortinola Great

House, Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa Company.

RAPSO IMAGING

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COURTESY TDC

Top dishes to try in T&T

*

*

Roti:

*

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Doubles: You are never more than

100ft away from a doubles vendor

in Trinidad, especially if you are in

a city/town. Two fried barra and

a spoonful of curried channa will

change your life — especially with

slight pepper, tamarind sauce,

cucumbers and mango.

There is no way you can visit

Trinidad without having a roti. The

trouble is deciding what to put in it.

Pack some combination of curried

chicken, beef, goat, duck, or conch

inside this delicious wrap, together

with bhagi (spinach), pumpkin,

channa, potato, mango or bodi (string

beans).

Pelau: The national “rice and peas”

dish, a one-pot wonder that is

popular at house parties and to take

on beach outings or excursions. It

is usually cooked with pigeon peas

and either chicken or beef. These

days, however, the Trini gourmand

has added all sorts of spins to the

humble pelau — from the carnivore’s

pork and lamb, to shitake mushrooms

for the vegan. Usually served with

cole slaw or a green salad and/or

avocado.

*

*

*

*

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This page: pastelles are an integral part of a

Trini Christmas

Opposite: enjoy your curry in roti, doubles or

as traditional masala, rice and vegetables

Pineapple chow: Soaked in salt,

black pepper, chadon beni, garlic and

pepper, pineapple suddenly takes on

a whole new personality — spicy

yet sweet, like a Trini. We also make

chow with mango, pommecythere,

cherries, plums, carambola and even

chennette.

Corn soup: The saviour that sobers up

many a tipsy party-goer, the trusty

corn soup can usually be found at

concerts and big events. This tasty

veggie option is filled with dumplings,

potato, carrots, and wedges of corn in

a seasoned split pea broth.

Stewed chicken & macaroni pie: The

combination is deadly, sure to knock

you out on a Sunday. The secret of

the stew is in the seasoning, which

the crafty Trini cook marinates the

meat in overnight, while the cheesiness

of the macaroni pie is directly

proportional to its deliciousness.

Pastelle: Wafer-thin casings of cornmeal

are filled with seasoned meat

(chicken, beef, lamb or pork), tuna or

soya, with olives, capers and raisins,

then cooked in a banana leaf and foil.


Hotter than fire

Besides the best cocoa, we have some

of the world’s hottest peppers. One, the

Moruga Scorpion, was actually rated as

the hottest in the world at one point. Our

pepper sauces are not to be trifled with

— one is even dubbed “mother in law”

to describe its lethal power. The East Indians

can also be credited with creating

all manner of chutneys and sauces out

of fruits like tamarind, pommecythere,

and mango. A dollop of kuchela or mango

amchar will liven up any dish.

COURTESY COCONUT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION/OLIVE AND MANGO

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Vaughnette Bigford wows the

crowd at North Coast Jazz

(Blanchisseuse) last May. Her

album, Born to Shine is available

vaughnettebigford.com

CAMILLE E LOWHAR

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Arts &

entertainment

Music

Music is in the Trini DNA. Tony and Grammy

winning singer/actress Heather

Headley; Grammy-winning singer/songwriter

Angela Hunte; award-winning

rap/hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj; and the

late, celebrated performer Geoffrey

Holder are all Trinidadian. Of our indigenous

music, these are among the most

significant:

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Calypso dates back to pre-Emancipation

times, when slaves created songs as

a form of praise or derisive social commentary,

and rose to international popularity

in the 1930s–50s. Soca — calypso’s

up-tempo progeny born in the 70s and

incorporating Indian musical influences

— is the islands’ party music. Some hits

have become international sensations.


Serious liming & partying

If there’s one thing Trinis take seriously,

it’s partying. Our reputation as the party

animals of the Caribbean has been hardearned

and we do our best to maintain

it — at bars, rum shops, holes in the wall,

and nightclubs.

Some of the most popular haunts are:

Woodbrook & “De Avenue”:

51° Lounge; Coco Lounge;

*

*

*

*

Drink! Lounge & Bistro; More Vino;

Smokey & Bunty’s; and Studio Lounge

Around Port of Spain: HAZE; Katalyst;

Luce; Old Havana Cigar Bar; Paprika;

Queen’s Park Oval; Sails (Chaguaramas);

Siam; Trotters; Tzar; Vas; and

Zanzibar

Heading east: Sandbaggers (Trincity);

and Trevor’s Edge (St Augustine)

Around San Fernando: Hi RPM; Privé;

and Space La Nouba.

COURTESY THE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO FILM FESTIVAL (TTFF)

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Tassa is a drum-driven music central

to the Muslim festival of Hosay, but

the drums are fused with other musical

forms and celebrations year-round.

Parang is Trinidad’s Christmas music,

with origins in Venezuela, featuring

instruments like the cuatro, box bass,

and maracas, and lyrics usually sung in

Spanish.

Indigenous music is only the beginning.

Some of the most distinctive groups

include fusion bands Freetown Collective,

jointpop, and Kin Sound System;

the rapso of 3canal; and local rock, and

reggae, and jazz artists like Vaughnette

Bigford. Groups like the Marionettes,

Lydians, and Love Movement present

western classical, opera, and Broadway,

and are particularly popular at Christmas

time.

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Arts & entertainment

Visual arts

Visual artists abound in Trinidad, with galleries constantly exhibiting

the many talented painters who call this island home — Horizons,

Medulla, Soft Box, Y Art Gallery, Fine Art Gallery. The most famous

expats are Peter Doig and Chris Ofili (Turner Prize winner), while local

names that collectors fawn over include Michel-Jean Cazabon and

Boscoe Holder. Other names to look out for: MP Alladin, Sybil Atteck,

Ralph and the late Vera Baney, Pat Bishop, Isaiah Boodhoo, Edward

Bowen, Carlisle Chang, Leroy Clarke, Chris Cozier, Ken Crichlow, Jackie

Hinkson, Paul Llanos, Dermot Louison, Che Lovelace, Shastri Maharaj,

Wendy Nanan, Lisa O’Connor, Shalini Seereeram, Peter Sheppard, Irénée

Shaw, Sundiata, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, and Noel Vaucrosson.

Dance: all the right moves

Any opportunity we get, Trinis will start dancing. We are credited with inventing

the limbo, after all. Originally an event at wakes, it was popularised by our own Julia

Edwards, a dance pioneer who appeared in films like Fire Down Below (1957) and

toured the world in the 1960s.

Another one of our dance legends, Beryl McBurnie, founder of the Little Carib Theatre,

was the first person to promote Caribbean dance internationally, to acclaimed

dancer Katherine Dunham among others. McBurnie gave Dunham private lessons in

the rhythms and dances of the region, including ritual Yoruba chants from Trinidad

and dances such as the bongo — like the limbo, done at wakes — and kalinda, where

stickfighting opponents dance (carre) in between exchanging blows.

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Members of La

Danse Caraibe

perform at

Queen’s Hall

Keeping traditions

alive (or creating new

ones), local schools and

dance companies present

shows in a range of styles

— regional folk, ballet,

jazz, modern, and Indian

classical, plus experimental

multi-media productions

— at many of the same

venues as listed for theatre

(next page).

MARCUS ANTOINE

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Theatre: our world onstage

Productions of both local and foreign

musicals, plays, and experimental performances

are staged by commercial

outfits like RS/RR Productions and Raymond

Choo Kong Productions; theatre

departments at the Universities of the

West Indies (UWI) and Trinidad & Tobago

(UTT); and community theatre companies.

There are stand-up comedy acts as well,

plus a New Play Festival each October/

November. Look for shows at Queen’s

Hall, the National Academy for Performing

Arts (NAPA), Central Bank, Little Carib,

Big Black Box, Trinidad Theatre Workshop

(Port of Spain, which was founded by Nobel

Laureate Derek Walcott); CLR James

Auditorium in the east; and Naparima

Bowl and SAPA (the southern campus of

the NAPA) in San Fernando.

Film & cinema

The film industry has long been earmarked

for growth, and incentive and rebate

programmes have made the islands

an attractive location for filming. Work

by locally-based and Caribbean diaspora

artists are on show at the annual T&T

Film Festival (see our Festivals section),

and some get runs at local cinemas like

MovieTowne and Caribbean Cinemas 8

locations, and IMAX in Port of Spain. The

UWI Campus Film Classics and European

Film Festival (usually in May) host special

screenings of regional and foreign

indie films.

This page: a still from the locally produced feature film

Green Days by the River, adapted from the Michael

Anthony novel of the same name

Opposite centre: some of Barbara Jardine’s creations in

Y Gallery’s “Jewel Box Spectrum” exhibition

Arts & entertainment

COURTESY TTFF

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REISHA SEEBARANSINGH

Fashion & jewellery

Some of the top names to look out for are CLD,

Ecliff Elie, Adrian Foster, House of Jaipur, Heather

Jones, K2K, the Lush Kingdom, Meiling, Millhouse,

Claudia Pegus, Pilar, The Cloth, and the Wadada

Movement. For those looking for breath-taking

hand-crafted jewellery in precious metals and

stones, check Chris Anderson, Gillian Bishop, Janice

Derrick, Akilah Jaramogi, Barbara Jardine, Rachel

Rochford, Rachel Ross, and Jasmine Thomas-

Girvan.

Literature & books

Look out for works (spanning fiction,

plays, poetry, local history, culture, and

the environment) by Nobel laureates VS

Naipaul and Derek Walcott, plus Michael

Anthony, Gerard Besson, Lloyd Best, Angelo

Bissessarsingh, CLR James, John La

Rose, Earl Lovelace, Ian MacDonald, Elizabeth

Nunez, Judy Raymond, Monique

Roffey, Sam Selvon, Amanda Smyth, Julian

Kenny, and former prime minister

Eric Williams at bookstores like Paper

Based and Nigel R Khan; and books and

magazines by publishers like Paria and

MEP (our publishers, who produce books

of Caribbean interest under the imprint

Prospect Press).

RAPSO IMAGING

Non-stop shopping

You can buy just about anything here: from distinctive locally hand-crafted souvenirs,

to top international brands in fashion, jewellery, electronics, cars and gourmet food. If

you can’t find it in one of the major malls (Long Circular, The Falls at West Mall, Trincity,

Gulf City, Grand Bazaar, South Park Shopping Centre, Centre Pointe Mall, Centre City

Mall), it’s sure to be in one of the many plazas (the older ones are Ellerslie Plaza, Price

Plaza and MovieTowne Mall) or specialty shops. For local art, craft, food, fashion and

accessories, check out the artisan markets (Green Market Santa Cruz, and UpMarket

at the Woodbrook Youth Centre).

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What’s all the fuss about?

This is our annual street

festival on the two days

before Ash Wednesday;

it takes over the capital,

and all major towns. Indeed the whole

country shuts down to party hearty (or

enjoy two days off!).

RAPSO IMAGING

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How to survive it

Stay hydrated (water, coconut water and sports drinks

are your friends); wear earplugs, and stylish trainers

for covering long distances; and have a mobile to call

for a pick-up just in case of emergency (ie you get tired,

drunk, or both).

Playing a mas — pretty, or dirty

It’s all about the costumes, the pageantry, and the

fetes… This is an all-out explosion of the senses, beginning

with the all-inclusive band launches in July —

where the limitless food and drinks recall the hedonistic

French masquerade balls in the 19th century which, in

part, gave birth to this festival. But the highlight for

many visitors is actually getting down and dirty in the

carnival. Literally. This means playing J’Ouvert, from the

wee hours of Carnival Monday morning, covered in mud,

oil, chocolate or body paint, dancing through the streets

of Port of Spain to the rhythm of our music.

Opposite: a masquerader

from K2K Alliance &

Partners, three time Band of

the Year (Medium)

This page: a menacing blue

devil intimidates the crowd

Carnival

ATIBA WILLIAMS

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The music

From the big costume bands launches, you will hear the latest soca hits being played

on the radio and in the fetes. On Carnival Friday, the artistes compete for huge cash

prizes by performing for the International Soca Monarch title. Calypso, meanwhile, is

best heard at calypso tents, numerous competitions through the season, and at Dimanche

Gras on Carnival Sunday.

Carnival

COURTESY TDC

Steelpan

This is the home of the only acoustic instrument invented

in the 20th century, the steelpan. After the British colonial

authorities banned the beating of African drums, the

working class turned to the steel drums in which oil was

stored. A highlight of the Carnival is Panorama, the battle

of the steel orchestras for cash prizes and bragging

rights. In the weeks before the finals, panyards across

the country are filled with spectators and supporters

listening to the players perfect their performance. The

Queen’s Park Savanah’s Big Stage is the arena where

the battle is fought the Saturday before Carnival.

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RAPSO IMAGING

Opposite: a steelpan

This page: a masquerader

from The Lost Tribe

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A deya lit for Divali

Festivals

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Bocas Lit Fest

With headliners like Man Booker Prize

winner Marlon James from Jamaica and

our own Earl Lovelace (Commonwealth

Writers Prize winner), the festival brings

writers from around the region and further

afield for readings, performances,

workshops, discussions, and film

screenings. Founded in 2011, and usually

staged over the last week of April, the

festival also hosts events year-round.

bocaslitfest.com

COCO Dance festival

Organised by the Contemporary Choreographers

Collective, this annual festival

(October) brings together dancers and

choreographers from around the region

and North America to collaborate with

the local dance communities and students.

Indian Arrival Day

This national public holiday (30 May)

commemorates the arrival of the first

indentured labourers from India on the

Fatel Razack in 1845. More than 140,000

Indians were recruited over the next 70

years to work Trinidad’s plantations after

Emancipation. Communities re-enact

the arrival on beaches, and there are cultural

shows and performances; the Divali

Nagar (near Chaguanas) hosts many key

celebrations.

Divali and Ramleela

This Hindu festival that signifies the triumph

of good over evil is celebrated

by the whole country, and everyone is

welcome at the nightly lighting of deyas

(clay pots with coconut oil and a wick),

on often intricate bamboo structures in

parks nationwide. Some families and

neighbourhoods go all out and the sight

of thousands of deyas and coloured lights

decorating homes is something to behold.

Preparations and rituals typically last

five days, but the main festival night coincides

with the darkest, new moon night

of the Hindu calendar, usually between

mid-October and mid-November. You will

see families dressed in fabulous saris and

shalwar on Divali night to light deyas and

perform puja (prayers) to Lakshmi, the

goddess of fertility and prosperity. Afterwards,

a feast with lots of curried vegetables

and roti, with Indian sweets as

dessert, must follow. Ramleela is a nineday,

outdoor festival dramatising the life

of Rama, with colourful costumes…and an

explosive finale! The best-known productions

are held in Couva and Felicity in the

days leading up to Divali.

RAPSO IMAGING

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La Divina Pastora & Siparee Mai

In a church of the same name in Siparia stands a dark-skinned statue of the Virgin

Mary as La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess). Many miracles have been attributed

to her by ardent devotees. On the Thursday night and Friday before Easter,

Hindu pilgrims visit the church with acts of devotion — recognising her as Siparee

Mai (mother of Siparia), Durga, and Lakshmi. Most of all, she is just “mother”. And for

her feast day (the third Sunday after Easter), the “Miracle Mother” is decorated by

Catholics with flowers, dressed in white, and processed through the streets, followed

by celebrations open to all.

