Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020 | Issue 31 | Travel & Destination Guide

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Editor Caroline Taylor

Consulting editor Jeremy Taylor General manager Halcyon Salazar

Designer Kriston Chen

Consulting designer Kevon Webster

Advertising Evelyn Chung, Tracy Farrag, Joanne Pennie, Indra Ramcharan

Editorial & design assistants Shelly-Ann Inniss, Kristine de Abreu Production manager Jacqueline Smith Finance director Joanne Mendes

Executive director Mary Joanna Marsden

A publication of Media & Editorial Projects Ltd (MEP) 6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

T: (868) 622-3821 F: (868) 628-0639 E: W:

Connect with us online:

ISSN 1680-6166

Š 2019 Media & Editorial Projects (MEP) Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of the publisher.

cover trinidad : A boy enjoys Phagwa (or Holi) celebrations. ph oto : chr i s and er s o n

cover tobago : Dancers at the finale of the Tobago Heritage Festival. photo : alva viarruel

Contents T&T at a glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 travel basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 03 sustainable tourism tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 03 Getting around t&T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 04 a year in the life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 06 trinidad section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 08 maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Tobago section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

A digital treasure chest

For even more info, make sure to check out our website (, with news and lots more info from 30 previous issues of Discover Trinidad & Tobago! You can also download this and past issues to your favourite mobile device. Just search for us in your device’s App Store, or on


T &T at a glance ethnicities

Indian descent 35% African descent 34% Mixed 23% religions

Christian 55% (22% Roman Catholic) Hindu 18% Muslim 5%


10km (7mi)

urban populations Port of Spain 37,000


East-West Corridor (Chaguaramas to Arima) 600,000 Chaguanas 83,000 San Fernando 34,000 Scarborough 17,000

1.4mil population in Trinidad

105km (65mi)

major resources

Oil and natural gas

major services & industries

Petroleum, natural gas, petrochemicals, light manufacturing and assembly, agriculture, agriprocessing, tourism, conference and convention facilities, financial services, maritime

2 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

48km (30mi)

sq miles


16km (10mi)

population in Tobago

33km (21mi)

80km (50mi)

1,864 sq miles

key indicators (2018)

• GDP per capita approx US$15,600

• Unemployment rate 4% • The economy contracted by 0.2% in 2018, and was expected to grow by 0.9% for 2019

T ravel basics

Maps and essentials

taxes+tipping • 10% room tax + 10% service at hotels • 12.5% value added tax on

most goods and services • 10% service charge at most restaurants. Tipping optional but encouraged driving

Driving is on the left, with seatbelts required by law. Speed limits vary by areas (50kph/31mph to 100kph/62mph) — be attentive to road signs. Visitors can drive for up to 90 days on a valid foreign licence. safety

Take practical precautions when travelling: note emergency numbers; always lock your room/house/vehicle (including windows); don’t wear expensive jewellery, and conceal/secure valuables; move in groups where possible; avoid deserted locations, and be aware of your surroundings. If driving, buckle up, and drive defensively. emergency contacts

• Ambulance (public hospitals): 811 • Fire Services: 990 • Police Service: in Trinidad, 999 or 555 in Tobago, 639-2520 or

Sustainable tourism tips • Buy local goods and souvenirs • Recycle plastic, glass, cans, paper, cardboard,

and e-waste through bins at various locations • Reduce: turn off electrical devices when you

don’t need them; avoid plastic bags, single-use plastics, and styrofoam; buy and consume only what you need; reuse when you can; conserve water.


[TOP and bottom] courtesy tobago tourism Agency [middle] courtesy magdalena grand


Getting around in T &T taxis

NB: Authorised public taxis have licence plates beginning with “H” (for “Hire”) and are not metered, so confirm the fare in advance

airport transfers

Authorised taxis operate with a set fares (displayed in the arrivals area) private taxis

Available at the airports, through hotels, and apps like DROP “route taxis” (cars

registered as taxis) and

maxi-taxis (mini-buses

painted with brightly coloured bands) work specific routes, picking up and dropping off passengers along the way They have designated stands in Port of Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas, Scarborough, and other main towns

Port of Spain at dawn

4 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

PORT OF SPAIN (POS): POS to Petit Valley

SOUTH: POS to San Fernando

EAST: POS to Sangre Grande

SOUTHWEST: San Fernando into SW

SOUTH: San Fernando to Princes Town


Maps and essentials


Buses operate from Port of Spain to most towns, sometimes on an “express” basis, and from hubs in Arima, Chaguanas, San Fernando, and Scarborough

($2–$12) or travel cards must be bought before boarding. Travel cards are available.

ferries Inter-island ferry service (Port of Spain–Scarborough): the fastest sailing takes 2.5 hours,

and the longest roughly 5 hours $100 return (adults); $50 (children under 12); free for children under three and senior citizens (65+); $200 one way/$350 return for adults traveling with a

vehicle trinidad water taxi

West coast service. Single journeys: 30–45 minutes $15 (adults). Infants under one and senior citizens (65+) travel free on off-peak sailings

air bridge

Caribbean Airlines operates several flights daily US$48 round trip (roughly 20 minutes each way)

Port of Spain at dusk

[opposite page; and above] ziad joseph


A year in the life

For more on many of these celebrations, see our Festivals coverage in both the Trinidad and Tobago sections of the magazine!


• 

1: New Year's Day • Carnival season begins • 24: T&T International Marathon (Trinidad) • 25: Chinese New Year — Year of the Rat


• 24–25: J'ouvert; Carnival Monday; Carnival Tuesday • Tobago Carnival Regatta

NEW FIRE Festival


• 15: Phagwa (Holi) • Jazz Artists on the Greens (Trinidad) • Rally Trinidad  • 30: Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day — commemorating the 1951 repeal of the colonial-era Shouters Prohibition Ordinance (1917), which had effectively banned this Christian/Orisha syncretic religion • Turtle nesting season begins (through September)


• 10–13: Easter Weekend 

(public holidays Friday and Monday) — hot cross buns, horse racing, and Tobago’s goat and crab races (Mt Pleasant on Monday and Buccoo on Tuesday) are highlights. Look out for the beating of the Good Friday Bobolee — an effigy of Judas Iscariot, representing politicians, nefarious

6 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

• • • •

characters, and occasionally some particularly bad ex-boyfriends… NEW FIRE Festival (Trinidad) Tobago Jazz Experience Tobago Fashion Coda Jazz Under the Stars (Trinidad)


• Bocas Lit Fest — The Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival • Pt Fortin Borough Day (Trinidad) — full week of J’ouvert, mas, pan, and parties leading up the big street party • La Divina Pastora (Trinidad) • Tobago International Game Fishing Tournament • Tobago Sea to Sea Marathon • Ganga Dashara (Trinidad) — Hindu river festival honouring the descent of India’s sacred River Ganges • European Film Festival (Trinidad) • May MTB Madness — Tobago mountain biking event • North Coast Jazz Festival (Trinidad) • Africa Film Festival (Trinidad) • TBC: Eid-ul-Fitr —  marking the end of the holy Muslim

 Public holiday

Maps and essentials

month of Ramadan, and celebrated in homes and mosques • 30: Indian Arrival Day 


•  • 

11: Corpus Christi 19: Labour Day — marked by trade union marches and gatherings in Fyzabad, Trinidad • WeBeat Festival (Trinidad) • Rainbow Cup International Triathlon (Tobago)


• Tobago Heritage Festival (Tobago) • Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village opens (Trinidad) • Opera Festival (Trinidad) • Carnival band launch season begins • Great Fete weekend (Tobago)


•  • •

• •

• 

1: Emancipation Day Arima Borough Day (Trinidad) Oshun River Festival (Trinidad) Marked by Orisha devotees celebrating the goddess of love, fertility, and inland waters Pan on d'Avenue (Trinidad) Moruga Heritage Day Festival (Trinidad) Great Race (from Trinidad to Tobago) 31: Independence Day — commemorates the islands’ independence from Britain in 1962


• 24: Republic Day — 


 • marks the adoption in 1976 of  •

a new republican constitution (in which a President replaced the Queen of England as the head of state, and the islands became a republic within the Commonwealth), and the first meeting of the republican parliament • trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) — the Caribbean’s second largest festival devoted to film, showcasing short and feature length productions from the region and its diaspora, plus industry workshops and training sessions • Trinidad & Tobago Restaurant Week • Maracas Open Water Swim (Trinidad)

25: Christmas Day 26: Boxing Day • Paramin Parang Festival (Trinidad) • Tobago Flying Colours — annual kite flying festival in Plymouth


• Tobago International Cycling Classic • Ramleela Festival (Trinidad) • Blue Food Festival (Tobago) • COCO Dance Festival (Trinidad) • Steelpan & Jazz Festival (Trinidad) • Chinese Arrival Dragon Boat Festival (Trinidad)


• Green Screen: The Environmental Film Festival (Trinidad) • Sailing and surfing seasons begins (through April) • TBC: Divali 

[opposite page top] kristine de abreu; [opposite page middle top and bottom] courtesy tobago tourism Agency; [opposite page middle bottom; top] rapso imaging; [opposite page bottom] chris anderson; [middle top] courtesy tha; [middle bottom] courtesy coco dance festival



A message from Trinidad Tourism Ltd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Accommodation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Food & dining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Leisure & entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Shopping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Festivals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Carnival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Tour & explore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Beaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Trinidad's history at a glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Turtle-watching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Birding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Hiking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Family favourites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Architecture & heritage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 - 69 *Also see National calendar of events; info on getting here and getting around; tips for safe and sustainable trave, and more: pages 2-6

A digital treasure chest

For even more info, make sure to check out our website (, with news and lots more info from 30 previous issues of Discover Trinidad & Tobago! You can also download this and past issues to your favourite mobile device. Just search for us in your device’s App Store, or on

14 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020


The Port of Spain skyline peeps through jhandis at the Temple in the Sea (Waterloo)

So, you’ve made us your destination of choice and we couldn’t be happier

Trinidad is also home to the best sporting facilities in the Caribbean. With an international aquatic centre and cycling velodrome at the Ato Boldon Stadium (a multisport facility) and the Brian Lara rinidad and Tobago Cricket Academy in Tarouba, we — one country, two are fast becoming a training islands, each offering ground for champions and the a unique and distinctive tourism sporting mecca of the Caribbean. experience. Beyond business, the island As the energy and financial capital of the Caribbean, Trinidad has offers vibrant nightlife; a yearround mix of eclectic cultural fast become a vibrant business events and festivals for your hub for meetings, conferences, enjoyment; invigorating eco sporting and other international adventures; mouth-watering local events. This is attributed to an cuisine that’s appealing to every increase in global demand for kind of visitor; and of course premier meeting and conference Trinidad’s Carnival, the biggest facilities for the hosting of global street party in the world. These interests and sporting events such as the Commonwealth Youth are just some of the unique and diverse experiences that make us Games. so distinctive and irresistible. Our conference rooms and So, whether you are here for meeting facilities are the largest in the English-speaking Caribbean, business, sports, adventure or pleasure, we promise you an expewith international brands like rience like no other! the Hyatt Regency and the Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre, which — Howard Chin Lee offer prime meeting real estate Chairman, Tourism Trinidad Limited for large scale conferences.


[ABOVE] chris anderson 15

Hacienda Jacana

accommodat ion

d recharge Rest ank

You’ll find something lovely to suit nearly every budget and preference in Trinidad. All the high-end hotels feature soughtafter amenities, like top-class restaurants and excellent pool, gym, business and conference facilities. Hotel rooms average US$110–$260 a night (considerably higher over Carnival), and guesthouses $75–$125.

International brands

Several international brands take pride of place in and around Port of Spain, and near the airport. Shimmering against the waterfront downtown, the recently upgraded Hyatt Regency Trinidad offers views of the Gulf of Paria, a range of dining options, a roof-top pool, and luxurious onsite spa. There is a Radisson across the road, while the Courtyard by Marriott — situated a little further

16 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

west along the coast — is a draw for business travellers who can pop into MovieTowne next door. Further uptown, the also recently upgraded Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre offers its own stunning views from its perch above the Queen’s Park Savannah. Five minutes from the airport, Trincity Mall, and a world-class golf course, you’ll find the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

[above] joanne husain [Opposite page] Courtesy hyatt regency trinidad


Local gems Hotels

Out west in Chaguaramas, the Crews Inn Hotel & Yachting Centre brings you close to nature while still in striking distance of the capital. “Down south” in San Fernando, Tradewinds has both nightly hotel and monthly residency options, while the charming Royal Hotel is located near to San Fernando Hill, and the Cara Suites Hotel & Conference Centre overlooks Claxton Bay. Back up north, the recently upgraded Normandie Hotel (St Ann’s) is a boutique hotel with extensive entertainment and business facilities. The Kapok boutique hotel (St Clair, close to the Savannah) has also benefited

The rooftop pool at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad overlooks the Gulf of Paria

All rooms and suites are air conditioned and outfitted with modern facilities for your every comfort including internet access and direct dial telephone. Enjoy a meal at our restaurant which specialises in a variety of tasty Caribbean and International cuisine, or just sit back and relax at our bar and lounge or around our swimming pool. Our new building includes conference facilities as well as an ideal settingfor wedding receptions, cocktail parties and other special functions. Other facilities include our complimentary gym and business centre with email and internet access, ideally suited for business or vacation. We also offer special group and long term rates.


The Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre

from a recent upgrade and offers a range of amenities.

Guesthouses & more

If you’re in the market for B&Bs and self-catering options, visitors sing the praises of The Allamanda (Woodbrook); Travel Suites, and The Inn at 87 (Newtown); Royal Palm Suite Hotel (Maraval); Forty Winks Inn (Port of Spain); Thanna’s Place and Savannah Maison Guest House (Belmont); Kiskadee Korner (St Clair); Culture Crossroads Inn (St James); Crosswinds Villa Bed & Breakfast (Santa Cruz); Willard's Bed and Breakfast (El Dorado); and the Coblentz Inn, Heritage Inn, and L’Orchidée Guesthouse (Cascade). Perched over Port of Spain is the Paradise Villa (Paramin), while near the airport are the Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020 A beach house in Blanchisseuse 18

[TOP] courtesy Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre [BOT TOM] tarique eastman 19

Acajou Hotel

Grand Diamond Trinidad, Monte Cristo Inn, and Piarco Village Suites. A bit further north is the Xanadu Tropical Resort (Arouca). Academic visitors and researchers will also appreciate the University Inn at the University of the West Indies’ campus (St Augustine).

