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Trinidad Info

Maracas Bay
Maracas Bay

Maracas Beach
Maracas Beach

Manzanilla Beach
Manzanilla Beach

Mayaro Beach
Mayaro Beach

Temple in the Sea
Waterloo Temple in the Sea

Temple in the Sea
Waterloo Temple in the Sea

Steelpan Band
Steelpan Band

Liming
Liming

Christmas Time
House with Christmas Lights
Personal Impressions
Trinbagonians say: Trinidad is nice, Tobago is paradise. I say: Tobago is nice, Trinidad is a lost paradise. Unfortunately Trinidad has a high population density, which causes high traffic, pollution and crime. Apart from this Trinidad has a rich cultural life and a splendid nature. Trinidadians are very friendly and warm, it's easy to make friends. Trinidad is probably the most Spanish of the English speaking Caribbean islands especially in place names. And Trinidad is one of the cheapest countries in the Caribbean. I highly recommend Trinidad to all who are interested in culture, people and nature. For cruise ship passengers it's best to spend the day at Maracas Beach.

= STRIEWA =


Overview
A large part of Trinidad is covered with tropical rainforest. Because Trinidad is so close to South America it has many different kinds of habitats with different kinds of animals. There are  108 mammals, about 450 birds, 55 reptiles, 25 amphibians, and 617 butterflies. Trinidad has more different kinds of bats than any other place in the world. There are animals as agouti, anteater, armadillo, ocelot, opossum, iguanas, manatees, paca, parrots, and monkeys. Endangered leatherback turtles, green loggerhead turtles and hawksbill turtles nest on the beaches. The sea is full of marine life.

There are also many different kinds of plants found on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. More than 700 kinds of orchids grow there. Other kinds of trees that grow on the islands include palm, almond, banyan, breadfruit, flamboyant, cassia, African tulip, silk cotton, matchwood and teak.  Many beautiful flowers grow there such as amaryllis lilies, hibiscus, bougainvillea, giant anthuriums and heliconias.

The capital Port-of-Spain has a bad reputation, worse than it actually is, but except for carnival and shopping there is little reason for a visit. Catch a route taxi in downtown POS and go on a mountainous drive to the North Coast. North Trinidad is dominated by the mountains of the Northern Range. There is a lookout point with a fantastic view over Maracas Bay. North Trinidad is dominated by the mountains of the Northern Range. The beautiful Maracas beach is the most popular beach in Trinidad and gets crowded on weekends. A hike along the North Coast is a life time experience. Take all day and stop at all beaches and pubs.

The beautiful and fascinating countryside of Trinidad is yours to enjoy. There are majestic forests, misty mountain tops reached by cool, winding paths, murky swamps, eerie caves and open grassy savannahs. And all around there is the magnificent coastal scenery of cliffs and headlands, sparkling sands and rolling surfs. You have the choice of over 30 nature trails.

Enjoy Trinidad to the fullest, immerse yourself in the culture; explore the nature trails; sunbathe at the beaches; dive the seas; and shop in the towns and malls. Apart from expanded swamps and mangroves there are savannahs and unaffected rain forest to be explored.


Attractions

Port-of-Spain
This is the capital of Trinidad and Tobago which starts from the Gulf of Paria and end back into the foot hills of the rugged Northern Range. Port of Spain became Capital in 1757 it was a muddy little seaport. Port of Spain is now one of the busiest commercial centres in the Caribbean and artistic activity as well. The heart of the city is the downtown area, with the Queen’s Park Savannah at the northern edge and the Brian Lara Promenade to the South, linked by Fredrick Street. Port of Spain is where most of Trinidad activities take places, not forgetting the great City St James "The Town that never sleeps", but most of the people go to one special bar which is Smokey and Bunty in St James which remains open  all night, people "lime" until morning. You can always  get a cold drink at Smokey and Bunty any time. It is always crowded and you can get the smell of a true Trini beer in the air.

The pulse of the city is Independence Square - not really a square at all, but rather two long streets bordering a narrow pedestrian strip. The city is crowned by Queen's Park Savannah, once part of a sugar plantation and now a public park with a race track. Along its west side is the Magnificent Seven, a line of seven fancy colonial buildings, including Stollmeyer's Castle, built to resemble a Scottish castle complete with turrets. North of the Savannah are the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Emperor Valley Zoo.