NYLA SINGH

This page: hands covered

with colourful abir powder

Opposite: the flambeaux

street procession is a

hallmark of Emancipation

celebrations

Phagwa (Holi)

Each March, the Hindu community recognises the beginning

of the Indian spring and the Hindu New Year in a

joyful explosion of colour. Participants — Hindus and

non-Hindus alike — spray each other with different

shades of the vegetable dye, abir. The Aranguez Savannah

is a popular venue for this celebration of birth and

renewal.

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MARIA NUNES

Hosay

The exquisitely beautiful tadjahs that

represent the tomb of Hussain, grandson

of the Prophet Muhammad, make

this festival a hit every year. Five tadjahs

(made of bamboo, wood, paper and

tinsel) are paraded through the streets

of St James — and other sites around

the country like Cedros, Couva, Curepe,

and Tunapuna — in commemoration of

the martyrdom of Hussain in the year

680 AD. These miniature temples are

about 3–6m/10–30ft tall. The procession

is accompanied by the beating of tassa

drums and two standards in the shape

of half-moons — one red symbolising

the blood of Hussain that was shed at

Karbala, and one green for the poisoning

of his brother Hassan. Observances takes

place over three nights (Flag Night, Small

Hosay, Big Hosay).

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Emancipation

A public holiday is celebrated on 1 August

to commemorate the end of slavery in the

British colonies (1838), but events take

place before and after the big day. Enjoy

art exhibitions, film screenings, lectures,

performances, religious observances,

trade shows, and a vibrant street procession.

The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation

Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah

is the centre of the activities.

Festivals

37


Santa Rosa Festival and First

People’s Heritage Week

With origins in both Trinidad’s First Peoples

and Catholic traditions, the Santa

Rosa Festival in Arima commemorates

the death of Santa Rosa de Lima, the Roman

Catholic patron saint of the “New

World”. It begins with the firing of a cannon

on 1 August from Calvary Hill, and

ends with a procession on the Sunday

following her feast day (23 August). A

statue of the saint is carried through the

streets by members of the island’s Santa

Rosa First Peoples Community (led by the

Carib Queen), alongside Roman Catholics.

In October, the Community celebrates

First Peoples Heritage Week, which includes

academic conferences, ritual

smoke and water ceremonies, street processions,

and more.

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Festivals

In 2017, a ceremony was held at the Red

House to honour indigenous ancestors

whose skeletal remains were found under

its foundations

T&T Film Festival

Local filmmakers get a chance to showcase

their work at the annual T&T Film

Festival, which takes place the third

week in September and is the second

largest film festival in the region.

A packed schedule of shorts, features

and documentaries from home-grown

talent are shown alongside work from

regional filmmakers. Educational initiatives,

development programmes, and

community film screenings happen not

just during the festival, but all year long.

ttfilmfestival.com

MARIA NUNES


Golf

Trinidad has three 18-hole courses (St

Andrew’s Golf Club in Moka (pictured);

Millennium Lakes in Trincity; and

Petrotrin’s Pointe-à-Pierre Golf Club),

and three nine-hole courses (Chaguaramas;

Usine St Madeleine; and Brechin

Castle in Caroni). T&T Golf Association:

629-7127

CHRIS ANDERSON

Sports

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Athletics

The island has a long history of excelling

at athletics. Local and international stars

meet in action at the annual Hampton

Games. National Association of Athletics

Administrations of T&T: 679-3276

Cricket

The Queen’s Park Oval (Port of Spain) and

the new stadium at the Brian Lara Cricket

Academy (Tarouba) host the nation’s

Twenty/20, one-day, and Test matches.

T&T Cricket Board: 636-1577

Sports

Cycling & mountain biking

The Easter International Grand Prix and

National Championships are highlights

of the racing calendar. A new world-class

National Cycling Velodrome (Couva)

opened in 2016; the Arima Velodrome

is another focal point. Mountain bikers

head to Chaguaramas, Santa Cruz, and

the northern range. T&T Cycling Federation:

679-8823

Dragon boat racing

This sport took off in Trinidad 10 years ago

for Chinese Bicentennial celebrations; the

national team since has won several

medals at the World Championships. Regattas

are organised by the T&T Dragon

Boat Federation, mainly in Chaguaramas

(Trinidad) and Pigeon Point (Tobago).

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RAPSO IMAGING

Motor sports

Rally and drag racing are both popular,

with locations in south and central Trinidad

like Couva and Preysal. Events are

hosted by the T&T Rally Club (like the

Championship Series and International

Rally) and T&T United Drag Racing Association.

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Football (soccer)

T&T has hosted the FIFA World (men’s)

Under-17 championships and Women’s

Under-17 world championships. It was

also the smallest nation, until Iceland

in 2017, to qualify for the World Cup finals

(2006). The Hasely Crawford (Port

of Spain), Manny Ramjohn (Marabella),

Larry Gomes (Arima), Ato Boldon (Couva),

and Marvin Lee (Tunapuna) stadia are

the main venues. T&T Football Federation

(TTFF): 623-9500

Swimming & aquatics

A new world-class National Aquatics Centre

(Couva) opened in 2016. It is intended

to be a hub for local sports including water

polo and diving, and to attract international

swim events as part of a sports

tourism thrust. Public swimming pools

are also located in Port of Spain (Flying

Fish), Tunapuna (Centre of Excellence),

St Joseph (La Joya), Diego Martin, San

Fernando (Cocoyea), Couva and Siparia.

Amateur Swimming Association: 643-2813

Tennis

The recently completed National Tennis

Complex (Tacarigua) is the centrepiece

of the sport, while there are also public

courts at Nelson Mandela Park (St Clair),

and courts for hourly rental at the Trinidad

Country Club (Maraval) and some

hotels. T&T Tennis Association: 625-3030

Sports

Sporting heroes

*

Stephen Ames: former world top

25 golfer with four major PGA

titles, including victory over Tiger

Woods at the Players Championship

(2006)

Ato Boldon: four-time Olympic

medallist (2 silver, 2 bronze for

100m and 200m, 1996 and 2000),

and 200m World Championship

gold medallist (1997). Now a commentator

with NBC in the US

George Bovell III: nation’s first

Olympic medallist in swimming

(2004 bronze in 200m individual

medley), among several other

international medals

Hasely Crawford: nation’s first

Olympic gold medallist, winning

men’s 100m (1976)

Brian Lara: star cricketer and

world record holder for the highest

Test match score (400 not

out, 2004) and highest first class

score (501 not out, 1994)

Jereem Richards: winner of

4x400m relay bronze at 2012

World Indoor Championships; and

both bronze (200m) and gold

(4x400 relay) medals at the 2017

World Championships

Keshorn Walcott: two-time Olympic

medallist (gold in 2012, bronze

in 2016). He’s the youngest male

athlete (and the first black one)

to win gold in javelin; the first

individual track and field athlete

ever to win World Junior and

Olympic titles in the same year;

and he holds the North, Central

American and Caribbean junior

record

Rodney Wilkes: nation’s first

Olympic medallist (weightlifting

silver in 1948, bronze in 1952).

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

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ALTIN OSMANAJ/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Lopinot: green days by the river

The river lime is a family tradition,

especially for the East Indian

community. And no river lime is

complete without a duck or two

being curried and served with

rice or roti. On weekends and public holidays,

the banks of the Caura and Lopinot

rivers are lined with bubbling pots.

A popular hangout for locals on weekends

and holidays, the Lopinot Historical

Complex was once a sprawling cocoa estate

that belonged to a French count (the

Compte de Lopinot). He fled the Haitian

Revolution in 1800 and set up camp here

(there are still ghost stories about him

riding his horse on full moon nights). This

community of farmers can trace their

roots back to the First Peoples, French,

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Beaches

& rivers

and Spaniards. At Christmas, the Spanish

link is celebrated with a parang festival.

Lopinot’s river meanders for miles, with

numerous pools along the way where

one can wallow in the cold, clear water

beneath the forest canopy. A small museum

and historical complex showcase

artefacts from the days of slavery. Opposite

the playing field, Café Mariposa

serves cocoa ice cream and other cocoainspired

dishes, with a guesthouse for

nature lovers who want to explore the

nearby caves or go birdwatching.

43


Beach bummin’

While Tobago’s beaches are calm, Trinidad’s

waters tend to be a little more “eventful”,

with bigger, more powerful waves and rugged

cliffs or dramatic mountain backdrops.

There’s the popular Maracas Beach (currently

undergoing a facelift), the spot for bake and shark

(although the sharks are now endangered) smothered in

sauces and topped with pineapple, cucumbers, tomato, and

lettuce. More sustainable alternatives to shark include flying

fish, mahi mahi, squid/calamari, carite, tilapia, or lionfish.

Sunrise at the ever-popular Maracas beach

CHRIS ANDERSON

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Beaches

& rivers

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COURTESY CREDIT TDC

The Nariva river meets the sea near

Manzanilla

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Beaches

& rivers

Next along the coast is the wide expanse

of Tyrico Bay, a favourite with

families, as is Las Cuevas, the next beauty

along the north coast. The caves here

are part of the attraction; there’s also a

car park, changing facilities and snack

bar. Walk with insect repellent for the

sand flies and mosquitoes.

The long and rugged stretch of beach

at Blanchisseuse is another favourite

along the north coast, especially for surfers.

At the end of the bay, the Marianne

River is a prime spot for kayaking. Salybia

and Sans Souci in the northeast are

also magnets for surfers.

In the south, Mayaro (a very long

beach that’s usually covered in chip

chip, a tiny mollusk that can be cooked)

and Quinam are the most frequented,

while the coconut tree-lined Manzanilla

stretches for miles up the east coast.

The west coast boasts warm waters and

white sand at Vessigny and Granville.


Over the top: Saut d’Eau

The trek to Saut d’Eau beach is long and difficult, but

worth it. The only way to get there is through Paramin

and down the side of the mountain via a dirt path.

You can take a jeep or walk to the top of the mountain

known as Barre La Vigie (patois for lookout point or

crow’s nest), which reaches 550m/1,800ft. Saut d’Eau

Beach is directly across from Saut d’Eau Island, a sanctuary

for pelicans and rare bird species. The clear, cool

waters of the bay are the perfect pick-me-up after the

hike. A 9m/30ft waterfall cascades into the sea, with

others nearby. The return climb to the summit is even

more testing, but the views from the top, like the one

pictured here, will make you feel like a champion when

you get there.

CHRIS ANDERSON

Outdoor

adventures

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The great Icacos lagoon is bisected by

a narrow road leading to the CGA Ltd’s

coconut estate and further to the town

of Icacos

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Hiking tips

*

*

*

*

Only go with a reputable guide, know your limits, and always stay with your

group

Always carry water, food and first aid supplies, and some dry clothes, in a

waterproof bag

Black clothing is the hottest, and attracts mosquitoes. Wear long trousers for

bush treks, and comfortable, waterproof shoes with good grip — no open-toed

sandals

And as the saying goes: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints…!

COURTESY COCONUT GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION

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Like bats out of hell: Tamana Caves

The Tamana Bat Caves in the Central Range are home to an estimated 1.5 million bats.

One for every Trini, with extras. Mt Tamana itself (313m/1,009ft) was revered as a sacred

mountain by the Guarahoons (one of the First Peoples). Eleven of the 67 species

of the island’s nocturnal bats can be found in these caves, including vampire, fruit, and

insect bats. At dusk, they all stream out of the caves en masse to feed. Thousands zip

past you per second. It’s a fairly easy hike through old coffee estates; wear long pants

and sneakers.

PIERSON HILL

Go for gold: El Tucuche

The rare golden tree frog is found only in

two places: Venezuela and Trinidad. Locally

you can find them in three remote

spots: the summits of El Tucuche, Aripo,

and Morne Bleu Ridge in the Northern

Range. According to the International

Union for Conservation of Nature, this

endemic species is critically endangered

due to its severely restricted habitat

and fragmented distribution in the

montane forest and elfin woodlands. At

937m/3,072ft, the peak of El Tucuche is

a serious hike with potential hazards,

especially in the rainy season. But the

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The rare golden tree frog is only found at

the summits of our highest peaks

views are stunning (from both of its

peaks!). And you might just spot a golden

tree frog hiding in a giant bromeliad. Plus

there are toucans, mountain crabs, howler

monkeys, cicadas, hummingbirds, and

other rare species.

Recommended starting time: 7am

Distance: 6.5km/4 miles each way

Duration: 8–12 hours return

Level of difficulty: Strenuous

Hiking boots or trail shoes recommended.

Be prepared for rain, so use waterproof

hiking sacks or bags, plus an extra set of

clothes and a towel for afterwards.


Waterfalls & more popular hikes

The Northern Range is full of glorious waterfalls for those willing to walk a

mile or two into the forest. Some of the most spectacular are Maracas, Paria,

Avocat, Rincon and Three Pools. In the west, there is Edith Falls (see our

Chaguaramas section), and in the east, Rampanalgas and Rio Seco. Here’s

how to get to some of them.

Fondes Amandes (St Ann’s): The Community Reforestation Project provides

forest tours that range from quick and gentle to more intermediate

*

Madamas Bay (north coast): It’ll take you roughly 3 hours from Matelot

* or 5 hours from Blanchisseuse. A beach, river, waterfall, and turtles (in

season) await. Intense

*

*

*

*

Maracas Falls (Northern Range): 30–45 minute trek; Trinidad’s tallest

waterfall (91m/299ft). Gentle

Paria Bay (north coast): It’ll take you roughly 2 hours from Blanchisseuse

to Turtle Rock then Cathedral Rock/Paria Arch. A pristine white

sand beach, turtles (in season), and nearby waterfall are your reward.

Also accessible via Brasso Seco. Intermediate

Rio Seco Falls (Salybia): Part of the Matura National Park, a 45–60 minute

hike brings you to the falls, and a natural swimming pool. Gentle

Turure Water Steps (Cumaca): after about 60 minutes, you’ll be bathing

in the pools at these unique natural limestone “steps”. Intermediate

Outdoor adventures

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RAPSO IMAGING

Before it was an island, Trinidad was part of the South

American mainland, so its environment is both Caribbean

and continental. Thousands of species thrive in the

lush Northern and Central Ranges, while the south is

continually invaded by animals washed down from the

Orinoco in Venezuela, or in transit, as in the case of migratory birds.

During the rainy season, the place seethes with life — flowers in

sidewalks, bromeliads on electricity wires, birds everywhere. This

tiny island (a mere 60km by 80km) is host to the greatest number

of species for its size in the West Indies: 108 species of mammals; a

growing number of recorded bird species (well over 400); 55 reptiles;

25 amphibians; and 617 butterflies. Few places in the world

match Trinidad for biodiversity.

Turtle watching

T&T is home to five of the seven species of sea turtles found globally.

All are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature

(IUCN) Red List — the vulnerable leatherback and olive ridley; the

endangered green and loggerhead; and the critically endangered

hawksbill. The leatherback, hawksbill, and green turtle nest on

Eco experiences: seeing green

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RAPSO IMAGING

This page: a giant leatherback turtle makes her

way back to sea after nesting at Las Cuevas

Opposite: green turtles can often be seen on sea

grass beds where they feed

beaches, while the loggerhead and olive ridley are occasionally

sighted at sea.