Escapes into nature

Several properties make it their business to help you see the stars at night and disconnect from

it all. Head to the stylish Acajou Hotel eco-retreat in Grande Rivière to watch giant leatherback turtles nest (March–September). Nearby in the northeast are Le Grand Almandier and Mt Plaisir, and Anise Resort & Spa (Sans Souci). Birdwatchers will want to head to the Asa Wright Nature Centre (Arima-Blanchisseusse Road); Petrea Place (Pointeà-Pierre Wildfowl Trust); and Hacienda Jacana (Talparo).

Yachts anchored off Chaguaramas

20 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

[TOP] courtesy acajou hotel [BOT TOM] RAPSO Imaging

Located in one of the most convenient districts in Port of Spain. Self-contained rooms and fully equipped studio apts. Swimming pool. Everything on your on your doorstep, carnival, cricket, embassies, a variety of restaurants, stadium, churches. Quick transportation.

Tel: (868) 622-1480, 628-0050 email: 61 Carlos Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W.I.

* Always the right choice *

Welcome to Paradise ACAJOU is a small, eco-friendly, family-run hotel situated on the beautiful and dramatic northern coast of Trinidad. The hotel is built as a group of traditional cottages nestled in between the beach, a crystal clear river, and lush rainforest-covered mountains.

209 Paria Main Road, Grande Riviere, Toco • (1-868) 670-3771 or (1-868) 270-8465 Facebook: acajou hotel • Instagram: acajoutrinidad

* * * * *

Daily & Mthly rates Food Court Laundromat Pool & Jacuzzi Doctors’ offices

CLOSE TO: * QUEENS PARK SAVANNAH * Banks; supermarket * Shopping malls * Beauty salon * Casino * Pharmacy * Spa

7A Saddle Road, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies Tel/fax: 1 868 628-5086/9 Email: Website: 21

food and dining

g hi h d ly flavoured n a d e s s e l B k

There’s a reason that food tourism is considered a niche with tremendous growth potential. You won’t find anything in the region quite like the melting pot of culinary offerings in Trinidad. The diversity of influences (Indian, African, Chinese, Syrian-Lebanese, French, Spanish, Italian, American, and more), together with the ingenuity and creativity of local chefs to combine these flavours in unique ways, make for an irresistible array of richly seasoned dishes and fusions to explore. Here’s the low-down on Trinidad’s “blessed and highly flavoured” food scene!

22 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Food and dining

Dining out

At Trinidad’s top restaurants, renowned chefs serve up delectable dishes — sometimes traditional, sometimes daring fusions — in stylish settings, which range from sleek and modern new builds, to architectural gems steeped in history. Here are some well-loved places to try.

Creole, international & more

Adam’s (restaurant, bakery and gourmet shop in Maraval); Chaud (international fusion, St Ann’s) and Chaud Café (Woodbrook); Jaffa at the Oval (international, Woodbrook); Joseph’s (Lebanese, Maraval); Kava (international, St Clair); Lola’s Food Company (international, Woodbrook); More Vino (international, Woodbrook); Paprika Bistro (international, Cocorite); Prime (steakhouse, Port of Spain); The Waterfront Restaurant at the Hyatt (Caribbean/international, Port of Spain); Trotter’s (international, St Clair); Town (international, Woodbrook); Veni Mangé (Caribbean creole, Woodbrook); Zanzibar (international, MovieTowne, Port of Spain).

Mediterranean & European

Aioli (Mediterranean, Maraval); Angelo’s (Italian, Woodbrook); Bacco (Italian, San Fernando); Buzo (Italian, Woodbrook); Krave (Mediterranean, Marabella); La Cantina (Italian, Port of Spain); Rizzoni’s (Italian, Port of Spain); Taste (tapas, Maraval); and Zazou (French, Woodbrook).

[opposite page] courtesy T&T Restaurant Week (T TRW) [TOP] courtesy Coconut growers association (CGA)


Apsara (Indian, Queen’s Park Savannah); House of Chan (Asian, Curepe); Himchuli (Asian, El Socorro); Hakka (Asian fusion, Woodbrook); Kaizan Sushi (Asian, MovieTowne, Port of Spain); Rasam (Indian, Valsayn); Samurai (Japanese, Woodbrook); Svaada (Indian, Woodbrook); Tiki Village (Asian, St Clair); The Meena House (Indian, St Clair).

Street food, beach food, & more

These are best served up at more low-key spots on the roadside, by the beach, and at creole eateries in hotspots like St James, Woodbrook, Curepe, Eddie Hart Grounds (Tacarigua), Debe (especially for Indian food), the Queen’s Park Savannah food court and D’Cross in San Fernando (both at night), and Maracas Bay (particularly for bake-and-fish). 23










Here are some favourites you should try: 1. Buljol: shredded saltfish mixed with onions, tomatoes and olive oil, often served with coconut bake (Courtesy 2. Bake-and-fish:

the tradition is shark but, for environmental sustainability, we strongly suggest substituting flying fish, mahi mahi, squid/calamari, carite, tilapia, wahoo, lionfish — or a vegetarian option — to go with the fried leavened bread (bake). We promise it will taste just as good, and be much better for our ecology! (Courtesy Cooking with Ria)

3. Callaloo: soup made from dasheen leaves, coconut milk, ochroes, pumpkin, and sometimes salted meat or crab (Courtesy Cooking with Ria) 4. Chow:

fruit (like mango, pineapple or plums) pickled in vinegar, salt, and pepper (Photo: Ariann Thompson/MEP Publishers)

5. Corn soup: a split peas-based soup with corn and dumplings (Courtesy Foodie Nation) 6. Doubles: soft, fried, flour-and-splitpea shell (barra) filled with curried chick peas (Courtesy TDC) 7. Pastelle: seasoned meat, lentils or soya with olives, capers, and raisins in a cornmeal casing and steamed in banana leaves — a Christmas staple (Photo: Ariann Thompson/MEP Publishers) 8. Pelau:

a one-pot dish of browned rice, pigeon peas, and meat, often cooked in coconut milk (Courtesy Cooking with Ria)

15A Saddle Rd, Maraval, Trinidad T: 1 868 62 BAGEL (622 2435) | F: 1 868 622 3487 E:

24 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

9. Roti: a hefty flour wrap (often with ground split peas) filled with your choice of curried vegetables and/or meat. (Courtesy Cooking with Ria) 25

De vibeskcyah done le i sur e and enterta inment

People come from all over the region not just for Carnival, but to experience the range of liming, partying, and cultural offerings you can find across Trinidad — especially around Port of Spain. Whatever your speed, you’ll find something to feed your soul or help you set the night on fire. Liming & partying

To lime is to simply pass time and enjoy yourself, with your tribe, in whatever way you like! Trinis have made this into an art, and a science — so much so that the word even appears in the New Oxford American Dictionary! Each community has its favourite bars and haunts, but there are certain epicentres that inspire pub crawls and club-hopping for those with the monetary and energetic resources: Woodbrook (especially Ariapita Avenue, or “De Avenue”); 26 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Western Main Road (St James); St Clair; MovieTowne (Port of Spain, Chaguanas, and San Fernando); Trincity Mall; and Grand Bazaar (Valsayn).

Clubs and lounges

Around Port of Spain: 51° Lounge; Drink! Lounge & Bistro; HAZE; Katalyst; Luce; More Vino; Old Havana Lounge; Paprika Bistro; Oval; Sails Restaurant & Pub (Chaguaramas); Siam Nightclub; Smokey & Bunty’s; Studio Lounge; Trotters; Tzar; and Vas Lounge [above] COURTESY T&T Restaurant Week (T TRW) 27

28 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Leisure and entertainment Heading east and central: Island Club Casino (Valsayn); Sandbaggers (Trincity); Woodford Café (Chaguanas); and Trevor’s Edge (St Augustine)

Around San Fernando: Club Next; Hi RPM; Privé; Royal Princess Casino (also with branches in Port of Spain and Chaguanas); and Space La Nouba.

Liming parlance “Sex on a pogo stick”. That’s how one international news outlet infamously described the Trini accent, listed by CNN, MSN Travel and others as among the world’s sexiest. If you feel like carrying some of that sex appeal back home, try out some of these Trini-isms: Bacchanal: multi-purpose word covering any conflict, chaos and confusion Bazodee: state of (mostly loveinduced) disorientation Doh hu’t yuh head/ doh study it: relax Ent: “not so?” Used especially for emphasis … ent? Maco: noun and verb — to be nosy, or the person who is! Steups: a sucking of the teeth — the equivalent of rolling one’s eyes Tabanca: acute withdrawal, especially after a break-up (or a vacation, or a fete, etc) Wuz de scene: what’s up? How are you? Wine: the national dance, some might say, which involves moving mainly the waist and hips.


Vaughnette Bigford performs at Eat Drink Jazz

Feteing like a boss

From July to Ash Wednesday, the social calendar is taken over by literally hundreds of all-inclusive band launches, parties, and concerts at stadia, public parks, and virtually any venue that can be converted into a festive space with lots of vibes! There are also boat cruises like the Harbour Master that let you fete to your heart’s content out to sea…

Gillian Lovelace


17+ years of experience

(868) 793-8032 Professional integrated massages and reflexology for relaxation, stress relief and rejuvenation

• • • •

Businesspersons Athletes Vacationers Locals

St. James, POS

Deep Tissue / Sports / Hot Stone / Thai / Medical Cupping / Prenatal, etc. 29

The COCO Dance Festival at Queen's Hall

Creative juices

Performing artists and production companies, schools, and community organisations present plays, musicals, dance shows, and music performances showcasing classic and contemporary local and foreign work. Look for shows at Queen’s Hall, the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA), Central Bank Auditorium, Little Carib Theatre, Trinidad Theatre Workshop (Port of Spain); the CLR James Auditorium and University of the West Indies (UWI) in the east; and Naparima Bowl and SAPA (the southern campus of the NAPA) in San Fernando.

Winding back down Achy feet? Sore muscles? Need to recover from working and playing too hard? Soothe your body and your spirit with spa and beauty treatments. Head to havens like the Hyatt Regency Trinidad’s Spa Esencia (Port of Spain); Gillian Lovelace; and The Face & Body Clinic’s four conveniently located branches (Port of Spain, San Fernando, Chaguanas, and in Tobago).

Gerelle Forbes and Helon Francis perform at Queen's Hall for Brazil's Independence Day

For something a little different, look into what might be going on at the Big Black Box or Alice Yard (Woodbrook), Rootsyardd (St Ann’s), Granderson Lab (Belmont), and the Kaiso Blues Café (Port of Spain); or gather friends and head to the CSpot Sip n Paint Studio (St Clair) or Uncorked (Woodbrook). Art lovers will also want to see if there are any shows on (see information about galleries and artists on page 26). 30 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

[TOP] Karen Johnstone courtesy the COCO Dance Festival [BOT TOM] RAPSO Imaging

Limbo soul Originally performed at wakes, the limbo dance was popularised by our own Julia Edwards, a dance pioneer who appeared in several films (Fire Down Below, 1957) and toured the world in the 1960s. Another one of our dance legends, Beryl McBurnie, founder of the Little Carib Theatre, taught the legendary American dancer, choreographer and educator Katherine Dunham ritual Yoruba chants from Trinidad and dances such as the bele, the bongo (a dance also performed at wakes), and kalinda, where stickfighting opponents dance (carre) in between exchanging blows.

32 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Leisure and entertainment

Artist Nailah Blackman has been following in the footsteps of her legendary grandfather — Garfield "Ras Shorty I" Blackman, the creator of soca music

[above] COURtesy tdc [opposite page] courtesy nailah blackman 33

Shopping for pieces of paradise shopping


Whether you’re a local wanting to support local companies and artisans, or a visitor wanting to take something distinctly Trini back home, we’ve got you covered.

Alcohol and beverages

Think award-winning local rums (like Angostura 1919); the worldfamous Angostura Bitters; local beers like Carib and Stag; and unusual flavours like 11 Degrees North sorrel wine.


Look out for work by Edward Bowen, Leroy Clarke, Chris Cozier, Ken Crichlow, Jackie Hinkson, Llanos & Maingot figurines, Che Lovelace, Shastri Maharaj, Brianna McCarthy, Wendy Nanan, Lisa O’Connor, Halcian Pierre, Ashraph Ramsaran, Shalini Seereeram, Peter Sheppard,

34 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Irénée Shaw, Sundiata, and Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, to name but a few; as well as classic work by the late MP Alladin, Sybil Atteck, Ralph and Vera Baney, Pat Bishop, Isaiah Boodhoo, Carlisle Chang, Boscoe Holder, Dermot Louison, Noel Vaucrosson, and 19th-century painter MichelJean Cazabon. Art galleries in Trinidad exhibit both new work and collections of historical importance. See: Soft Box Gallery, the seven galleries of the National Museum, and spaces like 101 Art Gallery, Alice Yard, Fine Art, Horizons, Medulla, Studio 66, among others. The Art Society of T&T: 622-9827


Cocoa & chocolate

Indulge that sweet (or bitter!) tooth with some of the awardwinning cocoa and chocolate the islands produce. Trinitario, the variety of cocoa developed in Trinidad, is used by French luxury chocolate manufacturer Valrhona, and many others. Try products from Brasso Seco, Biche, Cacique, Cocobel, Cush Machel Montano, Gran Couva, Ortinola Great House, Sun Eaters, and the Trinidad & Tobago Fine Cocoa Company.


Check out the work of The Cloth, Bene Caribe, Christian Boucaud, CLD, Ecliff Elie, Adrian Foster, House of Jaipur, Heather Jones, K2K, Lisa Faye, Loud by Afiya, the Lush Kingdom, Meiling, Millhouse, Claudia Pegus, Rebel, Shop Shari, Tropix, and the Wadada Movement.

Foodie favourites

If you’ve fallen in love with our food, then pastelles, roti skins, seasonings, spices, pepper sauces, and chutneys are things that you might want to load up on. For the brave, try the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper (once ranked as the world’s hottest pepper by the Guinness Book of Records). And for pepper and pimento sauces, Bertie’s is considered among the best. Also look out for Twigs Natural teas; CGA flavoured coconut oils; and Karibbean Flavours’ many offerings.

pieces from Chris Anderson, Gillian Bishop, Cocoa Vintage, Janice Derrick, Akilah Jaramogi, Rachel Rochford, Rachel Ross, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, and others who create breath-taking, hand-crafted jewellery in precious metals and stones.


