Port of Spain, Trinidad
Language and Currency
What is Trinidad Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
English is the official language in Trinidad, but French patois and Spanish are also spoken. The currency is the Trinidad & Tobago Dollar.
Located 7 miles east off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad is the southernmost of the Caribbean Islands. Birthplace of the calypso, steel-drum music and the limbo, it is about the size of Delaware. An abundance of floral growth provides a natural beauty to this otherwise urban island. It is very sophisticated and cultural, considered by many to be the most cosmopolitan Caribbean Island. Port of Spain, the capital, is a bustling commercial center where sophisticated shopping, restaurants and hotels abound. This is definitely not your typical laid-back beach island experience. Trinidad is an island rich in texture, boasting fine art, music and theater. Culturally diverse, it is not unusual to see a mosque sit in close proximity to an ornate cathedral. A lively and vital cultural scene awaits the visitor, as there always seems to be some sort of celebration in full swing on this multi-national island. In Trinidad, think “Carnival” all year round, a rainbow of rhythm, color and culture.
Blessed with constant trade winds, this tropical island maintains a mean day time temperature of 84°F and 74°F nights. The rainy season runs from June – December, but, even then, rain seldom lasts more than a couple of hours out of a day. Sand flies on the beach can be a problem during the rainy season, however, so insect repellent is advisable.
Ships dock at the cruise terminal in Port of Spain, known as one of the largest deep water harbors in the Caribbean. Relatively new, and very modern, passenger terminal facilities include a reception area, taxi and telephone services, duty-free shopping and a local craft market. City center is less than 1/8 mile from the port, or about a 3 minute cab ride, easily within walking distance. Taxis are not metered and a ride into city center will cost about US$6.00.
The main shopping strip is Frederick Street in the center of Port of Spain.
Angostura Bitters (an aromatic tonic to flavor cocktails), Old Oak Rum, leather goods, unusual and exotic fabrics, paintings by local artists and music CDs of chutney, steel band and calypso music are the best purchases on this island.
Trinidad's North Coast
An excellent way to spend a day in Trinidad is to begin with a walking tour of Port of Spain. Start at Queen’s Park Savannah, on the northern edge of town. Walking along the shaded paths of this 199 acre recreational area you will pass cricket and soccer fields, vast open space and inviting benches. Wander past the clock tower of Queen Royal College and you will encounter the Magnificent Seven, a row of early 20th century mansions. Do some shopping along Frederick Street, before you end your walking tour and head for the Asa Wright Nature Centre. This 200 acre bird sanctuary and conservation center is one of the most popular tourist spots on the island. Another favorite of tourists is Pitch Lake. This huge 114 acre wonder of nature is the source of most of the world’s asphalt. But, personally, from an aesthetic perspective, it isn’t much better than viewing a vast parking lot. Having gotten a taste of Trinidad diversity, take a break at Maracas Bay on the north coast. This is probably the best and most accessible beach in Trinidad. Unfortunately, none of the beaches in Trinidad are close to port, but Maracas Bay can be accessed by Saddle Rd. and is about 45 minutes from Port of Spain (a US$25 cab ride). Here there is a nice stretch of sand, well maintained facilities, and a nice restaurant and bar on the hill overlooking the beach. After enjoying a pleasant afternoon, upon your return to Port of Spain, end your day with a visit to one of the many panyards open to the public to hear the steel-drum bands rehearse.
If you are on the island during Carnival, or any of the other multitude of celebrations, and have an opportunity to visit one of the panyards or one of the dozens of “mas” (masquerade) camps, where performers open their rehearsals to the public, seize the chance. Definitely a “don’t miss” experience.
Not that I know of personally, but don’t leave the island without sampling “Shark an’ Bake”, a fried dough stuffed with shark meat, sold in stands along the beach or the island specialty, a rum punch with fresh fruit and Angostura Bitters.