Trinidad is one of the few places in the Caribbean

where the giant female leatherback turtle practises

the timeless “family tradition” of returning to the place

where she was born to nest. After swimming through

the rough waves of the Atlantic, she makes her way up

the beach, laboriously digs a hole with her flippers into

which she lays hundreds of eggs, and then “backfills” it

before returning to the sea to mate again.

As the second largest leatherback nesting site in

the world, Trinidad receives more than 6,000 of these

heavyweights (up to 2,000lb) every year, generally

1 March–31 August. You can see them on any north or

east coast beach, especially Matura and Grande Rivière

(where you can see up to 50 a night, and even be lucky

enough to spot the endangered blue-throated pipingguan

or pawi bird). About two months later, the clutch

of babies emerge from the sand and head for the open

ocean. Peak season for seeing hatchlings is June–August.

Conservation efforts in Matura and Grande Rivière

require that permits be purchased to visit nesting sites.

These can be arranged through authorised tour guides

(Nature Seekers: 668-7337, Grande Rivière Nature Tour

Guide Association: 670-4257/469-1288), local accommodation,

or directly at Forestry Division offices.

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Tips

*

*

*

*

Don’t use light or

flash photography,

which can disorient

turtles; only infrared

light should be used

Do not approach or

touch turtles, and

stay out of their

field of vision. Keep

movements and

noise to a minimum

Campfires, driving,

staking any object

(like umbrellas),

and building sandcastles

on nesting

beaches can destroy

nests and kill hatchlings

hidden in the

sand

Litter can trap

hatchlings, and

suffocate turtles if it

enters the sea (they

mistake plastic

bags for jellyfish).

53


A birder’s guide

Trinidad is blessed with over 400 recorded bird

species — among the top 10 countries in the

world for the number of species per square mile.

Peak birding season is November–May, but

there’s lots to see year-round. Ornithologists

flock here because of the diversity and accessibility of the

birds. You can stay on the road and easily record 60 species

on a single outing. Here’s where you’ll want to head.

Hollis Dam

Here in the hills of north Trinidad, spot swallow-tailed

kites, golden-headed manakins, bay-headed tanager,

blue-headed parrot, the rare blue and yellow macaw.

The Heights of Aripo

Three or four valleys east of the Arima–Blanchisseuse

Road, leading to the highest point on the island (El Cerro

del Aripo), you will find the blue-headed parrot, the

grey-headed kite and the squirrel cuckoo, and rare visiting

warblers such as the bay-breasted, black-throated

blue, and blackpoll warblers.

CHRIS ANDERSON

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CHRIS ANDERSON

Asa Wright Nature Centre

This 1,500-acre sanctuary in the Arima

Valley was one of the first nature centres

to be set up in the Caribbean, offering a

chance to see dozens of hummingbirds,

tanagers, honeycreepers, and bananaquits

feeding up close. The main centre

and guesthouse are located on a former

cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation. Trails

through the rain forest bring you close

to all sorts of wildlife, from trapdoor

spiders and woodpeckers to blue emperor

(morpho) butterflies. The long dry

season (January–May) is when the most

striking vegetation is in bloom, as well as

in the shorter dry season (Petit Carême)

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This page: the rare oilbird is the only nocturnal, fruiteating

bird in the world. Asa Wright has the country’s

most accessible colony of them, while Cumaca

(pictured) has the country’s largest

Opposite: blue and yellow macaws were successfully

re-introduced to Trinidad in the early 2000s after

being extirpated by habitat loss and the pet trade

in October. Open 9am–5pm for day visits,

with guided walks (1.5hrs) at 10:30am

and 1:30pm. There are numerous waterfalls

and caves nearby, and an overnight

stay gives you the chance to see rare oilbirds.

Reservations required (667-4655).

Entrance fee for non-residents of T&T:

adults US$10; children 12 years and under

US$6. Residents: adults TT$30; children

TT$15

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WENDELL STEPHEN JAY REYES

RAPSO IMAGING

Top left: Green honeycreeper at Asa Wright

Top right: Amethyst woodstar hummingbird at Yerette

(this tiny bird first appeared in Trinidad in 2015)

Bottom: Black-throated mango hummingbird

RAPSO IMAGING

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This picture: Scarlet ibis (Trinidad’s

national bird) in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary

Below: White-tailed trogons at Asa Wright

RAPSO IMAGING

RAPSO IMAGING

For the birders

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A birder’s guide

Yerette, Home of the Hummingbird

For a more intimate experience of the hummingbird,

spend a couple of hours at the home of Theo and Gloria

Ferguson in Maracas, St Joseph. Their garden has

a spectacular view of the Northern Range. Sit on the

porch and enjoy juices, meals and pastries for breakfast,

lunch or afternoon tea alongside purple honeycreepers

and hummingbirds. Dozens of hummingbirds

flit by, some a few inches away, as they sip from dozens

of feeders and flowers. Theo is a knowledgeable

host, with a collection of photos for sale, and a slide

show about the tiny acrobats. 663-2623, yerettett.com

This page: Long-billed starthroat hummingbird

Opposite: an American flamingo flies over Caroni

Swamp

RAPSO IMAGING

Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust

This is an oasis of ponds surrounded by green forest, set within the sprawling grounds

of an oil refinery complex. It’s home to rare ducks, water lilies and lotus blossoms, cormorants,

caimans, parakeets and peacocks. Researchers and birders can learn about

efforts to reintroduce endangered wetland birds to their natural habitat. Small boats

take you out on the two ponds, where you can photograph the whistling tree duck,

kiskidee, purple gallinule, scarlet ibis, blue and gold macaw, wild muscovy duck, green

heron, yellow-hooded blackbird, pied water tyrant, cardinal, ringed kingfisher, black

skimmer, grey hawk, and the snakebird (or anhinga). A boardwalk along the first pond

can be accessed by wheelchairs and baby strollers. An on-site learning centre houses a

small First Peoples museum, and there is a full-service guesthouse. Advance bookings

required: 658-4200 ext 2512, papwildfowltrust.org

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Bush Bush Sanctuary and Nariva Swamp

Turn off the Manzanilla main road at Kernahan Trace and within 15 minutes be in

full-on swampland, complete with capuchin and red howler monkeys, blue and gold

macaws, and toucans. Bush Bush is a protected island within the largest freshwater

wetland in the Caribbean. Boating and kayaking are only possible in the rainy season.

It’s imperative to go with a tour guide who will arrange permits from the Forestry Division

(being without a permit in the reserve is punishable by a fine). Make sure to wear

insect repellent, long pants, and light colours.

Winston Nanan Caroni Bird Sanctuary

A must on every birder’s list, this is

the protected breeding grounds of the

national bird, the scarlet ibis. Now renamed

in honour of the veteran guide

and conservationist, it’s located off the

north-south highway a few miles outside

of Port of Spain and just west of the

airport. You will find the boats parked up

and waiting (adults TT$50, children $35);

most leave at 4pm. Within minutes the

sound of cars fades and you enter the

eerie silence of the swamp. Mangrove

channels create a dramatic backdrop for

the 100 species of birds that make their

home here alongside snakes (boas) in

trees, crabs and snails. Species spotted

include the straight-billed woodcreeper,

red-capped cardinal, juvenile night heron,

pigmy kingfisher, tropical screechowl,

common potoo, flamingo, osprey,

great grey heron, and the great egret. At

dusk the sky is filled with streaks of red

as hundreds of scarlet ibis return to roost

in trees on an island in the middle of the

swamp. For the serious birder, a private

tour can be arranged with a reputable

guide. 755-7826, caronibirdsanctuary.com

RAPSO IMAGING

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Architecture & built heritage

KAZIM DANIEL

The island’s history and its once extraordinary

wealth are built into its varied architecture.

One former great house from the days of sugar

and cocoa plantations is the Boissiere Estate

House in Maraval, now the Trinidad Country

Club, and you’ll find mansions and public buildings in the

popular early 19th-century neo-classical style like the

Port of Spain General Hospital. Governor Ralph Woodford

also sponsored the construction of the Cathedral of

the Immaculate Conception (built 1816–1832) on Independence

Square, and the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Woodford

Square (completed 1818 in the Gothic Revival style);

nearby is the Red House, once the seat of our parliament

and now undergoing restoration works. The 20th century

brought various contemporary architectural styles, including

art deco (Treasury Building on Independence Square),

and later the modernist movement and post-modern architecture.

Here are some treasured buildings and sites,

with much to recommend them beyond their architecture.

The Christ the Redeemer statue at Mount St Benedict

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Mount St Benedict

This 600-acre property has a commanding

view of the central plains from its

perch at 245m/800ft in the Northern

Range; you can see as far south as San

Fernando. Founded in 1912, it is the oldest

Benedictine monastery in the Caribbean.

Early morning mass is still a must

for Catholic devotees, as is afternoon tea

on a Sunday at its cosy tea house. You

can have scones and coffee while you admire

the mountains from the back porch,

where feeders attract hummingbirds at

close range. The complex is a quiet retreat

for birders and walkers, but be sure

to go on the trails in groups or with a

guide.

RAPSO IMAGING

The Temple in the Sea at Waterloo

A monument to the human spirit, this Hindu mandir (pictured above) stands on the

edge of the Gulf of Paria, on mudflats jutting out into the sea. Sewdass Sadhu — an

indentured immigrant sugar worker from India — used to save his meagre wages and

return to India every few years to worship at the holy shrines there. As the cost of the

pilgrimage became too much, he decided to build a temple in Trinidad instead. Banned

from building a temple on land by the British colonial authorities, he spent many years

laboriously carrying bricks, cement and sand to the unused swampland offshore, laying

the foundation for what would become a beautiful beacon for all. After he died in

1970, it was left in the hands of the sea, until 1994 when work began on restoring his

temple. A year later it was finally reopened, and a statue of him now stands watch

over his work of the heart.

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RAPSO IMAGING

Hanuman Murti (statue) & Dattatreya Yoga Centre

Donated by an Indian swami, this 26m/85ft statue of Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god

of strength) is reputed to be the tallest of its kind outside India. It towers above the

adjoining Dattatreya Yoga Centre in Carapachaima.

The “Magnificent Seven”

These colonial-era homes on the northwestern edge of the Queen’s Park Savannah are

in varying degrees of repair and use, reflecting their diverse histories and ownership.

From south to north: Queen’s Royal College (1904, boys’ secondary school); Hayes

Court (1910, Anglican Bishop’s residence); Milles Fleurs (1904, law association headquarters);

Roomor (1904, private home); the Roman Catholic Archbishop’s residence

(1903); Whitehall (1907); and Killarney or Stollmeyer’s Castle (1904).

Stollmeyer’s Castle was built in 1904

Architecture & built heritage

62

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Chaguaramas

The Chaguaramas National Heritage Park in Trinidad’s northwestern peninsula is just

20 minutes from Port of Spain (with no traffic, of which there is a lot on weekends and

public holidays).

Home to the wondrous Tucker Valley, hikers, bikers, explorers, bird watchers,

hashers, archers, and golfers all have their place in “Chag”, as it’s affectionately called.

In addition to the emerald green waters of popular Macqueripe Bay (which is scheduled

for upgrade works in 2018), the lush rain forests of the valley are crisscrossed

with nature trails. Howler monkeys can be heard in the forest canopy and pairs of

green parrots often pass. The Covigne River trail passes through nutmeg groves and

along a tributary of the Cuesa River uphill through a gorge. Along the way, you will

pass abandoned cocoa, coffee, and nutmeg plantations. The trail ends at a waterfall

with a plunge pool.

Easy day trips

Edith Falls is located in an

abandoned cocoa estate

nestled against the eastern

side of Morne Catherine

and overlooking

the golf course. A fairly

gentle hike, you will see

stands of majestic bamboo,

heliconias, rubber

trees and fishtail palms,

and hear red howler monkeys

(pictured) in the

forest canopy along the

trail. If you decide to hike

on your own, inform the

Chaguaramas Development

Authority (225-4232,

chaguaramas.com)

Recent development

in Chag is not without

controversy for those

who fiercely want to

preserve the natural environment,

rustic charm,

and tranquillity of this

discovertnt.com

CHRIS ANDERSON

63


treasured heritage park. But that hasn’t

deterred those who enjoy the area’s latest

man-made attractions, including the

1,400ft of beachfront walkway known as

the Boardwalk; gazebos are available for

private get-togethers, while pedal-boat

rides will keep the kids happy — as will

the Five Islands Waterpark, and Safari

Eco Park.

Zip-lining

With views of both forest and sea, ZIP-ITT

has seven lines (one passes over Macqueripe

Beach) and five canopy walks

(net bridges) among the trees of Tucker

Valley, where you might spot a howler

monkey or two as you zip by.

303-7755

Down de Islands (DDI)

Just off the northwest coast of Trinidad,

several smaller islands have become beloved

escapes. Many wealthy families

have holiday homes here. Pirogues and

fishing boats leave from marinas along

the coastline, where hundreds of yachts

and speed boats are stored.

In the distance you can see mountains

— the nearby coastline of Venezuela.

There are the Five Islands (Caledonia,

Craig, Lenagan, Rock and Nelson, which

was where East Indian immigrants were

quarantined when they arrived by boat);

Diego Islands (Carrera, a prison island,

and Cronstadt); Gaspar Grande; Gasparilo

Island (aka Centipede); Monos; Huevos;

and Chacachacare (which was once a

leper colony).

These islands were originally the

ceremonial grounds of the First Peoples.

They were later occupied by the Spanish.

Chacachacare has saltwater ponds,

ruins and a still-functioning lighthouse.

On Gaspar Grande, the jetty at Point Baleine

was once a whaling station. This is

the home of the underground Gasparee

caves, which are accessed via a staircase.

Here you will find stalagmites and a still

pool known as the Blue Grotto, with its

“sunroof”.

RAPSO IMAGING

64

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CHRIS ANDERSON

Family

friendly

fun

Queen’s Park Savannah

This 260-acre park holds a very special

place in the Trini heart. Originally part

of the Peschier family’s Paradise Estate,

a portion of land in the centre remains

a burial ground; it was converted into a

city park in 1817. The Caribbean’s oldest

recreation ground — and reported to be

the world’s largest roundabout at approximately

3.5km/2.2 miles — the Savannah

is popular for sports, kite-flying

(especially around Easter), walking/jogging,

and food/drink vendors.

On the northern side, you will find

the Emperor Valley Zoo (founded in 1947,

tel: 622-5344) and the Botanical Gardens

(established in 1820). Here you can relax

among one of the oldest collections of

exotic plants and trees in the Western

Hemisphere. Children especially will enjoy

seeing the zoo’s rare white Bengali

tigers, lions and giraffes, and a chimpanzee

who likes to watch TV.

Across from the Savannah on the

southeastern side is the Memorial Park

and the iconic National Academy for the

Performing Arts. Next door is the National

Museum & Art Gallery, home to a

permanent collection of 10,000 items in

galleries focusing on art, social history,

natural history, economic history, petroleum

and geology, and 19th-century

painter Michel-Jean Cazabon, as well as

a small gallery dedicated to carnival arts.

discovertnt.com 65


Zoology Museum (University of the West Indies)

Some 70,000 animal specimens are preserved here — reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects,

corals, crustaceans, and molluscs — with smaller collections of mammals and

birds. The majority are from T&T, the rest from around the region. Among them is a

collection from the Banwari site in south Trinidad, excavated in 1969–70. Dating back

to 6000–4350 BC, this site is the earliest human settlement in Trinidad and probably

the Caribbean, based on the items found — hand-stones, grinding slabs, arrows, awls,

needles, a probable weaving tool, and an axe. The oldest human skeleton ever found in

the Caribbean was also unearthed, and Banwari Man is also on display at the museum.