You’ll find both classic and contemporary local and regional books at shops like Paper Based (St Ann’s) and the Nigel R Khan and RIK Trinidad Book World chains. Look out for works (spanning fiction, plays, poetry, local history, culture, and the


You can’t go wrong with beautiful [opposite page] kristine de abreu; [above] RAPSO Imaging 35

environment) by Nobel laureates VS Naipaul and Derek Walcott, plus Claire Adam, Andre Alexis, Michael Anthony, Gerard Besson, Lloyd Best, Angelo Bissessarsingh, Danielle Boodoo-FortunĂŠ, Dionne Brand, Aarti Gosein, Kevin Jared Hosein, Barbara Jenkins, CLR James, Oonya Kempadoo, Julian Kenny, John La Rose, Earl Lovelace, Ian MacDonald, Sharon Millar, Maria Nunes, Elizabeth Nunez, Shivanee Ramlochan, Judy Raymond, Monique Roffey, Sam Selvon, Amanda Smyth, and former prime minister Eric Williams. A handful of companies produce books and magazines, including Paria Publishing and MEP (our publishers, who also produce magazines like Caribbean Beat, Parkite Sports, and books of Caribbean interest under book imprint Prospect Press).

Music & steelpans

Steelpans are a popular takeaway, from the miniatures available at souvenir shops to a full-fledged tenor pan (contact Pan Trinbago, So are albums by local musicians. There are countless recordings by calypso and soca greats; celebrated steelbands; as well as from fusion bands 12theband, Canada-based Kobo Town, Freetown Collective, and jointpop; the Indo-Caribbean music of Mungal Patasar & Pantar; the Orisha songs of Ella Andall; the rapso of 3canal and Ataklan; the jazz stylings of Etienne Charles, Vaughnette Bigford and Candice Alcantara; the folk music of Signal 36 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Shopping Hill Alumni Choir, and the seasonal choral music, both local and international, by the Marionettes Chorale . . . just to name a few.

The Shopping Hubs The Malls

Enjoy the air-conditioned comfort of one of the major malls — The Falls at West Mall, and Long Circular Mall (Port of Spain); Trincity Mall; C3 Centre, South Park and Gulf City malls (San Fernando), or Centre Pointe and Centre City malls (Chaguanas). Or visit the many plazas like Ellerslie Plaza (Maraval), Price Plaza (Chaguanas), MovieTowne Mall (Port of Spain); the sprawling City of Grand Bazaar (Valsayn); or a variety of specialty shops and markets.

Specialty shops & markets

The Market Shops at the Normandie (St Ann’s) have a wonderful selection, and host outfits like the beloved Paper Based Bookshop. The Green Market Santa Cruz offers fresh local produce, meals, artisanal items and more each Saturday morning. And if this is your speed, you’ll also want to visit Rootsyardd in St Ann’s, and pop-up markets like those organised by Upmarket, Bits & Pieces, and Planting Seeds. For the best locally grown produce, check out where the NAMDEVCO markets will be each week (National Agricultural Marketing & Development Corporation, Seasonally, around Carnival and Emancipation Day, the Queen’s [top] kristine de abreu [bottom] chris anderson

The Falls at West Mall

Green Market Santa Cruz

Park Savannah hosts a number of vendors selling local and international art, craft, and fashion.


Bargain-hunters make a beeline for Frederick and Charlotte streets (Port of Spain); High St (San Fernando); and Main St (Chaguanas). 37

Community cricket in the Queen's Park Savannah

sport s

n d a t y h n e o e g c a s tasy e h T k


The island has a long history of excelling at athletics. Local and international stars meet in action at the annual Hampton Games. National Association of Athletics Administrations: 679-3276

hometown athletic heroes Ato Boldon: four-time Olympic medallist (2 silver, 2 bronze for 100m and 200m, 1996 and 2000), and 200m World Championship gold medallist (1997). Now a commentator with NBC in the US Hasely Crawford: nation’s first Olympic gold medallist, winning men’s 100m (1976) Keshorn Walcott: two-time Olympic medallist (gold in 2012, bronze in 2016). He’s the youngest male athlete (and the first black one) to win a gold medal in javelin; the first individual track and field athlete ever to win World Junior and Olympic titles in the same year; and he holds the North, Central American and Caribbean junior record.


The Queen’s Park Oval (Port of Spain) and Brian Lara Cricket Academy (Tarouba) are the focal points for Twenty20, one-day, and Test matches — including West Indies and Caribbean Premier League series. T&T Cricket Board:

Brian Lara is former cricket star and is the world record holder for the highest test match score (400 not out, 2004) and highest first class score (501 not out, 1994). Cycling & Mountain Biking

The Easter International Grand Prix and National Championships are highlights of the racing calendar. A world-class National Cycling Velodrome (Couva) opened in 2016; the Arima

Sports Velodrome is another focal point. Mountain bikers head to Chaguaramas, Santa Cruz, and the northern range. T&T Cycling Federation: 679-8823

Football (soccer)

T&T was the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup finals (2006) — until Iceland in 2017. The Hasely Crawford (Port of Spain), Manny Ramjohn (Marabella), Larry Gomes (Arima), Ato Boldon (Couva), and Marvin Lee stadia are the main venues. T&T Football Federation (TTFF): 623-9500

Swimming & Aquatics

A world-class National Aquatics Centre opened in 2016, intended to be a hub for water polo, swimming, and diving. Public swimming pools are also located in Port of Spain (Flying Fish),

Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott

Tunapuna (Centre of Excellence), St Joseph (La Joya), Diego Martin, San Fernando (Cocoyea), Couva, and Siparia. Amateur Swimming Association: 643-2813


George Bovell III is the nation’s first Olympic medallist in swimming (2004 bronze in 200m individual medley), and won several other international medals.

The National Tennis Centre (Tacarigua) opened in 2016, while there are public courts at Nelson Mandela Park (St Clair), and courts for hourly rental at the Country Club (Maraval) and some hotels. T&T Tennis Association: 625-3030

learn more For additional info on Trinidad’s sporting scene — basketball, bodybuilding, hashing, hockey, horse racing, kayaking, martial arts, netball, sport fishing, sailing, surfing, yoga, and more — visit our website at; the Sporting Company of T&T (; and the T&T Olympic Committee (

[OPPOSITE PAGE] ziad joseph [top and middle] RAPSO Imaging [bottom] Chris anderson 39


We remember. And wekcelebrate fe st i val s

Bocas Lit Fest

The five-day Trinidad & Tobago Literary Festival brings together readers, writers, poets, and publishers from the Caribbean diaspora each April/May for book launches, discussions, performances, readings, workshops, and the presentation of annual prizes for fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Outreach events continue through the year, both at home and at overseas book festivals, as do nonaffiliated book launches, readings and lectures.


The public holiday is celebrated on 1 August to commemorate the 40 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

honouring the ancestors During the course of the year, several smaller festivals honour African traditions in Trinidad: the Obatala Festival (Woodbrook in January); Ancestral Egungun Festival (Febeau Village, San Juan in February); Yoruba Village Drum Festival (Port of Spain in June); and the Oshun River Festival (Salybia in August). end of slavery in the British colonies (1838). Enjoy art exhibitions, lectures, performances, religious observances, and trade shows. The Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village at the Queen’s Park Savannah is the centre of the activities. [TOP; opposite page bottom] lisa fernandez [opposite page top] courtesy emancipation support committee [opposite page middle] Ariann Thompson/MEP publishers

Festivals There are two significant street parades: the Emancipation Day Parade on 1 August, and the Emancipation Steelband Street Parade on the first Saturday in August (Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation, Eastern Main Road). Emancipation Support Committee: 628-5008


This Trinidadian incarnation of Islamic Muharram observances takes place over three nights (Flag Night, Small Hosay, Big Hosay). The Flambeux at Emancipation celebrations

festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hussain (the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, from whom the festival’s name comes), and the later murder of his brother Hassan. In a lively procession on the final day, ornate tadjahs (replicas of Hussain’s tomb) are first carried through the street, then cast into the sea. St James is perhaps the most popular venue for observances, but festivities also tassa+chutney take place in Cedros, Tassa is a drum-driven Couva, Curepe, and music central to the Tunapuna. The date Muslim festival of Hosay, varies each year according to the but the drums are fused moon. with other musical forms

Indian Arrival Day

La Divina Pastora

The Hindu Ganga Dhara Festival

and celebrations yearround.

This national pubChutney is born of lic holiday (30 May) Hindi folk songs and commemorates the instrumentation (like arrival of the first the sitar and dholak indentured labourdrums). There’s also a ers from India on hybrid with soca (called, the Fatel Razack in 1845. More than you guessed it, chutney 140,000 Indians soca!). were recruited over the next 70 years to work Trinidad’s plantations after Emancipation (1838). Communities re-enact the arrival of this first group on beaches around the country. There are also awards ceremonies; cultural shows and performances; religious services; and more. The Divali Nagar site just outside Chaguanas hosts many of the key celebrations. National Council of Indian Culture: 671-6242 41

Phagwa (Holi)

Phagwa (Holi)

Each March, the Hindu community recognises the beginning of the Indian spring and the Hindu New Year in a joyful explosion of colour. Participants — Hindus and non-Hindus alike — spray each other with different shades of the vegetable dye, abir. The Aranguez Savannah is a popular venue for this celebration of birth and renewal.

Ramleela and Divali

The Santa Rosa First Peoples perform a special smoke ceremony

La Divina Pastora & Siparee Mai

In a church of the same name in Siparia stands a dark-skinned statue of the Virgin Mary as La Divina Pastora (the Divine Shepherdess). Many miracles have been attributed to her by ardent devotees. For her feast day (the third Sunday after Easter), the “Miracle Mother” is decorated by Catholics with flowers, dressed in white, and processed through the streets, followed by celebrations open to all. On the Thursday night and Friday before Easter, Hindu pilgrims visit the church with acts of devotion — recognising her as Siparee Mai (mother of Siparia), Durga, and Lakshmi. Most of all, she is just “mother”. The church welcomes all wishing to pay their respects. 42 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Ramleela is a nine-day, outdoor festival dramatising the life of Rama, with colourful costumes … and an explosive finale! The best-known productions are held in Couva and Felicity. Soon after, Hindus honour Mother Lakshmi — goddess of light, beauty, riches, and love — and commemorate the return of Lord Rama from exile. The beautiful flickering deyas, which are lit across the country by Hindus and non-Hindus alike for Divali (a public holiday), illuminate his path. Dates are set according to the moon. Many events are held at the Divali Nagar site near Chaguanas.

Santa Rosa Festival and First People’s Heritage Week

With origins in both Trinidad’s First Peoples and Catholic traditions, the Santa Rosa Festival in Arima commemorates the death of Santa Rosa de Lima, the Roman Catholic patron saint of the “New World”. It begins with the firing of a cannon on 1 August from Calvary Hill, and ends with a procession on the Sunday following the feast day of Santa Rosa (23 August). A statue of the saint is carried through the [Top] ziad joseph; [Bottom] maria nunes

Festivals streets by members of the island’s Santa Rosa First Peoples Community (led by the Carib Queen), alongside Roman Catholics. Other observances include sharing traditional Amerindian foods, cultural and spiritual rituals and commemorations, as well as church services. In October, the Community celebrates First Peoples Heritage Week across the country, which includes academic conferences, ritual smoke and water ceremonies, street processions, and other events recognising and celebrating the island’s First Peoples. 664-1897

Deyas at Divali

trinidad & tobago film festival (ttff)

Now the second largest of its kind in the region, the ttff showcases a range of dramatic, documentary, short, and animated films from or about Trinidad & Tobago, the Caribbean, and the diaspora. It also hosts educational initiatives and development programmes, plus community film screenings all year long. The Marionettes perform at Queen's Hall

Los Alumnos de San Juan singing parang

Film buffs will want to keep their eyes peeled for the Africa Film Festival and European Film Festival, which typically happen in May.

the sounds of christmas

Parang is Trinidad’s Christmas music, with origins in Venezuela, and featuring instruments like the cuatro, box bass, and maracas, and lyrics usually sung in Spanish. Head to Paramin for the Parang Festival each December. Choral and singing groups — the Marionettes Chorale, QED, the Lydians, the Love Movement, Southernaires, and more — take centre stage at this time of year, offering up Christmas shows that are traditions for many; while calypsonians and soca parang stalwarts Scrunter, Crazy, Kenny J, and Relator also sing the strains of the season. [top] Ariann Thompson/MEP publishers [Middle] courtesy [bottom] courtesy butch & allan limchoy 43


Though Carnival culminates on the Monday and Tuesday before Lent, it would be a mistake to think of it as anything but a season . . . the limits of which are increasingly up for debate! You could think of it like a large, multi-course buffet, where you could try to enjoy every dish and every course (and possibly burst), or put together the perfect plate for your palate. So there’s no right or wrong way to experience Trinidad Carnival. To think of it that way would be to defy its very origins — an impulse to throw off all ideas about propriety, moderation, conformity or regimentation in favour a of a sublime catharsis that you can only know when you feel it. It is your time. To do what

Canboulay Riots Re-Enactment

you want. At your pace. With your agenda. And with your stage to “play yuhself”!

Fete after fete

Long before the traditional cultural components of Carnival take prominence, there are fetes. Lots and lots of fetes. From the band launches that begin in July to the fetes that take you into J’ouvert. 44 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Exodus at the Panorama Finals

After Christmas, things get serious. And you are faced with some serious decisions. What sort of vibe do you want? Day-into-night fetes? Night-into-morning breakfast fetes? Upscale, all-inclusive fetes? Or lower-key, budget friendly cooler fetes (where you can bring/ buy your food and drinks)? Which acts do you want to see? All these questions will determine your fete calendar. You’ll want to look out for some of the most popular ones: Hyatt Lime, Soaka, Army, Tribe, Fete with the Saints, Beach House, Soca Brainwash, Kairi People’s Different, AM Bush, Fatima AllInclusive, PREStige, Black to Blue, Jam Nation, Breakfast Is, Vale Vibe, Bacchanal Road, Soca in Moka, Veni Mangé, Bayview . . . to name just a handful among hundreds!

The best in show

There are a handful of vintage calypso tents where you can see calypsonians sharpening their

Festivals barbs, but also a range of calypso competitions highlighting the range of the artform. Stars like Machel Montano, KES, and Nadia Batson headline their own shows. And there’s Carnival theatre like 3canal’s annual Carnival show and the Canboulay Riots Re-enactment (staged the Friday morning before Carnival on the streets at the Piccadilly Greens, commemorating the 1881 Carnival-time uprising against British colonial authorities). On the Friday night before Carnival, the Soca Monarch final is a combination of party and competition, featuring some of the best soca artists in the region. And Champs in Concert features all the winners in a show just after Carnival.

