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Gabriela Galvao

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Trinidad & Tobago

Background about the country

Trinidad & Tobago are composed of two tiny islands, it is a relatively “new country”, with only 52 years of independence from the UK. Trinidad is considered the financial capital and Tobago is mostly known for its breathtaking beaches and relaxed environment. Their population is 1,223,916, which is approximately the population of Dallas, TX and they are also considered one of the most ethically diverse countries in the world. Random fun fact: believe it or not, Nicki Minaj is Trinidadian.

Their currency is called the Trinidad & Tobago dollar and it is worth approximately 0.16 USD. That being said, here are some tips to enjoy the most this beautiful country within a small budget.

Accommodation:

Since there is not much information about T&T online (seriously) it can be kind of hard to find a place to stay. But don’t feel so lost! Flipkey offers a variety of options and prices for vacation home rentals in Trinidad & Tobago.

Activities:

All the public transportation within the island (taxi, mini-vans, bus) costs $1 to $3 dollars, which gives you a lot of mobility to go everywhere. The best way to get transportation from anywhere in Trinidad is from Port of Spain (the capital, located in Trinidad). From there you can go to amazing places such as Maracas Beach, Las Cuevas Beach, the National Academy of Performing Arts, many parks, restaurants and more.

To move around Tobago is a bit more complicated, the ferry from Trinidad to Tobago is around $8. There are not many taxis around, so I would recommend you just set a time with a local tour agency and they will make sure to find someone to take you around the island. Since this would be like a private driver experience, they would probably charge you around $20 to drive you around for the whole day, so you get the chance to experience Castara Beach, Mt. Irvine Beach, Pirate’s Bay Beach, and its many waterfalls and lakes – all for free entrance!

Food:

Due to Trinidad & Tobagos ethnic diversity you can find all types of food in the area. I stayed in a city called St. James and we would walk on the streets for 4 blocks and find varieties of fresh fruit, baked goods, Chinese food, fancy Italian food, a lot of Indian food and typical Trini Food (Shark & Bake, Doubles). Street food normally costs $1 to $7 (you can get a combo of gyros, sandwiches and Doubles, depending on how hungry you are); there are some “set meals” restaurants that are also really popular and cost you around $8 for a good amount of food and a drink. And if none of the options above entice you there is also a Supermarket nearby in which you can buy “familiar” food, but believe me, you won’t want to miss the street food.

Party Life:

Trinis are really excited and proud about their Carnival, which happens every February. At this time of year, the locals wear typical Carnival clothes, drink a lot of alcohol and dance to Soca (typical Caribbean music). But, if you are not there during February, you can simply go to Ariapita Avenue and choose one of the many bars around. Their typical beers are Stag and Carib and they would cost approximately $2. Some other fancy drinks can go up to $4 on big nightclubs such as Aria, Zen and 51. Women get in for free at clubs, but men have to pay around $5, and they are really strict about your outfit. Ladies, please wear heels; gents, wear nice shoes and don’t forget your polo shirts.

Community Service:

I do feel that it is important to pay it forward for any type of experience that you have. It is good for the mind and soul, and you don’t have to spend a dime. That being said, one amazing experience of community service that I would suggest is the Trinidad & Tobago Red Cross National Society. They provide all types of training for volunteers from disaster relief to clowning for cute kids at the hospital.

Overall, Trinidad & Tobago is an amazing and lively country, full of friendly people and places to explore. Since it is so small, you can definitely visit most of it in one month. Nature is everywhere, people are always smiling, it is a one of a kind experience –  don’t miss it!