Mud volcanos

These geological wonders can be found

mainly in the south of the island.

Piparo: Also known as Morne Roche,

* this volcano (111m/365ft, 425 acres)

last erupted in 1997, spewing mud

hundreds of feet in the air and forcing

an evacuation of the area.

*

Devil’s Woodyard (Indian Walk): Majestic

teak trees line the road to the site.

A paved walkway takes you straight

to the dozen small cones from which

grey mud bubbles up. Concrete huts

with tables and benches and other

seating make this is a great place for a

picnic. Large playground at one end of

the park.

Pitch Lake at La Brea

One of the three largest natural deposits of asphalt in

the world, it’s deceptively boring to look at — like a

giant empty parking lot. But it’s what’s beneath that

counts. This tar baby, nestled near the southwestern

coast, is a natural wonder. Estimated to contain 10

million tonnes of asphalt, and spanning 109 acres, the

lake’s asphalt has been used to pave roads and airport

runways. Pools formed by rain contain high levels of

sulphur, which are good for the skin and joints. An important

aspect of earth’s history, the lake holds deep

secrets about the formation of oil and gas. Artefacts

from the First Peoples, for whom the lake was sacred,

have been unearthed here; some can be viewed at the

museum in the visitor centre.

*

Digity Trace (Debe): Rising 6m/20ft in

the air, you can climb up surrounding

paths to get a look inside the

mouth. It is more active during the

rainy season. A second volcano, flat

in shape, is located a short distance

away. For those willing to try, you

can scoop up some and make a

much-touted DIY beauty treatment

— a mud mask…

Other volcanoes can be found at L’Eau

Michel, Lagon Bouffe, Anglais Point,

Erin, Chatam, Columbia Estate, Fullarton,

Cedros, Galfa, Los Eros, Tabaquite, Cascadoux

Trace, and Manzanilla.

Fort George

Built in 1804, this “virgin

fort” (which never saw

military action) offers a

magnificent panoramic

view from 335m/1,100ft

above Port of Spain; its

original cannon, cannon

balls, and part of the dungeon

remain. On a clear

day, you can see to south

Trinidad, and west to Venezuela.

Open 10am–6pm,

admission free

66

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ARIANN THOMPSON

Valencia Eco-Resort

A 10-acre estate in the east, in the foothills

of the Northern Range (half-hour

drive from the airport). Hundreds of

fruit trees including the now rare balata,

plus caimate, tamarind, sapodilla

and cashew, to name a few; with attendant

flocks of birds and butterflies. Enjoy

aerobics, archery, basketball, cricket,

volleyball, football, table tennis and billiards,

plus a universal gym. Fish for tilapia

in the pond, cook in an outdoor carat

shed or take a cool dip in the river (or

the 2,000 square foot swimming pool).

Also in the mix: peacocks, geese, parrots,

guinea fowls, turkeys, ducks, tortoises,

rabbits and monkeys. 731-6774,

valenciaecoresort.com

The view over Port of Spain from Fort George

Angostura Museum and Barcant

Butterfly Collection

The Barcant collection, the only one of its

kind in the region, comprises more than

5,000 butterflies (700 species, including

the blue emperor) in a re-created tropical

forest. Children will thrill at the sight

of the butterflies and sounds of nature

as they walk through the “mountains of

the Northern Range”. Angostura bought

the collection in 1974 and it has been at

the company’s compound (Eastern Main

Road, Port of Spain) since. You can also

take a tram tour introducing you to the

history and making of their world-famous

bitters and celebrated rums. Tours

(two hours) are 9:30am and 1:30pm, Monday–Friday;

advance booking required:

623-1841, betancr@angostura.com

San Fernando Hill

Considered sacred by the

Warao of the Orinoco Delta,

it is known as Naparima

Hill by our First Peoples,

who believe it is home to

one of their supreme spirits

and also to their ancestor-hero,

the maker of the

first canoe. From the top

you have a superb view

of the heavily populated

southern capital and surrounding

areas. With free

admission, lots of parking,

visitor facilities, benches,

picnic huts and a play

park, the hill is a popular

liming spot for families

and a top event venue in

the second city.

Family friendly fun

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Map Key (applies to all maps)

Police Station

Hospital

Turtle Nesting

Shopping Centre

Lighthouse

Beach with

Restrooms

Caves

Highway

Gas Station

Bird Watching

Golf Course

Scuba Diving

Place of interest

Food Available

Museum

Planned

Highway

Huevos

Chacachacare

Scotland Bay

Monos

Gaspar

Grande

Waterfall

Sailing & boat tours

Fort

Airport

Surfing

Swamp

Lifeguard on Duty

Major roadway

Macqueripe Bay

Chaguaramas

Diego Martin

PORT OF

SPAIN

Pt Lisas

Paramin

Santa Cruz

Morvant

El Socorro

Waterloo

Couva

California

Maracas Bay

Barataria

San Juan

Caroni Bird Sanctuary

Chaguanas

Tyrico Bay

St Joseph

Curepe

Carapichaima

Las Cuevas

Freeport

Tunapuna

Piarco

Gran Couva

Lopinot

Tacarigua

A

Pia

Jerningham

A

Junction

Cunupia

Longdenville

Claxton Bay

Tortuga

Pi

Granville

Pt Fortin

Vessigny

Cap De Ville

La Brea

Pitch Lake

Mon Desir

St Mary’s

Siparia

Pointe-à-Pierre

SAN

FERNANDO

Fyzabad

Oropouche

Lagoon

Vistabella

Debe

Penal

Gasparillo

Ste Madeleine

Princes

Town

Barrackpore

Bus

New Grant

India

Wal

Icacos Pt

Icacos

Cedros

Erin Bay

San Francique

Palo Seco

Los Bajos

Quinam Bay

68

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yrico Bay

Las Cuevas

Blanchisseuse

Matelot

Grande Riviere

Galera Pt

Toco

Redhead

Salybia Bay

Brasso Seco

Rampanalgas

Joseph

rou

epe

Tunapuna

Lopinot

Tacarigua

Arouca

Asa Wright Nature

Centre

Valencia

Arima

Hollis Reservoir

Matura

Salybia

Balandra Bay

Saline (Sally) Bay

Matura Bay

Piarco

rco Intl

Piarco Intl

rningham irport

Airport

nction

Cunupia

San Rafael

Cumuto

Guaico

Cunaripa

Sangre

Grande

ngdenville

Talparo

Coryal

Caroni-Arena Reservoir

Manzanilla

a

eeport

Gran Couva

Todds Road

Brasso

Navet Dam

Biche

Manzanilla Bay

Tabaquite

Tortuga

pa

Piparo

arillo

Busy Corner

Poole

ine

New Grant

Tableland

n Princes Indian

k Town Walk

Devil’s Woodyard

ckpore

Basse Terre

Moruga

Rio Claro

Nariva Swamp

and Bush-Bush

Sanctuary

Guayaguayare

Rushville

St Joseph

Mayaro

Mayaro Bay

Galeota Pt

N

Trinidad map

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69


Cocorite, Westmoorings, Chaguaramas

Kandahar St

Maraval

Ellerslie Park

Link

St James Medical

Complex

Coronation

AUDREY JEFFERS

Mathura

Luckput St

Salazar St

Carlton Ave

Romeo St

George Cabral

Lazare St

Pujadas St

HIGHWAY

Bay Rd

Ranjit Kumar St

Angelina

Quamina

Church St

Finland

Ethel St

Kathleen St

Bournes Rd

Brunton Rd

WESTERN MAIN RD

Dengue St

Mooneram St

Anderson St

Vidale St

MUCURAPO Rd

Patna St

Bombay St

Weekes St

Clarence St

Baroda St

Calcutta St

Panka St

Woodbrook Cemetery

MovieTowne

Delhi St

Nizam St

Sakar St

Madras St

Nepaul St

Agra St

Hyderabad

St

Henry Pierre

Gaston

Fatima Sports

Grounds

Hasely Crawford

Stadium

Long Circular

Mall

Jean Pierre

Complex

Bengal St

Cawnpore St

Johnston St

Benares St

Long Circular Rd

Belle Smythe

Lucknow St

Taylor St

Hamilton Holder St

Hamilton St

O’Connor

Petra St

Dennis Mahabir St

St Lucia St

Barbados Rd

St James

Police Baracks

One

Woodbrook

Place

Digicel Imax

Damian St

De Verteuil St

Brabant St

Kelly Kenny St

Ana St

Hunter St

Petra St

Trinidad Crescent

Antigua Dr

Gallus St

Grenada

Ana St

Pole Carew St

Gallus St

Alberto St

Dominica

Nevis Ave

St Mary’s Sports

Grounds

Alberto

Jamaica Blvd

Serpentine Rd

Broome St

ARIAPITA AVENUE

Siegert Sq

Luis St

Rosalino St

St Kitts Ave

St Vincent

Havelock

St

Roberts St

Rosalino St

Rapsey St

Luis St

Alfredo St

Ellerslie Pl

Elizabeth St

Adam

Smith Sq

Carlos St

Wainwright

Alfredo St

Scot

Carlos

Murray St

Fl

St

Nelson Mandela Nelson ParkMandela P

Me

d

Queen’s Park Qu

Oval

TRAGA

rt S

o St

t K

ince

obe

A

Port of Spain

John S Donaldson

Techinal Institute

on

al In

Taxi Stands

1

2

3

Ariapita Avenue/

Chaguaramas/Carenage

Cascade

Maraval

5

6

7

8

St Anns/St James/Queens

Park Savannah

Belmont

Diego Martin/Petit Valley

Wrightson Rd/Long Circular

10

11

12

Curepe Tunapuna/

Arima/Sangre Grande

San Juan

Chaguaramas

N

N

4

Cocorite

9

Chaguanas/San Fernando

13

POS General Hospital

70

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Flament St

Archer St

Maraval & Maracas

St Ann’s

a

t

nt

St

St

lfredo St

oo

C

ark

rts St

q

Luis St

Fit

Ellerslie Plaza

Rapsey St

itts Ave

Adam

Smith Sq

Carlos St

Wainwright

Elizabeth St

een’s Park

Oval

Alfredo St

aldson

stitute

Scott St

Carlos St

Murray St

Flood St

Fitt St

Maxwell-Phillip

St Clair

Medical

Sweet Briar Rd

Alexandra

Saddle Rd

TRAGARETE RD

Murray St

Hayes St

Gray St

Mary St

Alcazar St

Rust St

Flood St

Herbert St

Baden Powell St

Cornelio St

Newbold

Vallot St

Serpentine Rd

Jackson

Sq

William St

French St

Lammy St

Methuen St

Mc Donald St

Kitchener

Buller

Cotton Hill

Queen’s

Royal

College

Licensing Office

Prada St

Cruise Ship Complex

Magnificent Seven

Maraval Rd Maraval Rd

Marli St

Picton St

Warner St

Gatacre St

WRIGHTSON RD

Lady Chancellor Rd

Woodford St

TRAGARETE RD

Sackville St

Stone St

Fire Station

Horticultural

Society

Cipriani Boulevard

Scott Bushe St

Albion St

Stanmore Ave

Lapeyrouse

Cemetery

Shine St

Charles St

Botanical

Gardens

Emperor Valley

Zoo

QUEEN’S PARK SAVANNAH

Victoria Ave

Phillips St

QUEEN’S PARK WEST

Victoria

Sq

Dere St

Melville

Borde St

Fraser St

Melbourne St

Sackville St

London St

Richmond St

Dundonald St

Park St

Government

Campus Plaza

Chancery

Lane

Edward St

St Vincent

Keate St

Gordon St

New St

Oxford St

Abercromby St

Pembroke St

Nook Ave

Prime Minister’s Residence

and Diplomatic Centre

President’s

House

La Fantasie

Queen’s Hall

NAPA

National Museum

QUEEN’S PARK EAST

Knox St

Memorial

Park

Frederick St

Duke St

Henry St

Belmont Circular

Cadiz Rd

Charlotte St

Cascade

Coblentz Ave

Hilton Hotel

1 2

Hall of Justice City Hall

Red

House Woodford

Sq

4

5

Hart St

National

Library

6

Queen St

Palmiste St

Charlotte St

Norfolk St

Prince St

Lady Young Rd

Industry

Erthig Rd

Jerningham Ave

Port of Spain

General Hospital

Observatory

Piccadilly

3

Cascade Morvant, Barataria, Churchill Roosevelt Highway

Chacon St

GULF OF PARIA

International

Waterfront Centre

Water Taxi

INDEPENDENCE SQ/BRIAN LARA PROMENADE

South Quay

7 8

9

10 11

13

12

Terminus/City Gate

Eastern Main Rd

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71


Morne

Catherine

St Clair

Maracas Bay & North Coast Santa Cruz

North Coast Rd

Morne Coco Rd

Cascade

Long Circular Rd

Lady YoungRd

Queens Park

Savannah

Independence Sq

Blue Basin

Bagatelle

Goodwood Park

C o c o r i

t e

l f

o f P

a r i a

a

S e

n

e a

Macqueripe

Bay

b b

ri

C a

B o c a

d e

M o n o s

Boca de Huevos

Boca de Novios

Boca Grande

Chacachacare

Huevos

Monos

Teteron Bay

Gaspar Grande

Chaguaramas Golf

Course

Edith

Falls

North Post

Glencoe

Paramin

St Andrew's

Golf Course

Maraval

St Ann's

Saddle Rd

St James

Belmont

Woodbrook

Laventille

Wrightson Rd

Diego Martin Main Rd

Tracking Station

Gasparee Caves

Petite

Gourde

Carrera

Carenage

Bay Carenage

Chagville

Five Islands

Diego

Pt

Cumana

West Mall

Ft George

PORT OF

SPAIN

Rd

M a i n

North west

N

River Estate &

Waterwheel

Diego

Martin

Petit

Valley

TUCKER VALLEY

Scotland Bay

The Dragon's Mouth

Carenage

C H A G

U A R

Western

A M

A S

Western Main Rd

Starlite

Shopping

Centre

G u

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Port of Spain

Port of Spain

Saline Bay

Matura Bay

Balandra

Toco

Cumana

Bay

N

Sans Souci

e a

S

a n

b b e

C a r i

Grande

Tacaribe

Bay

Madamas

Bay

Cumaca

Grand

Matelot

Pt

Matelot Bay

Matelot

Grande Riviere

Matura

Salybia

Salybia

Bay

Cumana

Rampanalgas

Galera

Pt

Toco Main Road

Grande Riviere

Bay

North east

Paria Main Rd

Paria Bay

Yarra Bay

La Fillette

Chupara Pt

Pt

North Coast Trail

Blanchisseuse Bay

La Fillete

Las Cuevas Bay

Blanchisseuse

North Coast Rd

Tyrico Bay

Rincon

Brasso Seco

Santa Cruz Maracas Falls

Asa Wright

Nature

Sombasson

La Veronica

Centre Dunstan

La Laja

La Pastora Cave

Caura

Mt St

Benedict

Monastery

Lopinot

Guanapo

Gorge

Aripo

Cumaca

Rio Seco

Valencia

Tunapuna

St Augustine

Arouca

ARIMA

Tacarigua

Curepe

Las Cuevas

El Tucuche

(936m)

