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Trinidad and Tobago travel guide - Travel S Helper

Trinidad and Tobago

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Trinidad and Tobago, formally the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island nation located only 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and 130 kilometers (81 miles) south of Grenada. To the north, it has maritime borders with Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and Venezuela.

Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until the surrender of the Spanish Governor, Don José Mara Chacón, on 18 February 1797, in response to the arrival of a British fleet of 18 vessels. During the same era, Tobago changed hands more often than any other Caribbean island, passing through the hands of Spanish, British, French, Dutch, and Courlandercolonizers. Trinidad and Tobago (which remained independent until 1889) were surrendered to Britain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from Britain in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.

Trinidad and Tobago is the third wealthiest nation in the Americas in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita, after the United States and Canada. Additionally, the World Bank classifies it as a high-income economy. Unlike the majority of the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago’s economy is mainly industrial, with a focus on petroleum and petrochemicals. The country’s prosperity is due to its enormous oil and natural gas reserves and extraction.

Trinidad and Tobago is famous for its Carnival and is the origin of calypso, soca, parang, chutney, chutney soca, chut-kai-pang, cariso, extempo, kaiso, parang soca, pichakaree, and rapso.

Geography

Trinidad and Tobago are islands located between 10° 2′ and 11° 12′ north latitude and 60° 30′ and 61° 56′ west longitude. At its closest point, Trinidad is only 11 kilometres from Venezuelan territory. With an area of 5,128 km2, the country consists of the two main islands of Trinidad and Tobago and numerous smaller landforms, including Chacachacare, Monos, Huevos, Gaspar Grande (or Gasparee), Little Tobago and St. Giles Island.

Trinidad has an area of 4,768 km2 (93.0% of the country’s total area), an average length of 80 km (50 mi) and an average width of 59 km (37 mi). Tobago has an area of about 300 km2 (120 sq mi), or 5.8% of the country’s land area. It is 41 km long and 12 km wide at its widest point.

Trinidad and Tobago are located on the continental shelf of South America and are therefore geologically fully counted as part of South America.

The relief of the islands is a mixture of mountains and plains. The highest point of the country is in the northern mountain range, at El Cerro del Aripo, 940 metres above sea level.

Since most of the population lives on the island of Trinidad, this is also where most of the larger cities are located. There are four major municipalities in Trinidad: Port of Spain, the capital, San Fernando, Arima and Chaguanas. The main city in Tobago is Scarborough. Trinidad has a variety of soil types, most of which are fine sands and heavy clays. The alluvial valleys of the Northern Range and the soils of the East-West Corridor are the most fertile.

Demographics

Ethnic groups

The ethnic composition of Trinidad and Tobago reflects a history of conquest and immigration. While the original inhabitants were of American origin, since the twentieth century the two dominant groups in the country have been those of South Asian and African origin. Indo-Trinidadians are the largest ethnic group in the country (about 37.6 per cent). They are mainly descendants of indentured labourers who came from India to replace freed African slaves who refused to continue working on the sugar plantations. By preserving the culture, some residents of Indian origin maintain the traditions of their ancestral land.

Afro-Trinidadians and Tobagonians are the second largest ethnic group in the country, with about 36.3% of the population identifying themselves as of African descent. People of African descent were brought to the island as slaves as early as the 16th century. 24.4 % of the population described themselves as ‘mixed’ ethnicity in the 2011 census. There are small but significant minorities of people of European, Chinese and Levantine (Syrian/Lebanese) origin.

Religion

Many different religions are practised in Trinidad and Tobago. According to the 2011 census, Roman Catholics were the largest religious group in Trinidad and Tobago with 21.60% of the total population. Hindus were the second largest group at 18.15%, while Pentecostals/Evangelicals/Full Gospel denominations were the third largest group at 12.02% of the population. Significantly, respondents who indicated no religious affiliation made up 11.1% of the population. The rest of the population was made up of Baptists (5.67%), Anglicans (5.67%), Muslims (4.97%), Seventh Day Adventists (4.09%), Presbyterians or Congregationalists (2.49%), irreligious (2.18%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (1.47%), other Baptists (1.21%), Trinidad Orisha believers (0.9%), Methodists (0.65%), Rastafari (0.27%) and the Moravian Church (0.27%).

Two African syncretic denominations, the Shouter or Spiritual Baptists and the Orisha faith (formerly known as Shangos, an unflattering term) are among the fastest growing religious groups. Similarly, there has been a marked increase in the number of evangelical and fundamentalist Protestant churches, commonly referred to by most Trinidadians as “Pentecostal”, although this designation is often inaccurate. A small Jewish community exists in the islands, and various Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Taoism are followed by the Chinese community. There is also a small Baha’i community.

Economy

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the richest and most developed nations in the Caribbean and is among the top 40 (as of 2010) of the 70 highest-income countries in the world. Its GNI per capita of US$20,070 (Atlas GNI 2014) is one of the highest in the Caribbean. In November 2011, the OECD removed Trinidad and Tobago from its list of developing countries. Trinidad’s economy is heavily influenced by the oil industry. Tourism and manufacturing are also important to the local economy. Tourism is a growing sector, although it is not as important proportionally as in many other Caribbean islands. Agricultural products include citrus fruits and cocoa.

Recent growth has been driven by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals and steel. Other projects in petrochemicals, aluminium and plastics are in various stages of planning. Trinidad and Tobago is the largest oil and gas producer in the Caribbean and its economy is highly dependent on these resources, but it also supplies manufactured goods, including food, beverages and cement, to the Caribbean region.

Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment. The country is also a regional financial centre and the economy has a growing trade surplus. The expansion of Atlantic LNG over the past six years has created the largest single period of sustained economic growth in Trinidad and Tobago. It has become the largest exporter of LNG to the US and now supplies about 70% of US LNG imports.

