If you’re after warm climate, proximity to the beach, a variety of food loaded with flavor that won’t cost a fortune, then you must go to Trinidad. Trinidad, an oil-rich island in the Caribbean unlike its neighbors, does not rely on tourism to survive. But that doesn’t mean there’s not much to do in this vibrant island.
Whether you’re looking for a vacation place where you can stick your toes in the sand and let the surf wash your worries away or indulge in good food and great beer while watching the sunset, here are five things to in Trinidad.
1. Indulge in Trini food with locals
In Trinidad, you don’t just get one type of food. There’s a blend of Creole, East Indian, African, Chinese and western cuisine. There are five foods you must try when you’re there. Top on the list and the cheapest is doubles – an iconic Trini street food eaten throughout the day.
Doubles is made of two pillowy pieces of flatbread known locally as bara bread, filled with channa (curried chickpea), a spoonful of kuchela (green mango pickle), pepper sauce and tamarind sauce. One of the best places to try doubles is at the airport’s food court, located on the left, outside the arrival hall.
Here are four more Trini foods you must try:
- Roti and curry
- Pholourie – fried spicy dough
- Chow – spicy mango or pineapple salad
- Bake and shark (try it in Maracas Beach)
2. Take a day trip to Maracas Beach
Maracas Beach is not an ideal place for swimming, but the drive through the hills of the Northern Ridge of Trinidad is worth it. And actually, tourists and locals visit Maracas Beach because of the famous bake and shark.
There are many restaurants and bars on the beach, but Richard’s Bake and Shark, the most renowned restaurant for bake and shark serves the best. Richard’s has been around for almost 30 years.
Bake and shark consists of two fried flatbreads (called bake) and a fried fish fillet (shark). The most essential ingredients are condiments. Every bake and shark shop has a condiment station. Diners help themselves to the condiments consisting of a variety of sauces, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, pineapple slices, chutney and more.
For a dip in the water, we suggest going to Las Cuevas Bay, about a few minutes drive east of Maracas Bay. The water is calmer in Las Cuevas Bay, and you’ll have plenty of space for sunbathing.
3. Join a Port of Spain city tour
To learn more about Trinidad, join a guided Port of Spain city tour. Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, is where thousands of locals and tourists gather to enjoy Carnival, the Caribbean’s biggest street party. It happens two days before Ash Wednesday. Besides festivals and street parties, Port of Spain is the political, cultural, educational and economic center of Trinidad.
There are many impressive buildings and spots in Port of Spain that capture the rich history of Trinidad. Most Port of Spain city tours will include visiting:
- The Red House (Parliament)
- The Magnificent Seven Houses (seven colonial mansions)
- Stollmeyer’s Castle
- Queen’s Savannah Park (a 260-acre park in Port of Spain)
4. Go liming and enjoy the sound of steel drums
In the evenings, especially during the weekends, locals like to hang out or go liming with friends for Trini food, drinks, and live music. Outdoor restaurants and bars along Ariapita Avenue in Port of Spain are the best night spots for liming.
Before liming, we suggest joining an evening tour to experience the sound of steel drums at a few steelpan yards in Port of Spain. Steelpan, a hollowed-out oil drum is the most popular Caribbean musical instrument originated from Trinidad.
5. Visit Caroni Bird Sanctuary
Caroni Bird Sanctuary is only around a 30-minute drive from Port of Spain. It is the place to see thousands of scarlet ibis; the flame-colored birds fly to the sanctuary from nearby Venezuela. It happens every evening at around 5 pm.
The Caroni Bird Sanctuary is located in the protected mangrove swamp on the northwest coast of Trinidad.
Daily tours are available and start from Port of Spain at 3 pm. This three and a half hour tour includes a boat excursion through the swamp to see the different types of plants, birds, and animals. The highlight is of course when the flame-colored birds fly to the swamp to eat and rest.
There are daily flights to Port of Spain. Use Travelmath’s airlines serving calculator to find out the airlines that serve Port of Spain from your city.
Port of Spain is only a five-hour flight from New York City, a five hour 35 minutes flight from Houston and a three hour 43 minutes flight from Miami.
Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport is 16 miles from the city center.
The local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. You can use USD in most restaurants and bars.
Go to Trinidad and Tobago’s official website for more information about the country.