The Market
The Market is, where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables. Market usually starts on a Friday and goes to the two big days. Most of the vegetables are planted by the East Indian. They work hard the whole week in their garden and when it is time for Market days which is on a Saturday and Sunday they are there from early in the morning as 5 am preparing their tables and unloading their trucks with all sorts of vegetables you can imagine. Some people go to the big market in Port of Spain to buy their goods at a whole sale price where they get it cheaper. People from all over and different market vendors come out in their numbers there they leave to go to different places to sell their goods, Crab you can also see on bunches hanging with pieces of wire and wrap up in a tight vine so they cannot get away they are weighed and sold to the people who need it. People crowd the Market to get the cheapest buy but most of the time the prices goes down on a Sunday so some people prefer to come out on that day. There is a lot of noise and shouting by the vendors  to get the customers to buy their goods. There are also people at the side walk of the road most of them do not have tables but big brown bags where they lay their vegetables, they try to sell to customers cheaper than the people inside of the Market place. On Sunday most people go to the Market to buy callaloo bush and coconut which in Trinidad is a favourite for Sunday lunch. The bush is a very broad leaf with a long green stem which is being cut up very fine or blend with other seasoning to make that dish the coconut is being grated and soaked with water where the husk is being thrown away and the milk is used in the callaloo. On Sunday family and friends come together for that special meal of callaloo, crab, red bean, stew chicken and a little vegetables at the side and if you around you are even invited for a bite.

Asa Wright Nature Centre
A refreshingly cool seven mile drive through the lush greenery of the Northern Range brings you in direct contact with over one hundred and fifty (150!) species of birds at Asa Wright Nature Centre. 360 meters up in the Northern Range, the Centre is 200-acre conservation and study area, catering for both professionals and amateur naturalist and visitors interested in birds and wildlife. There are eight trails, including the home of one of the most accessible colony of oilbird, and comfortable accommodation. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you also have a guided tour that will give you a lecture of each bird and take you along to the most beautiful caves  in the islands. The tour starts at 10 a.m. and 1.30 p.m., you have to book in advance. Admission is low and you can spend as long as you wish at the Centre where you will be well taken care of. Breakfast and lunch are also served with the accommodation. 

Caroni Bird Sanctuary
You can see the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis, by the hundreds along with other species at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. There are also caimans, snakes and fish. A dream place for bird watchers. 

Maracas Bay
The views are beautiful and breathtaking as you wind your way over the Northern Range to Maracas Beach, one of the more popular beaches in Trinidad. You can excite your appetite here with a tasty "bake ‘n shark", which is a Trinidadian native dish that consists of deep-fried shark stuffed in a pocket of deep-fried batter, called "Bake". Please be aware, that sharks are an endangered species. Wrongly maligned as man-eating monsters, sharks seldom attack humans, but their populations are being rapidly depleted by overfishing and other human activities. 

Maracas Waterfall
There are many waterfalls in the northern range. Great picnic areas and great pleaces for a swim. The Maracas Waterfall is an easy 2.4 km hike in the Northern Range of St Joseph, this 91 meter fall is the country’s most popular spot for picnickers, campers, swimmers and bird-watchers.
 
Manzanilla Beach
The eastern coastline of  Trinidad is rather wild, almost untouched by man. Manzanilla Beach is about 17 miles long, hemmed with tall coconut trees, swaying in the constant breeze. Close by is aforrest with wild monkeys.

Mayaro Beach
Mayaro Beach on the east coast is a popular destination for holidays, long weekends, and is one of the traditional places to spend the Easter holidays. There is an almost uninterrupted line of coconut trees on the shore, testimony to the days when most of the area consisted of coconut plantations.

Pitch Lake
The Pitch Lake is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world, located at La Brea in southwest Trinidad. It has fascinated explorers, scientists and the common folk since its discovery by Sir Walter Raleigh in the year 1595. The lake covers about 40 ha and is reported to be 75 m deep. It is mined for asphalt which is exported for high-quality road construction.