Cleaver

Woods

El Cerro del Aripo

(941m)

Hollis Reservoir

Caura Royal Road

Lopinot Rd

El Socorro

University of

the West Indies

Santa Rosa Race Track

Paria

Maracas Bay

G E

A N

N R

H E R

N O R T

Maracas Royal Rd

Saddle Rd

St Joseph

San Juan

Barataria

Eastern Main Rd

Valsayn

NGC National

Science Centre

D'Abadie

Turure Water

Steps

Aripo Rd

Heights of Guanapo Rd

Arima-Blanchisseuse Rd

Trincity

Mall

Wallerfield

San Fernando San Fernando Sangre Grande

Sangre Grande & East Coast

Madamas

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Tunapuna

Couva

Southern Main Rd

i n R d

M a

Toco Main R d

Bay

E a s te rn M a in Rd

PORT OF SPAIN

Lopinot

Curepe

Caroni Swamp and

Bird Sanctuary

El Socorro

Valsayn

Caroni

Cunupia

St Helena

San Rafael

Chaguanas

Longdenville

CARONI PLAIN

Talparo

Chase Village

Waterloo

Potteries

Friendship Hall

Carapichaima

Todd's Rd

Mundo Nuevo

Valencia

Tamana

Bat Caves

Manzanilla

Upper

Pt

Manzanilla

Lower

Manzanilla

Plum

Mitan

Brigand Hill

Lighthouse

Plum Mitan Rd

L o p

C a u r

d

y a

d l

i n o

a R

r a c a

l R

Yo u n g R d

R

C hu

h i ll -R o o s e v e l t H i g h w a y

r c

Divali

Nagar

Piarco

Piarco International

Airport

Temple in

the Sea

Hanuman

Murti

ORANGE

ESTATE

Freeport

Southern Main R d

California

Brechin

Castle

Pt Lisas

Industrial

Estate

Chicklands

Flanagin

Town

La Vega

Garden Centre

Gran

Couva

Tortuga

Mayo

Pepper

Village

MONSTERRAT

HILLS

Brasso

Tabaquite

Brasso

Venado

Tabaquite

Tunnel

M a in R d

C ou v a

Solomon Hochoy Highway

Claxton Bay

Navet Dam

& Reservoir

Pointe-à-Pierre

Wildfowl

Piparo

Trust

Brickfield

Pointe-à-Pierre

San Fernando

Reform Williamsville

Marabella

Bargain

Indian

Walk

New

Busy

Corner

Biche

Cuche

Navet

Navet River

Killdeer River

Rio

Claro

THE

COCAL

Nariva River

Nariva Swamp &

Bush Bush Wildlife

Sanctuary

Manzanilla-Mayaro Rd

Cumuto

Cunaripa

SANGRE

GRANDE

Pt

Radix

Mayaro

Cunapo Southern Rd

M a y a r o R d

i ma

N a pa r

San Juan

ARIMA

Grand

Bazaar

Caroni-

Arena Dam

& Reservoir

R A N G E

R i o C l a r o G

Blanchisseuse

& North Coast

Port of Spain

Arouca

Valpark Shopping

Plaza

Trincity

Mall

Uriah Butler Highway

Ta lpa ro R d

St Mary's

Hollis

Reservoir

Central

N

C E N T R A L

Tabaquite Rd

SAN

FERNANDO

74

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Gulf of Paria

Port of Spain Tabaquite Sangre Grande

Nariva Swamp

Cunapo Rd

Rio Claro Tabaquite

Solomon Hochoy Highway

Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust

Naparima-Mayaro Rd

Mayaro

Rio Claro

Tableland

Indian Walk

Rd

Naparima

Mayaro Bay

St Madeleine

Mayaro-Guayaguayare Rd

Ortoire River

Basse Terre

N

La Lune

La Romaine

La Brea

Columbus

Bay

Fullarton

Cedros Bay

Devil's Woodyard Mud

Volcano

Bonasse

Sixth Company

Chatham

North

Pt Fortin

Vessigny

Granville Siparia

Chatham

South

Icacos

Erin

Pt

Princes

Town

Pitch Lake

Oropouche

Lagoon

Southern Trunk Rd

San Fernando-Siparia-Erin Rd

Erin Rd

Erin ( San

Francique)

Third Company

Los Iros

Debe

Palo Seco Quinam

Barrackpore

Penal

Guayaguayare

TRINITY HILLS

WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

& RESERVE

Rock Rd

Galeota

Pt

Guayaguayare

Bay

TRINITY HILLS

South

Morne

Diablo

Moruga

Pointe-à-Pierre

SAN FERNANDO

Mon Desir

Fyzabad

Banwari

Trace

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RAPSO IMAGING

As always, some

dates/events are

subject to change

or cancellation.

And for more

on many of these celebrations,

see our Festivals pages

pages on pg 30 (Trinidad)

and pg 125 (Tobago).

76

January

*

1 (public holiday): New Year’s Day

Carnival season begins (see full schedule of events

on ncctt.org)

28: National Panorama Semi-finals (Trinidad)

Carnival Educative Arts Festival & Carnival Caravan

(Tobago) *

Trinidad & Tobago International Marathon

* (Trinidad)

February

Carnival season continues (see full

schedule of events on ncctt.org)

9: Dragon Festival (Trinidad)

*

* 10: National Panorama Finals

(Trinidad)

11: Dimanche Gras (Trinidad)

*

* 12 & 13: J’Ouvert, Carnival Monday

and Tuesday

* 16: Chinese New Year (year of the

dog)

Tobago Carnival Regatta

Talk Tent (calypso and comedy, Trinidad)

* March

* *

17: Jazz Artists on the Greens (jaotg.com,

Trinidad)

30 (public holiday): Good Friday

31 (public holiday): Spiritual Baptist

Liberation Day — commemorating the 1951

repeal of the colonial-era Shouters Prohibition

Ordinance (1917), effectively banning

this Christian and Orisha syncretic religion.

The Baptists are also referred to as

Shouter Baptists and Shango Baptists

*

*

*

*

discovertnt.com

Phagwah (Holi)

Tobago Game Fishing Tournament

Pigeon Peas Festival (Trinidad)

Turtle nesting season begins


April

*

*

*

*

*

*

2 (public holiday):

Easter Monday

25–29: Bocas Lit Fest

— the Trinidad & Tobago

literary festival

Point Fortin Borough

Day (Trinidad) — full

week of J’Ouvert, mas,

pan and parties leading

up to the big street

party

Rally Trinidad

Tobago Jazz Experience

La Divina Pastora

(Siparia, Trinidad)

Tobago Fashion Coda

May

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

19 & 20: Sea to Sea

Marathon (Tobago)

30 (public holiday):

Indian Arrival Day

31 (public holiday):

Corpus Christi

T&T Fashion Week

2TFW

Maypole Festival

(Tobago)

European Film Festival

(Trinidad)

Decibel Entertainment

Conference & Expo

(Trinidad)

June

*

*

*

*

15 (public holiday): Eid-ul-Fitr — The most

widely recognised of our Islamic observances,

Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan,

celebrated in homes and mosques

19 (public holiday): Labour Day — marked by

trade union marches and gatherings in Fyzabad,

Trinidad

Ganga Dhaara: Hindu river festival honouring

the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges

(Blanchisseuse, Trinidad)

Tobago Dragon Boat Festival

Rainbow Cup International Triathlon (Tobago)

Salsa Fiesta (Trinidad)

WeBeat Festival (Trinidad)

Bloody Bay Fest (Tobago)

Charlotteville Fisherman’s Festival (Tobago)

Junior Tobago Heritage Festival

This page: Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day is celebrated in March

Calendar of events

Opposite: Shynel Brizan, D Jab Queen, plays Maman Brigitte

with Touch D Sky — a band of moko jumbies

CHRIS ANDERSON

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77


July

*

*

*

*

*

*

78

15–1: Tobago Heritage

Festival

Great Fete Weekend

(Tobago)

Mango Festival

(Trinidad)

Opera Festival

(Trinidad)

Carnival band launch

season begins

(through September/

October)

Motor Rally (Tobago)

Trade & Investment

Convention (Trinidad)

Calendar of events

August

*

*

*

*

1 (public holiday): Emancipation Day

31 (public holiday): Independence Day — commemorates

the islands’ independence from Britain in

1962, featuring a parade of the protective services;

national awards; and fireworks

Moruga Heritage Day Festival (Trinidad)

Restaurant Week (Tobago)

Arima Borough Day (Trinidad)

Santa Rosa Festival (Trinidad)

Castara Fisherman’s Fete (Tobago)

Oshun River Festival (Trinidad) — marked by Orisha

devotees celebrating the goddess of love, fertility

and inland waters

Angostura Bitter Rivals Contest (Trinidad)

Pan on d’ Avenue (Woodbrook, Trinidad)

Great Race (Trinidad & Tobago)

Independence Cup Horse Racing at Santa Rosa

(Trinidad)

Steelband Month

discovertnt.com

KAZIM DANIEL


September

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

24 (public holiday):

Republic Day — marks

the adoption in 1976 of

a new republican constitution

(in which a

President replaced the

Queen of England as

the head of state, and

the islands became

a republic within the

Commonwealth), and

the first meeting of

the republican parliament

trinidad+ tobago film

festival

Restaurant Week

(Trinidad)

Angostura Rum Festival

(Trinidad)

Derby Horse Racing

Classics (Trinidad)

Tobago International

Cycling Classic

Maracas Open Water

Swim (Trinidad)

Parang Season opens

October

*

*

*

*

* *

This page: the maracas or chac-chacs are one of the

key instruments in parang music

Opposite: Independence Day fireworks in the Queen’s

Park Savannah

Hosay (Trinidad)

Blue Food Festival

(Tobago)

Ramleela Festival

(Trinidad)

Steelpan & Jazz Festival

(Trinidad)

Santa Rosa First

People’s Heritage

Week

COCO Dance Festival

(Trinidad)

Calypso History Month

Chinese Arrival Dragon

Boat Festival

(Trinidad)

November

*

*

*

TBC (public holiday):

Divali

International Surf

Festival (Trinidad)

Green Screen: The

Environmental Film

Festival (Trinidad)

December

*

*

*

25 (public holiday):

Christmas Day

26 (public holiday):

Boxing Day

Paramin Parang Festival

(Trinidad)

COURTESY TDC

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79


Scheduled carriers

*

Aeropostal,

Air Canada Rouge,

American Airlines, British Airways,

Caribbean Airlines, Copa, Condor,

Conviasa, JetBlue, LIAT, Surinam

Airways, Thomas Cook, United, Virgin

Atlantic, and WestJet service T&T.

Charter flights also operate

Airports

*

*

*

*

*

Trinidad: Piarco International Airport

(27km/17 miles from Port of Spain)

Tobago: ANR Robinson International

Airport (10km/7 miles from Scarborough)

ENTERING T&T

You will need to show a passport

valid for three months beyond your

intended stay

Non-residents must have documentation

for return or onward travel and a

local address

Visas are generally not required for

visits up to 30 days, but double-check

with your airline or travel agent

before leaving

GETTING TO T&T

*

*

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

Unless you are being met privately,

take an authorised taxi from the

airport to your destination, confirming

the fare in advance (a list of fares

is displayed in the arrivals area). If in

doubt, check the taxi dispatcher

Authorised private taxis have licence

plates beginning with “H” (for “Hire”),

and are not metered

ARRIVING BY SEA

(YACHTS & SAILING BOATS)

Arriving yachts should have a clearance

certificate from the last port

*

of call, and the vessel’s registration

certificate (or authorisation for use)

*

In Trinidad, check in with Customs &

Immigration at CrewsInn in Chaguaramas

*

In Tobago, check in with Customs &

Immigration in Scarborough or Charlotteville

Chaguaramas in Trinidad is the hub

* of yachting activity, with sheltered

anchorage (Yachting Association) and

strings of maintenance and repair

yards, marinas and essential services

*

Several

CRUISE SHIPS

cruise lines visit Trinidad

and Tobago, mostly out

of Miami between November

and April, including Carnival,

Crystal, Fred Olsen, Hapag-

Lloyd, Holland America, MSC,

Oceania Cruises, MV Adriana,

NYK, P&O, Princess, Regent,

Seven Seas, Saga, Seabourn,

Silver Whisper, Windstar, and

World Odyssey

COURTESY TDC

80

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GETTING AROUND IN T&T

Taxis

NB: Public taxis (bearing “H” number

plates) are not metered, so confirm the

fare in advance

Private taxis: available at the airports

* and through the larger hotels, as well

as apps like Uber and the local Drop.

Companies are also listed in the Yellow

Pages

*

“Route taxis” (cars registered as taxis)

and maxi-taxis (12- to 25-seat minibuses

with brightly coloured bands)

work specific routes, picking up and

dropping off passengers anywhere

along the way. They have designated

stands in Port of Spain, San Fernando,

Chaguanas, Scarborough and other

main towns

ANTHONY SLADDEN

Buses

*

The Public Transport Service Corporation

(PTSC, ptsc.co.tt) operates buses

from Port of Spain to most towns,

sometimes on an “express” basis, and

from hubs in Chaguanas, San Fernando

and Scarborough. Tickets ($2–12)

or travel cards must be bought before

boarding

Car rentals

*

Local and international rental companies

operate in both islands and at

both airports

Ferries

*

Inter-island ferry service (Port of

Spain–Scarborough) operated by Port

Authority (ttitferry.com), with the

Visitor Info

fastest ferries taking 2.5 hours. Tickets,

which can be booked online: $100

return (adults); $50 (children under

12); free for children under three and

senior citizens (65+); and $200 one

way/$350 return for adults traveling

with a vehicle

Trinidad Water Taxi: west coast

* service operated by the National

Infrastructure Development Company

(nidco.co.tt). Single journeys are

30–45 minutes. Tickets $15 (adults),

while infants under the age of one

travel free, and senior citizens (65+)

travel free on off-peak sailings

Air bridge

*

Caribbean

discovertnt.com

Airlines (625-7200,

caribbean-airlines.com) operates several

flights daily: tickets US$48 round

trip (roughly 20 minutes each way)

81


Money matters

*

*

*

Money: ABMs (ATMs) and credit/debit

cards are routinely used

Currency: Trinidad & Tobago dollar

(TT$); US$1= approximately TT$6.8

(floating exchange rate)

Taxes: 10% room tax + 10% service at

hotels; 12.5% VAT (value added tax)

on most goods and services

Driving

*

*

*

Driving

Driving: on the left. Seatbelts are

required by law

Speed limits: Trinidad 80kph (50mph)

on highways, 55kph (34mph) in

settled areas; Tobago 50kph (32mph)

permits: visitors can drive

for up to 90 days on a valid foreign/

international licence

Utilities

*

Electricity: 115v/230v, 60Hz

Water: tap water is safe to drink (boil

to be doubly sure); bottled water is

widely available

Communications

*

*

Country phone code: +1 868

Mobile telephones: bmobile (TSTT)

and Digicel operate on GSM networks;

SIM cards are available for unlocked

phones

WiFi: available at several hotspots,

hotels, restaurants and malls in Trinidad

& Tobago. Some PTSC buses also

provide the facility

TRAVEL BASICS

Visitor Info

* 82

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Safety

Take practical precautions when travelling:

note emergency numbers; always

lock your room/house/vehicle (including

windows); don’t wear expensive jewellery,

and conceal/secure valuables; move

in groups where possible; avoid deserted

locations, and be aware of your surroundings.

