Trinidad and Tobago Holidays - Tours & Adventures Travel Guide
“Colors! From the colorful myriad fusion of cultures to the vibrant colors in the sky, earth and sea, it is also the birthplace of calypso, steel pan music and the limbo dance. It is very apt that this country is also called ‘The Rainbow Country’ due to its vibrant colorful flora and ecological treasures. It is a nation consisting of 23 islands lying off the northeast coast of Venezuela and south of the island of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. Its two major islands; Trinidad and Tobago even though 19 miles apart have totally different personalities. Trinidad, which is the larger island is more populated and busier was known for its oil, natural gas and steel industries. Despite the hype of commercialization, Trinidad has more to offer in terms of hiking, nature watching and heritage sites. Meanwhile, Tobago's focus is the relaxing resorts and postcard white sand beaches with breathtakingly beautiful undersea coral gardens.”
Trinidad and Tobago Holiday Highlights
History & Culture – Before Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad and Tobago in 1498, the Arawaks and Carib Amerindians inhabited these islands. By 1592, the Spanish had established their first settlement at San Josef. Over the next 200 hundred years, both the French and Spanish brought African slaves to work on the cocoa and tobacco plantations. By 1797, the British captured Trinidad from the Spanish.
The history of Tobago on the other hand, took a slightly different route. Tobago although claimed by Spain was colonized by the British in 1628. The island changed hands several times among the various European nations until 1763 when the British established a colonial administration on the island. By 1976, these islands became an independent republic. Today, these islands with an economy driven by the Oil and Gas Industry are the most prosperous Caribbean nation.
Because of its sordid history of abuse and enslavement, these islands were left with a multi racial population and as well as a colorful multifaceted culture. The African slaves and indentured labors all have left their imprints on what is today a vibrant and exotic heritage. The most vivid expression of this rich legacy is in the calypso music as well as the Carnival festival.
Trinidad – As the capital city, Port of Spain has a myriad of museums, art galleries and numerous other attractions to visit. The main highlights of the attractions found in this city are actually the lively annual festivals.
- Carnival - The Carnival celebration is a 2-day celebration, which falls on the Monday and Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday.
- Hosay - An Islamic festival observed by Shi’a Muslims held in St. James, a suburb of Port of Spain
- Phagwa Or Holi - A Hindu festival introduced by the indentured East Indian laborers around 1845, which celebrates the arrival of Spring. Also otherwise known as the ‘Festivals of Colors’ the ritual entails throwing colored water and powder on friends and families.
- Divali - Another Hindu festival, which is also known as the Festival of Lights, takes place in the month of Karthik (October to November) on the Hindu calendar.
- Eid-Ul-Fitr - Eid-Ul-Fitr, or Eid, is Muslim festive celebration. It is the holiday that follows after the Ramadan fasting month.
Other celebrations include:
- Corpus Christi The Feast Of The Body Of Christ
Sightseeing in Port Of Spain - The Port of Spain enjoys the reputation of being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Caribbean. Here you can find historic buildings, shopping and dining all in one place. Other places of interest worth visiting are:
- Arima - Founded By Capuchin Monks in 1757, it is one of the initial settlements on the island.
- Chaguanas - Located In Central Trinidad and is one of the oldest settlements dating back before the Spanish colonists.
- Point Fortin
- San Fernando
- Sangre Grande
Nature & Wildlife
Bird Watching - Trinidad and Tobago has some of the most diverse bird species to be found in a single location. This diversity in species is largely due to the proximity of these islands to South America making migration easier. Bird watchers should visit:
- Caroni Bird Sanctuary
- Mount St. Benedict
- Asa Wright Nature Centre
- Wild Fowl Trust
Hiking - Great Hiking trails on Trinidad include:
- Paria River
- The coastal village of Blanchisseuse
- Rio Seco
Wildlife Photography - The nice spots for wildlife photography include:
- The El Tucuche Reserve
- The Valencia Wildlife Sanctuary
- The Asa Wright Nature Centre
- The Caroni Bird Sanctuary - This is the best chance to capture on film the Scarlet Ibis, the National Bird of Trinidad & Tobago.
- The Bush Bush Wildlife Reserve - The red Howler Monkeys can be found here
- The Wild Fowl Trust
Biking - In Trinidad, bikers usually ride in groups everywhere from Diego Martin in the West to the East and South of the island.
