So, in case you are a new reader to this blog, I am a Trini – I come from Trinidad and Tobago, and specifically, born and raised on the island of Trinidad. Trinidad is the most southern island of the Caribbean, right off the coast of South America. Being that close to the continent we were once part of, means we are blessed with rainforests and moutains, flora and fauna not always found on our fellow Caribbean islands further away. In addition to being the land of the hummingbird, with the Scarlet Ibis being one of our national birds, we also have a species of deer and an ocelot. They’re a bit smaller on the island than their relatives on the mainland, but that’s normal since we’re a smaller landmass. The human Trinis haven’t made it any easier for the forest-dwellers by dissecting their historical connections between the Northern, Central and Southern Ranges and making their habitats that much smaller. And don’t get me started on the forest fires…Papa Bois must be constantly vex…
I live in Guyana, more or less consistently for the past 5 years. There are things to explore here – Georgetown, Kaieteur Falls, the massive rivers like the Essequibo and the islands in the rivers. And their wildlife is certainly impressive (even if I’ve only seen certain species in the zoo as I am not a jungle explorer). But home is home, and the beauty of the place where I still consider my permanent residence is always at the forefront. So I was extremely excited to host a couple friends from foreign last month, when they visited Trinidad as part of their honeymoon (they stopped in Grenada first). I’d met Jess while I was studying in Edinburgh years ago, and we’ve seen each other since then in California, where she now lives, Toronto and back in Edinburgh for our first reuinion. She was the first of my friends I made in Scotland to visit T&T and I’d been planning for about a year to figure out essential things to see over a few days. I’d exposed her to Trini food back when we shared a kitchen, and her new husband got his taste in Brampton, Ontario when we were attending a wedding and I found a Trini roti shop that did good work. So scenery and food. Must-haves on this tour of Trinidad. I had must-sees and must-haves for Tobago too, but they didn’t make it there this trip.
- Caroni Swamp/Bird Sanctuary
- La Vega Estate
- Asa Wright Nature Centre
- Mount St Benedict
- Temple by the Sea (can’t believe I forgot – we made it for sunset too)
- Maracas and Las Cuevas (beaches on the North Coast)
- Port of Spain – downtown, the waterfront, the Savannah
- Chaguanas or any other market town
I had more on the list that couldn’t be done, like –
- San Fernando Hill
- Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust
- Down de Islands
- Mayaro/Manzanilla stretch (on the South East coast)
- Leatherback turtles (during nesting season)
- Bake and Shark in Maracas
- Debe for Indian delicacies
- Roti (including a roti-making lesson from Mom)
- Sunday Lunch food (stew beef, callaloo, green fig pie, red beans)
- Dining on the Avenue (Ariapita)
It was an intense 6 days of driving around, mostly through green and beautiful Trinidad but I think my guests enjoyed it And that was in spite of the dire warnings they got in Grenada about Trinidad…(tsk tsk, and Grenada is my favourite non-home Caribbean country too…) My friends even made it from Long Circular Mall to West Mall by MAXI-TAXI on their own (i.e. without me) and then back to their hotel, in the NIGHT…and found people were willing to give them information and direct them all along the route. And all for US$1. They even found a panyard. We’re not all thugs and predators in T&T.
So what would make your list of must-see or must-do (or indeed must-eat) in Trinidad?
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