Trinidad and Tobago has transitioned from an oil-based economy to a natural gas-based economy. In 2007, natural gas production averaged 4 billion cubic feet per day (110 000 m3/d), compared to 3.2×106 cubic feet per day (91 000 m3/d) in 2005. In December 2005, Atlantic LNG’s fourth liquefied natural gas (LNG) production module or “Train” began production. Train 4 increased Atlantic LNG’s total production capacity by almost 50 per cent and is the largest LNG train in the world, producing 5.2 million tonnes of LNG per year.

In an effort to transform the economy through diversification, Trinidad and Tobago established InvesTT in 2012 to serve as the country’s sole investment promotion agency. The agency is attached to the Ministry of Trade and Industry and is intended to be the key agent for meaningful and sustainable growth in the country’s non-oil and gas sector.

Trinidad and Tobago’s infrastructure is good by regional standards. Trinidad’s international airport was expanded in 2001. The country has an extensive network of paved roads and several good four- and six-lane highways, including a controlled-access motorway. The Ministry of Public Works estimates that the average Trinidadian spends about four hours a day in traffic. Emergency services are reliable, but delays can occur in rural areas. Private hospitals are available and reliable. Public services are fairly reliable in urban areas. However, some areas, especially rural districts, still suffer from water shortages.

How To Travel To Trinidad and Tobago

By air The main airport is Piarco International Airport (IATA: POS) on the island of Trinidad, about 25 km southeast of Port of Spain. Direct flights are available from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Orlando, New York (JFK) and Newark, USA; Toronto, Canada; London, UK; Caracas and Porlomar, Venezuela; Panama City,...

How To Travel Around Trinidad and Tobago

On the islands By taxi Taxis are ordinary passenger cars, without any special marking. However, their number plate starts with the letter "H". They can be found at taxi stands, which can be located on a street corner or at the side of the road. Taxi ranks in cities and districts...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Trinidad and...

All visitors must bring: a valid passport for the duration of the stay, a return ticket, proof of financial means to support themselves, an address in TT, e.g. a hotel or family/friends. Citizens of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Caricom countries (except Haiti), Singapore and most EEA and Latin...

Destinations in Trinidad and Tobago

Cities Port-of-Spain - CapitalArima - birthplace of the famous calypso artist "Lord Kitchener".Chaguanas - the fastest growing and largest community, populated mainly by descendants of Indentured Labourers from the East Indies.Chaguaramas - a town with one of the most important yachting centres, also famous for its nightlife; home of the...

Weather & Climate in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago, both well situated in the tropics, enjoy a generally pleasant tropical maritime climate influenced by the northeast trade winds. In Trinidad, the average annual temperature is 26°C (78.8°F) and the average maximum temperature is 34°C (93.2°F). Humidity is high, especially during the rainy season when it...

Accommodation & Hotels in Trinidad and Tobago

There is a wide range of accommodation options. There are the big hotels like the Crowne Plaza, the Hyatt and the Hilton. There are also smaller guesthouses, especially in Tobago, and beach houses on the coasts (especially on the east coast). Prices vary. In Trinidad, there is no official...

Things To See in Trinidad and Tobago

Beaches Popular beaches in Trinidad are Maracas, Tyrico, Las Cuevas, Toco, Mayaro, Chagville, Los Iros and Quinam. Most of the beaches on the north coast are beautiful, with powdery sand and clear blue water. Los Iros and Quinam are fine, but Quinam's water can be brown, largely due to sediment...

Things To Do in Trinidad and Tobago

Pre-Lent Carnival The annual Carnival festival is one of the most famous things in Trinidad and Tobago, with its many beautiful dances and celebrations. Every year on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and Lent, thousands of costumed revelers parade through the streets celebrating "The Greatest Show On...

Food & Drinks in Trinidad and Tobago

Food in Trinidad and Tobago Because of its diverse past, Trinidad and Tobago offers excellent and varied food options. The Indian roots in particular have produced some of the best dishes of any country in the world. If you cannot tolerate extremely hot and spicy food, you should tell the...

Money & Shopping in Trinidad and Tobago

Currency The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD), also known as "TT" (pronounced teetee). US dollars are also widely accepted and the exchange rate in September 2014 was 1 USD = TTTD6.23. Visa and MasterCards are accepted in many shops. American Express, Diners' Club, Discover, JCB and other cards...

Traditions & Customs in Trinidad and Tobago

It is a good idea to greet a stranger before asking a question. It is best to avoid strangers when you are not in the company of others. Nude or topless bathing is prohibited in Trinidad and Tobago. Many Trinbagonians like to discuss sports. As it is a former British...

Internet & Communications in Trinidad and Tobago

The international dialling code for Trinidad is 868 under the North American numbering plan. From the United States and Canada, it is the same as for calls to other states and provinces (1+868), but it costs more. Its top-level domain is . tt and its ITU call sign prefixes...

Language & Phrasebook in Trinidad and Tobago

English is the official language. Words are spelled according to the British spelling (e.g. paint, work, tyre, etc.). English-Creole (although not called English-Creole by locals) is very commonly used for informal communication between locals. It is mainly an oral language, rarely written (and then only improvised). A Trinidadian dictionary,...

Culture Of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is home to two Nobel Prize-winning authors, V. S. Naipaul and St Lucian-born Derek Walcott (who founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and spent much of his career working and raising his family in Trinidad). Designer Peter Minshall is known not only for his Carnival costumes, but...

History Of Trinidad and Tobago

The islands were first settled by the Arawak and Carib peoples who settled there from the South American continent and whose descendants form a small minority of the population. Trinidad was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who claimed it for Spain. Under Spanish rule, many French settlers established cocoa plantations...

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