The home of carnival, calypso, limbo dancing and Angostura Bitters, Trinidad and Tobago's worldly contributions have always been an assault on the senses. From Hindu to Hispanic and from Muslim to Christian, this diverse little nation mixes a raw cosmopolitan vibe with a wondrous line-up of festivals and punches way above its weight in the scenery stakes too.
Gluing all this together are the Trinidadians themselves. They’re a relaxed, ingratiating people specialising in liming (talk for talking’s sake) and often masters in the other national pastimes of football, cricket, dancing and partying hard.
Port of Spain, surrounded by verdant rolling hills, is the main city on oil-rich Trinidad. Bazaars throng beneath modern skyscrapers and mosques rub shoulders with cathedrals, all of which bounce to the beat of Carnival, arguably the planet’s greatest parties. Beyond the capital beckon volcanoes, a self-replenishing asphalt lake and magnificent bird reserves.
Tobago, 32km (20 miles) northeast of Trinidad, is an altogether wilder isle. Recently voted world’s best ecotourism destination, this is a place to explore coral reefs, watch turtles nest, hike lonely mountain trails or dive crystalline waters. Easy choice, really.