Those after the traditional aspects of Carnival won’t want to miss events like the Traditional Mas Competition (the Wednesday before Carnival); The Old Yard (UWI Creative Arts, St Augustine, two Sundays before Carnival); Stickfighting Finals (typically Wednesday before Carnival down south); the Dragon Festival (Port of

K2K Alliance & Partners

[opposite page TOP] marcus antoine [opposite page BOT TOM; top] RAPSO Imaging [bottom] courtesy K2k Alliance & Partners

A moko jumbie from the band Krick Krack

Spain, Carnival Friday); the Moko Somōkōw band launch (Granderson Lab); and the Carnival Kings and Queens costume competition. The Junior Carnival Parade (Port of Spain, Carnival Saturday) features some of the best designs of the season.

And of course, there is Paramin. As the sun sets on Carnival Monday evening, the annual blue devil competition pits fearsome devils against each other at Fatima Junction. They swarm the streets and the hillsides dancing, chanting, beating their biscuit tins, blowing their whistles, and demanding payment from spectators: “pay de devil!” Just remember, this is a performance . . . 45

Kiddies Carnival

46 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020


Music to make you feel better

For some, Carnival is pan. Full stop. Steelpan aficionados hit the panyards of their favourite steelbands for weeks as they practise for the Panorama semi-finals (two Sundays before Carnival) and Panorama finals (Carnival Saturday). Those successfully adjudicated on site early in the season advance to the semi-finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah two weeks before Carnival. The panyard crawl to visit each band as it’s being adjudicated at the preliminary round is a special kind of vigil for the pan faithful. Real pan lovers will be in the Grand Stand for semis and finals, or on the drag/track that leads to the Savannah stage — bands practise and fine-tune as they go.

J’ouvert mornin’ come

For some, it’s pan. For others, it’s J’ouvert that is the centrepiece of their Carnival. At 4am on Carnival Monday, the “reign of the Merry Monarch” begins as thousands of people gyrate through the streets, disguised in the trappings of “dutty mas” — oil, grease, paint, mud, cocoa, clay, old clothes, or provocative costumes delivering stinging socio-political commentary. Traditional bands feature characters like jab jabs, blue devils, bats, and more.

J'ouvert on the Savannah stage

Blue Devil mas

Carnival Tuesday

Let nobody stop us as we dance this dance Celebrating this spirit of our existence As each footstep makes music every voice must chant, with love: Awake, warriors awake—J’ouvert morning come — Ella Andall

[opposite page] jason audain [This page] RAPSO Imaging 47

A masquerader with K2K Alliance & Partners — overall Band of the Year for 2019, and multiple Medium Band of the Year winners

48 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020


Taking over the streets

Chances are, you know how this all ends on Carnival Monday and Tuesday: thousands have filled the streets of Port of Spain (and other towns across the country) from as early as 7am, en route to the Queen’s Park Savannah or Socadrome stages. Many are dressed in full costume — some in flashy BBF (bikinis, beads, and feathers) bands, some as traditional characters, some in inspired fusions of the traditional and the fashionforward. Others are out to spectate, and “take a jump” with a passing band. The most tireless will go till after the sun goes down . . . then hobble to work (or the beach) come Ash Wednesday. Though neither day is an official public holiday (the islands have 14 official ones), as famed calypsonian Lord Kitchener once sang: “de road make to walk on Carnival day…”

learn more Check out our website at discovertnt. com for a range of Carnival information — its origins and history, how a steel pan is made, and a calendar of events. For schedules and info, visit the websites of the National Carnival Commission (, Pan Trinbago (, and the National Carnival Bands Association (

[above] RAPSO Imaging 49

Many worlds in one: an island like no other tour and e xplore


Mountains. Beaches. Waterfalls. Historical sites. Rivers. This is an island with range. To say that nowhere else in the Caribbean is like Trinidad is not hyperbole — the island’s unique environment combines a South American continental legacy with Caribbean island features. Tropical rainforest cloaks the north, central, and southern mountain ranges, from which waterfalls and rivers cascade. There are brackish mangrove swamps; sprawling savannahs; and coasts that meet four distinct bodies of water. Coral reefs are found off the northwest and northeast coasts, and have produced the arid islands off Chaguaramas.

The distinctive road through Paramin at sunset

50 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Tour and explore

[background image] ADRIAN BERNARD 51

The river meets the Caribbean sea at magical Grande Rivière

Beach break

Distinct from the prototypical Caribbean beaches, Trinidad’s are more rugged and dramatic, but still beloved by locals and nature-loving visitors. Turtles nest on the north and east coasts in season (March–September), so please don’t drive, party, or light fires on these beaches. Here are some of our most popular bays, in alphabetical order by coast. NB: Swim with caution on both the north and eastern coasts. 52 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

The north coast

Blanchisseuse: the waters are rough along this long stretch of beach, but there are hiking trails, and good kayaking in the nearby Marianne River. Surfing is good November–April Grande Rivière: the second largest leatherback turtle nesting ground in the world. Good for river bathing and kayaking, as well as hikes into the forest. Perfect for a weekend eco escape. Accessed via Toco

Las Cuevas: this long, sheltered, looping beach is calmer and better for swimming than most on the north coast, especially at the eastern end. There are caves and the convenience of an on-site snack bar, bathroom and changing facilities, parking, and lifeguards on duty

Macqueripe Bay: a small and calm bay in Chaguaramas, great for swimming and snorkelling, with a car park — and a zip-lining course overhead! Entrance fee [banner] michaela arjoon

Maracas Bay: Trinidad’s most popular beach — great food, good stretch of sand, lifeguards, and gas station nearby

Paria Bay: pristine spot, accessible only by boat or via hiking trail from Blanchisseusse Tyrico Bay: close to Maracas’ amenities, but a calmer, smaller, quieter alternative. 53

The east coast

Balandra Bay: sheltered and good for swimming

Manzanilla: bordered by the distinctive “Cocal” (coconut forest). Facilities and lifeguards in specific areas Mayaro: glorious stretch of beach — the longest in the island. Shells of “chip chip”, like clam shells, protect small oceanic organisms. A popular weekend getaway spot

Salybia Bay: popular for surfing (November–April). There’s a fringing reef offshore.

The south & southwest coasts

Columbus & Cedros Bays: stunning and pristine bays in quiet fishing villages on the southwestern coast, with views of Venezuela on a clear day. Cedros has the widest beach on the island at low tide


Quinam Beach: probably the most popular beach on the south coast, good for swimming (though the beach disappears at high tide). There are amenities, lifeguards, and trails into the woods.

Trinidad history at a glance 54 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

c 15,000–1,000 BC: : island part of South America; settled by First Peoples (Source: Parish Beat, by Sister Marie Therese)

Tour and explore


1498: Christopher Columbus lands in Trinidad on 31 July, claims island for Spanish and names it after Catholic Holy Trinity (Source: Everett Historical/

1699: First Peoples rebel against Capuchin missionaries (Arena Uprising) (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

[opposite page] adrian bernard [above] courtesy coconut growers association (CGA)

1757: Spanish governor moves capital to Port of Spain from St Joseph (Source: Stark's Guidebook and History, by James Stark) 55


A leatherback turtle returns to the sea at Grande Rivière

Each year between March and September (sometimes longer), you can see turtles nesting across the region. Nesting females return to the shores on which they were born each year, assiduously digging their nests before laying their eggs, camouflaging the area, and returning to the open sea. Six to eight weeks later, the hatchlings emerge and scamper through the sand to the shoreline. Peak season for seeing hatchlings is June–August. The females that survive to maturity will make the long trek back, to begin the cycle anew. Though they come ashore in greatest numbers late at night — and especially during the full moon — they also come ashore in the day. Witnessing these rituals is a profoundly moving experience.

Beaches of global importance

A baby hawksbill turtle near Grand Tacarib

1783: Spanish governor Chacón’s Cedula de Población entices Catholic white and free coloured settlers to Trinidad with land incentives; rapid capitalisation begin (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

56 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

As the second largest leatherback nesting site in the world, Trinidad receives more than 6,000 leatherback turtles (each up to

1797: Trinidad captured by Sir Ralph Abercromby’s British fleet (Source: Morphart Creations/

1806: first Chinese workers arrive (Source: Charles Kingsley)

Tour and explore 2,000lb) annually. The best places to see them are at Matura and Grande Rivière (where you can see up to 50 a night, and even be lucky enough to spot the endangered blue-throated piping-guan or pawi bird).

T&T is home to five of the seven species of sea turtles found globally — the vulnerable leatherback and olive ridley; the endangered green and loggerhead; and the critically endangered hawksbill. The leatherback, hawksbill, and green turtle nest on beaches, while the loggerhead and olive ridley are occasionally sighted at sea. The turtles, their eggs, and their hatchlings are all vulnerable and legally protected.

plan your trip Conservation efforts in Matura and Grande Rivière require that permits be acquired to visit nesting sites. These can be arranged through authorised tour guides (Nature Seekers: natureseekers. org, 668-7337; and Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association: 670-4257/469-1288), local accommodation, or directly at Forestry Division offices. Make sure to: • keep disturbances to a minimum (including noise and movement) — do not touch nesting turtles or hatchlings • use only infrared lights, and no flash photography • refrain from driving, setting fires, or littering on nesting beaches.

Green turtle

1816: six companies of free blacks from the United States (mainly Baptist) settle in southern Trinidad (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1834–8: slavery abolished in the British Empire, leading to apprenticeship (1834) then emancipation (1838) (CourtesyT&T National Archive)

[opposite page TOP] brendan delzin/ [opposite page BOT TOM] CHRIS ANDERSON; [above] RAPSO Imaging

1834–1917: indentured labour brought to Trinidad from other islands, China, Portugal, Syria, Lebanon, and India (Courtesy T&T National Archive) 57

Especially for birders . . .

Asa Wright Nature Centre A hepatic tanager

Arima Valley This 1,500-acre sanctuary is among the oldest in the Caribbean. The main centre and guesthouse are located on a former cocoacoffee-citrus plantation. Open 9am–5pm for day visits, with guided walks (1.5hrs) at 10:30am and 1:30pm. There are numerous waterfalls and caves nearby, and an overnight stay gives you the chance to see rare oilbirds. Reservations required:, 667-4655. Entrance fee

Winston Nanan Caroni Bird Sanctuary

Orange-bellied trogons

1881: Canboulay Riots (Photo: RAPSO Imaging)

58 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

A must on every birder’s list, these are the protected breeding grounds of the national bird, the scarlet ibis. Most boat tours leave at 4pm. Mangrove channels create a dramatic backdrop for the 100 species of birds that make their home here alongside snakes (boas) in trees, crabs, snails, and more. At dusk, the sky is filled with streaks of red as hundreds of scarlet ibis return to roost in trees on an

1884: Hosay Riots (Courtesy Angelo Bissessarsingh)

1889-98: Tobago annexed to Trinidad (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

Tour and explore

A yellow-hooded blackbird

island in the middle of the swamp., 755-7826

Yerette, Home of the Hummingbird

Maracas, St Joseph Here, you’ll spend an intimate couple of hours at the home of Theo and Gloria Ferguson. Dozens of hummingbirds — up to 15 species — flit by, some a few inches away, as they sip from feeders and flowers. Theo is a knowledgeable host, with a slide show about the tiny acrobats, and a beautiful collection of photos for sale., 663-2623

Nariva Swamp & Bush Bush Sanctuary

Bush Bush is a protected island within Nariva Swamp, the largest freshwater wetland in the Caribbean. Here you’ll find

1903: Water Riots in Port of Spain (Courtesy Angelo Bissessarsingh)

[opposite page TOP] courtesy tDC [opposite page BOT TOM; Top] RAPSO Imaging

capuchin and red howler monkeys, blue and gold macaws, and toucans. Boating and kayaking are only possible in the rainy season. It’s imperative to go with a tour guide who will arrange permits from the Forestry Division.

Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust

An oasis of ponds surrounded by green forest, set within the sprawling grounds of an oil refinery complex, this magical Trust works to reintroduce endangered wetland birds to their natural habitat. It’s home to rare ducks, scarlet ibis, blue and gold macaws, and many more. An on-site learning centre houses a small First Peoples museum, and there is a full-service guesthouse. Advance bookings required:, 658-4200 ext 2512

birding boon Trinidad is blessed with over 400 recorded bird species — among the top 10 countries in the world for species per square mile, most of which are easily accessible. Peak birding season is November–May.

1908: commercial oil production begins in southern Trinidad (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1914: first calypso recorded (Courtesy T&T National Archive) 59

For hikers & eco-adventurers

These are some of the island’s most popular hikes, listed alphabetically. Those marked “intense” should be tackled by advanced hikers only. Go with a reputable guide, and remember that old saying: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

Edith Falls

Chaguaramas A 30–40 minute hike to a 76m/250ft waterfall. Gentle

El Tucuche

Northern Range Trinidad’s second tallest mountain. A gruelling hike to the summit (in fact, there are two peaks!) takes 2–4 hours via Hobal Trace in Maracas Valley. Very Intense

Fondes Amandes Three Pools

St Ann's The Community Reforestation Project provides forest tours that

1925: first national elections (limited franchise) (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

60 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

range from quick and gentle to more intermediate

Guanapo Gorge

Northern Range Roughly 2.5–3 hours of forest, river, and gorge trekking. Intermediate

Madamas Bay

North Coast It’ll take you roughly 3 hours from Matelot or 5 hours from Blanchisseuse. A beach, river, waterfall, and turtles (in season) await. Intense

Maracas Falls

Northern Range 30–45 minute trek; Trinidad’s tallest waterfall (91m/299ft). Gentle

Mt Tamana Bat Caves

Central Range A roughly 90-minute hike to the limestone cave systems that massive colonies of bats — thousands from 12 different species — call home. Each evening before dusk, they depart the caverns en masse. Intermediate

1935-41: first steelpans emerge in Laventille (Source: VP Photography/Worthing/

1937: labour strikes led in southern Trinidad by Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler (Courtesy T&T Ministry of Communications)

Tour and explore Polka-dot tree frog

Paria Bay

North Coast It’ll take you roughly 2 hours from Blanchisseuse to Turtle Rock then Cathedral Rock/Paria Arch. A pristine white sand beach, turtles (in season), and nearby waterfall are your reward. Also accessible via Brasso Seco. Intermediate

Saut d’Eau

North Coast A 3-hour, downhill trek from Paramin brings you to the secluded beachfront. Gather your strength, because the ascent back up will test your mettle! Intense

Rio Seco Falls

Salybia Part of the Matura National Park, a 45–60 minute hike brings you to the falls, and a natural swimming pool. Gentle

Turure Water Steps

Cumaca After about 60 minutes, you’ll be bathing in the pools at these unique natural limestone “steps”. Intermediate

1940: national airline British West Indies Airways (BWIA) commences operations (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

[OPPOSITE PAGE] kevin sammy [background IMage] chris anderson

bioblitz! With a dizzying degree of biodiversity per square mile, thousands of species call these habitats home. • Amphibians: 30+ species • Birds: 400+ species (more than any other Caribbean island) • Butterflies: 600+ species • Fish: 400+ marine species and 40+ freshwater species • Flowers: 2,100+ flowering plant species (almost 200 orchids) • Mammals: 100+ recorded species (over 60 of them bats) • Reptiles: 90+ species (including 40+ species of snake and 5 marine turtle species, among them the endangered giant leatherback) • Trees: 370 species of trees (including native purpleheart, mora, and crappo).

