Top image by: Christopher Anderson
1. Visit a Pan Yard
No recording can match the pure adrenalin of hearing the instrument that was designed and perfected in Trinidad, the steel pan. The pan yard is the place where magic happens as the composers work alongside musicians to perfect the music for the annual Panorama competition. For months the cello, bass and guitar players practise for hours in the evening, sometimes until 1 or 2 am, for the chance to compete for the coveted title.
2. Play Mas’
You can be a sinner or saint, a Queen, Raja or Devil, the choice is yours. Start with J'Ouvert where you’re covered in mud, paint or chocolate and dance ‘behind the truck’ until sunrise on Carnival Monday. Then, go home and get ready to play ‘pretty mas’ with one of the all- inclusive bands where drinks, lunch and DJ music are waiting. Dance until your feet hurt, don’t worry you’ve got an ocean to soak them in on Ash Wednesday.
3. Take a Beach Break & Cool Off at the Falls
Visit one of the more than 30 pristine beaches in Trinidad and Tobago where you can soak in the sea, or for the more adventurous enjoy surfing, snorkeling, kitesurfing or sailing. If you don’t mind a hike, the journey to one of the cascades in this land of rivers, from Blue Basin to Argyle, the steps of Turure to the emerald green waters of Three Pools, is well-worth the trip. There are many guided tours available.
4. Get Creative: Visit an Art Gallery
Trinidad and Tobago has a prolific history of art, many internationally recognised painters and sculptors call these islands home. Visit one of the museums, art galleries or studios and get a chance to see iconic works by: Sybil Atteck, James Isaiah Boodhoo, Eddie Bowen, Michel-Jean Cazabon, Carlisle Chang, Peter Doig, Embah, Jackie Hinkson, Boscoe Holder, Peter Minshall, Lisa O'Connor, Sarah Beckett and Roberta Stoddart, to name just a few. Select galleries also offer art classes and engaging talks.
5. Go Scuba Diving in Tobago
Tobago is an incredible destination, with over 60 established dive sites throughout the island. The emerald waters cater for those with little or lots of experience, with shallow dives for beginners to the more technical drift, wreck and deep diving for veterans.
6. Eat Your Heart-Out
In T&T we cook from the heart and with more than a touch of flavour. Whether it’s a delicious Chicken Pelau at Panorama, a Shark and Bake at Maracas Beach or a Curry-Duck River-Lime, the meal is always unforgettable. There’s a wide range of dining restaurants in Port of Spain and Scarborough, as well as Street Vendors in St James or at the Beach in Crown Point, and the offerings are incredibly varied and delectable : try Doubles, Roti, Lamb Gyros, Empanadas, Arepas, Curried Crab and Dumplin’, Shark and Bake, Pholourie, Corn Soup and Callaloo. After the meal enjoy our local chocolates: dark or milk, or flavoured with cashew, coffee, rum, chocolate nibs, caramel, mango or peppers – the combinations are endless.
7. Go Turtle Watching
We’re fortunate that Trinidad is the second largest Leatherback sea turtle nesting site in the world. Sometimes called the lute turtle, this is a protected species with a peak nesting season that runs from March 1st to August 31st, when these monumental turtles visit the very beaches where they were born to lay hundreds of eggs. Two months later tiny hatchlings emerge from the loamy sand and make their way to the sea. It’s an incredible sight recommended for the entire family.
8. Sail DDI
Going "Down De Islands" or DDI is a weekend ritual for many Trinidadians. The islands off of the North Coast of Trinidad are incredibly beautiful and you can charter a yacht or enjoy the party on a boat cruise. A short boat ride and you can travel back into the nineteenth century on Nelson Island, an historic disembarkation point and quarantine station for indentured labourers that now houses a museum. A few miles away you can tour the Gasparee limestone caves, located 100 feet below ground, complete with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the salt waters of a crystal-clear pool. If you want a longer stay then rent one of the elegant island homes on Monos and spend a few days of quiet island bliss.
9. Seek out the Scarlet Ibis
The Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary is home to the migratory Scarlet Ibis that return to roost on an island in the swamp every day, just before sunset. The 12,000 acre mangrove wetland is just a 15 minute-drive from Port of Spain and well-worth the trip. Learn more about the over 100 species of birds, as well as crabs, caiman and swamp boas from guides during the motorised boat tour.
10. Soak in the Nylon Pool
It’s like a dream, a never-ending aquamarine pool without borders in the middle of the sea. Tobago’s Nylon Pool is an offshore sandbar located just off of Pigeon Point and close to the Buccoo Reef that was aptly named by Princess Margaret during a royal visit in 1962.