Travel guide to Trinidad and Tobago

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» Trinidad and Tobago
Together these two islands allow you to enjoy a big city holiday as well as a romantic one enjoying the lovely white beaches. This is the original country of the calypso, and when listening to the beat thrumming from oil drums in the twilight you will most certainly comprehend the Caribbean rhythm and spirit.

Facts

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Local name
Trinidad and Tobago
Capital
Port-of Spain
Size
5,130 square kilometres
Principal Languages
The principal language is English. Moreover, Hindi, Spanish, French and Patois are spoken.
Principal Religion
Roman Catholicism and Hinduism
Inhabitants
1,102,096 (1999)
Government
Parliamentary democracy
Geography
Trinidad is the most southerly island in the West Indies, situated only 11 kilometres from Venezuela. The island is 5,128 square kilometres and is split by three mountain ranges. With a vegetation charcteristic of both South America and the Caribbean, the island presents both rainforest and lowlands. Tobago is situated 30 kilometres Northeast of Trinidad and is only 30 square kilometres. The dominating scenery is tropical rainforest, yet on the coast you will find beautiful, tropical white beaches.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

Temperatures are high in Trinidad and Tobago all year, ranging between 21 and 37 degrees Celsius. The rainy season from June to November often means heavy, daily showers, but only for short periods. The warmest period is from June to October.

Literature

A Birder's Guide to Trinidad and Tobago Adventure Guide to Trinidad and Tobago

Local conditions

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Currency

Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD), one dollar equals 100 cent.

Net cafes

You will find some Internet cafés in Trinidad and Tobago, all geographically placed in Trinidad.

In case of emergency

Emergency (999) or (622 5412).

Tipping

Tipping is not included in prices in restaurants and hotels. Usually, an additional 10 to 15 per cent is added to the bill. Taxi drivers expect about 10 per cent added to the bill.

Timezone

Trinidad and Tobago are four hours behind GMT.

Weight and Measures

Weight: Kilos Temperature: Celsius Distance: Metres

Photography

Trinidad and Tobago basically have no photography restrictions. However, do not take pictures of any military equipment or airports. Always remember to ask the inhabitants before taking their picture.

Drinking water

Generally, one can easily drink the water in Trinidad and Tobago. However, immediately after a storm the water may be polluted, and you are advised to drink only bottled water.

Electricity

Electric current operates on 115/220 volts AC, 60 cycles.

Behaviour

Everything is a bit slow in Trinidad and Tobago, since the people here are in no hurry. However, please do not get too annoyed if the man in line before you chats too long with the sales clerk. Otherwise, common politeness is used.

Business Hours

Banks are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Fridays. Shops are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturdays, and from 8.00 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays. In Port-of-Spain, however, some shops have even longer opening hours.

Food and drink

Restaurants and bars in Trinidad and Tobago have late opening hours with a wide selection of local as well as western dishes in both islands. In Tobago, seafood specialities like lobster, crab and other types of fried fish are served. The food is very spicy and is often served with rice or beans on the side. In Trinidad and Tobago you can furthermore buy an exquisite type of rum. Local beers are Carib and Stag.

Disabled travellers

In large hotels measurements are taken in order to facilitate conditions for disabled travellers with ramps for wheelchairs and lifts. However it is far from being a country friendly to disabled travellers, and the sightseeing spots have no special facilities for disabled travellers.

Holidays

New Year's Day, 1 January Spiritual Baptist Shouters' Liberation Day, 30 March Indian Arrival Day, 30 May Labour Day, 19 June Emancipation Day, 1 August Independence Day, 31 August Christmas, 25-26 December Easter (March or April) Eid al-Fitr, between December and February (end of Ramadan) Divali, October or November

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

When camping in Trinidad and Tobago a permit is required, and can be obtained from the Forestry Division. However, you will not find many places to camp. Please take necessary precautions when camping as the islands have experienced a rise in crime.

Hotels

You will find many hotels on the islands, especially in Tobago where there are perhaps too many hotels. However you are advised to book in advance as the island is very popular, especially during the peak season. Please note that hotels in Trinidad and Tobago are far from inexpensive, and you will get the lowest price when booking in advance.

Bed og breakfast or guesthouse

The most recent trend in the islands is bed & breakfast. The hosts in these places are usually very helpful, and you may even be in a position where they will phone their friends up in order to help you get a bed for the night. Perhaps you will even be picked up in their car!

Hostels

You will find no hostels in the islands. The cheapest alternative is bed & breakfast.

Other Accommodation

You will find resorts many places in the islands as in other parts of the Caribbean. A resort is a place for a relaxed vacation where the only goal is for the guests to have as pleasant a stay as possible. Thus, often food and drinks are included in the price. However, please notice that a stay in one of these resorts is far from inexpensive.

Local transport

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Planes

A flight between the two islands will take you only 12 minutes, and several daily departures are available. In Trinidad you will find the Piarco Airport, and in Tobago you will find the Crown Point Airport.

Bus

Going by bus in Trinidad is almost impossible. Buses only run between the cities San Fernando and Arima. In Tobago, however, you will find more buses running between the larger towns. The fare is very low, but the quality clearly reflects this.

Trains

Trinidad and Tobago have no trains.

Taxi

You will find taxis in all areas of the islands. They are cheap, and often the driver will wait for you with no further charge when you are visiting sights.

Car rental

Some car rental companies are present on the islands. They are very popular, and you are advised to book in advance if interested in renting a car.

Boat or Ferry

If interested in sailing between the two islands, it will take you approximately 5 hours, and you can go every day except Saturday between Scarboroug and Port of Spain.

Other Transport

As an alternative to the bus - cheap minivans are available on the islands, running according to a fixed schedule. You will find them almost everywhere.

Special conditions

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They drive on the left in Trinidad and Tobago. Every year the large carnival, De Mas, is held in Trinidad. It is said to be almost as amazing as the one in Rio, and consequently months of preparation are required.

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