1941: Chaguaramas peninsula leased to United States for 99 years (Courtesy Bridget Brereton)

1945: public emergence of steelbands (V Day celebrations); universal suffrage implemented (Courtesy T&T National Archive) 61

Perfect for families

Angostura Museum & Barcant Butterfly Collection

Port of Spain The Barcant Butterfly Collection, the only one of its kind in the region, comprises more than 5,000 specimens (700 species, including the blue emperor) in a re-created tropical forest. Children will love it. Angostura acquired the collection in 1974, and it has been at the company’s compound since. You can book a tram tour of the Angostura factory, introducing you to the company’s history and making of their world-famous bitters and celebrated rums. Tours (two hours) are 9:30am & 1:30pm, Monday–Friday; advance booking required: 623-1841

Chaguaramas National Heritage Park

Just 20 minutes from Port of Spain, hikers, bikers, explorers, bird watchers, hashers, archers, and golfers all have their place in “Chag”., 225-4232

1951: repeal of ordinance prohibiting activities of Spiritual “Shouter” Baptist faith (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

62 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

In lush Tucker Valley, some favourite treks include the Covigne River trail, which passes through nutmeg groves and along a tributary of the Cuesa River uphill through a gorge before ending at a waterfall with a plunge pool. Edith Falls is located in an abandoned cocoa estate nestled against the eastern side of Morne Catherine and overlooking the golf course. A fairly gentle hike, you will hear red howler monkeys in the forest canopy along the trail.

Going Down-the-islands (or DDI) means enjoying a getaway at one of several offshore islands, either at a holiday home or by mooring in one of the bays. There are the Five Islands (including Nelson Island, where Indian immigrants were once quarantined when they arrived by boat); the Diego Islands; Gaspar Grande; Gasparillo Island (aka Centipede); Monos; Huevos; and Chacachacare (which was once a leper colony, and has saltwater ponds, ruins, and a still-functioning lighthouse). These islands were originally the ceremonial grounds of the First Peoples. On

1956: islands become selfgoverning parliamentary democracy (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1958: islands join Federation of West Indies (Courtesy: T&T National Archive)

Tour and explore Gaspar Grande, the jetty at Point Baleine was once a whaling station. This is the home of the underground Gasparee caves’ stalagmites and Blue Grotto, with its “sunroof”.

More recent additions to the Chaguaramas landscape, all popular with families, include the ZIP-ITT’s seven zip-lines in Tucker Valley (one passes over Macqueripe Bay) and five canopy walks or net bridges; the Boardwalk along the beachfront; the Five Islands Waterpark; and the Safari Eco Park.

Fort George

Port of Spain Built in 1804, this “virgin fort” (which never saw military action) offers a magnificent panoramic view from 335m/1,100ft; its original cannon and part of the dungeon remain. On a clear day, you can see to south Trinidad, and west to Venezuela. Open 10am–6pm

Lopinot Historical Complex Lopinot (near Arouca) was

1960: Trinidad campus of University of the West Indies (UWI) established (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

[above] adrian bernard

Fort George

originally developed as a cocoa estate by a French count who arrived in Trinidad in 1800 after fleeing the Haitian Revolution. It still maintains its distinctive mix of European, African, East Indian, and First Peoples heritage, and at Christmas time the area comes alive with parang and pastelles. Year-round, visitors come for river limes, bird-watching, hiking to the nearby caves, dining at Café Mariposa, and weekend retreats (there’s a guesthouse on site). A museum comprises the former tapia estate house, prison, and slave quarters. Legend has it that on stormy nights under the full moon, the Compte de Lopinot appears, galloping across the savannah on a black horse. Just a ghost story, right? Well, Ghost Hunters International reported in 2011 that they’d found more

1962: islands leave Federation, gain independence from Britain; Dr Eric Williams, leading People’s National Movement (PNM) becomes first prime minister (Courtesy T&T Ministry of Communications)

1963: Chaguaramas returned to Trinidadian control (Courtesy Bridget Brereton) 63

evidence of paranormal activity here than anywhere else in the world . . .

Mount St Benedict

Peace and rejuvenation await at the Caribbean’s oldest Benedictine monastery. Its 600 acres are perched 245m (800ft) above the Central plains in Tunapuna, offering stunning views, walking and hiking trails, bird-watching from the terraces, a tea house, delicious yoghurt made by the monks, and holy masses. There is a guesthouse on site.

Pitch Lake

La Brea One of the three largest natural deposits of asphalt in the world, it’s deceptively boring to look at. Estimated to contain 10 million tonnes of asphalt, and spanning 109 acres, pools which form on the surface after rain showers contain high levels of sulphur, which are good for the skin and joints. Artefacts from the First Peoples, for whom the lake was sacred, have been unearthed here; some can be viewed at the museum in the

1970: “Black Power” uprising (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

64 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

visitor centre. 651-1232

Queen’s Park Savannah

Port of Spain This 260-acre park holds a very special place in the Trini heart. Originally part of the Peschier family’s Paradise Estate, the Caribbean’s oldest recreation ground — and reported to be the world’s largest roundabout at approximately 3.5km/2.2 miles — was converted into a city park in 1817, and is popular for sports, recreation, and picnics.

On its northern side, you will find the Emperor Valley Zoo, founded in 1947 (, 622-5344) and the Botanical Gardens (established 1820), which has one of the oldest collections in the western hemisphere. On the southeastern side is Memorial Park and the iconic National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA). Next door is the National Museum & Art Gallery.

And on its northwestern side are the “Magnificent Seven” (see the “For history & architecture buffs” section on page 58).

1974: Garfield Blackman (Ras Shorty I) releases first soca album

1976: islands become a republic in the Commonwealth (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

Tour and explore

Pitch Lake

San Fernando Hill

Once a sacred site for the First Peoples, the hill rises above the hubbub of industry below, offering views of the city, the southwest peninsula and — on a clear day — up the west coast to Port of Spain, and the mountains of eastern Venezuela. It was saved from further scarring from quarrying by being declared a National Park in 1980. Open daily, 9am–6pm

1981: George Chambers (PNM) becomes prime minister (Courtesy T&T Ministry of Communications)

[background image; and top] RAPSO Imaging

Valencia eco-resort

This is a 10-acre estate with hundreds of fruit trees and flocks of birds and butterflies. Enjoy several sports, fish for tilapia in the pond, cook in an outdoor carat shed, or take a cool dip in the river (or the large swimming pool). Also in the mix: peacocks, geese, parrots, guinea fowls, ducks, tortoises, rabbits, and monkeys.

1983: low oil prices cripple local economy (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1986: National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) unseats PNM in national elections; Tobagonian ANR Robinson becomes prime minister (Courtesy T&T Ministry of Communications) 65

Especially for history and architecture buffs . . . Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Port of Spain Recently refurbished and standing at the eastern end of the Brian Lara Promenade downtown, this Catholic cathedral was built between 1816 and 1832. Designated as a minor basilica, one of its most distinctive features is its stainedglass windows, which depict Trinidad’s history.

Hanuman Murti & Dattatreya Yoga Centre

Carapachaima Donated by an Indian swami, this 26m/85ft statue of Hanuman (the Hindu monkey god of strength) is reputed to be the tallest of its kind outside India. It towers above the adjoining yoga centre.

Holy Rosary Church

Port of Spain Also undergoing restoration works, this Gothic revival Catholic church near the eastern end

1990: attempted coup by Jamaat al Muslimeen (Courtesy T&T Express Newspaper)

66 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

of Park Street dates back to 1866. Like the Cathedral downtown, its stained glass is absolutely stunning.

The “Magnificent Seven”

Port of Spain These colonial-era homes along the northwestern side of the Queen’s Park Savannah are in varying degrees of repair and use, with diverse histories and ownership. From south to north: Queen’s Royal College (1904, boys’ secondary school); Hayes Court (1910, Anglican Bishop’s residence); Milles Fleurs (1904); Roomor (private home); the Roman Catholic Archbishop’s residence (1903); Whitehall (1907); and Killarney or Stollmeyer’s Castle (1904), which have both benefitted from recent and beautiful restoration work.

Temple in the Sea

Waterloo Forbidden by colonial officials to build a Hindu temple on land, Siewdass Sadhu tirelessly built his “floating mandir” some 150m (500ft) out into the Gulf of Paria instead. He laboured for 25 years, but sea erosion prevented

1995: coalition government — the United National Congress (UNC) and NAR — unseats the PNM; Basdeo Panday becomes first prime minister of East Indian descent (Courtesy Parliament of T&T)

2007: Caribbean Airlines replaces BWIA as national carrier; record oil prices fuel economic boom (Courtesy Caribbean Airlines)

Tour and explore

Killarney (also known as Stollmeyer's Castle)

2010: UNC-led coalition ousts PNM at national elections under first female prime minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar (Courtesy Parliament of T&T)

[above] ziad joseph

2015: oil prices crash, causing economic slowdown; PNM, under Tobagonian Dr Keith Rowley, wins general elections (Courtesy Parliament of T&T)

2018: Paula-Mae Weeks becomes the country’s first female president; country inches back toward economic growth (Courtesy Parliament of T&T) 67

him from completing it before his death. In 1994, the government completed it for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the island’s first Indian indentured immigrants. The temple itself at the caretaker’s discretion.

Woodford Square

Port of Spain Several distinct buildings overlook historic Woodford Square. Completed in 1818 in the Gothic revival style, with its hammerbeam roof made of local wood, is the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. The Hall of Justice lies to the north; the Old Fire Station and National Library (originally built in 1897, then refurbished and integrated into the new Library) to the west, across the road from the Red House (originally built in 1844, formerly the seat of Parliament, but currently being restored — work has been slowed by the discovery of First Peoples remains and artefacts dating to 430–1400 AD); and the remains of the razed Greyfriars Church to the east.

Zoology Museum

Port of Spain Based at the University of the West Indies, the zoological specimens here include the Banwari Man — the human skeleton found lying in a crouched burial position in 1969, and the oldest evidence of human activity on Caribbean soil. Banwari Trace, where it was found, has yielded artefacts belonging to the Ortoiroid people, dating back to 5,000 BC. 662-2002 x 82231 Hayes Court Trinidad & Tobago 2020 Discover 68

