Trinidad & Tobago
“T & T” is apt shorthand for Trinidad and Tobago. The tiny twosome, an island nation off Venezuela’s northeastern coast, is renowned for zesty Caribbean culture amidst dynamite natural surroundings. Pristine rainforest cloaks the isles’ mountainous interiors, draping down to sandy shorelines straddling the aqua-tinted Caribbean Sea and the deep-blue Atlantic Ocean. Ethnically diverse hamlets — predominately African and East Indian with a smidgen of Middle Eastern, European, and indigenous Arawak — create a cultural mélange across the lush landscape. One moment you’re passing a Hindu temple and the next you’re gyrating to a Carib-African steel band beat. Then it’s off to trek through Amazonian-like rainforests for glimpses of iridescently plumed birds, or stroll aside turquoise-toned surf splashing up against palm-studded beaches every bit as postcard picturesque as some faraway South Seas escape.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
- Entry requirements: Passport, return ticket
- Language: English
- Currency: Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TT$)
- Flight time: 5 hours from NYC
- Getting around: Bus, rental car (keep left), taxi, ferry
When To Go
- Best weather: Like many islands in the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago have a dry and rainy season — the dry season lasts from January to May and the rainy season runs from June through December. Temperatures during the day are warm, but not unbearable, and it is pleasantly cool in the evenings.
- Best prices: Early September through mid-December; exact rates vary by hotel.
What To Do
- Go to the Asa Wright Nature Center and Lodge: Spend a day, or perhaps overnight here, located an hour east of Port of Spain high in the Northern Range Forest Reserve, where birdwatchers are guaranteed a kaleidoscopic of hummingbirds and tanagers within this 200-acre wildlife sanctuary surrounding a vintage plantation estate.
- Get to the Main Ridge Forest Reserve: This reserve dominates the isle’s humpbacked terrain, the oldest nature sanctuary in the Western Hemisphere. Birders by the score come here for a peek at more than 400 species of feathered marvels, from green parrots to red-billed tropic birds. Don’t forget your binoculars!
- Rent an open-topped 4WD: Get one for the day, then head out for a spin. Remember to drive on the left (T&T was once British) as you negotiate the narrow, winding lanes that skirt the island’s hilly shoreline. At every twist and turn, vistas deliver dreamy panoramas. Plenty of small villages are welcome rest stops to ease arms weary from too many steering-wheel whirls.
- Take a day trip: For a romantic getaway, bring your bathing suits to the Lure Estate Waterfalls or The Argyle Waterfall. There, with the rainforest as your backdrop and a bamboo canopy, you might be tempted to take an enchanting tropical dip in the breathtaking waterfalls.
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