If you’re on the road, buckle

up, and drive defensively

Emergency contacts

*

*

*

*

*

*

Ambulance (public hospitals): 811

Coast Guard: 634-4440, 634-8824,

634-4439

EMS (emergency medical services):

624-4343 (north Trinidad), 653-4343

(south/central Trinidad), 639-4444

(Tobago)

Hyperbaric medical facility (decompression

chamber, Roxborough,

Tobago): 660-4369

Fire Services: 990

Office of Disaster Preparedness and

Management (ODPM) Emergency: 511

Police Service: in Trinidad, 999 or 555;

in Tobago, 639-2520 or 639-5590

Tobago Emergency Relief: 211

Tourism contacts

*

*

Division of Tourism, Tobago:

639-2125, visittobago.gov.tt

Immigration Division: 625-3571 (Trinidad),

639-2681 (Tobago),

immigration.gov.tt

Tourist information offices: 639-

0509 (Crown Point Airport); 635-0934

(Cruise Ship Complex, Tobago);

669-5196 (Piarco Airport)


CHRIS ANDERSON

The view from Paramin of Port of

Spain with the lights of Point Lisas

visible across the Gulf of Pariah

Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC)

Industry stakeholders (eg accommodation providers, tour guides/operators, vehicle

rental and ground transport providers, and dive facilities) that are part of the TT-

TIC programme have been audited by the Trinidad & Tobago Bureau of Standards.

Approved providers display the TTTIC logo.

discovertnt.com

83


Capital

*

National capital: Port of Spain

*

Tobago capital: Scarborough

Climate

*

*

*

Tropical. Dry season January–May,

wet June–December

The islands are just south of the main

hurricane belt (11°N, 61°W)

Temperature range: 72–95°F (22–

35°C); average 83°F (29°C)

T&T IN A NUTSHELL

Highest points

*

*

Trinidad: El Cerro del Aripo

(940m/3,085ft)

Tobago: Main Ridge (549m/1,860ft)

Size

Visitor Info

* Trinidad: 4,828km2 (1,864 sq miles) or

105 x 80km (65 x 50 miles)

* Tobago: 300km2 (116 sq miles) or 48 x

16km (30 x 10 miles)

Tobago and Trinidad are 33km (21

* miles) apart; Trinidad is 10km (7

miles) from Venezuela

CHRIS ANDERSON

Time zone

Prime Minister: Dr Keith Rowley

*

Atlantic Standard Time year-round

*

Ruling party: the People’s National

(GMT/UTC -4, EST +1)

Movement (PNM)

Official opposition: United National

Government

* Congress (UNC)

Trinidad & Tobago is a parliamentary

*

*

Opposition leader: Kamla Persad-

Bissessar

democracy; elections have been held

regularly since self-government in

1956

Official language

* President: Anthony Carmona * English

84

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Population & demographics

*

*

*

Religions:

*

Population: 1.4 million (Tobago approx

61,000)

Ethnicities: 35% of Indian descent,

34% of African descent, 23% mixed

22% Roman Catholic, 32%

Christian (including Anglican), 18%

Hindu, 5% Muslim

Urban populations: Port of Spain

37,000 (nearly 600,000 between

Chaguaramas and Arima); Chaguanas

84,000; San Fernando 49,000; Scarborough

17,000

Economy

*

*

*

Major resources: oil and natural gas

Major industries: petroleum and

petroleum products, liquefied natural

gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea,

light manufacturing and assembly,

agriculture/agriprocessing

Major services: tourism, conference

and convention facilities, financial

services, construction

Key indicators (2016): GDP per capita

approx US$16,000; unemployment

rate 3.9%. The economy contracted by

2.3% for 2016, and was expected to

grow by less than 1% for 2017

Sustainable tourism tips

Buy local goods and souvenirs

Mind your gas (petrol): choose the smallest vehicle to suit your needs; drive

within the speed limit; don’t let your car idle; keep your tires inflated; try to carpool;

and when you can, walk or cycle

Recycle: plastic, glass, cans, paper, cardboard, and e-waste are all recyclable locally

through bins at various locations, or through collections

Reduce: turn off electrical devices when you don’t need them; avoid plastic bags

and styrofoam; buy and consume only what you need; reuse when you can.

1

CLICK

2

PROVIDE

PURCHASE YOUR

FERRY TICKETS

https:\\www.ttitferry.com

Details on Passenger/Vehicle

ONLINE

3

PAY

4

PRINT

Provide Credit Card Information

Ferry Tickets and Present at Check In

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85


T&T HISTORY AT A GLANCE

c 15,000–1,000 BC: islands part of South

America; settled by Amerindians

or First Peoples

1498: Christopher Columbus lands in

Trinidad, claims island for Spanish

and names it after Catholic

Holy Trinity

1596: Tobago claimed by British

1627–50: Courlanders settle Tobago’s

west coast near Plymouth, and

Dutch the east

1781: French seize Tobago, convert it

to sugar colony

1783: Spanish governor Chacón’s Cedula

de Población entices Catholic

white and free coloured settlers

to Trinidad with land incentives;

rapid development begins

1797: Trinidad captured by Sir Ralph

Abercromby’s British fleet

1806: first Chinese workers imported

to Trinidad

1834–38: slavery abolished in the British

Empire, leading to apprenticeship

(1834) then emancipation

(1838)

1834–1917: indentured labour imported

to Trinidad from other islands,

China, Portugal, Syria, Lebanon,

and India

1857: first oil well drilled in Trinidad

near Pitch Lake

1889–98: Tobago merged with Trinidad;

Tobago Assembly disbanded

1908: commercial oil production begins

in southern Trinidad

1914: first calypso recorded in Trinidad

1925: first national elections (limited

franchise)

1931: Piarco International Airport

opens

1935–41: first steelpans emerge in

Laventille, Trinidad

1807: slave trading abolished in British

empire

1814: Tobago ceded to British under

Treaty of Paris

COURTESY TDC

86

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1937: oilfield and labour strikes led in

southern Trinidad by Tubal Uriah

“Buzz” Butler

1940: Crown Point Airport opens in

Tobago; national airline British

West Indies Airways (BWIA) commences

operations

1941: Chaguaramas peninsula leased

to United States for 99 years;

American military remain

through World War II

1945: public emergence of steelbands;

universal suffrage implemented

1951: repeal of ordinance prohibiting

activities of Spiritual “Shouter”

Baptist faith

1956: self-government under Eric Williams’

People’s National Movement

(PNM)

1960: Trinidad campus of University of

the West Indies (UWI) established

1962: islands gain independence from

Britain; Williams becomes first

prime minister

1963: Hurricane Flora devastates

Tobago; Chaguaramas returned

to Trinidadian control

1974: Garfield Blackman (Ras Shorty I)

releases first soca album

1976: new republican constitution

1980: Tobago House of Assembly

restored; islands enjoy economic

prosperity

1983: oil prices fall, crippling local

economy

1986: National Alliance for Reconstruction

(NAR) unseats PNM in national

elections; Tobagonian ANR

Robinson becomes prime minister

2007: Caribbean Airlines replaces BWIA

as national carrier; record oil

prices fuel economic boom

2010: UNC-led coalition government

(People’s Partnership) ousts PNM

at general and local elections

under Kamla Persad-Bissessar,

the country’s first female prime

minister

2015: oil prices crash, causing economic

slowdown; PNM, under Dr Keith

Rowley, wins general elections.

Visitor Info

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88

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90

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Intro

Looking north from

Scarborough over the Claude

Noel Highway and toward the

rugged Atlantic coast

And exhale… Here, there are drop-dead gorgeous

beaches to explore, plus waterfalls, rivers,

and forests. And then there are the reefs

— an underwater kingdom of corals with

hundreds of sea creatures, including manta

rays and hammerhead sharks. Little Tobago is a wild and

wonderful outcrop where tropicbirds and frigatebirds fight

over fish, and crash-land among the cacti. A warm Tobago

welcome to you. Kick off your flip-flops and dive in!

CHRIS ANDERSON

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91


COURTESY VILLAS AT STONEHAVEN

Places

to stay

An Oasis of Serenity

Ideal for Families,

Reunions and

Intimate

Weddings

www.plantationbeachvillas.com

info@plantationbeachvillas.com

Tel: (868) 639-9377

Black Rock, Tobago

*

*

Around Crown Point: the lovely Bananaquit

Apartments, Belleviste, Coco

Reef, Crown Point Hotel, Kariwak Holistic

Haven (for yoga, natural living,

and delicious food), Sandy Point, the

intimate Sunspree Resort (with pool,

restaurant, and bar), and all-inclusive

Tropikist Beach Hotel & Resort

Caribbean coast: the charming Miller’s

Guest House (Buccoo); and — all

around Black Rock — the luxurious

Plantation Beach Villas (with direct

access to Stonehaven Bay), Seahorse

Inn, Le Grand Courlan, and — perfect

for a group lime, reunion or family

vacation — the opulent, full-service

Villas at Stonehaven are perched on a

hill with magnificent ocean views and

lovely landscaped grounds

92

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Tranquil waterfront setting

R ESORT

L T D

Overlooking unspoilt

Buccoo Bay, Miller’s

has fully-airconditioned,

budget-friendly,

apartments and rooms

with complimentary WiFi.

Our Luvinia’s Seafood & Steak Restaurant

provides the perfect location for drinks and

romantic meals.

office@millersguesthouse.com

Tel: (868) 660 8371

Buccoo Point, Tobago

Bananaquit

APARTMENTS TOBAGO

Apartments with kitchens close

to airport and beaches

restaurant

air conditioning

cable tv

free wifi


service

868 368 3539 | bananaquit.tobago@gmail.com

www.bananaquit.com

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93


COURTESY MAGDALENA GRAND

Places to stay

*

Atlantic Coast: The Magdalena Grand

Beach & Golf Resort features all-inclusive

options, three pools, a kids club,

multiple restaurants, a golf course, and

a dramatic windswept beachfront

94

discovertnt.com


DISCOVER, EXPLORE, DREAM

Discover the beautiful and unique Island of Tobago.

Discover the beautiful rainforest, natural waterfalls, Nylon pool and so much more.

Discover nature at its finest with rare and beautiful orchids, butterflies, and birds.

Discover relaxation at one of our three pools, beach, spa and fitness center.

Discover new and delicious food selections at one our three restaurants and cafe.

Discover Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Tobago’s fi nest oceanfront resort.

Tobago Plantations Estate, Lowlands, Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies


WWW.MAGDALENAG RAND. COM


*

*

Green retreats: a few of the places

doing their bit for the environment

— Cuffie River Nature Resort (near

Runnemede); Adventure Eco Villas

and Top o’ Tobago (in the hills above

Arnos Vale); Footprints Eco-Resort

(Culloden); Villa Being (Arnos Vale);

and for divers and birders, Blue Waters

Inn and Top Rankin Guesthouse

(Speyside)

Buy your place in the sun: Looking to

buy your own piece of Tobago paradise?

Check out agents like Caribbean

Estates, Lands & Villas.

FARAAZ ABDOOL

A Trinidad motmot (of the

Blue-crowned motmot

family) shakes off the

raindrops from a brief

Tobago downpour

Places to stay

96

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Savour the flavours

98

Fresh seafood is one of the healthiest things

about Tobago. You can buy fresh fish, shrimp,

crab and lobster (during open season) every

day from fishermen on beaches like Castara and

Parlatuvier, on the way to Pigeon Point, Mt Irvine

Bay, and at roadside stalls all over the island. Most restaurants

use fresh ingredients to make specialties such as curry

crab and dumpling, crab and callaloo (a soup made from

dasheen bush, coconut milk and ochroes), coocoo, coconut

bake and buljol, oil-down, and breadfruit pie. Tobagonians

love ground provisions like cassava, yam, dasheen, eddoes,

and tannia.

Sweet tooth tip

If you need a sugar fix, all kinds of goodies are within

reach (at the airport, Store Bay, in shops and groceries)

— benne balls and sticks, toolum, pawpaw balls, tamarind

balls, sugar cake, cassava pone. And fudge — beware

the fudge! It comes in divine flavours like coconut,

soursop and rum and raisin.

discovertnt.com

BENNYARTIST /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


*

*

*

In and around Crown Point: Good Eats

Tobago (tasty, healthy, fairly priced

food and drink); Kariwak (Caribbean

fusion); La Cantina Pizzeria; Skewers

(a halal Middle Eastern grill with a

Trini flavour)

Bon Accord: Crafter’s Steakhouse &

Grill (offering up mouth-watering

cuts and decadent cocktails); and

Mesoreen Café Bistro (delicious food,

plus free pick-up and drop-off to/from

your accommodation!)

Pigeon Point Road: The Pasta Gallery

(Italian), Kafta’s (Mediterranean),

Café Coco (surf and turf)

PLACES TO EAT

*

*

Store Bay: delighting locals and

lovers of creole food since the ‘80s,

vendors here sell crab and dumpling;

curry goat or stew chicken with

callaloo and provision; coocoo (like

foofoo, made from cornmeal); roti

(Indian flour wrap); bake and shark

(which we discourage – ask for flying

fish or kingfish instead, to preserve

what’s left of our endangered

sharks). The best dessert to finish

with? Homemade ice-cream — in flavours

like rum and raisin, barbadine,

soursop, coconut, or Guinness

Buccoo: Revs Steakhouse & Bar (Shirvan

Road); La Tartaruga (Italian)

Curried crab and dumpling is a

must-eat in Tobago

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Savour the flavours

*

*

*

*

*

Black Rock: The Seahorse

Inn; Pavilion at Stonehaven

(international); Fish Pot

(Pleasant Prospect)

Lowlands: Kali’na (Caribbean

fusion) and Salaka Grill

at the Magdalena Grand;

Caffè Mia (Italian)

Lambeau: Shore Things

Café (Caribbean/international)

Scarborough: Salsa Kitchen;

Ciao Café & Ciao Pizza (Italian)

Speyside: Aqua (Blue Waters

Inn); Jemma’s Seaview

Kitchen.

GOOD

food

GOOD

prices

*Cnr Crompstain & Milford Rds, Crown Point, Tobago

Tel: (868) 639-8660 goodeatstobago

*Across the road from the ANR Int. Airport!

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There are more than enough bars,

restaurants, clubs, casinos and

open-air party venues to keep

you happy — especially on the

western side of the island.

Arts &

COURTESY THE SHADE NIGHTCLUB

entertainment

Bars & clubs

*

*

The Shade (Bon Accord): Friday and

Saturday nights draw huge crowds to

the open-air carat-thatched bar, and

the varied playlist

Bar Code (Scarborough): a sports bar

with two pool tables and open-air

seating with views of the esplanade

and sea

*

*

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Prophet Benjamin wows

the crowd

Jade Monkey (Crown Point): a bar,

grill, and casino featuring cocktails,

pub food, and DJ music so you can

dance the night away

Sahara and Rouge (Buccoo Town

Plaza): pool halls, casinos, and

karaoke nights; Itsy Bitsy Folk Theatre

presents dinner theatre several

Tuesdays during the year.

