top 5 things you should know about Trinidad

In my previous post, I mentioned that I recently visited Trinidad for the World Chocolate and Cocoa Day Expo. But it occurred to me that many people don’t have a clear understanding of exactly where Trinidad is located, or anything about this enticing island nation.

visit-trinidad-tobago

Trinidad is located in the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea in the Lesser Antilles region of the West Indies — just 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) off the northeast coast of Venezuela, South America. I’d been to Trinidad about 20 years ago, only spending a couple of days on the island of Trinidad, and an entire week of bliss in a waterfront villa on its sister island of Tobago.

Tobago is located 83 kilometres (52 miles) north of Trinidad via air travel. The two island nations amalgamated to form an independent country in 1962 when they gained sovereignty from the United Kingdom. It is therefore no surprise that English is the number one language spoken in Trinidad and Tobago (T&T).

trinidad has an ideal location in the west indies, close to venezuela and other caribbean islands.
Besides being a beautiful tropical island paradise, there are many other reasons to visit Trinidad and Tobago.

why visit trinidad and tobago?

1.Trinidad and Tobago is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. Trinidad grows great tasting cocoa of the Trinitario variety. There are several really excellent bean-to-bar chocolate makers who have perfected the art of chocolate making. Stay tuned for a post about them.

Beautiful cacao pods of the Trintario varietal produce fine-tasting cocoa that is shipped around the world to artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate makers.

2. Trinidad and Tobago is an English speaking country where the American dollar is widely accepted. During my Oct/19 visit, $1 US got you 6.77 TTD. Not quite as favourable for us Canadians, where one Canadian dollar converted to just over five Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD).

3. Trinidad and Tobago is great for nature lovers. There are beautiful beaches along the north coast. We visited the beach at Maracus Bay, claiming to be the most popular beach in Trinidad. Just east of that is the Asa Wright Nature Centre, a terrific place for birdwatching.

I was grateful that we had the time to visit the beach at Maracus Bay during our hectic schedule in Trinidad.

4. Trinidad and Tobago has a fairly good infrastructure and a healthy economy. As Trinidad sits on the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the Caribbean, the energy sector gives T&T the Caribbean’s most robust economy with a gross domestic product of more than $30 billion. Therefore, good roads and a variety of transportation options make getting around easy and affordable. And citizens of T&T enjoy the third highest per capita income in North and South America, surpassed only by Canadian and the U.S.

5. Like pretty much every country in the world, there may be some racial tension between groups. In Trinidad, there are two primary groups: those of East Indian descent, and those of African descent. The racial tension between those two groups that was prevalent in the 1990’s, has diminished. And overall, everyone you speak to is proud to be a citizen of T&T, proud of their country’s achievements, and happy with their life. Who wouldn’t be happy to have this view as their backdrop?

This view was taken at the overlook where many people stop for a refreshment along the road to/from Maracas Bay.

Have you been to Trinidad and Tobago? Please share your most memorable moment! And join me back here next week for more on Trinidad and Tobago. Please be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already, and remember … sharing is caring. 🙂 We bloggers need your support.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

38 Responses

  1. I’ve never visited the islands, Doreen, but a lot of my neighbours are from Trinidad. I love seeing them decked out in their fiery red costumes for the Caribana festival every July. Apparently there are about 80,000 people from Trinidad & Tobago living in Canada, most of them in Toronto.

  2. Linda Paul says:

    That was a welcome and much needed lesson in geography and history. I admit to a very poor notion of where the world’s island communities are in relation to each other and to where I live. As close as T&T are to Venezuala, did you observe any angst about what is going on in their larger neighbor country?

  3. Esther says:

    What lovely scenery!

  4. I am yet to visit Trinidad and Tobago but I have been to Jamaica (three times) and Dominican Republic. My parents were born in Jamaica so I hold it close to my heart. Whenever I return, I feel I am ‘going home’.

    Caribbean food is like no other; full of seasoning and much flavour.

  5. Doreen, you make a good argument for why people should consider a visit to Trinidad. Of course there will be some strife, but that happens in any country around the world. Like you mention, who wouldn’tt be a little happier with those beautiful tropical views.