[left] RAPSO Imaging 69

Trinidad Map of

Maracas Bay


Gas station

Bird watching




Major roadway

Tyrico Bay

Macqueripe Bay Diego Martin

Huevos Monos Chacachacare

Scotland Bay Gaspar Grande

Paramin Santa Cruz


St. Joseph



Morvant El Socorro


San Juan Curepe

Caroni Bird Sanctuary Jerningham Junction





gulf of pa r i a



Freeport Couva

Pt Lisas


Gran Couva


Claxton Bay Pointe-àPierre



Pitch Lake Vessigny Pt Fortin


Erin Bay Icacos

70 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Oropuche Lagoon

Mon Desir

Princes Town


Fyzabad Penal Siparia Los Bajos

San Francique

Ste Madeleine

St Mary’s

Cap De Ville


Icacos Pt

La Brea


Palo Seco Quinam Bay


caribbean sea

Las Cuevas

Salybia Bay Grande Riviere Matelot

Maps and essentials Galera Pt


Blanchisseuse Redhead


Brasso Seco

Asa Wright Nature Centre

una gua a ri Tac Arouca


Hollis Reservoir





Balandra Bay Saline (Sally) Bay

Matura Bay


Piarco San Rafael



Sangre Grande





Caroni-Arena Reservoir


Todds Road Biche Brasso


Manzanilla Bay

Navet Dam


atl antic ocean

Nariva Swamp and Bush-Bush Sanctuary

uga Piparo Busy Corner New Grant

St Joseph

Poole Tableland


Rio Claro

Indian Walk Devil’s Woodyard

Mayaro Bay

Guayaguayare Basse Terre


Galeota Point


columbus channel


Do m inica Antigua St Kitts Drive N Ave evis Ave




tine Rd

• Queen’s Park Oval

Sweet Briar Rd


ag a





Alcazar S


Rust St







t yS r ra












li o rne Co

• John S Donaldson Technical Institute



r ra Mu

lo s


Adam Smith Sq


Ca r

lo s


A lf

li n o

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A lf r

on r d

Ca r

wri ght s





li n o

L ui

Ros a


• Queen Royal Co

• St Clair Medical

Ro b

 L ui


r to

 A lb e


Hayes St


Broome St

Havelock St


t us S Gall

A lb

er t



ta a v

Jackson Sq

Flood St

Fre n



Rd ntine


Ros a

Pole Carew St

 t

lli a



Siegert Sq



ra S

us S


 t

Ana 

ra S

 A na

Pe t


ir S hab

Ma n is

Pe t



or St  O’C onn or De V St e r t e u il


my eS

Tay l 

t rS lde Ho ton

De n 

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• Jean Pierre Complex



Serp e nc

Nelson Mandela Park

St a n H un mi B t Da Kel raba er S ly Ha t n Ke t St m nn il t on yS t St


Scot t St

ad en Gr

l St

 C  aw npo Joh Gaston nsto re St n St B e n a res St L  uc k n ow St

ay w

• Hasely Crawford Stadium


• Digicel IMAX


h ig


t Valo


Jamaica Blvd

• One Woodbrook Place

t 


e ra b

• Fatima Sports Grounds

• MovieTowne

• Ellerslie Plaza

e y St

d dos R

Bengal St 

St   Arga St

 tta S t

ra s

Calcu am


pa u

Niz 


• Woodbrook muc Cemetery ur a po r d

H yd


• • St Mary’s St James Police Barracks Sports Grounds

Hen r Pie y rr e S


Wee ke

s St




c ia

Ra p s






Fi t t



Ma d

am St   Bombay St





r son

Trinidad Cre

• Long Circular Mall


Bournes Rd

ka S

An de

le St

Pa n

ain r

e S t


f Je

Pujadas St

er n m






h St

w e st





e n St

a r St




o St



Rom e


t Ku m


e 




n Av



zar S Sala Carlto

Patna St


 Qua





e dr Au

Luc k

e Ca

t 

• St James Medical Complex



rg Ge o

 Kandahar St









• Licensing Office

• Cruise Ship Complex

72 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

llor Rd

Ca s

Av e bl

• Queen’s Hall

Maraval Rd 


u Circ ont

Archer St


St s ip





 Park St

Richmond St

Sack ville St

Curepe-Tunapuna/Arima/Sangre Grande






POS General Hospital

 Duke St



ill y

• • Hall of Justice City Hall Knox St

• Woodford Red House Sq

Prince St

Hart St

 Queen St

• National Library

Charlotte St

• Water Taxi

Chaguanas/San Fernando

San Juan


Chacon St

• Government Campus Plaza

Charles St

London St

• International Waterfront Centre

Melbourne St

Shine St

Scott Bushe St

Stone St

Flament St

• Fire Station

Victoria Sq

Chancery Lane

Dere St

St le Sa


v il



Wrightson Rd/Long Circular


St re

t ac Ga


• Port of Spain General Hospital

 Henr y St

Fr a



Maraval Rd

a par k e


Cascade Erthig Rd

Diego Martin/Petit Valley

Nor folk

 Oxford St  Pembroke St


• Lapeyrouse Cemetery

Secondary roads


New St 

Frederick St 


Keate St 

St  Abercromby


• Memorial • NAPA National Park Museum

St Vincent 

ll e

Main roads

Major roadway

St Anns/St James/Queens Park Savannah

Gordon St

 Edward St



Dundonald St 

Borde St

Victoria Ave Stanmore Ave


Cipriani Blvd



Places of interest


Ariapita Avenue/Chaguaramas/Carenage

 queen’s park west Albion St

Medical Facility

Jerningham Ave

Gas Station


Cadiz Rd

 Marli St

Woodford St 






Police Station



’s queen

Queen’s Park Savannah

 Picton St



Palmiste St

Warner St

t St


• Hilton Hotel un y Yo Lad

n’s ollege


Portof Spain




La Fant


Lady C

Cotton Hill


• President’s House

Magnificent Sev en


• Botanical • Gardens Emperor Valley Zoo

Maps and essentials


Map of

• Prime Minister’s Nook Ave Residence & Diplomatic Centre




prom independence sq/br ian lara South Quay


• Terminus/City Gate 73

caribbean sea

La Fillete Pt

h rt no

Maracas Bay

Paria Bay

La Fillete

Las Cuevas Bay

Tyrico Bay

Blanchisseuse Bay

Yarra Bay

Chupara Pt


s oa

d tR


Grand Matelot Pt

Grand Madamas Bay Tacaribe Bay

th C nor


oa s

t Rd


Las Cuevas

Rincon Brasso Seco

El Tucuche (936m)

Asa Wright Nature Centre

Maracas Falls

La Laja

m ar




Arouca Valsayn • Trinicity Mall

San Fernando

74 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020


D’Abadie NGC National Science Centre

Hollis Reservoir

aripo rd



Cleaver Woods




El Socorro

St Augustine

a uan of g

eastern main rd




Guanapo Gorge

se r d isseu

University of the West Indies


lopin ot r


roy al r



s ght he i

al oy

rd Barataria

St Joseph

Dunston Cave

ch -bl an ar im a


le dd

a ac


La Pastora

La Veronica

• Mt St Benedict Monastery

San Juan

El Cerro del Aripo (941m)


Santa Cruz

r n t h e n o r


Turure Water Steps



Santa Rosa Race Tracks

Sangre Grande

north west

Maps and essentials

Matelot Bay



m ain


Salybia Bay

Sans Souci

Grande Riviere Bay


Galera Pt

Grande Riviere


e a n g

north east

Cumana Bay


Rio Seco








Saline Bay

MAP KEY (applies to both maps) Matura Bay

Police Station


atl antic ocean

Gas Station

Turtle Nesting

Bird Watching

Shopping Centre

Golf Course


Scuba Diving





Caves Highway


Places of interest Major roadway

Sangre Grande & East Coast 75

Port of Spain


yo l ad un y gr d

dd le

m va ar a ll c a ey s rd


San Juan


ca ur


• Trincity Mall

• Valpark Shopping Plaza

• Grand Bazaar




Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary

Hollis Reservoir



Churchill-Roosevelt Highway

Butler ay Highw

Chaguanas Longdenville

Monsterrat Hills aqu tab

rn m





• Pointe-à-Pierre Wildfowl Trust

r it e


san fernando


Navet Dam & Reservoir



Indian Walk





Navet River Killdeer River

Rio Claro

gu r ay io ag cl uy ar ar o e rd

New Grant

ug or m

Devil’s Woodyard

a rd


ut so


New Grant

St Madeleine Princes Town



r he

m plu



San Fernando Reform

g e r a n

a un

Tabaquite Tunnel


rd Pointe-à-Pierre

l t r a c e n

Brasso Venado

Flanagin Town

• La Vega Garden Centre

Gran Pepper Village Couva

t he

Claxton Bay


Mundo Nuevo


• Pt Lisas Industrial Estate

Todd’s Rd


ain rd couva m

Brechin Castle


Tamana Bat Caves




sangre grande




r pa

u so





l ta

e th

St. Mary’s

n ai



Caroni-Arena Dam & Reservoir


Friendship Hall





San Rafael


Chase Village Potteries

• Hanuman Murti



Piarco International Airport

St Helena


st e


Divali Nagar

• Temple in the Sea



Curepe El Socorro

lo pin ot


naparim a m

gu l f of pa r i a

Pitch Lake Vessigny

Pt Fortin Chatham North Granville


Chatham South Erin Pt

76 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020



erin rd

Cedros Bay Fullarton Columbus Bay

ut so

n er

un tr



Mon Desir

Erin (San Francique) Los Iros








Upper Manzanilla

Maps and essentials

Manzanilla Pt

Lower Manzanilla Plum Mitan Brigand Hill Lighthouse


the cocol

iva Nar er Riv

n ita m md r

a nz rd ro ya ma l anil

Nariva Swamp & Bush Bush Wildlife

MAP KEY (applies to both maps) Pt. Radix

Police station

mayaro rd Mayaro

Gas station


Bird watching

Shopping centre



Food available



Fort Highway

solomon hochoy highway Pointe-à-Pierre

Place of interest Major roadway

rio claro tabaquite

Nariva Swamp

cunapo rd

Wild Fowl Trust


Naparima Rd

Rio Claro

Devil’s Woodyard Mud Volcano

Princes Town

Sixth Company

Mayaro Bay

m ayaro-

St Madeleine



Indian Walk

La Romaine

naparima-mayaro rd

Ortoire River

yare rd guayagua

Third Company

Oropouche Lagoon Banwari Trace Fyzabad

Debe Barrackpore Penal

ond r d na in er -er f n ia sa par si

o Seco


Trinity Hills Wildlife Sanctuary & Reserve

rock rd


Galeota Pt

Basse Terre

Guayaguayare Bay

Trinity Hills

Morne Diablo La Lune



beyond ordinary...

...Explore the extraordinary Caribbean island. Unspoilt, untouched, undiscovered Tobago | #101ReasonsTobago


Welcome message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Where to stay, rest & relax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Food & dining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Leisure & entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Bars & clubs Live shows Shopping Culture, history & festivals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 tobago's history at a glance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Historical sites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 The mountains & the sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 For birders & naturalists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Waterfall treks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Our favourite beaches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Turtle-watching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Diving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 More ocean adventures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 *Also see National calendar of events; info on getting here and getting around; tips for safe and sustainable trave, and more: pages 2-6

A digital treasure chest

For even more info, make sure to check out our website (, with news and lots more info from 30 previous issues of Discover Trinidad & Tobago! You can also download this and past issues to your favourite mobile device. Just search for us in your device’s App Store, or on

[background image] courtesy tobago tourism Agency

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Destination Tobago — unspoilt, untouched & undiscovered!


elcome to Destination Tobago — an island treasure with more than 101 amazing reasons to enjoy this ideal vacation escape. Voted among the top 50 islands in the world and the number one eco-destination at the 2019 Caribbean Travel Awards, no travel bucket list can be complete without a visit to our tropical paradise. If you’re here already, you've definitely made the right choice. We invite you to blissfully detach from the hustle and bustle of life as you enter our world, endowed with spectacular natural wonders, breathtaking landscapes, alluring cultural attractions and festivities, historic relics, delectable cuisine, and the warmth and friendliness of our people. For the eco-enthusiasts, Tobago features rich biodiversity. Spend some time identifying various species of flora and fauna in the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve that has been named the Caribbean Nature Park of the Year in the Caribbean Journal’s Green Caribbean Awards 2019. You can also journey to Little Tobago to witness phenomenal sea bird colonies, or have a thrilling encounter swimming with bioluminescent plankton in the Bon Accord Lagoon. If you are up to the challenge, we dare you to visit our more than 25 beaches, which feature wide expanses of pristine waters and an array of marine life. Tobago’s social diversity is on display throughout the year. From community Harvest celebrations and Buccoo’s Sunday School Street Lime, to the Tobago Jazz Experience, Tobago Carnival, Tobago Heritage

[background image] courtesy tobago tourism Agency

Festival, Blue Food Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Tobago Masters Football Tournament, International Sea to Sea Marathon, and the Tobago International Cycling Classic. There are endless activities for every appetite. And, should you simply wish to immerse yourself in the island’s history, take a trip to the picturesque Fort King George Heritage Park and visit our recently launched Icons of Tobago Museum, the Tobago Historic Museum, or witness Tobago’s historical legacy come alive with dramatic re-enactments at the monthly Interactive Museum. So, whether your interest is in seas and beaches; eco adventure and nature; culture, heritage and people; or romance and weddings, come and enjoy an experience of a lifetime in Tobago . . . the Caribbean destination that is beyond ordinary.

— Councillor Nadine Stewart-Phillips

Secretary of Tourism, Culture & Transportation, The Tobago House of Assembly 83

accommodat ion

d recharge Rest ank

With lovely options on offer, where you stay in Tobago depends on what you’re looking for in your Tobago escape. Luxury or budget? Ocean or mountain view? Beach or infinity pool? Villa or hotel room? Room service or self-catering? Retreat or resort? Guesthouses average US$60–$80, and hotels and resorts US$125–$275. If you happen to be looking to buy your own piece of paradise, check out premier agents like Caribbean Estates, Lands & Villas and Island Investments.

Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort

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The Villas at Stonehaven


The hub: Tobago’s southwest

Around Crown Point If you base yourself near Crown Point, most everything is close by. Check out the lovely Kariwak Holistic Haven (for yoga, natural living, and absolutely delicious food); the rejuvenating Silk Cotton Holiday Home & Wellness Centre; the luxurious Tomas Villa (perfect for large groups); the all-inclusive Tropikist Beach Hotel & Resort; the intimate Sunspree Resort (with pool, restaurant, and bar); the self-catering Bananaquit Apartments and Belleviste Apartments; and the Coco Reef Resort & Spa (all-inclusive). East of Crown Point, the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort offers all-inclusive options with extensive amenities. Along the Caribbean coast Within striking distance of Crown Point, but far enough away that you begin to feel you’re escaping the hustle and bustle, are some [opposite page] courtesy magdalena grand [TOP] chris anderson 85

Trying for the catch of the day in a bay beyond the Coco Reef Resort & Spa

gems along the Caribbean coast, where leatherback turtles come ashore each March–August. You’ll find great options around Black Rock — the beautiful and luxurious Plantation Beach Villas, with direct access to Stonehaven Bay; the Seahorse Inn; the all-inclusive Starfish Tobago by Rex Resorts (formerly Turtle Beach Resort, right on Great Courland Bay); Birdie’s Nest, and Hibiscus Heights; while the opulent, full-service Villas at Stonehaven are perched on a hill with magnificent ocean views and lovely landscaped grounds. Miller’s Guest House (Buccoo) and the Mt Irvine Bay Resort are also popular options. Even closer to nature Nature lovers escape to properties like Castara Retreats, and Naturalist Beach Resort (Castara); 86 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

[TOP] Chris anderson




L T D 87

Quiet, cosy rooms just minutes from the beach. Delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner served with love every day. Live jazz on Friday & Saturday nights. Massages available by appointment. Daily drop-in yoga classes. Relax... Rejuvenate... Reconnect. Come home to yourself... Comehome to Kariwak. 868 639 8442 @kariwakvillage

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pampering If you’re having a fairly active vacation, or just really need to melt away the stress, don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in spa and beauty treatments. Head to the French Secrets Spa (Mt Irvine Bay Hotel), The Face & Body Clinic (Magdalena Grand), and Kariwak (Crown Point). Cuffie River Nature Resort (Runnemede); Adventure Eco Villas, Villa Being, and Top o’ Tobago (Arnos Vale); and Footprints Eco Resort (Culloden). Speyside, in the northeast, is ideal for divers and birders, who’ll have easy access to Little Tobago. Popular spots include Blue Waters Inn and Top Rankin Guesthouse.


A walk along the dramatic Atlantic coastline at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort

[above] courtesy magdalena grand 89

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the sunset strip Properties facing Tobago's Caribbean coast — like Plantation Beach Villas, the Starfish, and the Villas at Stonehaven — enjoy absolutely breathtaking sunsets. You can watch the sun slowly dip under the horizon — evening cocktail optional!

[Above] alva Viarruel 91

food and dining

ble dining Delectak

Tobago’s best fine dining restaurants pair delectable food — local, international, and fusion — with ambience and charm. Many are set in locations steeped in history (shells of colonial water-wheels, sugar mills, and plantation houses), or take advantage of spectacular mountainside views or refreshing seaside perches. There’s also great eating at bars, beaches, roadsides, and hotel developments. Make sure to try distinctive local favourites like craband-dumpling; “blue food” (ground provisions); fresh fish (mahi mahi is among the most sustainably caught); oil down (breadfruit and salted meat are the main ingredients); coconut bake (often served with saltfish buljol); and a multitude of sweets (benne balls, toolom, paw-paw balls, tamarind balls, sugar cake, cashew cake, and cassava pone). Try condiments like chows and chutneys, and wash it all down with freshly squeezed local juices.

