The true Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago offers travelers a unique opportunity to take part in Carnival, goat racing, calypso dancing and wildlife adventure
Bursting with unparalleled spirit and culture, the dual-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago offers visitors the opportunity to experience everything from the cosmopolitan, bustling cities and towns in Trinidad, to lazy days sunbathing on pristine beaches in Tobago. Larger, boisterous Trinidad parlayed its oil-boom riches into one of the region’s most industrialized economies. While the island is famous for its lively Carnival celebrations – one of the world’s greatest street parties – the destination’s bountiful countryside with vast forest preserves and marshland, remains off the beaten path for many travelers.
Just 21 miles away, sleepy Tobago is a haven for those seeking the quintessential Caribbean vacation with cozy resorts, picturesque beaches and an abundant marine life.
One Destination, Two Island Experience
Despite its proximity to Venezuela, just eight miles away, life in Trinidad and Tobago is defined more by its colonial roots of African, Indian, Chinese, British and French decent than by its neighboring Latin American culture. The island’s ethnic diversity is particularly evident in the local cuisine, which features everything from rotis (soft Indian bread wrapped around curried meat and vegetables) and doubles (a curried chickpea snack) to creole-inspired seafood dishes. Visitors to the island should head to Maracas Beach for the country’s most famous dish, the renowned Shark ‘n’ Bake, a fried-shark sandwich.
The capital city of Port of Spain boasts a number of art galleries featuring the works of local painters and sculptors, and visitors can also check out the Magnificent Seven, a row of early 20th-century mansions along the Savannah, Port-of-Spain’s ‘Central Park.’
However, Trinidad is not just about the bustle. Outside the capital, travelers can visit the tallest Hanuman Murti statue outside of India, standing at 85-feet tall, or stay at Grande Riviere Beach from March to September to see the nesting leatherback turtles. The Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge, a 700-acre former plantation, draws birdwatchers with its oilbirds, the only living species of nocturnal fruit-eating birds; while at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, boat tours bring visitors within viewing distance of the rare scarlet ibis, which is best spotted at sunset.
While Tobago is known for its quiet lifestyle and breathtaking sunsets, the island is also home to the UNESCO certified Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, and the waters off Tobago host the largest brain coral in the western hemisphere. During the winter months, anglers visiting the island have a chance to catch white marlin, sailfish, wahoo, swordfish, dolphin or yellow-fin tuna. For visitors seeking unique, unusual and, to some, seriously competitive sports, goat racing is all the rage on the island of Tobago with a yearly competition usually taking place in early April. Those who would like to show their competitive spirit can cheer on their goat and jockey of choice or participate in the crab races that take place at the same time.
Life is a Party and Everyone is Invited
In Trinidad and Tobago there are only two seasons: Carnival, and Getting Ready for Carnival. While Carnival typically takes place in February, the celebrations begin on December 26 each year with music and costume competitions, parties and celebrations that culminate on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It’s the Caribbean’s biggest party and, in Trinidad and Tobago, everyone is invited. The organized bands that march in Carnival sponsor ‘mas’ camps (short for masquerade) at numerous venues in and around the busy capital of Port-of-Spain and visitors from around the world are invited to experience the heart-pounding rhythms and jaw-dropping costumes by joining the parade, known locally as “playing mas.”
This melting-pot culture is home to other festivals, including the Hindu celebrations of Divali, the festivals of lights, Holi and Phagwa as well as Emancipation Day, Arrival Day, Shouter Baptist Liberation Day, the Muslim holidays Hosay and Eid-Ul-Fitr and many more. The locals love an excuse to celebrate.
Please visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com for more information.
In Trinidad and Tobago and especially in the capital city of Port of Spain, there is always a party or celebration. From dance clubs to street parties and, as the birthplace of the steel pan drum, soca and calypso, Port of Spain seems to always have music in the air.
To really get a feel of the local night life, travelers should take a walk on Ariapita Avenue, known locally as the Ave. The lifeblood of Port of Spain, Ariapita Avenue is home to many of the Port of Spain’s top restaurants, bars and clubs.
When visiting Trinidad and Tobago, there are many airline options to choose from, including national carrier Caribbean Airlines, which flies from North America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe. Caribbean Airlines exclusively operates the air bridge, connecting Trinidad and Tobago with frequent daily 20-minute flights.
Airlines with direct flights to Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport include: Aeropostal, American Airlines, Avior, Continental, Conviasa, Lait Star, Polamar, Suriname Airways and WestJet.
Airlines with direct flights to Tobago’s Crown Point International Airport include: British Airways, Condor, Liat Star, Martin Air and Monarch.
A passport valid for three months longer than your stay and a return ticket is required for entry. Depending on your country of origin, an entry visa may also be necessary.
For tourism and business related visits of up to 90 days, visas are not required for citizens of the United States, Caricom (except Haiti), European Union and British Commonwealth with the exception of the following countries:
British Commonwealth Countries
* New Zealand
* Papua New Guinea
* South Africa
* Sri Lanka
Travelers from countries outside the United States and European Union must hold a passport valid for six months past their travel date, a return ticket and valid visa for entry into Trinidad and Tobago.
Hiking: Gasparee Caves. Maracas Bay. Las Cuevas. Paria Waterfalls. Maracas Waterfalls.
History and Culture: Mt. St. Benedict. Lopinot Complex. El Dorado Shiv Mandir. Point Lisa Industrial Estate. Water Wheel, Chaguaramas Military History and Aviation Museum. Jinnah Mosque. Caroni Sugar Estate and Factory.
Nature and Wildlife: Asa Wright Nature Centre. Cleaver Woods. Aripo Caves. Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Manzanilla Beach. Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust. Devils Woodyard. Pitch Lake. La Vega Garden Center. Caroni Arena Reservoir. River Estate.
Culture and History: Fort King George. Fort Benett. Courland Monument. Mystery Tomb. Fort Cambleton. Richmond Great House. Fort Granby. Fairyhaus
Nature and Wildlife: Buccoo Reef and Nylon Pool. Witches Grave. Tobago Forest Reserve. Pirates Bay. Flag Staff Hill. Water well.Little Tobago. Louis Dor Nurseries. Botanical Gardens. Grafton Estate
Hiking: Argyle Waterfall. Franklyn Waterfall. Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve. Tobago Forest Reserve.
Please visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com for more information.
Couples wishing to get married in Trinidad and Tobago must establish residence in Trinidad and Tobago for no less than three (3) days prior to marriage (the period of residence is calculated from the day after the date of arrival to Trinidad and Tobago).
Both parties must appear at one of the below offices, in either Trinidad or Tobago, no less than 24 hours before the intended time of marriage in order to make a statutory declaration and pay applicable fees, US$55, during office hours.
The following documents must be presented with applications:
a. Proof of residence, passport and airline tickets
b. Identification for the applications
c. If divorced, original or notarized copy of decree is required. A notarized English translation must be brought if the original is not in English.
d. If widowed, original death certificate of spouse is required. A notarized English translation must be brought if the original is not in English.
e. Deed poll or other proof of name change where name differs from identification
Registrar General’s Office
South Quay, Port of Spain
Tel. (868) 624-1660
Registrar General Division
Central Administrative Services, Tobago (CAST)
Jerningham Street, Scarborough
Tel. (868) 639-2652
Fax. (868) 639-2505