With a convenient location off the coast of South America, Trinidad and Tobago are the perfect twin islands for some rest and relaxation. With fewer tourists, much in the way of flora and fauna, and the world’s most pristine beaches, the people of the two islands welcome visitors with wide smiles!
Often neglected when searching for a vacation in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago are certainly underrated. With a bustling capital and a diverse population, the experiences you’ll have here will be unlike any experiences on other Caribbean islands.
If you’re thinking of visiting, here’s a list of five unmissable things we recommend taking part in!
Immerse Yourself In Nature
Head over to Main Ridge Forest Reserve to be one with nature. Recorded by UNESCO as the oldest legally protected forest reserve, it dates back to the late 18th century. You can choose to stay in your vehicle and drive right through the reserve for awesome views of the mountains and valleys. If you choose to park up and venture out, you can find breathtaking spots for birdwatching.
If you’re really into birdwatching, head over to the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Not only is this the second-largest mangrove wetland in the country, but it is also a sanctuary for the many birds that belong to the island. In fact, it’s home to Trinidad and Tobago’s national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. Beyond this, it is also a sanctuary for more than 100 avian species, making it a truly remarkable experience for those passing through or visiting.
Visit The Pristine Beaches
To get away from it all, head over to some of the prettiest beaches. Pigeon Point undoubtedly tops the list when it comes to beaches in Trinidad and Tobago. The white sand and clear blue waters come together to provide visitors with an other-worldly experience.
We also recommend Manzanilla Beach if you prefer a more quieter setting. Lined with swaying coconut palm trees, this is the perfect place to lie on the beach whilst listening to the sound of the ocean waves. As the beach stretches for 15 miles, you’ll always find a secluded area to relax, stroll, picnic or even camp.
Soak Up The Culture In The Capital
Whilst Port of Spain is the official capital of Trinidad and Tobago, Scarborough in Tobago used to be a capital nearly 300 years ago. For that reason, many still see Scarborough as the unofficial capital of Tobago. Scarborough is nothing short of a bustling and vibrant city. Whether you want to head to the malls, visit the traditional markets for some bargain hunting or wander in the Botanical Gardens, Scarborough has it all. Port of Spain – the capital of Trinidad – has similar vibes, except that many say that there’s a lot more to do. The city does have contrasting sites from industrial areas to the likes of the Queen’s Park Savannah. But don’t let that put you off as the city is home to a whole range of places to visit such as the Emperor Valley Zoo, the National Museum and Fort George.
Try The Local Food
Trinidad and Tobago are melting pots for different cultures! From East Indians, Africans, Chinese, and Syrians, the food spectacularly mirrors the diversity on both islands. You can hit the streets and try Bake and Shark, one of the most popular street food choices here! It consists of freshly baked flatbread filled with shark meat and additional spices and sauces. For a quick bite, Bake and Shark is a top choice!
You could also try Trinidad’s famous rotis which are unlike any you’ve seen or eaten before. We recommend Karamath Roti Shop which serves freshly cooked roti and a choice of beef, chicken or seafood curry drenched on top of the roti.
If you’re in the mood for Mexican, head over to Chimichanga Mexican Grill for some local tacos or burritos. You can also choose from tacos, burrito bowls and even enchiladas. With a choice of fillings ranging from chadon-beni rice, chicken chunks and smoked tomato sauce, Chimichanga will not disappoint!
Halal food is aplenty on Trinidad island, but not so much in Tobago. Having said that, we recommend trying as much seafood as you can, as local fishermen sell them to street food vendors and restaurants every morning.
Get Involved In Chocolate-Making
Once you’ve satiated yourself with the wonders of nature, head over to the cocoa groves at Velaja Estate. Here you can take a tour around cocoa groves and learn about the fine art of making chocolate. From watching how cocoa beans are harvested to how chocolate is processed, a visit to Velaja Estate will give you a newfound appreciation for all things chocolate!
Did you know that Trinidad is known for growing some of the best cocoa in the world? Whether you choose to buy a box, sample some in Port of Spain’s Cocobel or take a tour of the Tobago Cocoa estate, we highly recommend trying some locally-made chocolate before you leave.
Main Image Credit: Renaldo Matamoro (Unsplash)