If you’re Trinbagonian or yearning to travel to Trinidad and Tobago in the south of the Caribbean, here are some must-see places and things to do that should be on your bucket list.
1. Go turtle watching.
If you’re into nature and animals, then you will love this experience. Imagine witnessing a mammoth leatherback turtle laying her eggs in the sand on a wild, windy night. The moment is nothing short of breathtaking. Go with responsible, local guide groups like Nature Seekers, based in Matura. You can also spot leatherback turtles at Grande Riviere in Trinidad and Stonehaven Bay/Turtle Beach in Tobago.
2. Go beach hopping in Trinidad.
Big sis, Trinidad, and little sis, Tobago, are blessed with miles and miles of sandy beaches. In North Trinidad, think beyond Maracas and head to Las Cuevas, Tyrico, Blanchisseuse, Balandra, Salybia, and Grande Riviere beaches. In the southeastern part of the island, drive through the Cocal, a coconut plantation that runs parallel to Manzanilla Beach. Stop at the boardwalk, then continue to Mayaro to dig for chip-chip (tiny clams) and to rent a beach house for the weekend. In South Trinidad, bubble a pot at Quinam, Granville, and Columbus Bay.
3. Go beach hopping in Tobago.
Tobago is so much more than Store Bay and Pigeon Point. Drive along the Leeward coast and hit the Grange/Wall, Englishman’s Bay, Castara, Bloody Bay, and Parlatuvier. Then head to the Windward coast and take a dip in King’s Bay or Speyside. In the most northern tip of the island, be sure to check out Pirate’s Bay, in Charlotteville.
4. Hike the Northern Range and the Main Ridge.
If you’re craving an unspoiled piece of paradise on any of the two islands, head to the hills! In Trinidad, the Northern Range offers many beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and clearings, only accessible by foot. For beginners, head to Rio Seco Waterfall, where water cascades into an emerald pool in the deep of the forest. For more experienced hikers, head to Paria Beach and Waterfall or do an overnight hike from Matelot to Blanchisseuse. Remember to keep a clean scene, carry lots of water, and wear sturdy shoes. In Tobago, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve runs within the island’s interior and offers many nature trails to explore. It also claims to be the oldest forest reserve in the Western Hemisphere (protected since 1776).
5. Hit the lighthouse and forts.
One of the most exciting places in Trinidad is Galera Point/Toco Lighthouse, located on the northeastern tip of the island. Here, a piece of rock juts out between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a sight and sound to behold as the waves clash and crash in the holes in the rocks below. Tobago, on the other hand, is a treasure-trove of forts. Head to Fort King George near Scarborough, Fort Milford near Crown Point, Fort Bennett on the Leeward Coast, Fort Granby on the Windward Coast, and Cambleton Battery in Charlotteville for superb views of the coastline.
6. Sample the street food.
Both Trinidad and Tobago are blessed with a diversity of cheap street food. Sample hot doubles, corn soup, chow, pudding, bake and shark, Indian delicacies, and crab and dumpling. Read more about each dish in my article, 10 unforgettable street foods to try in T&T.
7. Mount Saint Benedict.
Even if you are not Catholic or especially religious, many Trinis can attest to the beauty of “the Mount.” Step into the church to experience a rare oasis of calm in the always busy East/West Corridor in northern Trinidad. Outside, enjoy expansive views of the Caroni plains while having a spot of tea at Pax Guest House. Or, stay overnight at the guest house and go hiking and bird watching in the Northern Range. Don’t forget to pick up some fresh Pax yogurt before you leave.
8. See the sunset at the Temple in the Sea.
Although located right next to a Hindu cremation site, the Temple in the Sea at Waterloo in Trinidad is well worth a visit. The story behind the construction of the temple is nothing short of inspirational. Siewdass Sadhu, an indentured laborer in Waterloo, initially built a Hindu temple on land but it was destroyed by the British colonial government. He then decided to build a temple in the sea, where the colonial authorities could not reach it. It took several years and today, a new temple stands on the site.
9. Go zip lining.
Imagine being suspended from a metal cable up to 100 feet in the air and flying through the rainforest canopy at lightning speed. If this sounds right up your alley, head to Chaguaramas for zip lining tours, which include dizzying views of Macqueripe Bay.
10. Go bird watching.
Trinidad and Tobago is literally a bird lover’s paradise. There are so many species here, from tiny hummingbirds and to regal scarlet ibises. In Trinidad, Asa Wright Nature Centre, Pointe a Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, and Yerette are known for bird watching. If you’d like to see the scarlet ibis, one of the national birds, in its natural habitat, take a guided tour or go kayaking through the Caroni swamp at dusk. In Tobago, spot rare species on Little Tobago or in the Main Ridge Nature Reserve.
Photos: © Hot Foot Trini
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