  6. I’ve made it St Maarten, but that’s it. I love when you get that sense of pride in place from people about where they live. And what’s not to love about chocolate & beaches!

    • Yes, St. Maarten is neat in that half of it is French, and half Dutch! A true European-Caribbean experience. Trinidad used to be under British rule, so you drive on left side of road as they do in Barbados, and the children wear colourful school uniforms. Stay tuned for more! 🙂

  7. I haven’t been but I was all ears because my high school BFF is the Philippine consul-general in Trinidad & Tobago!

  8. Tom says:

    The Caribbean in general is a big hole in our travel log book. Got to get there more often, and, of course, sample the chocolate. (I just envy the hell out of your chocolate travels.)

  9. Bruce Smith says:

    I am always intrigued with your travel adventures but T&T seems like an exceptional place. Maybe it is time for us to stop armchair travelling and really go to one of your recommended places. This one could be it!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Bruce. You would find T&T to be an easy to navigate and intriguing destination. The only drawback for us landlocked Manitobans, is that the journey is a long one. But as they say in Steinbach … it’s worth the trip! 🙂

  10. You always take such beautiful photos Doreen! Having lived most of my life on an Island, visiting others was never high on my list. Now that I’m back on the mainland and living in the mountains I’m branching out and doing more exploring. Trinidad sounds wonderful – thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hi Marquita, and welcome back to Chocolatour! Islands are my favourite places. I’ve visited so many and find that each one has its own distinct character and culture. Trinidad and Tobago does not disappoint.

  11. Kemkem says:

    I have yet to make it to Trinidad and Tobago, and it’s too bad as it looks amazing. I have memories of sucking of cacao pods as a kid :-). Pretty sure l would like it here.

  12. Ben Cross says:

    I have heard plenty about Trindad and Tobago about how it is a lovely place to visit. My parents went on a cruise around the Caribbean four years ago and they loved it.

    • Hi Ben and thanks for your comment. Yes, Port of Spain is indeed a cruise ship port and an interesting police to visit. But when one spends a week or more on the islands, you have ample time to explore some of its attributes like the beaches, the bird sanctuary, and the beautifully laidback way of life. I hope you get to visit T&T sometime soon. 🙂

  13. Sue Reddel says:

    I have to admit that even me, a seasoned traveler had no idea where Trinidad and Tobago were. My bad. Thanks so much for introducing me to this lovely destination. I’m adding it to my must-visit list.

  14. Trinidad and Tobago were never on my radar until I read your post and saw your gorgeous photos! Wow, so beautiful. Thank you for an excellent article.

    • Thanks very much, Marilyn. Yes, I think that T&T are never on the top of lists for us North Americans as it is at the far eastern end of the Caribbean. But I’ve really enjoyed exploring that region and truly believe that Trinidad and Tobago have much to offer.

  15. Cindy Ladage says:

    What a lovely place Doreen!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Cindy. Trinidad and Tobago are both truly lovely places to visit. Tobago has a truly laidback feel to it. Trinidad has the bustling city of Port of Spain, but outside of that, has lots of lush greenery and lots of agriculture. I think you’d love it.

  16. Bola says:

    I’ve only known Trinidad for it’s carnivals but not chocolate.

    Thanks for the insight.

  17. I am also a fan of Trinidad. While there, I also visited Maracas Beach and indulged in the area’s famous Bake and Shark lunch. I hope you feasted on that as well.

  18. Patti Morrow says:

    I’ve been to the majority of Caribbean islands but not Trinidad or Tobago. They look like a lot of fun!

    • Hi Patti and thanks for dropping by. As you probably know, each island culture of the world has its own personality and hi-lights. It’s definitely worth exploring T&T to discover its beauty and proud culture. 🙂

  19. I love travelling vicariously with you Doreen. Thanks for all of the information about these two great places. You certainly gave us a really good overview, and what wonderful photos. Someday..maybe. Meanwhile it’s great to travel along with you on your Chocolatours! Sorry it took me so long to read this one. I’ll try to hop aboard more quickly in the future.

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Christine. It’s never too late to join the conversation. I’m glad you enjoyed learning about T&T. I’m just sorry it took me SO long to make my second visit there. 🙂 Would love to return and continue exploring …

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