A Tobago staple: curried crab and dumpling

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Food and dining

Popular places to dine

Roasted pork

Red snapper

Coo-coo and callaloo

Look out for the restaurants at Anchor Bar & Grill (Mt Irvine); Kariwak (local, Crown Point); the Magdalena Grand (international, Lowlands); the Pavilion Restaurant (international cuisine, Black Rock); Scoops Dessert Café (Crown Point); the Seahorse Inn, Restaurant & Bar (local & international, Black Rock); Oasis Salad Bar & Café (Scarborough); Z’s Grill Shack (international, Black Rock); Caribbean Kitchen (Caribbean, Castara); Ciao Café (Italian, Scarborough); Edge of the Reef (international, Black Rock); the Fish Pot (Caribbean/ international, Pleasant Prospect); Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen (Caribbean creole, Speyside);

T HE S EAHORSE R e s t a u r a n t &


NN B a r


Dasheen san couche

Grafton Beach Road, Black Rock, Tobago Tel: (868) 639-0686 Lobster

[all images] courtesy tobago tourism Agency 93

Z’s Grill Shack Experience the Caribbean love & taste in the kitchen Z's Grill Shack brings New and old traditional Caribbean cuisine with fresh herbs and spices mixed with love in the kitchen.

Call/WhatsApp: 1 868 362 2605 For Reservations or Orders for Pick Up’s Pleasant Prospect Black Rock, Tobago.

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Food and dining La Tartaruga (Italian, Buccoo); the Salsa Kitchen (tapas, Scarborough); Mesoreen Café Bistro (Caribbean, Bon Accord); Shore Things Café (Caribbean & international, Lambeau); and Suckhole (Caribbean & international, Charlotteville). For catering (and those with a sweet tooth), contact Kerry’s Nice & Sweet Treats!

[above] visionsi/ 95

Whethnedrinwgindiong up, or wi k wn... le i sure and enterta inment

Despite its reputation as an idyllic place to escape and unwind, you won’t be too short of options if you want to head to the most popular bars and clubs to shake a leg or “buss a wine”. And of course, if lowkey leisure is more on the menu — like immersing yourself in some arts and culture, or shopping for a distinctive piece of paradise to take home with you — we’ve got you covered too.

The Shade nightclub

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Leisure and entertainment

Bars & clubs

Head to the Anchor Bar & Grill (Mt Irvine), BarCode (Scarborough), Jade Monkey Casino Bar & Grill (Crown Point), The OverHang (Crown Point), Time to Wine (Shirvan Plaza, near Scarborough), Glasgow’s Bar (Parlatuvier), Renmar’s Restaurant & Bar (Pigeon Point), Rev’s Steakhouse & Bar (Buccoo), and the bars and restaurants at popular hotels for classic and exotic drinks, yummy food, and good times. Year-round, The Shade nightclub (Bon Accord) is always the place to be.


Check out the new and vibrant Port Mall (Scarborough), and head to Gulf City Lowlands Mall, or the plazas in Crown Point like Shirvan Town Plaza, Milford Bay Plaza, Buccoo Town Centre, and Shoppes@Westcity. There are craft stalls at many beaches, including Store Bay and Pigeon Point. The Scarborough Market; Batiki Point (Buccoo); Shore Things (Lambeau); Planet Ceramics (Pigeon Point); the Scarborough Esplanade; the airport; and many resorts and hotels are good places to find souvenirs. Please don’t buy anything made from endangered or environmentally sensitive species (eg coral, sea turtles, conch, some snakes, some birds).

Art and fashion

You might want to take in or take home artwork by Tobago-born or -based visual artists. Look out for names like Jim Armstrong, Kevin Ayoung-Julien, Marcia Des Vignes, Edward Hernandez, David Knott, [opposite page] courtesy the shade [this page] courtesy artist james armstrong

more liming options The Shaw Park Complex is a location of choice for shows and performances (, so keep your eye out for what’s happening there. Don’t miss the infamous Sunday School street party, every Sunday night in Buccoo from 9pm, while the Island Crashers Festival in Pigeon Point has become a major draw for younger crowds.

“We put the Island in your days to keep Tobago in your hearts” Located at:

Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort 631-0960 Coco Reef Resort & Spa 631-5244 97

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Leisure and entertainment Earl Manswell, Jason Nedd, Michael Spencer, Rachael and Martin Superville (of The Art Gallery in Lowlands), and the late Luise Kimme (whose work is displayed at the Kimme Museum aka The Castle in Bethel). If you’re in the market for local fashion, check out Cee Wee Designs, Ashley Christmas, Movement Bago, Tobago Gyul, and Yesa Designs.

Chocolate and sweets

Seek out products from the award-winning Tobago Cocoa Estate (in Roxborough, and at some local retailers), and Tobago Chocolate Delights, next door to Shore Things in Lambeau. For traditional Tobagonian treats, the vendors at the airport can supply you with packages that travel well.

Tobago Fashion Coda


Tobago's Newest Shopping Experience Is Here

“Come discover your new favorite place”

Clothing Accessories, Shoes, Swimwear, Locally made products, Jewelry, Intimate apparel, Books, Children/Babies items, Tech, Activewear Dining: Fast Food, Creole Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, Bakery, Salad bar, Juices/Smoothies, Burgers, Cakes, Dessert, Icecream Entertainment: Laser Tag Arena, Games Zone, Wine Bar, Friday After Work Karaoke Beauty/Self Care Services: Hair and Nail Salons, Natural Hair Salon, Barbers

Corner Sangster's Hill + Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago Opening Hours: Monday–Friday 7am–10pm, Saturday + Sunday 10am–10pm

[ABOVE] welmoet photography 99

Heritage Festival Finale

Our roots, our culture, our hkistory fe st i val s


February The Carnival pre-season kicks off early before Christmas, with a launch in Scarborough featuring traditional mas characters (including speech bands — a cast of costumed characters who speechify in rhyme). Parties like Soca Spree and Soca Under the Samaan Tree are ever popular, as 100 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

are calypso shows and competitions. Make sure to visit the panyards of Tobago’s top steelbands, like Dixieland, Redemption Sound Setters, and Katzenjammers. Come J’ouvert (very early Carnival Monday morning) in Scarborough, mud mas is the focal point. Later in the day and on Tuesday, “ole mas” and costumed bands take


Goat racing

over the streets of Scarborough and Roxborough. If the legendary, trailblazing daughter of the soil, Calypso Rose, is giving a show at home over the season, don’t make the mistake of missing it!

(including swimming) to build stamina. The showdown happens at Mt Pleasant and Buccoo (the main location) Easter Monday and Tuesday. There’s a repeat at the Heritage Festival (July).

April Each Easter, Buccoo hosts the Family Day and Goat & Crab Races. The animals hurtle down a special 110m (360ft) track to the finish line, hustled on by barefoot "jockeys" who sprint behind their charges, holding the colourfully attired goats on long ropes, and the crabs on short strings. Beforehand, the goats are given special diets and training regimens

April Each April jazz takes over with events (some free) in Speyside, Signal Hill, Scarborough, Castara, and Pigeon Point. The event showcases some of the best in local and regional music alongside international stars. John Legend, Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson, Kool & the Gang, Angie Stone, Janelle Monae, Chaka Khan, Elton John, Sean Paul, Shakira, Stevie Wonder,

Goat & Crab Racing Festival

Tobago Jazz Experience

Tobago history at a glance [opposite page] alva Viarruel [above] welmoet photography

c 15,000–1,000 BC: island part of South America; settled by First Peoples (Source: The Indigenous Peoples of Trinidad and Tobago, by Arie Boomert) 101

Great Race

Mary J Blige, Sting, Diana Ross, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, George Benson, Heather Headley, Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, Fantasia Barrino, Ne-Yo, and others have headlined past editions.

Great Fete and Great Race

July and August The five-day Great Fete beach party takes over each July at Store Bay, Pigeon Point, and Mt Irvine. The Great Race (about 185km/115 miles) sees speedboats take off each August from the Port of Spain waterfront early in the morning and arriving in Scarborough two to three hours later.

1596: Tobago claimed by British (Courtesy Matt Briney/Shutterstock)

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Naturally, a rollicking beach party ensues.

Heritage Festival

July to August From mid-July to Emancipation Day (1 August), this major event on the cultural calendar preserves and celebrates Tobago’s folk traditions and culture. The festival takes you from village to village each evening, with communities showcasing dance, drama, music, and culinary traditions. Signature presentations include: • Folk Tales & Superstitions — learn about the Les Coteaux

1627–1650: Courlanders settle west coast near Plymouth, and Dutch the east (Courtesy THA)

1768–9: first Tobago Assembly established; Scarborough becomes island’s capital (Courtesy T&T National Archive)


jumbie, and about Gang Gang Sara and the Witch’s Grave in Golden Lane

The washerwomen at the river for Tobago Heritage Festival

• the Ole Time Tobago Wedding in Moriah, featuring groom in stovepipe hat and tailcoat and bride with trousseau on head, processing slowly with the distinctive three-step “brush back” • the Pembroke Salaka Feast, which also features Africanderived sacred dances (like the reel, jig, and salaka) that are indigenous to the area • the Plymouth Ole Time Carnival, featuring African stick-fighting and a cast of masquerade characters, Ju Ju warriors, Jab Jabs, and devils.

Blue Food Festival

October Each October in Bloody Bay, L’Anse Fourmi, and Parlatuvier, communities pay homage to the versatility and utility of root crops or “blue food”. Some varieties of

1776: oldest forest reserve in western hemisphere designated (Courtesy Tobago Tourism Agency)

[Banner] courtesy tobago tourism Agency [top] courtesy THA

dasheen can turn blue or indigo when cooked, hence the term — which now is used to describe all similar crops, including sweet potato, cassava, and yam. For the festival, all of the dasheen plant is used to prepare bread, cookies and sweets, ice-cream, and even lasagne! A culinary competition

1781: French seize Tobago, convert it to sugar colony (Courtesy Tobago Tourism Agency)

1801: slave uprising quelled (Courtesy T&T National Archive) 103

and cultural shows are also highlights.

Fisherman’s Festivals

Year-round Fisherman’s festivals take place in the coastal villages during the year, with the most significant on St Peter’s Day (29 June) — the patron saint of fishermen. After morning church services, the festivities begin: eating, drinking, and partying into the night. The biggest celebration takes place in Charlotteville, with smaller festivities up and down the coast.

Harvest festivals

Year-round These vibrant celebrations are a fixture of community life. One or more villages host a Harvest Festival one Sunday each month. Days begin with church services, followed by preparing and feasting on delicious local dishes.

Heritage Festival

1814: Tobago ceded to British under Treaty of Paris (Courtesy US National Archives)

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1816: one company of free blacks from the Uni ted States (mainly Baptist) settle (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1834–8: slavery abolished in the British Empire (Courtesy T&T National Archive)


1884: sugar industry collapses (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1889–98: Tobago annexed to Trinidad

(Courtesy T&T National Archive)

[Above] courtesy tha

1962: islands gain independence from Britain (Courtesy T&T National Archive) 105

Breathingkin history... hi stor ic al si te s

Here are some of our favourite historical sites in Tobago, all perfect for families.

Flagstaff Hill

Near Charlotteville This site in northwestern Tobago was an American military lookout and radio tower during World War II. The key here is the view — it is panoramic, encompassing the St Giles Islands and Charlotteville.

Fort King George

Scarborough Formerly a critical point of defence, the fort offers a stunning view of the harbour, capital, and Windward coast from 140m (460ft) above sea level. The site includes a military cemetery, the old chapel and cellblock, and the Tobago Museum, which displays Amerindian artefacts, colonial relics, military memorabilia, and

1963: Hurricane Flora devastates Tobago (Source: Siednji Leon/Unsplash)

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fossils from Tobago’s distant past. Open M–F, 9am–4pm, 639-3970

Botanical Gardens

Scarborough Relax among brilliant flamboyants, silk cotton trees, and avenues of royal palms while enjoying extensive grounds and captivating views.


Take in the Courlander Monument, a striking sculpture commemorating 17th-century settlers from Courland, Latvia; Fort James; and the Mystery Tombstone with its cryptic inscription: “She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it, except by her kind indulgences to him.”

1976: islands become a republic in the Commonwealth (Courtesy T&T National Archive)

1986: ANR Robinson becomes first Tobagonian prime minister, leading the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) (Courtesy T&T Ministry of Communications)

Historical sites

more fortitude Fort Milford (Crown Point): built in 1777, a perfect spot for watching the sun dip below the horizon on the Caribbean coast. Fort Bennett (Black Rock): look out over Stonehaven Bay from a little pavilion. Arnos Vale Waterwheel

1995: coalition government — the United National Congress (UNC) and NAR — unseats the PNM (Courtesy Parliament of T&T)

[above] courtesy tobago tourism Agency

2015: oil prices crash, causing economic slowdown; PNM, under Tobagonian Dr Keith Rowley, wins general elections (Courtesy Parliament of T&T)

2018: Paula-Mae Weeks becomes the country’s first female president; country inches back toward economic growth (Courtesy Parliament of T&T) 107

tour and e xplore

T he mountkains + the sea Tobago’s southwest is flat, undulating, and coralbased, with limestone cliffs and white-sand beaches. The northeast features coral-crusted rock formations, while the rainforest reserve of the mountainous Main Ridge is full of waterfalls, rivers, and streams. Rising to 876m (1,890ft), it encompasses 14,000 acres of protected rainforest — the oldest in the western hemisphere. There’s also swampland and mangrove, and a variety of reefs offshore. Tobago has twice won the World Travel Award as the world’s leading eco-tourism destination. Small enough for much of it to be seen in a day, especially if you start out early, tour operators offer a range of fullday and half-day tours, plus specialised itineraries based on your interests. For eco tours and adventures, make sure to book with a registered tour operator or guide (see and visittobago. For easy day trips and sightseeing — if you feel confident on the road — you could rent a vehicle, pick up a Discover T&T map, and go exploring on your own!

