When you think of the Caribbean what comes to mind? The limbo? Steelpan? Calypso music? Carnival? If these things are part of your Caribbean list, then you will feel at home in Trinidad and Tobago. Steelpan originate in Trinidad and Tobago and is the national instrument. Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival is the most spectacular of all of the carnival celebrations in the Caribbean. Calypso and Soca music started in Trinidad and Tobago as well. These gems are held in high esteem and practiced all over the world.
Trinidad and Tobago are not your typical Caribbean islands. While they have the beautiful beaches, lively calypso music, and friendly island people in abundance, Trinidad and Tobago is the most industrialized island in the Caribbean. In fact, Trinidad receives more business travelers than tourists in any given year. Trinidad may be the epicenter of business for the Caribbean but it also has 450 bird species to look for and over 150 animal and reptiles species. The people of Trinidad and Tobago are from many different parts of the world. The traditions and celebrations are reflective of this cultural variety. Javanese, Hindu, Lebanese, and many others populate this island and have for centuries.
Populated by the Arawak ad Carib Indians before being discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498, Trinidad and Tobago was left barren for nearly 100 years after the Spanish enslaved the natives and shipped them to other islands to work. The island became populated with British people and African slaves, a new population came into being. After the ending of slavery, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian people were brought to the island to continue the tradition of work. Now all of the cultures that call this island home work amicably together to create an island paradise.
Interested visitors can enjoy hiking at all skill levels, biking, zip lining, turtle watching, cave exploration, and kayaking in Trinidad. The larger of the two islands, Trinidad boasts an array of activities that are perfect for both the novice and the experienced. If you are looking for beaches, though, Tobago will be the better destination, as most of Trinidad’s beaches are undeveloped.
Tobago has an entirely different appeal. Considered by World Atlas Travel to be the “Best Eco Destination in the World” Tobago brings its own uniqueness to the table. Over 6000 species of plants and animals populate this island. The diving in Tobago is superb. The beaches are pristine and the people are friendly. It is the quintessential beach vacation.
Tobago also has an interesting Eater activity – goat and crab racing. “Jockeys” work with the goats to cross the finish line. Crabs are enticed to cross the finish line as well, though the task is not as easy as with the goats. There’s something you don’t see every day!
Trinidad and Tobago offers a mix of activities to experience on both islands. Visit Trinidad and Tobago and see how diverse it is for yourself.
Size: Trinidad: 1,850 square miles & Tobago: 182 square miles
Population: 1.5 million
Language: English; also Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole.
Demonym: Trinidadian, Tobagonian and Trinbagonian.
Government: Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$)
Main City: Trinidad: Port of Spain & Tobago: Scarborough
Main Airport: Trinidad: Piarco International Airport & Tobago: A.N.R. Robinson International Airport
Telephone Country Code: 868
Local Beer: Carib Beer
National Dish: Hot Roti: a tasty curry-filled pastry.
Entry Visa: All visitors to Trinidad and Tobago will need to have a passport that which is valid for at least 3 months after their stay in Trinidad and Tobago (6 months if you are not a US citizen). Visitors will also need to have an onward or return ticket. Visas are not required for citizens of the United States, Canada and most European and Commonwealth countries.
When To Go: The weather in Trinidad and Tobago is warm year round. The islands sit outside of the hurricane belt. The average temperature is 78°F. The wet season is June to December. The high season (roughly February to March) sees masses of visitors arrive to take part in Carnival celebrations.
Marriage Requirements: Couples looking to get married in Trinidad and Tobago will need to apply for a special license which takes 24 hours to process and can only be granted to non-residents. This is available from the Warden’s Office of the Registrar General.
Documents Required: In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
• birth certificates along with driver’s licences or other forms of identification
• certificates of no impediment or single status report
Also if applicable:
• divorce papers i.e. decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
• proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
• proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor
Residency Requirement: Three days.
Fees: TT$337.50 to be paid in cash at the Warden’s Office, in stamps if going to Registrar General.
Witnesses: Two people are required to witness the marriage.