Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean - Stein Travel
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Trinidad and Tobago

The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, known colloquially as 'TNT', consists of the two southernmost Caribbean islands, which are geologically an extension of the South American continent. While individually the islands contrast vastly in character, together they offer the best of everything one can expect from a Caribbean experience.

Trendy Trinidad, site of the bustling capital Port of Spain, is sophisticated, cosmopolitan and culturally diverse, its vibrancy reflected in its main attraction, the annual Carnival. Locals spend most of the year preparing for the lavish February fling which is an orgy of calypso music and dance, steel bands, food, dazzling costumes and marvellous floats. The chic capital, with its colonial style houses set beside modern high-rise towers, continually hums with colourful markets, bazaars, and malls, with a mish-mash of gothic-style cathedrals, mosques and Hindu temples testifying to the diversity of cultures and creeds that throng the streets.

Those wanting a quieter experience can leave the hectic city behind and explore Trinidad's beautiful north coast beaches or hike through the forested peaks of the interior. Along the east coast nature lovers will find protected wetlands and coconut groves, while down south on this rectangular island are some enchanting fishing villages nestled among quiet, empty beaches.

A daily domestic ferry service connects Trinidad to its more laid back little sister island, Tobago, renowned as being the last unspoilt Caribbean paradise. A typical tropical wonderland of palm-fringed beaches, verdant rain forests and sparkling coral reefs, Tobago also boasts a nature-lovers treasure trove of birds, butterflies, flowering plants and shrubs. There are 100 different mammals and 70 kinds of reptiles roaming the island, too, most famous of which is the giant leatherback turtle which nests on the magnificent leeward (north) beaches. To the south the Atlantic beats against a coast studded with fishing villages, while the hilly interior is coated with one of the world's oldest rainforest reserves.

Information & Facts

Attraction Overview

Attractions in Trinidad and Tobago are as abundant and rich as its oil reserves and, excluding Port of Spain's Carnival party, much more pristine. Many choose to get lost in the decadence of Carnival or Port of Spain's nightlife, while others lose themselves among the island's natural wonders. These include the Gasparee and Aripo cave systems, full of stalagmites and stalactites; and the Hollis Reservoir and Caroni Bird Sanctuaries, which are treasure troves for bird watchers.

A ferry connection to the relaxed little brother island Tobago opens up a host of beach and water attractions. Jungle backdrop, a sliver of white sand, and turquoise water paint pictures of Englishman's Bay, Mount Irvine and Pigeon Point although similar Eden like beaches dot the coastline.

Between rainy and dry seasons, October to December and April to June, are the best times for a holiday Trinidad and Tobago for avoiding crowds and too much rain.


The economy of Trinidad and Tobago has been growing steadily over the past four years and foreign investment is on the increase. A firm handshake starts and ends a meeting. Formal attire is common however not always necessary; it is worth finding out from the relevant sector of business. Business cards are generally handed out and received immediately after introductions. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.


The islands enjoy a tropical climate with average maximum temperatures of 89°F (32°C). Tobago's temperatures are cooler, owing to the more constant north east trade winds. There is a dry season between January and May and a wet season from June to December. Annual rainfall is about 40 inches (200cm) over most of the country. Trinidad and Tobago lies just south of the hurricane belt.


The international dialling code for Trinidad and Tobago is +1 868. To dial out from the islands the prefix is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). A GSM cell phone network is in operation on the islands, with fairly wide coverage. There are several Internet cafes on the island in the main centres.


The people of Trinidad and Tobago are friendly and hospitable and generally happy to assist tourists, but keep in mind that it is polite to greet a stranger before asking a question. Nude or topless bathing is not allowed in Trinidad and Tobago. If invited to a home, it is customary to bring a gift.

Duty Free

Visitors arriving in Trinidad and Tobago are allowed to bring in the following goods without paying duty: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 227g tobacco; 1 quart wine or spirits; and perfume for personal use. Travellers are also permitted to bring gifts totalling not more than US$200 in value. Alcohol and tobacco products are allowed only for passengers over the age of 17 years.


Electrical current is in Trinidad and Tobago 115/230 volts, 60hz. Two-pin flat blade plugs are used.


A yellow fever vaccination is required for entry for those entering Trinidad and Tobago from infected areas, but it is recommended that all travellers to Trinidad and Tobago are vaccinated against yellow fever. An inoculation for Hepatitis A is also suggested for those visiting rural areas. Insect protection is advised, as there is an increasing risk of dengue fever. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Medical facilities are limited and medical personnel prone to striking. Proof of ability to pay is often required before treatment is given, even in emergencies. Medical insurance with provision for evacuation is strongly advised.


English is the official language in Trinidad and Tonago.


The unit of currency is the Trinidad and Tobago, or TT Dollar (TTD), which is divided into 100 cents. Most ATMs and stores will accept international credit cards. Travellers cheques, US dollars cash and credit cards are accepted by most establishments. Money can also be changed at bureaux de change offices. Banks are open from Monday to Friday.

Passport Visa

Passports must be valid for at least the period of the proposed visit. Visitors require documents for return or onward travel, and a fixed address for the period of their stay. Since 23 January 2007 all US citizens travelling to and from Trinidad and Tobago by air require a valid passport; this requirement has been extended to include all land and sea border crossings as well. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Furthermore, all visitors to Trinidad and Tobago must have a fixed address for the duration of their stay (i.e. a confirmed hotel booking). The wearing of camoflage clothing, or the possession of camoflage bags in Tridad and Tobago is illegal for anyone not in the military services. Visitors wearing such items will be asked to change and the camoflage items will then be confiscated. Failure to comply with this rule will result in detention and possible fines.


Most visits to Trinidad and Tobago are trouble free, but there is an increasing incidence of crime against tourists on both islands. In Trinidad be especially vigilant in downtown Port of Spain (particularly at night), and when travelling from Piarco Airport where gangs have been known to follow cars and attack the occupants at their destination. There has been an increase in robberies, where tourists have been attacked and robbed. There has been an increase in attacks at tourist sites, including Fort George and the Pitch Lake, and sometimes with the use of firearms; visitors are warned not to resist muggers and robbers who are also targeting foreigners at car parks outside places like shopping malls and restaurants. Take precautions like not wearing flashy jewellery and storing valuables in hotel safety deposit boxes. In Tobago there has recently been a spate of violent robberies against foreigners, mainly in the south west area, and crime on Tobago is a serious concern. Those staying in private villas, especially in the south west, are particularly vulnerable to violent robberies and should hire security officers; visitors are also warned against staying in villas near the Mount Irvine Golf Course area where several incidents have been reported. Use official guides to visit attractions, stay in groups in country areas, avoid isolated beaches and use taxis after dark. In December 2005 there were attacks and sexual assaults on foreign nationals at Englishman's Bay and at King Peter's Bay in February 2006.


Local time in Trinidad and Tobago is GMT -4.


Most hotels and restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago add a service charge to the bill, usually 10 or 15%. If this is not the case a 10% tip is usual.

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