Things to Do in Trinidad and Tobago Besides Studying

Forged from the love of liberty,
In the fires of hope and prayer,
With boundless faith in our destiny
We solemnly declare.
Side by side we stand
Islands of the blue Caribbean Sea,
This our native land
We pledge our lives to thee.
Here every creed and race,
Find an equal place,
And may God bless our nation.
Here every creed and race,
Find an equal place,
And may God bless our nation.- 
Trinidad and Tobago National Anthem

If you are planning to take a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, hopefully this list will prove useful; especially if you're wanting to spend your time exploring the country rather than simply limin' at a fete or club hopping on Aripita Avenue. 

As you will come to find, Trinidad and Tobago has a lot to offer; from nature activities to a weekend of Jazz during Tobago's Jazz Festival that typically occurs during the spring months. 

1. Day Trip to Tobago

Tobago is approximately 30 km or 19 mi northeast of Trinidad and is easily accessed either by the local T& T Express or by plane. 

Whichever means of transport you decide to utilize, be sure to make the necessary arrangements well in advance especially if you're wanting to travel during any of the 28 holidays. 

For day trips or excursions to the island, you may be lucky to find certain tour companies that offer packages for day trips inclusive of tours as well as travel arrangements. One such company is the Trinidad and Tobago Sightseeing Tour Company who currently offers such a package at the cost of $100 USD/person. 

For longer overnight stays, be sure to check out housing accommodations and availability in advance as well. There are bed and breakfasts' scattered throughout Tobago that may or may not offer tours so be sure to ask. When I first visited the island, I used Airbnb to search for apartments that were available for short-term renting and decided to stay at the Bananaquit Apartments which was very close to the airport and the beach. 

If you're willing to spend the money, the Magdalena Grand Hotel will be one of your top options. 

If you make arrangements for a day trip, more than likely you will be able to see most of the cocoa plantations, scenic waterfalls and Forts that the island has to offer. However, if you will be spending a few days in Tobago and will be in need of a tour service, I would highly recommend Hans Tours and Taxi Service as they offer affordable prices and complete island tours with pick-up and drop-off at your place of residence. 

2. Hikes and Waterfalls

If you are an adventure seeker and one who loves the outdoors and nature, Trinidad and Tobago will not disappoint; as they offer countless trails and waterfall hiking adventures for the novice and veteran hiker alike.

My very first hike and waterfall adventure was back in 2014 in Trinidad to the Maracas Waterfall. As custom has it, we took nothing but photographs, killed nothing but time and left footprints on every inch of the trail before taking a plunge (wholesale) into the ice cold pool of water.

Throughout the course of the year, various hiking clubs offers hikes that range from easy (comparable to a stroll in the park) to intense.  Some hikes that are common across all hiking groups are as follows:

1. Mermaid Pools
2. Rio Seco Waterfall Hike
3. Rampanalgas Waterfall
4. Lady Chancellor to Maracas Bay
5. 3 Pools Blanchissuse
6. Salybia
7. Maracas Waterfall

For more information on the aforementioned hikes, feel free to visit Island Hikers or the University Health Fitness and Adventure Fraternity. It is vital to inform the hike leaders of any and all medical ailments you may have in advance before signing up for a hike as well as following their instructions and advice during the course of the hike to ensure your safety as well as the safety of the other members on the hike.

3. Bird Watching

Photo taken in Tobago 2014- Blue crowned Motmot

For the veteran or novice bird watcher, Trinidad and Tobago is an ideal location for bird watching. There are Motmots and Ibis' and colorful hummingbirds that are indigenous to this part of the globe.

During my hiking trips, I always enjoyed seeing the birds in their natural habitat undisturbed. Some people would say that the waterfall is the best reward after a long hike, but in my opinion the reward for me unfolds during the course of the hike when birds that I have never seen before weave in and out of the canopy singing as they go along.

Trinidad offers bird enthusiasts with tours along the swamp to take in an evening of bird watching at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary or at the Asa Wright Nature Center.

Be sure to walk with the book Birds of Trinidad and Tobago and a camera with a good lens.

4. Turtle Watching 

This turtle was not harmed or made uncomfortable. As advised, when the female is in the process of laying her eggs, this is the only time onlookers are allowed to take photographs or to touch the animal as she enters a trance of sorts after which she returns to the sea.

Turtle watching is another once in a lifetime experience that can be checked off the bucket list if you're in Trinidad and Tobago during the months of March-September annually.

Turtle watching is not only exhilarating it is also educational as there are some who feel as though sitting on the shell of the turtle serves as a good photo and means of getting Facebook likes or Instagram followers. This practice however, can be fatal to the animal as sitting or standing on the shell can cause internal bleeding as the shell of the turtle is soft and has small bones which can be broken and pierce the flesh, hampering their ability to dive into the water.

The University of the West Indies has an environmental society which arranges for students and any interested persons to attend a night of turtle watching. The Turtle Village Trust-Sea Turtle Conservation has a listing of authorized tour guides and operators from which one can choose.

It is wise for your safety that you follow the guides instructions as this tour occurs at night without the use of flashlights, along active waters. As the temperatures along the coast drops, you may want to pack either a blanket, sweatshirt or hoodie if you plan on not wearing a long sleeved top or bottoms.

5. Bake and Shark

Bake 'n' Shark is a Trinidadian delicacy but not everyone can eat shark so the locals also offer Kingfish and Bake.

Basically what it is is, fish that is deep fried and sandwiched between two pieces of bread that is called bake. The texture of the bread differs from your normal sandwich loaf. To make the sandwich pop you add your share of condiments to it which ranges from a mild tamarind sauce that offers a certain sweetness, a garlic sauce, ketchup, barbecue sauce, pepper sauce or shadon benie. You can also add a cabbage slaw with carrots, or lettuce and tomato.

5. Doubles

Doubles is a common street food in Trinidad and Tobago. During the entire course of year 1, it was my staple food item. 

What it is exactly is a sandwich of sorts, with two bara (flat fried bread) filled with curried channa (chick peas). Alone, it isn't the best tasting or aesthetically appealing food, but once it is topped with shadon benie, julienned cucumber, coconut, tamarind or pepper sauce, it can easily become addictive and you realize looks doesn't really matter. 

Locally it is eaten along the side of the road where vendors are situated, and washed down with a red solo-which I didn't go too much for. 

6. Visit the Museum

It's always worthwhile to learn about the country you're visiting especially if you're able to view an exhibit that is specifically targeted at the history of how the country or certain areas of the country came to be. 

The National Museum and Art Gallery is located on Frederick Street opposite the Memorial Park near the savannah and is open on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 6p.m. Like most museums, photography is prohibited. 

7. A Night at Queen's Hall

It's always a pleasure to be out and about in Trinidad especially when the evening consists of time spent enjoying the display of talents of local performers. 

During the Christmas season the Queen's Hall is usually abuzz, especially when the Marionettes Chorale is performing. 

Be sure to visit the website to stay updated on the local events that are taking place if you're looking for another means of experiencing the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. 

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