Camping - Trinidad has many beautiful beaches or forests for camping. Good camping sites include:
- Columbus Bay
- Vessigny beach
- The Northern Range
- Sea Caves at Las Cuevas Beach
- Dunstans Cave
- Gasparee Caves
Kayaking - Kayaking is a popular sport in the islands. The popular areas for kayaking include:
- Nariva Swamp on the East Coast of Trinidad
- Chaguaramas on the West Coast
- Paria Bay on the North
Beaches - Some of the top beaches for swimming, snorkeling and activities include:
- Carenage Bay
- Macqueripe Beach
- Scotland Bay
- Maracas Bay
- Las Cuevas
- Grande Riviere
- Toco Bay
- Balandra Bay
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
- Saut d’Eau Islands
Golf - whikstin Trinidad and Tobago enjoy the golfing opportunties at The Chaguaramas Public Golf Course, St Andrew’s Golf Course and Mount Irvine Golf Course.
Tobago - Tobago, home to the oldest preserved rainforest in the Western Hemisphere, is more focus towards eco-tourism. The Island although just 41 by 14 kilometers, is proliferated with lush green rainforests, palm-lined white sand beaches and wildly beautiful coral reefs teeming with exotic marine life.
Festivals - The Tobago Heritage Festival on the island of Tobago is a major event. The annual festival spans for a period of two weeks from mid July to early August. Tobago Fest is a mini-Carnival held in September on the island of Tobago.
Sightseeing on Tobago - Other places on interest worth visiting include:
- Man Of War Bay
- Grafton Caledonia Sanctuary
- Main Ridge
- Little Tobago Island reserve
Walking & Hiking Trails - opportunities for a hike, walk or trek include:
- Englishman’s Bay
- Argyle Waterfall
- The Main Forest Ridge
Wildlife Photography - Sites with excellent wildlife photographing opportunities are:
- Little Tobago
- Plymouth and Black Rock
Biking - Biking trails include:
- Indian Walk
- Gru-Gru Boeuf
- Chocolate Cake
Camping - Canoe Bay beach has camping facilities.
Kayaking - Popular kayaking route include:
-Little Tobago Island
-The West Coast of Tobago
- Crown Point – Store Bay
- Pigeon Point
- Sandy Point
- Buccoo Reef
- Mount Irvine Bay
- Nylon Pool
- Stonehaven Bay
- Castara Bay
Snorkeling - Snorkeling sites in on this island include:
- Goat Island
- Arnos Vale Bay
- Great Courland Bay
When To Go
Due to their southerly location, Trinidad and Tobago lies outside the hurricane belt. In addition, with a tropical climate with little temperature variations, these islands are an all year round destination. The only factor that might determine your schedule is which month the peak season or low season of the holiday traffic coincides. Peak periods are in January and especially February due to the Carnival festival. Hotel rates will be noticeably higher during these months.
- Trinidad and Tobago is a fairly conservative country. Homosexuality by law is illegal and under the immigration act, homosexual non-citizens are not permitted entry into the country. Nevertheless, these laws are not strictly enforced.
- Port of Spain’s Carnival - Wine and dine in capital, which move to the beat of the world’s hottest Carnival
- Bird Watching - Watch hundreds of bird species at Asa Wright Nature Centre, or the scarlet ibis at Caroni Bird Sanctuary and the sea birds on Little Tobago
- Diving - Discover the underwater beauty of the canyons and coral gardens in Tobago’s crystal-clear azure waters
- Northern Range - Cycle or hike the mountain range, which boasts of magnificent waterfalls and wildlife.
- Music - Immerse yourself in the islands’ music, whether it is calypso, steel pan or soca. The music of Trinidad is an inextricably part of the culture of the Trinidadians.
- Outdoor Adventure - Mountain bike around the canopy of rainforest shaded military relics in Chaguaramas. In Trinidad, it is recommended to kayak and enjoy the natural beauty of the Nariva Swamp. In Grande Rivière, hike and watch the turtle or alternatively spend your day surfing. In Brasso Seco, start a two to three day coastal rainforest backpack hike to Blanchisseuse. In Tobago, you can choose to visit the Forest Reserve or take up wind surfing lessons on Pigeon Point. Then, in Charlottesville, spend several days sea kayaking in between its islands.