It was the furthest I had ever been from home and the most contrasting culture I had ever experienced. The feeling of discovering this new world – one that was so large and different from anything I had ever known – was the most empowering and exhilarating feeling of my life at that point.
Since then, I have felt like seeking out new places, cultures and adventures has been a natural part of my lifestyle. My obsession with photos soon followed as a way for me to share my travels with family and friends. Eventually, it transformed into a conscious effort to showcase destinations I enjoyed in the best possible light from my own unique perspective.
Why Visit Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is the best of both worlds, if you ask me. Its versatility is what I love most about living here. With Trinidad offering a more fast-paced experience and Tobago serving as the ideal slow-paced retreat, it’s the perfect country for me to both live and vacation at the same time.
As someone who prefers to fall off the grid and while-away my downtime on secluded beaches, Tobago’s untouched stretches of coastline often feel like my own private escape. But at least once a year, I am perfectly content to kick things up a few notches and indulge in the frenzy of Trinidad Carnival – soaking up everything from the parties to the street parade.
A majority of my excursions have taken place in Tobago because its “untouched” vibe is more my style. I would say I have explored the length and breadth of the island and seen and done quite a bit within its 300 km² but I know there is still so much left for me to experience. As for Trinidad, I do hope to do more on the big island in the coming weeks/months.
Overall though, while my bucket list for Trinidad and Tobago is quite long – a few locations that would be at the very top are Paria Bay and Turure Steps Waterfall in Trinidad, and Goat Island in Tobago. There really is an endless world to discover on these two beautiful Caribbean islands.
My Favourite Place in Trinidad and Tobago: Lover’s Bay
I have a habit of falling in love with every new spot in Trinidad and Tobago, but presently I’m crushing very hard on Lover’s Bay in Tobago. This tiny beach in the eastern village of Charlotteville is only accessible by boat.
The beach is also known as “Pink Sand Beach” because the sand takes on a reddish tint when wet. The water is so calm and clear and there’s a thriving reef just a few feet away from the shore. It’s a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. The fact that it’s not easy to get to means you are likely to have the beach all to yourself, particularly in the low season.
10 Best Things To Do in Trinidad and Tobago
1) Road trip on North Coast Road and take in some of the best beaches and views on the island, including Englishmans Bay and Mt. Dillon Lookout.
2) Scuba dive as Tobago has some incredible dive sites, including my favorite, the M/V Maverick – a purpose sunk shipwreck 100 ft below the sea.
3) Enjoy a glass bottom boat tour to the Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool – a sand bank in the middle of the ocean whose coral sand is said to have rejuvenating powers that make you look and feel 10 years younger.
4) Try the island’s signature curry crab and dumpling dish, it’s delicious!
5) Take a guided tour of one of the many trails in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest forest reserve in the Western Hemisphere.
6) You can’t miss the Tobago Heritage Festival activities, if you are on the island in the second half of July, as the various villages showcase various aspects of the island’s culture.
7) Play Mas in Trinidad Carnival as there is no feeling more incredible than dancing through the streets of Port of Spain in a gorgeous costume alongside complete strangers who are just as ecstatic about the entire experience as you are.
8) Take a boat tour of the Caroni Swamp and see hundreds of the beautiful, brightly colored scarlet ibis fly home to roost at sunset.
9) Visit the La Brea Pitch Lake – the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world – because it truly is a natural wonder.
10) Make the drive to Maracas Beach to try our famous Bake & Shark sandwich with all the toppings and sauces.
Diverse and Vibrant Culture of T&T
Trinidad and Tobago has one of the most diverse and vibrant cultures I have ever seen which is a direct result of our very diverse population. From our music to our food – you will see influences of African, Indian, Spanish, Chinese, European and Syrian culture and traditions, just to name a few.
As a people, we are incredibly social creatures always ready to “lime” (hang out) or party with both friends and strangers alike. As a result, we tend to warmly welcome visitors into the fold, enthusiastically introducing them to our food and educating them about our traditions and way of life.
Food Scene of Trinidad and Tobago
There are many amazing restaurants on both islands, but as someone who prefers small, family-owned places I tend to lean toward the dining scene in Tobago. With many quaint beachfront or beach-view locations that usually serve up home style cooking, my top spots would be:
- Shore Things Cafe & Craft (Lambeau)
- Speyside Overlooking Bar & Lounge (Speyside)
- Vaness’s Sunshine Cafe (Bloody Bay)
- Suckhole Restaurant & Bar (Charlotteville)
In Trinidad, I highly recommend checking out street food and vendors at the following locations:
- Green Market in Santa Cruz
- Asha’s for Bake & Shark in Maracas
- “The Green Shed” at the strip in Debe for doubles, pies and other East Indian delicacies.
Best Accommodation Options in Trinidad and Tobago
- La Vapeur Estate (Paramin)
- Hacienda Jacana (Talparo)
- The North Deck (Maracas)
- Acajou Hotel (Grand Riviere)
Playing Mas at Trinidad Carnival
My favourite thing to do in this country is play mas. Every single year, there is nothing I look forward to more than dancing through Port of Spain on Carnival Monday and Tuesday in my bedazzled bikini and 6-ft tall feathers.
I have never experienced anything as fun, freeing and truly harmonious as the amazing vibes that seem to emanate from every masquerader and spectator you encounter on the road for Trinidad Carnival! I recommend everyone experience this fun carnival which occurs in February.
Need to Know Before you Go
It should be noted that currently the borders of Trinidad and Tobago remain closed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, once international travel resumes, I would recommend the following quick tips:
Regardless of your primary destination, I recommend scheduling at least two full days to experience the other island (whether that be Trinidad or Tobago). While there is more than enough to keep you entertained on either island, it would be a shame to make it this far and not sample what both islands have to offer when all it takes is a three hour ferry ride.
In terms of choosing which island should be your primary destination, it’s simple: If you’re partial to beautiful beaches and solitude, you would much prefer to spend most of your time in Tobago. If you enjoy nightlife and shopping, then Trinidad should be your main focus.
Trinidad is an island, but it’s not a tiny one. Getting around takes a while and traffic is a problem – so plan your excursions with enough time to get from A to B. And, once you are comfortable, rent a car as hiring private taxis can get expensive and I don’t advise foreigners unfamiliar with our public transportation system to attempt to use it on their own.
Participating in Trinidad Carnival is an epic experience but it’s not as easy as you think. Carnival takes place the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday every year. However, reserving your costume and booking your flights and accommodation needs to start as early as July the previous year.
For everything you need to know about that process, you can check out my 12 Step Guide to Playing Mas in Trinidad Carnival. Thanks for reading!