Places in Trinidad and Tobago

Top events in Trinidad and Tobago

June
23

Come and join the biggest event on the Tobago calender. In the festival islanders come together to celebrate the large amount of African roots and...

April
25

The best and more bizarre way to spend Easter is at Buccoo over on Tobago, where the annual goat and crab racing takes place. Going strong for 80...

May
08

Continuing the mammoth period of celebrations that is Easter time in Trinidad & Tobago, this event is a good one for those fascinated by the...

Beach, Trinidad and Tobago
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Beach, Trinidad and Tobago

© www.123rf.com / Ulrike Hammerich

Trinidad and Tobago Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

5,128 sq km (1,980 sq miles). Trinidad: 4,828 sq km (1,864 sq miles). Tobago: 300 sq km (116 sq miles).

Population

1,364,973 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

238.4 per sq km.

Capital

Port of Spain.

Government

Republic.

Head of state

President Anthony Carmona since 2013.

Head of government

Prime Minister Keith Rowley since 2015.

Electricity

115 volts AC, 60Hz. North American-style plugs with two flat pins (and sometimes a third grounding pin) are used.

Trinidad and Tobago: two very different islands, one mighty inviting destination. As the home of carnival, calypso and limbo dancing, not to mention Angostura Bitters, the country specialises in worldly contributions that have always been an assault on the senses. It’s raw in places, cosmopolitan in others and has a wondrous line-up of festivals and celebrations. What’s more, it punches way above its weight in the scenery stakes too. Diving? Hiking? Beaches? Waterfalls? Nightlife? Come on in.

To talk about it as one nation, however, is accurate but misleading. Oil-rich big brother Trinidad plays home to more than 95% of the country’s population and has all the vigour this would suggest. Port of Spain, surrounded by verdant hills, is the main city. Here, bazaars throng beneath modern skyscrapers and mosques share the skyline with cathedrals, while the whole place bounces to the beat of Carnival, one of the planet’s great parties. It takes place annually on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday – and more than meets the hype.

Beyond the capital beckon volcanoes, a self-replenishing asphalt lake and magnificent bird reserves, meaning the island is as famed among twitchers as it is among party animals.

Tiny Tobago, meanwhile, sitting 32km (20 miles) northeast of Trinidad, moves at an altogether gentler pace. No island was more fought over in the colonial era – it changed hands some 32 times, which says something about its appeal. It’s fertile, located outside the hurricane belt and is even said to be the inspiration behind Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Here, too, there are world-class attractions for nature lovers – it is home to the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere – and you’ll also find a spread of modern beach resorts. On both islands, meanwhile, the colourful jumble of different cultural influences has left T&T with a delicious, spice-led cuisine.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Trinidad

There is a high level of gang related violent crime in Trinidad, particularly in the inner city neighbourhoods east of Port of Spain’s city centre, Laventille, Morvant and Barataria. This crime tends to occur within local communities but can sometimes affect visitors. A British national was murdered after being robbed at gunpoint in the Mt D’Or area of Mt Hope in Trinidad on 10 April 2016.

There’s a higher risk from opportunistic crime during the festive period and carnival season.

If possible, avoid travel outside major populated areas late at night and before dawn. There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by erratic driving to and from Piarco International airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt highway and Lady Young Road.

Always drive with windows closed and doors locked.

Use hotel or pre-booked taxis and drivers who work with set fares. Private taxis in Trinidad and Tobago are unmetered and unmarked but can be identified by vehicle registration plates beginning with ‘H’. They can take the form of either a private car or ‘maxi taxi’ minibus. Some vehicles with ‘P’ registration plates offer informal taxi services illegally. Crimes including rape, assault, robbery and theft have taken place in private cars and maxi taxis.

You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Don’t walk alone in deserted areas even in daylight. Take care when withdrawing money from ATMs.

There has been at least one instance of violent sexual assault in the Chaguaramas/Macqueripe area. This occurred in the middle of the day and close to a road.

Theft from vehicles and property occurs in parts of downtown Port of Spain and other towns/cities. Take particular care around the port area or downtown, especially at night, and avoid straying into areas affected by gang violence. There have been robberies, some involving firearms, at tourist sites, including Fort George, the Pitch Lake, Las Cuevas beach and at supermarket car parks, shopping malls, nightclubs, restaurants and business premises.

For emergency police assistance, call 999. For fire and ambulance, dial 990.

Tobago

Most visits to Tobago are trouble free, but tourists (including British nationals) have been robbed. The inability of the authorities to catch and prosecute offenders remains a concern. Incidents of violent crime in Tobago are rare, but 2 German tourists were murdered in November 2014, on Minister’s Bay in the Bacolet area. A British national was murdered in the Riseland area of Tobago in October 2015.

You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Petty theft from cars is common.

Villas, particularly those in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.

Don’t walk alone in deserted areas even in daylight. This includes beaches like Englishman’s Bay, King Peter’s Bay and Bacolet beach unless you are in an organised group. Consult your tour operator if in doubt.

Be vigilant at all times and carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in emergency.

Road travel

The standard of driving in Trinidad and Tobago is mixed. High speed road accidents on the main highways in Trinidad often result in fatalities. Some roads are narrow and winding, and the surface of a low standard. Take care when driving.

If possible, avoid travel outside major populated areas after dark, especially routes to and from Piarco International airport. There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by local erratic driving standards to and from the airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt Highway.

If you don’t have a vehicle, use hotel taxis to get around, particularly after dark. 

Air travel

Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.