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COURTESY MAGDELENA GRAND

Screen time

The multiplex MovieTowne cinema (Gulf City Lowlands Mall) screens the latest

blockbusters, and regional fare courtesy the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival.

Live music

*

*

*

Chart House/Sundowner’s Bar (Crown Point Hotel): Thursday–Saturday

Kariwak (Crown Point): Friday & Saturday sees the Kariwak Players perform

Blue Haven (Scarborough): Thursday (guitarist), Friday (pan) & Sunday (band)

Robinson Crusoe Pub (Magdalena Grand, Lowlands): Wednesday (karaoke), Friday

& Saturday (band)

Pelican Reef Bar and Grill (Crown Point): Tuesday (guitarist), Wednesday–Friday

(band)

Café Iguana (Crown Point): Thursday (live jazz), Friday (local band), Saturday

(African drumming), Sunday (Latin dancing).

Sunday School

The hymns are a little different from what you might be used to, but when

you ketch the spirit, well… it’s heaven on earth. Join the locals for a baptism

of fire at the famous Sunday School street party in Buccoo. Shake a

leg to the steelpan music from the Buccaneers from 9pm. Craft, food and

even gambling stalls fill the street. From 11pm, the locals get cranking…

and can go until sun-up, so pace yourself.

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Arts & entertainment


Shopping

For fine artistinal shopping (herbal products,

jewellery, clothing, local craft),

head to Things Natural in Crown Point.

For everything else, head to the Gulf City

Lowlands Mall, or the plazas in Crown

Point like Shirvan Town Plaza, Milford

Bay Plaza, Buccoo Town Centre, and

Shoppes@Westcity. NB: Please don’t buy

anything made from endangered or environmentally

sensitive species (eg coral,

sea turtles, conch, some snakes, some

birds). If in doubt, ask, and if the answer

is dodgy, don’t buy it.

CEE WEE DESIGNS

If you’re in the market for local

handbags, make sure to check

out Cee Wee Designs



Intimate Tobago Weddings

create memories in paradise









Packages include

* Breathtaking Blooms

* Unique Venues

* Outstanding Menus

* Distinctive Decor

* Professional Vendors

www.tobagoflowersonline.com

(868) 660 7748/395 8330

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COURTESY RADICAL SPORTS

& wild

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Wet

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There’s fantastic swimming,

diving, and snorkelling in Tobago,

whether in the sea, a

river, under a waterfall, or in

a pool…

*

*

*

BEACHES, RIVERS, WATERFALLS,

WATER SPORTS

Electric boogaloo (Crown Point): If you

move around in Bon Accord Lagoon,

the water comes to life — in electric

blue! This amazing natural wonder

(known as bioluminescence) occurs

around the time of the new moon

when millions of phytoplankton emit

flashes of light to startle predators.

A definite buzz… Radical Sports: 631-

5150, radicalsportstobago.com

Pigeon Point (Crown Point): Beautiful

turquoise waters and lots of fish

to see around the jetty, where you

can take a glass-bottomed boat to

Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool, rent

jet skis, windsurf, or parasail. Calm

waters and lots of beach to explore.

Good facilities — changing rooms,

restaurant, bar, shops with inflatables,

snacks and swimwear. Huts

with tables are available for free and

you can rent a sun lounger. Entrance

fee: TT$20

Nylon Pool (near Buccoo Reef): This

world-famous spot off the southwestern

coast was so named by Princess

Margaret who said the water

was as clear as her nylon stockings.

A wallow in its shallow waters is also

said to rejuvenate both the skin…

and relationships. So the story goes.

If you’re lucky, you will be joined in

this reputed fountain of youth by

baby stingrays. The nearby No Man’s

Land is a great spot to cook a freshly

*

*

*

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caught snapper or lobster, and the

popular Buccoo Reef is nearby.

Englishman’s Bay (near Castara):

This is a lovely, secluded beach with

a river at one end and lots of coconut

and palm trees. Usually there are only

a few visitors so the place is quiet

and peaceful. Take care as the waves

can be powerful due to the sharp

drop-off of the shoreline very close to

the beach.

Castara (Caribbean coast): This

delightful and quiet little bay has a

lagniappe (added benefit) — bread

yummy enough to eat just by itself,

baked fresh in the traditional outdoor

oven behind the local primary school

on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

Women from the village also

make cakes and pastries. Castara is a

beautiful unspoiled village with comfy

guesthouses. A waterfall in the rainforest

is an easy walk from the bay.

The water is quite calm with a nice

reef quite close to the shore. The small

beach bar serves a generous lunch.

Bloody Bay (near Parlatuvier):

Majestically surrounded by mountains,

watch stingrays in the water

from the jetty, and fishermen hauling

in their nets as pelicans pilfer from

the catch and frigatebirds swoop to

catch fish jumping out of the water. A

river flows into the sea at one end of

this crescent-shaped beach. There’s

a newly built changing facility. As

for the name, a sign on site gives

an explanation, but there are three

working theories: a battle circa 1666;

a slave uprising 100 years later; and

pigment from red dyewood trees…

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Wet & wild

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CHRIS ANDERSON

*

*

Pirate’s Bay (Charlotteville): Secluded

and serene, you can get here by boat,

or take a short hike from Charlotteville.

There are about 100 steps to

walk down, but the stunning views

make it worthwhile. Calm waters,

excellent for getting some Vitamin

S – sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling.

The rain forest comes right

down to the beach so you can sit with

binoculars and watch birds feeding

in the water, and crabs and snails on

the rocks.

Argyle Waterfall (pictured): Tobago’s

highest waterfall (54m/175ft), Argyle

tumbles over three tiers into a deep

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pool. Located on the northeast side of

Tobago, the Roxborough Visitor Service

Co-op office is the entrance, where

you can hire a guide. Butterflies, birds

and bromeliads can be seen along the

trail that leads to the falls. If you are

adventurous, climb up the steep path

on the right to the second level of the

falls. Bathe in the natural “rock tubs”.

At the highest level, the pool is deep

with vines overhead that are perfect

for swinging (carefully). There’s a

changing area, and gumboots for hire.

Wear comfy, good-gripping shoes,

sunscreen, and bring bug spray and

a towel. Admission $60 adults, $30


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Wet & wild

COURTESY RADICAL SPORTS

*

*

More thrills and spills in the water:

Kite-surfing, kite-boarding, kayaking,

stand-up-paddling, surfing, sailing...

If these are your thing, head to Pigeon

Point, Mt Irvine, Charlotteville, and

Little Rockly Bay. Radical Sports:

631-5150, radicalsportstobago.com

Being with horses (Buccoo): If you

love animals, the sea, and have a soft

spot for rescued horses with moving

back-stories, then you’ll want to

check out Being With Horses. Run by

German-born Veronika La Fortune and

her husband Lennon, they offer sunset

swim-ride sessions, trail rides, picnic

rides, and horseback weddings.

639-0953, being-with-horses.com

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JONATHAN GOMEZ

Many of the dive sites here are drift dives,

which means that you just go with the

flow — literally. You adjust your buoyancy

to follow the current; keep in mind the

dive briefings; and follow the dive master.

If you’ve never tried drift diving, don’t worry. Most of the

dive centres offer a course that will prep you, plus PADI

certification (Open Water, Advanced and Rescue Diver).

Contact a member of the Association of Tobago Dive Operators

(ATDO, tobagoscubadiving.com), like Undersea Tobago

(631-2626, underseatobago.com).

Diving: kingdom of the corals

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Flying Reef (in the south) has huge plate coral

colonies, nurse sharks and stingrays. Divers Dream is

recommended for experienced divers because of the

strong current. Pelagics hang out along the ledges and

overhangs.

On the Caribbean side of the island, the wreck of

the M/V Maverick sits at 33m/100ft. Once the passenger

ferry between Trinidad and Tobago, it was sunk as a

dive site in April 1997. Snappers and rainbow runners

scamper in the shadows of the car deck. Schools of bait

fish frolic on the upper deck (depth of 18m/60ft). Arnos

Vale is a shallow dive (maximum 13m/40ft) that yields

lobster, eels and torpedo rays in the sand.

The Sisters (northwest) are rock pinnacles that rise

from the depths of the seabed, attracting hammerheads

and manta rays. London Bridge, which is off the St Giles

Islands in the northeast, is a treasure trove of tarpon,

turtles and sharks — even octopus (check the holes in

the rock face). Boulder Valley (off Charlotteville, at the

mouth of Man O’ War Bay) has huge sponge and coralencrusted

boulders, like giant marbles strewn across a

fantastically coloured carpet.

Most of the dives off Speyside are drift dives along

sloping reefs around Little Tobago (aka Bird of Paradise

Island) and Goat Island. Kelleston Drain is home

to the largest living brain coral in the world; you may

spot a nurse shark taking a nap below it. Thousands

of bicolour damselfish flit among vase sponges, purple

pope sponge and green algae in the Japanese Gardens.

A hard right turn between two large rocks and the current

will take you through Kamikazee Cut. This reef

is covered with brightly coloured sponges and corals.

Seemingly unending soft coral growth sprouts from the

granular white sand on the reef top. Check under the

ledges for nurse sharks.

Water temperatures range from 75°F (24°C) in January

and February to 82°F (28°C) mid-year. Most divers

find that 3mm neoprene is sufficient thermal protection

year round.

This page: the bearded fireworm, while pretty to look at, is a

voracious predator and can give a swimmer a nasty sting

Previous page: the aggressive Red lionfish (spotted here at

Culloden Reef) is an invasive species that arrived in Tobago

waters in 2012. It can decimate native reef populations if not

kept in check. Good news though: they’re delicious!

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Diving: kingdom of the corals

LYNSEY ALLAN /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

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Game fishing is fantastic here, with the main offshore

season lasting from October to June. Anglers

can expect to do battle with blue marlins,

white marlins, swordfish, wahoo, tuna, barracudas,

mahi-mahi (dolphin-fish) and sharks.

Large game fish migrate south for the winter and chase the

schools of small flying fish, which love the warm Caribbean

waters.

112

In peak season (November),

wahoo are so

plentiful anglers are kept

busy from dawn to dusk.

Typical catches range between

30 and 65lb; you

could be lucky and nab

one of the half dozen

100-pounders caught every

year.

Marlin can weigh up

to 1,200lb at the northwestern

end of the island,

just a couple of miles

offshore (between Sisters

Rocks and the Giles

Islands). An annual tournament

is held in Charlotteville

in March (tgft.com,

632-6608). International

anglers should book well

in advance.

A typical half-day

offshore charter can cost

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Plenty of fish in the sea

you US$350–$500, which

includes refreshments

and tackle. Reputable

game fishing charters operate

a catch and release

programme where most

billfish are tagged and

then set free, rather than

gaffed and killed.

PROJECT1PHOTOGRAPHY /SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


Though fewer in number than Trinidad, the

nesting turtles in Tobago are much easier to

get to. Hundreds of giant leatherbacks and

hawksbills nest on three main beaches —

Turtle Beach, Mt Irvine and Grafton. Hawksbills

nest in great numbers near the Magdalena Grand.

A giant leatherback turtle

heaves her bulk out of the

water to nest

Ancient

mariners

March–September is nesting season for the leatherbacks

who may come from as far away as Australia to

nest on the beach where they were born. Their hatchlings

will emerge six to eight weeks later and head

for the sea. Green turtles and hawksbills inhabit the

coastal waters year-round, and you can spot them foraging

for food on the reefs and sea grass beds.

Many resorts on nesting beaches can notify you

either when nesting turtles have been sighted, or

when clutches of baby turtles are ready for release.

For tours and information, contact SOS Tobago (Save

Our Sea Turtles Tobago, 328-7351), or a reputable

tour guide. You can become a volunteer and join SOS’

efforts in tagging turtles, counting nests, and rescuing

disoriented hatchlings. You must commit to a minimum

of four weeks.

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*

*

COURTESY TDC

THINGS TO

REMEMBER

Do not touch or disturb

nesting turtles

or hatchlings. Try to

be quiet and unobtrusive,

and do not use

flashlights or flash

photography. Lights,

noise and activity can

disorient both turtles

and hatchlings

Do not drive on nesting

beaches — the

weight of the vehicle

can crush eggs buried

in the sand.

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CHRIS ANDERSON

Tobago is small enough for much of it to be seen

in a day, especially if you start out early. Tour

operators offer a range of full-day and half-day

tours, plus specialised itineraries based on your

interests. For eco tours and adventures, make

sure to book with a registered tour operator or guide (see

visittobago.gov.tt). For easy day trips and sightseeing — if

you feel confident on the road — you could rent a vehicle,

pick up a Discover T&T map, and go exploring on your own!

Here are a few of our favourites.

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Fort King George

Scarborough’s crowning glory, this 18th century fort

was the perfect location to keep a lookout for the

many invaders who fought over this island. The restored

colonial-era buildings (pictured) offer spectacular

views of Rockly Bay, the town of Scarborough,

Bacolet Bay and the windward coast. You can sit on

one of the benches under the giant samaan trees or

saddle one of the cannons that line the stone walls.

The officers’ quarters now contain the Tobago

Museum where you will find a collection of Amerindian

artifacts, maps from the 1600s, military relics,

paintings, and a small geology exhibit. Original

buildings include the powder magazine, bell tank,

lighthouse and cells. Opening hours: Monday–Friday,

9am–4:30pm. Admission to the museum: adults TT$10,

teens TT$5, children TT$2. No entrance fee to the fort.

Tel: 639-3970

If you like forts, here are two more:

Fort Milford: built in 1777, a perfect spot for

* watching the sun dip below the horizon on the

Caribbean coast

Fort Bennett: look out over Stonehaven Bay from

a little pavilion.

*

Sightseeing

& day trips

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FARAAZ ABDOOL

Corbin Local Wildlife Park

In Mason Hall, conservationist Roy Corbin has built a

wildlife sanctuary that houses many of Tobago’s endangered

animals — boa constrictors, agoutis (including a

rare albino), opossums, green iguanas, collared peccary

(which is nearly extinct in Tobago), and the spectacled

caiman. Enclosures are big and as natural as possible.

Corbin breeds and reintroduces as many of the animals

as possible back into the rain forests. You may even

have the honour of releasing an endemic possum or

manicou into the wild! You are allowed to go close and

touch the animals; you’ll also learn about the uses of

the native trees on the grounds. Climb to the top of the

trail and enjoy the spectacular view from the verandah

of his house.

Tobago Cocoa Estate

Sold by Fortnum & Mason’s in the UK, Tobago Cocoa

Estate’s chocolate is made exclusively from our highly

acclaimed Trinitario beans. This plantation (near Roxborough)

is a heritage park where you can learn about the

history of cocoa on the island and see how it is grown,

picked, and dried — and enjoy rum and chocolate-tasting

session at the end. Scheduled tours December–April

are on Fridays at 11am, and by appointment only May–

November. info@tobagococoa.com, 390-2021

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Sightseeing & day trips

This page: a rescued, orphaned

nine-banded armadillo at Corbin

Local Wildlife Park

Opposite: a Red-billed tropicbird

swoops into her nest on the

cliffs of Little Tobago


Little Tobago

An absolute must for birders, Little Tobago is

a remote little island where Sir David Attenborough

filmed frigatebirds hijacking tropicbirds

for their fish in mid-air. You can take a

glass-bottomed boat from Speyside (at

Blue Waters Inn), and on the way you

can stop off to see the brain coral and

the Japanese Gardens. In fact, Angel

Reef is perhaps the island’s finest

coral reef.