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Tour and explore

mountain biking Easy coastal tracks; tours taking in historical sites, waterfalls, and beaches (some not accessible by car); and intense treks into the mountainous Main Ridge . . . Mountain Bike Magazine called the island a “mountain biker’s island paradise”. Make sure to ride with a guide, and you won’t want to miss the MTB Mountain Madness event each May! Tobago Mountain Bike Tours: 332-5872 Mountain Biking Tobago: 639-9709

Riding the Top of the World trail near Arnos Vale

[background image] daniel knecht courtesy mountain biking tobago 109

ss [caption]

For birders and naturalists Adventure Farm & Nature Reserve A cocrico: Tobago's national bird

Arnos Vale Dozens of hummingbirds, tanagers, and bananaquits swoop in to feed on fruits and sugared water when owner Ean MacKay rings a bell. A trained guide dog can take you on a tour among the trails of this 12-acre property. 639-2839

Concordia Estate

A Trinidad motmot

Near Scarborough Covering some 50 acres a few miles above and beyond Scarborough, and brimming with both natural and built history, this magnificent estate boasts a range of unique attractions: you can tour its many nature trails or butterfly garden, its historic waterwheel and cocoa house (where accommodation is also offered), bird watch, and enjoy unique wagon rides or exhilarating ATV rides. They even offer destination weddings against the estate’s many stunning backdrops., 235-8794

Corbin Local Wildlife Park

Mason Hall These 20 acres overlook Hope Bay. A flagship project of the International Natural Forestry Foundation (INFF), it opened in 2015 and combines forest hiking trails, a lily pond, enclosures and captive breeding areas (housing rescued animals and threatened species for release back into the Discover A green heronTrinidad & Tobago 2020 110

Tour and explore wild). Nature lovers will enjoy the park’s array of native trees, shrubs, birds, reptiles, mammals, and more.

Grafton Caledonia Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary

This former cocoa plantation became a wildlife sanctuary after 1963’s Hurricane Flora. There’s a small visitors’ centre and winding trails frequented by the “king of the woods”, or motmot.

Little Tobago

Northeast Coast Once a haven for imported birds of paradise from New Guinea — which were later wiped out by hurricanes — the island is now a bird sanctuary. Glass-bottom boat tours depart from Blue Waters Inn.

Main Ridge Forest Reserve

Tours typically start at Gilpin Trace, ranging from a gentle 45-minute hike (to a small waterfall), to a day excursion into the interior. Other popular treks are the Atlantic, Blue Copper, and Niplig trails.

A blue-chinned sapphire hummingbird

look out for . . . • Birds: 200+ recorded species • Butterflies: 130+ species (including the impressive blue emperor) • Coral: 300+ species • Fish: 80+ species of tropical reef fish • Mammals: 12 kinds of mammals, including 17 bat species • Reptiles & amphibians: 5 marine turtle species; 25 snake species (none of them poisonous); 14 frog species; and 6 lizard species.

Tobago Cocoa Estate

Roxborough In the hills above Roxborough, owner Duane Dove makes premium chocolate from cocoa grown on his estate. He also twins it with aged rums. A falconer with trained hawks helps to police the cocoa fields. There’s free chocolate at the end of the guided tour, and a chance to buy more. [opposite page top] RAPSO imaging [other Images] courtesy tobago tourism Agency

A woodcreeper 111

Waterfall treks Argyle Falls

Roxborough At 137m (450ft) above sea level, these are Tobago’s highest falls, with three refreshing pools, which come into view after a gentle, roughly 20-minute hike. How high you climb is up to you! Certified guides offer special tours. Admission fee

Castara Waterfall

A very short and easy but refreshing forest walk

Highland Waterfall

Moriah A moderately challenging roughly 30-minute trek to one of the island’s most breathtaking falls

Parlatuvier Waterfall

A short hike gets you to these falls’ two beautiful pools

Twin Rivers Waterfall

Belle Garden A gentle roughly 40-minute trek through thick brush.

We always recommend going with an authorised and reputable guide

Discoverwaterfall Trinidad & Tobago 2020 112Parlatuvier

Tobago’s Premier Eco-Tourism Destination

A new brand of Experiential Tourism

Our services include: Water Wheel Complex Tractor-Pulled Wagon Rides ATVs/Mountain Bikes Tours Rustic Cocoa House Accommodation Souvenir Shop, River Beach Play Park Activities St. Cecilia Road Concordia, Scarborough, Tobago • Tel: 1-868-394-1940 •

y Lad in Red C A R REN TAL

Store Bay Local Road, Crown Point, Tobago. (Walking distance from the airport)

Exclusive & Reliable 24 Hours Service Tel/Fax: 868-631-8261 (Office) After Hours: 868-639-6380 Mobile: 868-678-1047 Email:

[opposite page] adrian bernard

Coco Reef Resort • Magdalena Grand Beach Resort • Mt Irvine Resort Tel: 868.631.2626 • E: 113

Our favourite beaches Bloody Bay

Leeward coast, near Parlatuvier Everything about this near-unspoilt, sheltered, and peaceful bay — from the approach to its golden sand, clear turquoise waters, and the lush green forest nearby — is sheer beauty. Amenities and lifeguards are on site.

Englishman’s Bay

Leeward coast, past Castara We hesitate to write about how wonderful this beach is, lest its distinctive charm, seclusion, and peace be disturbed . . . Largely obscured from the road by vegetation, its crescent-shaped bay features about a half mile of powdery golden sand and calm turquoise waters (but note that it shelves off and becomes deep very quickly). There is craft shopping and an onsite restaurant.

Pigeon Point

Pigeon Point

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Crown Point People flock to Pigeon Point for its white coral sand; calm, warm, and shallow water — protected by Buccoo Reef (glass-bottom boat tours leave from here); and many on-site conveniences, including thatch huts with picnic tables, eateries, water-sports businesses (surfing, kite-surfing, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, kayaking), souvenir shops, restrooms, changing facilities, and parking.

Tour and explore

And of course, there’s the iconic jetty with its thatched cabana that has graced many a postcard (and selfie!). Though consequently one of the island’s busiest beaches, there’s a fair amount of real estate and breathing room, as the beach area extends around the headland to the lagoon. Admission fee

Speyside and Batteaux Bay

Speyside, Windward coast These are two great beaches in Tobago’s dive capital, both sheltered by the nearby islands and coral reef systems. Glass-bottom boat tours to the beautiful Angel Reef, Goat Island, and Little Tobago depart Batteaux Bay at Blue Waters Inn. Speyside has water-sports facilities (many geared to diving), accommodation options, and several good restaurants (including the iconic Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen).

Store Bay

Crown Point Its accessibility, small size, calm and clear waters, and robust range of amenities are among the reasons that it’s so often packed. The bay is great for swimming and snorkelling — especially under the coral cliffs at the southern end. On-site bars and eateries serve up local creole favourites, fast-food staples, and something beastly cold with which to wash it all down. Glass-bottom boat tours depart here for Buccoo Reef, the Nylon Pool, and No Man’s Land.

[top and bottom] courtesy tobago tourism Agency [middle] chris anderson

Bloody Bay

Englishman's Bay

Batteaux Bay 115

More of our favourites Back Bay

Secluded small bay with golden sand and a little pool (during high tide) that nature seemed to make just for two. NB: take extra care due to the isolation of this beach

Canoe Bay

Arguably Tobago’s calmest and shallowest beach. Rarely crowded, with good facilities, including bar and cabanas. Admission fee

Castara Bay

A stunning, quiet, and unspoilt beach with calm water and fine golden sand in a thriving fishing community. Twice a week, enjoy bread baked in old-fashioned dirt ovens. A restaurant and craft stalls are on site

Cotton Bay

Halfway up the Caribbean coast, this quiet and idyllic bay is a popular stop for boat tours up the coast, though it can be accessed by a hiking trail

Grange Beach (“The Wall”)

A long, thin, and generally calm beach

Lovers’ Bay


116 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

You’ll need a tour guide or to hire a trustworthy fisherman to get to this intimate and romantic spot near Charlotteville

Tour and explore

Pirate's Bay

Mt Irvine

Two beaches divided in the centre by a headland — Old Grange and “Little Irvine”. There are excellent facilities, water-sports, surfing in season


A placid beach in a seine fishing village, with a few snackettes and a fish market

Grange Bay

Pirate’s Bay

A stunning pink sand beach with crystal-clear water, accessed via dirt track and 150-odd steps from the end of the Charlotteville seafront, or by sea

Stonehaven Bay

A lovely, long, dark-sand beach with dramatic rocky outcrops, and facilities (including several hotel/villa developments) nearby.

[bottom right] nicholas bhajan [All other images] courtesy tobago tourism Agency

Stonehaven Bay (aka Grafton Beach) 117


If you’re in Tobago between March and September, this is something you must add to your itinerary. It is magical and humbling to witness this ancient sea ritual.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Do not touch or disturb nesting turtles or hatchlings. Try to be quiet and unobtrusive, and do not use flashlights or flash photography. Lights, noise and activity can disorient both turtles and hatchlings Do not drive on nesting beaches; the weight of the vehicle can crush eggs buried in the sand.

A leatherback turtle nests on Stonehaven beach

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Each season, five species of marine turtles come ashore to nest. Their adorable offspring hatch six to eight weeks later, and make a mad dash for the open sea. The most common here are the giant leatherback, hawksbill, and green. All (and their eggs) are legally protected. While many of Tobago’s beaches see nesting turtles each year, leatherbacks come ashore primarily on the southwestern coast, and hawksbills on the southeast. For tours and information, contact SOS Tobago (Save Our Sea Turtles Tobago, 328-7351), or a reputable tour guide. Many resorts on nesting beaches can also arrange for guides, or notify you either when nesting turtles have been sighted, or when clutches of baby turtles are being prepared for release into the ocean.

The bow of the Maverick

Tour and explore


What you’ll see

Tobago boasts a wide variety of marine life, especially in the offshore reef systems which are sustained by Tobago’s plankton-rich waters — coral; reef fish; rays; moray eels; invertebrates; sharks (and their favourite prey like jacks, barracuda, wahoo, tarpon, and tuna). Between December and May, if you’re really lucky, you might just catch sight of magnificent whale sharks — especially off Speyside.

What you’ll need

Hire one of the PADI/SSIcertified Association of Tobago Dive Operators (ATDO, vendors. They will arrange for training, as needed, and plan the most appropriate dives for your level of experience. Popular dives in the south include Flying Reef, Mt Irvine Wall, Arnos Vale, Englishman’s Bay, Diver’s

[opposite page] courtesy tobago tourism Agency [above] courtesy undersea tobago

Dream and Diver’s Thirst, and — for experts — the Maverick wreck (sunk in 1997), off Mt Irvine, or drift diving the Columbus Passage. In the north, Speyside and Charlotteville attract more experienced divers; the visibility is greater, the water deeper, and the marine landscape richest. Popular dives include Keleston Drain (where you can see what’s reported to be the world’s largest living big brain coral), Japanese Gardens, London Bridge, Bookends, the Sisters rocks, St Giles Island, and — popular with beginners — Black Jack Hole and King’s Bay. 119

More ocean adventures


Bon Accord In the Bon Accord Lagoon, the water lights up with blue-green light under the right conditions (around the new moon). It’s caused by millions of phytoplankton, which emit flashes of light to startle predators. Radical Sports: 631-5150

Buccoo Reef & the Nylon Pool

Crown Point The Buccoo Reef/Bon Accord Lagoon Complex is the island’s first Ramsar Site, recognised as a wetland of international importance. Plans were announced in 2015 for an underwater sculpture park. Though one of the island’s most popular tours and the largest of the island’s reefs, it is not in peak condition. The smaller Angel Reef, near Speyside, is perhaps the best reef in Tobago. Glass-bottom boat tours depart Pigeon Point and Store Bay for Buccoo Reef and also head to the Nylon Pool. A stop at this warm, metre-deep sandbar is often paired with a trip to Buccoo Reef and No Man’s Land. Its name is said to have come from Princess Margaret, who claimed the water was as clear as her nylon stockings.

Horse riding

Buccoo If you love animals, the sea, and have a soft spot for rescued horses with moving back-stories, then you’ll want to check out Being With Horses. They offer sunset swim120 Discover Trinidad & Tobago 2020

Kite-surfing at Pigeon Point

ride sessions, trail rides, picnic rides, and horseback weddings. The team also operates Healing with Horses, which offers therapeutic riding to differently-abled children. Book early, as they’re often full up! 639-0953


Kite-surfing, kite-boarding, kayaking, sport fishing, stand-up-paddling, surfing, sailing . . . If these are your thing, head to Pigeon Point, Mt Irvine, Charlotteville, Bacolet, and Little Rockly Bay, particularly from November through April.

Or check out: Tobago Kite-boarding Organisation 331-3775 Radical Sports 631-5150 Stand Up Paddle 681-4741 Tobago Sea Kayak Experience 660-6186 T&T Game Fishing Association 632-6608 T&T Sailing Association 634-4519 T&T Surfing Association

[above] courtesy tobago tourism Agency [opposite page] chris anderson

Tour and explore

Being With Horses

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SEASON Watersporting enthusiasts will enjoy the Carnival Regatta (February), also known as the “festival of wind�, held at Pigeon Point near to Carnival. Dragon boat aficionados will be on site, also at Pigeon Point, for the annual Dragon Boat Festival in June. There are triathlete events year-round, with the popular Rainbow Cup taking centre stage (also in June), while runners flock to the Sea to Sea Marathon each March. 121

Tobago Map of


Police Station

Gas Station

Turtle Nesting

Bird Watching

Shopping Centre

Golf Course


Scuba Diving






Sailing & boat tours


Major roadway

caribbean sea

Englishman’s Bay Castara Bay


King Peter’s Bay Mt Dillon Runnemede

Culloden Bay


Culloden Arnos Vale Bay Turtle Beach

pl ym

Great Courland Bay Ft Bennett Stonehaven Bay

Buccoo Reef & Nylon Pool

Crown Point

Buccoo Bay

milfor d rd

ANR Robinson Intl Airport


n rd

Ft Milford

Bethel Mt Irvine

Canoe Bay

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Les Coteaux

Adventure Farm & Nature Reserve ou

Grafton Sanctuary

Mt Irvine Bay


Store Bay

Black Rock



Patience Hill Signal Hill


Pigeon Point

Bon Accord Lagoon

Arnos Vale


• Gulf City

o eN ud Cl a Lowlands

ig el H

Cuffie River Nature Retreat

Lambeau ay hw Little Rockly Bay


h rt

Mason Hall




Craig Hall

Mt St George • Barbados Ba Scarborough Mall

Rockly Fort King Bay George


Bacolet Point

Bacolet Bay

s y


Maps and essentials

St Giles Islands


Sister’s Rocks

Man-o’War Bay

Pirate’s Hill Bay


Parlatuvier Bay Parrot Hill

Bloody Bay

L’Anse Fourmi Speyside

Blue Waters Goat Island


Little Tobago

Tyrrel’s Bay

Main Ridge Forest Reserve

King’s Bay Delaford King’s

Rainbow Waterfall

Hillsborough Dam


Argyle Falls


d dR ar dw n Wi Goldsborough Goodwood

Pinfold Bay Granby Point


Belle Garden

Richmond Glamorgan


Prince’s Bay

Richmond Great House

Bay Tobago Cocoa Estate

Delaford Bay

Carapuse Bay

Richmond Island

atl antic ocean 123

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