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Amazing Trinidad Sites


Roslyn Carrington

February 3, 2024

Port of Spain

Downtown Port of Spain has tales to tell, and many of its stories are visible in the architecture, its colonial columns, charming gingerbread houses, and towers of steel. Stroll along the Brian Lara promenade or shop in the varied stores and boutiques. The waterfront is often a hive of activity, with good food to be had at the Femmes du Chalet breakfast shed.

A few blocks east of the main thoroughfare, Frederick Street, Chinatown awaits, lined with street vendors and traditional Chinese ‘parlours’ where you can buy spices, salves and sweets, among other surprises.

The Red House

Visit the National Museum and Art Gallery, which houses 10,000 historical artifacts including paintings from some of our most famous artists.

Head north to the Queen’s Park Savannah. Stretch your legs along the paved running track and pause for refreshment at the coconut vendors, food trucks and tents, while viewing the splendour of the Magnificent Seven buildings.

The Emperor Valley Zoo is sure to delight the children, with both indigenous and imported animals, birds, reptiles and fishes. Immediately adjacent—and completely free—is the 200-year-old Royal Botanical Gardens, where you can stroll along shaded paths into a magical past.

The stately President’s House overlooks wide-open picnic areas, but don’t worry, Her Excellency is happy to have you visit the gardens, relax on a park bench and sip on a refreshing sno-cone as the sun goes down.

La Vigie Lookout (Photo by: R. Lyder)

North Sites

Out of the city and into the hills is the village of Paramin, settled by the Spanish more than 500 years ago. It’s famous for parang music and fresh seasonings grown in the rich, fertile terrain.

But there’s one more good reason to visit: the La Vigie Paramin Lookout, accessible via a short drive. From there you can enjoy scenic views down into the green valley and inhale the fresh air, as your spirit begins to self-soothe.

East Sites

In the hills overlooking St. Augustine, the Abbey of our Lady of Exile, known as the Mount St. Benedict monastery, attracts hundreds of visitors daily, regardless of religious affiliation. Like them, you’ll be drawn to the pervasive aura of calm, and the view stretches across the centre of the island to the south.

Still in the mood to inhale nature? Visit the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Lodge near Arima, a world-renowned protected nature reserve where birds and other wildlife abound.

Further east is the Tamana Bat Caves, home to huge colonies of bats. (Relax; their meal of choice is fruit!) They’re something to see, flowing along like living rivers as they leave to feed and return to snooze. The entire area was once sacred to native indigenous populations and as you walk through the caves, the deep silence that surrounds you will help you understand why.

Pounded by the fierce Atlantic Ocean, the east coast is wilder and rockier than the north, but there are still safe spots to pause and splash. The twenty-five-kilometre-long drive along the Manzanilla coast is an experience you shouldn’t miss.

The east coast is also the location of the 60-square-kilometre Nariva Swamp, where you can book a boat tour and witness the biodiversity of this protected natural heritage site.

Caroni Swamp (Photo by: R.Lyder)

Central Sites

If you enjoy street shopping, find your way to the Chaguanas shopping district in central Trinidad, where the bargains are unbeatable. The hustle and flow of the sidewalk stalls complements the bartering that is part of the fun.

But if inner peace is what you seek, head to the sleepy village of Carapichaima, to the Dattatreya Yoga Centre and Mandir. There you’ll see the 85-foot-tall statue (or murti) of the Hindu deity Hanuman, the monkey-faced god. It’s the largest statue of Hanuman outside of India, and an expert example of the craft of statuary.

Since you’re already in central, why not continue to Waterloo, just five kilometres away, and visit the Siewdass Sadhu Temple in the Sea, a stunning feat of religious architecture built by hand by one devout Hindu labourer on a man-made island, over the course of his lifetime. Every stone laid is testimony of this man’s devotion to God, and perhaps this is why this site is considered a national treasure.

Book a tour with a trusty operator, clamber into a roomy flat-bottomed boat and relax as you skim along the tributaries of the Caroni River, winding through majestic mangrove trees. The Swamp is home to skittering crabs, copious populations of fish, shellfish, birds, snakes and monkeys.

The highlight comes at sunset, when boats are moored a respectful distance from a small island, where white egrets and brilliant scarlet ibises flap home after the day’s foraging, some returning from as far as Venezuela. A hush falls upon the crowd as you sit in serene reflection, feeling truly close to nature and heaven.

At a time when cocoa was king, areas like Gran Couva were lush with cocoa plantations, including the verdant La Vega Estate, which is now open to visitors eager to explore the park and gardening centre while enjoying the lakes and panoramic views.

Southern Sites

The Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust is a nature reserve that welcomes visitors who appreciate the scenery while espying a variety of wild birds, especially waterfowl, and other protected species.

The deep south is energy country, where most of the nation’s fossil fuel deposits lie. The majority of the oil and gas facilities are offshore, but the La Brea Pitch Lake is easily accessible on land. This 2,000-year-old, 250-foot-deep deposit contains 100 million tons of pitch and has been supplying material for caulking ships and paving roads for centuries.

Splash in the naturally warm, sulphur-infused springs that locals swear are good for everything from arthritis to acne and stoop low to photograph white and purple waterlilies that float like ballerinas across the surface.

Trinidad’s second city of San Fernando is also a great place to shop, either on the streets, or in the many modern malls. There’s often something going on at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts, so be sure to check which plays or concerts are on.