Waterloo Temple in the Sea
The original temple was built single handedly from mud and stone in the calm shallow waters of the Gulf of Paria by an Indian labourer, Siewdas Sadhu, whose statue stands in the car park of the rebuilt temple. You can capture a magnificent sunset on film while you view the Northern Range across the Gulf of Paria.

Spring Bridge in Blanchisseuse
One of the oldest constructions in the remote fishing village on the north coast. Great fun for all to walk across or from which one can dive into the river. 

Lopinot
North of Arouca, in the foothills of the Northern Range, at the very top of the scenic Lopinot Valley, lies a beautiful and unspoilt village. It is rich in culture, history and wildlife. It also contains one of Trinidad's best kept national parks, the Lopinot Historical Site.  It was here where the French Army General, the Comte Charles-Joseph de Loppinot, settled in the 18th century. He came to Trinidad with his wife, children and about one hundred slaves. Loppinot used the cashew tree which stood on the grounds as a "hanging tree" for the slaves and imprisoned them underneath the cocoa house. 

Beaches
In Trinidad there are also the beaches with the nice sunsets where tourists will love to lay in the sand and get a nice suntan colour, some of the beaches are Manzanilla and Mayaro the two longest beaches in Trinidad. Miles of sand lined with coconut palms, (it was once an estate land), facing the Atlantic. The water is rougher than on the West Coast (watch out for currents), but the space and the Atlantic sea breeze are wonderful. Then we have Toco, Chagville, Mayaro and Vessigny.

Trinidad’s most famous beach is 35 minutes from the city along a scenic coastal road. Recent improvements have enhanced both, the beach and its facilities. Beyond Maracas are Tyrico Bay and Las Cuevas beaches. There are many other smaller bays along the way. 

There  you have the  best "bake and shark", which is a shark fillet deep  fried and the bake is dough opened out in the hands of whoever is cooking and toss in the very hot oil where it floats to the top when cooked  and swells  like a jelly fish. It is now ready to be eaten by the hundreds of people that queue up waiting to sink their teeth in.There is also a table filled with all sorts of vegetables, tomatoes, pineapple and hot pepper that is made to enhance the taste of  the bake and shark. There is always enough for everyone. You have to get there first before the long line, Maracas  is best known for its bake and shark.

For those who want to "lime" late there is always something more to keep you going. Further up the beach there is a Bar where  most people go to have a cold beer or to listen to the wild music that is being played. You can also see one or two drummers  so dance, prance and have fun it is never too early or too late. Busses or Maxis can take you to all the beaches and Rivers. 

Caves, Bats and Oil Birds
Trinidad has several caves, most of them are situated in forested areas and can be reached only by hiking. The Aripo Caves are nestled in the Northern Range near the village of Aripo. They are known for the nocturnal Oil Birds (Steatornis caripensis), locally known as the Guacharo.  These are the only nocturnal fruit eating birds in the world. They forage at night, navigating by echolocation in the same way as bats, but with a high-pitched clicking sound audible to humans.

The Gasparee Caves are a natural limestone cave system with a mysterious pool at its base, located on the island of Gaspar Grande near Chagaramas Bay.

The Cumaca Cave is a large cave system with three accessible chambers and other smaller side caves. It is also known as the Oropouche Cavern and home of the Oil Bird or Guarcharo.

Mud Volcanoes
There are several areas to visit starting with the Devil’s Wood yard that is reported to have at least fifty active vents. - See more at: http://www.trinizagada.com/2009/10/trinidads-mud-volcanos.html#sthash.xJhDcakU.dpuf
There are several areas to visit starting with the Devil’s Wood yard that is reported to have at least fifty active vents. - See more at: http://www.trinizagada.com/2009/10/trinidads-mud-volcanos.html#sthash.xJhDcakU.dpuf
Trinidad is not a volcanic island, but there are mud volcanoes which are caused by natural gases in the underground. These volcanoes are sometimes known locally as "bouffe" (french for swelling), "morne" or "yard." The original Amerindian inhabitants of Trinidad called these areas guaico, meaning "mud-stream".

