Trinidad & Tobago - Top Tips

Super Seven


Port of Spain City Tour


A city tour is first up, with sights to see in both downtown and uptown. You can take a stroll along Brian Lara Promenade to check out the Independence Mural and the monument dedicated to the countries Olympians. You'll then pass The Red House (Parliament Building) and The National Academy of Performing Arts as you head towards Uptown. There's a row of buildings called "The Magnificent Seven" that are an architectural delight and not to be missed.


Point-A-Pierre Wildfowl Trust


Head 50km south of the capital and you'll reach a uniquely located wetland habitat called Wildfowl Trust, which is a home for locally endangered bird. The crazy thing is that the location is on the grounds of an oil refinery, although the pair have operated side by side for decades. This spot is a haven for nature lovers and birdwatchers who will also be able to catch a glimpse of Scarlet Ibis, the national bird.


Pitch Lake


Another unusual sight to visit is Pitch Lake, which is also located in the south of the country. This is no ordinary lake though, and definitely not one to go for a swim in. This is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world, and is estimated to contain 10 million tons. Many researchers believe that the asphalt actually comes from neighboring Venezuela due to a fault line. Obviously asphalt is used to cover road surfaces, so it's surprising to see so many of the roads across the country in poor condition.


Chaguaramas


Perhaps my most favourite area to visit was Chaguaramas, which is a green region located on the Northwest Peninsula. There's some great hiking trails here that are perfect to escape the busy capital. A nice spot to stroll is the Bamboo Cathedral (comes up on GoogleMaps). Here you'll find a walking trail, will see plenty of howler monkeys in the early morning, and also see some great view points of the coastline.

Follow the trail to the top of the hill and you'll come to an abandoned radar base from the Cold War. This was built in 1961, but was never actually used.


Maracas Beach & Lookout


Without a doubt, the most picturesque beach spot I visited was Maracas Bay, which is located in the north, around a 1 hour drive from Port of Spain. The beach is protected by a deep bay and has pure white sand, with rain forest greenery around the edges. This is a great place to relax for the day, with many restaurants lined along the bay, albeit with the local dish being a shark sandwich.

The added benefit of Maracas is that you will drive past Maracas Lookout Point before you head down to the beach. This is a stunning vantage point with panoramic views in two different directions.


Mount St Benedict


Trinidad is home to the largest and oldest monastery in the Caribbean. You can either drive up, or hike the winding road to the top, where you'll find a St Benedict Monastery, along with a quaint little chapel inside.

The views from the top are beautiful, especially at sunset, which is when I'd recommend. You'll see the sun disappear below the horizon to be replaced with the bright city lights. There's also a peaceful community of monks that reside here, that are believed to be the oldest in the Caribbean.


Temple in the Sea


On the west coast of Trinidad in the town of Waterloo, you will find Temple in the Sea, which is a Hindu Temple located directly on the ocean. The significance of the temple is the journey of strength and perseverance of one man to build a place of worship, which took 25 years, hence a statue of Seedas Sadhu will greet you at the entrance. Within close proximity in Carapichaima, you'll find the largest Lord Hanuman statue outside of India at a height of 85 ft.


Accommodation Advice


When researching, I struggled to find a mid-range hotel option. There was either very basic or very overpriced options (Hyatt), so it took me a while to decide on booking Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre. The location is perfect as it's right next to Queen's Park Savannah, which is a pleasant area for an evening stroll. The rooms are spacious, there's a great pool area to relax, and an extensive gym.

Worth noting that this is referred to as an "Upside Down" hotel. You enter the hotel at the lobby, with all rooms being on the lower levels.


Food Factor


On this occasion, I'm not going to recommend a restaurant. Trinidad has a great Street Food scene that offers huge variety without denting your wallet. The most popular being Doubles, which is the "go to snack" for locals. This is a flatbread sandwich with a curried chickpea filling and widely available across the entire country. The roti is also another option I'd recommend, followed by Sea Moss for an unusual drink. There's also the option of Shark Bake, which is actual shark meat fried in batter. Personally, this wasn't my thing, but the locals go wild for it!


Good Guide


If you're looking for a local to give you a great insight of the country, I can definitely recommend the services of Anthony Lucas. He put together a great itinerary to maximize my time and as an added bonus, he's a street food tour guide. He's got a comfortable vehicle, is inexpensive, and has a very enthusiastic personality. You can reach Anthony via Whatsapp on +1 868 307 2345.



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