Trinidad & Tobago

Situated just south of Grenada, this twin island country is the birthplace of steel pan, limbo, as well as music styles of calypso and soca. Although oil and gas are the island nation’s primary breadwinners and tourism takes a bit of a back seat, there are still beaches, rainforest trails, and oceans that beckon exploration.

No matter on which island you base yourself, there’s plenty to do for families or couples. Avoid the rain and enjoy temps in the mid 80s by visiting between January and May.

All-inclusive beachfront resorts, family focused hotels, and romantic inns – there are many options. If you plan to book a stay in January or February, book early. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival takes place during those months, and places book quickly. In addition, you can expect a spike in hotel rates during that time.

Bustling Trinidad, the larger of the two islands, offers lively nightlife in the Port of Spain. You’ll also find the Queen’s Park Savannah, known for its historic mansions from the Spanish colonial era, shops, vendors, and the largest traffic roundabout in the world.

Popular Maracas Bay is almost a mandatory stop. A scenic drive through the rainforest leads you to this long stretch of sand with an authentic island vibe. Beach goers include locals and visitors, and waves are perfect for jumping or body surfing. Sufficient parking and adequate bathroom facilities are pluses, though the real draw is the bake and shark you can purchase from food vendors.

Outdoor enthusiasts and birdwatchers will enjoy kayaking through the Nariva Swamp. One of the largest wetlands in the Caribbean, it’s home to diverse species of birds including the scarlet ibis. You’ll also likely run across howler monkeys and capuchins.

For unparalleled vistas, great swimming, and prime sunbathing, head to the northernmost coast and the Galera Point-Toco Lighthouse. Built in 1897, the lighthouse provides remarkable views of the meeting point of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s surrounded by a park, and provides a perfect place for a relaxing picnic.

Situated northeast of Trinidad, Tobago is a bit more tourism focused than her sister island. Here you’ll find larger selection of upscale resorts and hotels, healthy coral reefs teeming with marine life, and varied beaches on which to lounge.

For adventurous divers, diving on Tobago is best done on the northeast coast of Speyside. Lush reefs draw a nice variety of sea life, and the large healthy brain coral here is a rare find. The southwest coast of Tobago is great for the novice diver where you’ll find plentiful reefs and easy access to wrecks.

A guided tour within the Tobago Forest Preserve is always a good bet. Established in 1763, it’s the western hemisphere’s first forest preserve. Local guides are a wealth of information, often pointing out wildlife and flora you may otherwise miss. In addition, they often enthusiastically share their knowledge of the island’s history and local culture.

Tobago’s beaches are eclectic – black, pink, or white sand. Located in a seaside fishing village, Castara Bay’s greenish-hued water mirrors the lush backdrop of forested hills. No frills here – just perfectly calm water ideal for swimming.

Once relatively unoccupied, Englishmen’s Bay sees a little more action thanks to ranking high on many “best beaches” lists. It’s still pretty quiet, especially if you visit in the morning or late afternoon. The beach is fringed with swaying palms and almond trees, and the gin clear water provides excellent snorkeling.

For a more lively seaside experience, check out popular Pigeon Point Beach. The beach spans for miles hugged by clear, cerulean water. Food shacks, local bars, souvenir vendors, and water sports outfitters are easily accessible. Some people say it’s the prettiest beach on Tobago.

Food wise, there’s a little bit of everything including intimate family run restaurants, unique local offerings from street vendors, and gourmet restaurants.

Step out of your comfort zone for unusual local favorites like souse. Souse is usually made with pig trotters or chicken feet. The meat is boiled and served cold in a salty brine. It’s seasoned with lime, pepper, onion slices and cucumber. If that’s more than your palate can handle, consider some fruit chow. It’s usually made with seasonal fruit like plums, mango and pineapple. The cut up fruit is combined with limejuice, cilantro, oil, garlic and black pepper. A slew of food festivals span the calendar, too.

For an affordable, easy, and active vacation, you can’t beat Trinidad and Tobago. If you love spending time outdoors – hiking, swimming, sailing, or surfing – we recommend these islands. A nice smattering of festivals, varied dining, and shopping opportunities are also good reasons to visit.