There are several areas with mud volcanoes starting with the Devil’s Wood yard that is reported to have at least fifty active vents. The Piparo Mud Volcano is located in central Trinidad along a road that leads you all the way to Piparo from the highway exit at Gasparillo. The area sits on a hilltop and today is covered by grass that is broken by areas which are bubbling mud.

Offshore Islands
Trinidad’s offshore islands are like another world. When Trinidadians say to you, they are going down the Islands, this is where they are going. The nearest is Gasper Grande, also called Gasparee. It is only a short boat ride from Chaguaramas. It has an easily accessible cave complex as well as picnic facilities and ruins of colonial fortification. Tour guides will take you there. They are open from 9 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. on weekdays and to 3 p.m. on weekends. 

Swamps
In Trinidad there are  rivers and swamps. The Nariva Swamp is a Sanctuary for wild life, a haven for  the Red Howler monkeys, caiman and manatee just to name a few. Permits are required for a visit (contact a reputable tour operator or the Wild field Division of the Forestry Department) which you can find in the yellow pages of our directory. We move on to Valencia  and the Caura River, where you can take a dip, on weekends  and public holidays. People go to the river to bathe, fish and to enjoy, what we call a "Trini River-lime". The lime usually starts from  early in the morning where there is a meeting point to the nearest location of the river. The lime is mostly between family and friends, but you are invited as our special guest. A Creole dish is prepared and cooked  down at the river side on a make shift stove . Everyone gathers around and sing and tell funny jokes as the meal is being cooked. The lime ends when there is no more food and drink but there is usually a lot of delicacies so no need to rush home. Drink as much as you want, rum is the most popular drink on a river lime and of course not leaving our women out, there is also  beer which we either buy or mostly take on our own.


Activities

Turtle Watching
Trinidad is one of the most important lather-back sea turtle nesting sights in the world. The main nesting season for local sea turtles runs from March to September of each year. Three of the main nesting beaches - Matura, Fishing Pond and Grande Riviere - are Prohibited Areas and permission is required for the purpose of turtle viewing. Only a limited number of permits are distributed daily, so you need to ensure that you apply early. During peak season some beaches report up to 300 nesting leatherbacks in a single night. It's estimated that approximately 20 percent of the world's leather-back sea turtle population is of Trinidadian ancestry.

Bird Watching
See our special page about bird watching in Trinidad and Tobago.


Culture

Steelpan Bands
Steelpan is a musical instrument and a form of music originating from Trinidad. The pan is a pitched percussion instrument, toned chromatically, made from a 55 gallon drum of the type that stores oil. Steelpan musicians are called pannists. Arima is home of serveral steelbands.

Parang
Trinidad is best recognized as the land of Calypso and Steelpan, however during the Christmas season, the music is Parang. Parang is an upbeat Venezuela-Trinidad hybrid. The word comes from the Spanish word know as "parranda" (action of merry making, group of serenaders). In Trinidad it refers to folkloric music of Hispanic American origins. Arima is the home of Parang.

Christmas
Christmas is a very social time in Trinidad with most people having parties. The radio stations play Trinidadian Christmas carols and also Parang. Both children and adults go from house to house between neighbours and relatives for food and drink. Trinidadian Christmas fruitcake is traditional and is eaten in most homes. The fruits in the cake are usually soaked in cherry wine, sherry and rum for several months before Christmas! Most people paint and make repairs to their houses and hang new curtains and decorations (especially lights) for Christmas. 

Liming
If you have done it all and need to relax, you can lime with us. Liming is a popular Trinidadian term and means to chill or hangout. It's the art of doing nothing. Come and lime with us!
Text: C. A. Gajadhar



Chateau Guillaumme Bed & Breakfast
Caroni Bird Sanctuary
Caroni Bird Sanctuary

Paraglyding
Paraglyding

Pitch Lake
Pitch Lake

Jinnah Masjid Mosque
Jinnah Masjid Mosque

Leatherback Turtle
Leatherback Turtle

Lopinot
Lopinot

Spring Bridge
Spring Bridge in Blanchisseuse

Waterfall
Waterfall

Waterfall
Waterfall