The climb up the island is not

very strenuous but there are lots of steps.

As there are no rivers or streams, the guides

ensure that water is caught or brought for

the birds in feeders placed around the island.

It’s best to go between April and September,

as the water can get rough October–March.

Dress sensibly with good walking shoes

(sandals not advised), and carry water. You

can go snorkelling afterwards!

RAPSO IMAGING

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COURTESY TDC

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The picturesque fishing village

of Parlatuvier is a favourite of

photographers and visitors

Sightseeing & day trips

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Top left: a White-tailed sabrewing hummingbird,

once thought extinct in Tobago, at Newton

George’s Gallery, Speyside

Top right: Blue-backed manakins at Gilpin Trace

Bottom: a Rufous-vented chachalaca

or cocrico (Tobago’s national bird), in Speyside

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Above: Ruddy turnstones

This picture: Blue-grey tanager

or blue jean at Newton George’s

Gallery

PHOTOS BY RAPSO IMAGING

For the birders

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Cuffie River Nature Retreat

This rainforest retreat near Runnemede

is nestled among untouched forests and

mountains bordering the Main Ridge Forest

Reserve. A popular base for birders

(up to 80 species sighted) and nature

lovers, the family-run eco-lodge is remote

yet modern and a pioneer in sustainable

tourism. You can go on nature

hikes with a very knowledgeable guide

who will explain everything about the island’s

birds, agriculture, wildlife, and medicinal

plants.

The Cuffie River which meanders alongside the

Cuffie River Nature Retreat

JOANNE HUSAIN

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Main Ridge Forest Reserve

The Main Ridge is the backbone of Tobago, a spine that

runs across two thirds of its surface to a height of 876m

(1,890ft). This 14,000-acre reserve, protected since 1776

and the oldest in the western hemisphere, is home to 210

species of birds, including the rare white-tailed sabrewing

hummingbird, which is endemic to Tobago. Venezuela

is the only other place in the world where it is found.

One third of the birds that nest here are endemic, as is

the ocellated gecko, which is not found anywhere else in

the world. The reserve’s 10,000 acres of evergreen rain

forest have been designated by UNESCO as being of Outstanding

Universal Value.

You can drive through the reserve. If you want to

walk through, the most famous of the trails starts at

Gilpin Trace (5km). You may spot yellow sugar birds,

blue-backed manakins, red and green-collared trogons,

white-necked thrushes, motmots (they nest in clay),

great black hawks, and a range of other wildlife (a

dozen mammals, two dozen non-poisonous snake species,

and 16 lizard species), and get a chance to splash

in beautiful waterfalls. The Gilpin trail is fantastic as a

family outing. Small children will enjoy learning about

the rain forest. The hike is easy and you can rent rubber

boots if it’s muddy and wet. Other popular treks are the

Atlantic, Blue Copper, and Niplig trails.

Crested oropendola nests

Just about everywhere

you go, you will see

up in the branches of

tall trees the hanging

nests of the crested

oropendola or cornbird

(pictured below). These

architectural wonders

are painstakingly woven

with vines and banana

fibres. The nests can be

3–6ft long. The birds live

in colonies, so you may

see more than a dozen of

these nests in one tree.

The female takes 9–11

days to make her nest.

The male will watch her

work, and if he doesn’t

like what he sees, he

tears it apart so she has

to start again...

RAPSO IMAGING

For the birders

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Grafton Caledonia Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary

Devastated by a hurricane in the ‘70s, this was once a

beautiful retreat. Still, in the afternoons from 4pm, you

can see lots of cocricos (Tobago’s national bird), hummingbirds,

honeycreepers and motmots close up. The

approach is steep and unsurfaced but for birders, it will

be worth the effort.

One of the cottages at the

Adventure Farm & Nature

Reserve

RAPSO IMAGING

Adventure Farm & Nature Reserve

Like manna from heaven, mangoes rain

down on this 12-acre estate in Arnos Vale,

where they are lovingly made into juice,

ice-cream and chutneys. Savour sublime

soursop juice made from soursop grown

right on the estate. In this haven of sustainable

tourism, nothing is wasted and

52 species of birds can be seen — motmots,

hummingbirds (the rare and fragile

For the birders

albino hummingbird has been seen here),

bananaquits, and red-crowned woodpeckers.

They flutter and buzz around

the hanging feeders, or eat bananas in

a luxury birdhouse at very close range.

Herbs from the garden are used to prepare

meals. Everything is powered by

solar energy. Open from 7am Monday–

Saturday, 639-2839

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Blue Food Festival

Dasheen and other root crops take centre stage each October in Bloody Bay, L’Anse

Fourmi, and Parlatuvier as these villages pay homage to the versatility and utility of

“blue food”. Some varieties of dasheen can turn blue or indigo when cooked, hence the

term — which now is used to describe all root crops, including sweet potato, cassava,

and yam. For the festival, all of the dasheen plant is used to prepare bread, cookies

and sweets, ice-cream, and even lasagne! A culinary competition and cultural shows

are also highlights.

Festivals & events

Carnival

The Carnival pre-season kicks off

early before Christmas, with a

launch featuring a street parade

in Scarborough of traditional mas

characters (including speech bands

— a cast of costumed characters

who speechify in rhyme). The first

party is the Soca Spree, typically

with Machel Montano as the headline

act, followed by events like

Soca Under the Samaan Tree; the

Tobago House of Assembly’s Interdepartment

Queen and Calypso

Show; and the Roxborough Afro-

Queen & Windward Calypso Show. If

nothing else, make sure to visit the

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COURTESY THE DIVISION OF TOURISM & TRANSPORT

Dancers of the cultural group

ZANTE perform the limbo and

bamboo dances

panyards of Tobago’s top

steelbands, like Dixieland,

Redemption Sound Setters,

and Katzenjammers.

Come J’ouvert (very early

Carnival Monday morning)

in Scarborough, mud

mas is the focal point.

Later in the day and on

Tuesday, “ole mas” and

costumed bands take

over the streets of Scarborough

and Roxborough.

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Meet a Calypso Rose

Born in Bethel, Linda MacArthur “Calypso

Rose” Lewis was the first woman to win

the national Road March title in 1977

(“Tempo”) and 1978 (“Soca Jam”), forcing

the Calypso King competition to be

renamed Calypso Monarch when she

danced away with the 1978 crown. In 2016,

she was named Artist of the Year at the

prestigious World Music Expo (WOMEX) in

Spain, and in 2017 won the Victoire de la

Musique (or “French Grammy”) for Album

of the Year in France. A documentary

film has been made

about her: Calypso Rose:

Lioness of the Jungle.

calypso-rose.com

COURTESY STONETREE RECORDS/MATURITY

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Festivals & events


Carnival Regatta

The “festival of wind” is held at Pigeon

Point near to Carnival (typically February),

featuring four sailing categories:

Optimists and Bum Boat sailing, dynamic

Windsurf, and Kite-Surfing classes. Peak

sailing time is the dry season (December–

May), with stronger and more consistent

winds.

Dragon Boat Festival

Each June at Pigeon Point, senior and

junior teams from T&T compete over a

weekend for dragon boating supremacy.

Count on good food and music too.

Goat & Crab Racing Festival

Each Easter, Buccoo hosts the Family Day

and Goat & Crab Races (pictured below).

The animals hurtle down a special 110m

(360ft) track to the finish line, hustled

on by barefoot “jockeys” who sprint behind

their charges, holding the colourfully

attired goats on long ropes, and the

crabs on short strings. Beforehand, the

goats are given special diets and training

regimens (including swimming) to

build stamina. The showdown happens

each Easter Monday and Tuesday at Mt

Pleasant, as well as Buccoo (the main location).

There’s a repeat at the Heritage

Festival (July).

PIOTR ANDREWS

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COURTESY THE DIVISION OF TOURISM & TRANSPORT

Great Fete Weekend

This annual party fest takes place in

late July/early August. Five straight

nights of partying until dawn at Pigeon

Point and other locations, with DJs,

sound systems and live entertainment.

Be mindful of turtles and turtle nests

as you party, as southwest beaches are

turtle nesting ones!

This page: The Speechettes of Scarborugh RC School in a traditional

speech band performance, where costumed characters speechify in

rhyme. It’s popular at Carnival and during Heritage Festival

Opposite: 3canal performs at the Tobago Jazz Experience

Great Race

First held in 1969, each August this speedboat

race (about 185km/115 miles) starts

at the Port of Spain waterfront early in

the morning and ends in Scarborough

two to three hours later. Naturally, a rollicking

beach party ensues.

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Heritage Festival

This festival (mid-July until 1 August) is

a glimpse into the past — to experience

the old cultural traditions and rituals

that make this island what it is. Events

take place across the island in various

villages such as Plymouth and Moriah —

storytelling, ancestral walks, long-time

games, harvest traditions, historical reenactments

(like the ol’ time wedding,

“washing the dead bed”, and “dancing

the cocoa”). Help the fishermen “pull

seine” on the beach, and you may be rewarded

with some fresh catch. There’s

also pirogue racing, beach football and

seafood breakfast on offer.

Heritage tours

The Scarborough Heritage Trail and

a church tour were introduced last

year to promote conservation. The

Scarborough trail starts at the Milford

Road Esplanade and ends at Fort King

George, while the church tour takes in

Mt Pleasant Anglican church, Montgomery

Moravian Church, Riseland,

the Bethel Baptist Church, and Bethesda

Moravian Church.

COURTESY THE DIVISION OF TOURISM & TRANSPORT

Tobago Jazz Experience

Each April, jazz takes over with events (some free) in Speyside, Signal Hill, Scarborough,

Castara, and Pigeon Point. The event showcases some of the best in local and

regional music alongside international stars. John Legend, Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson,

Kool & the Gang, Angie Stone, Janelle Monae, Chaka Khan, Elton John, Stevie Wonder,

Mary J Blige, Sting, Diana Ross, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, George Benson, Lauryn Hill,

Heather Headley, Jill Scott, and Maxwell have all performed in the past.

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Cycling: International professional

competitors are drawn to the International

Cycling Classic (September/

October).

Golf: There are two 18-hole, championship-standard

golf courses which

host international tournaments. Mt

Irvine Bay Resort has a 127-acre,

6,793-yard course set in an old sugar

and coconut plantation overlooking

the Caribbean Sea. Tobago Plantations

Golf Club (660-8500), also

established on a former sugar cane

estate, is a par-72, 7,005-yard course

with stunning Atlantic Ocean views.

*

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Sports

Mountain biking: There are easy

coastal tracks; tours taking in historical

sites, waterfalls, and beaches

(some not accessible by car); and

intense treks into the mountainous

Main Ridge … Mountain Bike Magazine

called the island a “mountain

biker’s island paradise”. Make sure

to ride with a guide. Mountain Biking


332-5872


CHRIS ANDERSON

A surfer at Mt Irvine

*

*

Surfing: Peak time is November–April,

but swells can kick up during the

hurricane season too. Lessons and

board rentals are available at Mt

Irvine, which is where the T&T Surfing

Association (surftt.org) holds the

Tobago Pro Open event. Bacolet is

another popular spot.

Triathlon: Competitions and training

events, such as the Rainbow Cup

international triathlon (mid-year),

are held throughout the year. T&T


The Rainbow Triathlon Club: 632-5560

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Local heroes

*

*

*

*

*

*

Lalonde Gordon: 2017 World Championship

gold medallist (4x400m

relay); 2012 Olympic bronze (men’s

400m) and silver (men’s 4x400m

relay) medallist

Josanne Lucas: the island’s first

female World Championship medallist

(400m hurdles, 2009)

Claude Noel: Roxborough native

and the nation’s first boxing World

Champion, lifting the WBA’s World

Lightweight title in 1981. The island’s

highway is named after him

Renny Quow: the island’s first

medallist (bronze) in the men’s

400m at the World Championships

(2009)

Akeem Stewart: double 2017 World

Para Athletics gold medallist (shot

put and javelin), 2016 Paralympic

gold (javelin) and silver (discus)

medallist; and world record holder

for javelin F44 and shot put F43

Dwight Yorke: football star and

leading striker for UK teams like

Manchester United and Aston Villa;

captained the national team to an

impressive debut at the 2006 World

Cup in Germany, where T&T made

history as the smallest country

ever to qualify.

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Map Key (applies to all maps)

Police Station

Gas Station

Waterfall

Hospital

Bird Watching

Sailing & boat tours

Turtle Nesting

Golf Course

Fort

Shopping Centre

Scuba Diving

Airport

Lighthouse

Place of interest

Surfing

Beach with

Restrooms

Food Available

Swamp

Caves

Highway

Museum

Planned

Highway

Lifeguard on Duty

Major roadway

Englishman's Bay

Parla

Ba

nglis

Castara Bay

Parr

King Peter's Bay

Castara

ra

Store Bay

Ft Milford

Pigeon Pt

Crown Point

N

BUCCOO REEF &

NYLON POOL

Bon Accord

Lagoon

Mt Irvine Bay

Buccoo

Bay

Milford Rd

Stonehaven Bay

ANR Robinson

Intl Airport

Canoe Bay

Turtle Beach

Great Courland Bay

Shirva n Rd

Ft Bennett

Arnos Vale Bay

Black Rock

Patience Hill

Mt Irvine

Buccoo Signal Hill

Gulf City

LOWLANDS

Plymouth

Bethel

Culloden Bay

Arnos

Vale

Grafton Sanctuary

Claude Noel Highway

Plymouth Rd

Lambeau

Little Rockly

Bay

Culloden

Les Coteaux

Adventure

Farm & Nature

Reserve

Rockly

Bay

Northside Rd

Scarborough

Mall

Moriah

Mt Dillon

Runnemede

Mason Hall

Craig Hall

Mt St George

Ft King George

Bacolet Bay

Bacolet Point

Cuffie River Natu

Retreat

Barbados Bay

Hil

bad

SCARBOROUG

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St Giles Islands

Sisters

Rocks

Man-o'-

War Bay

Pirate's

Bay

Flagstaff Hill

hman's Bay

Parlatuvier

Bay

Parrot Hill

Bloody Bay

Parlatuvier

MAIN RIDGE FOREST RESERVE

L'Anse Fourmi

fie River Nature

Argyle

Roxborough

Retreat

Falls

Hillsborough Dam Rainbow

Bellevue

Waterfall Belle Garden

Prince's Bay

Richmond

Richmond

Great House

Carapuse Bay

Glamorgan

Richmond

Pembroke

Island

W i n d wa r d R d

Delaford

King's Bay

Tobago

Cocoa

Estate

Charlotteville

King's Bay

Delaford

Bay

Speyside

Blue

Waters

Tyrrel's

Bay

Goat

Island

Little Tobago

os Bay

OROUGH

Pinfold Bay

Granby Point

Goldsborough

Goodwood

Tobago Map

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133


Authentic festivals

and events, A unique history,

Tropical rain forest, Exhilarating

watersports, uncrowded beaches,

revitalized chocolate industry

and amazing eco-holidays.

LIVE THE CULTURE,

style

for more info visit www.tobagostyle.travel

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