The Heartland was home to the sugarcane industry and so is a centre of Indo-Trinidadian heritage. Chaguanas fastly developing into the third city, continues to transform itself into a commercial and business centre both home and abroad. It feeds on its own steam and the downfall of the sugar industry has not affected its forward momentum. A proactive mayor and young educated middle-class population perpetuates the vigor of this eniticing 'wheel & deal' place. Indeed many national companies have relocated from the North to Central realising the potential and value of location. Its alll about location , location , location and Chaguanas has got IT!
South is dominated by trinidad's second city San Fernando. This part of the island is where most of the oil fields are found- hence the title 'Industrial Capital.' The city is set along the coast of the Gulf-of Paria with Venezuela visible across the waters. The terrain is undulating with steep-roads...really! The skyline is dominated by the San Fernando HIll and oil refineries on the northern flanks. This is the hometown of the current PM and has also seen some urban rejuvenation. The centre is compact and centred around Coffee St and Harris Promenade. A real Trinidad town.
Puerto-de-Espana is a cosmopolitan hustle and bustle place. Every creed and race walk side by side as is true of the rest of T&T. POS has always been the premier city on the larger island of Trinidad and today it also is a leading entrepot in the central american and caribbean diasporas. Neatly arranged into old and new and even newer outskirts the city itself is compact and walkable. The sights are abit spread out and the aesththtic has improved in the last 10 years. Rejuvenation of the waterfront with boom-time dollars has POS literally soaring ot new heigths (SEE my 'little tiger' travelogue). The trendy western suburbs and older eastern hillsides seem worlds apart but are held together by trinidadian joi-de-vivre & hurried laissez-a-faire lifestyle.
Little Tobago is a small island few minutes by boat from the "big" Tobago, from Speyside; it's reknown as "birds paradise" and going there is understanding why.
The tour usually includes a glass boat run and a loal guide explaining what you are seeing on the small island.
You cannot go there alone, the area is protected by local government.
IMHO this was the best tour we took during our stay.
Wikipedia has an interesting page about Little Tobago.
Head over to Argyle falls, its on the way to Roxborough in the NE. Its a stunning freshwater river than runs through the jungle with large waterfalls, and big deep pools for swimming. Its gorgeous and make a snice change from the seawater.
A nice side trip from Port Of Spain is Maracas Bay. Not a spectacular beach that you may see in other places in the Caribbean, but a nice place still where the locals go for the day. Shark Bake is a popular dish.
First of all... you'll wake up real early in Tobago! It's hot and the sun rises very early, so you'll be wide awake at 7am and half asleep at 8pm!
Things to do: well... definitely go to the beach (Pigeon Point is one of the nicest beaches-mind the water, though, there is a waste pipe very close!-, but Store Bay has the nicest water!)
There are plenty of tours you can do.
I went for a trip on the Island Girl, a cool catamaran. Unfortunately, I took pics with a normal camera there and I can't attach them, but it's really worth going! It's 60-65 euro, but they give you lunch (a delicious BBQ on the boat), bring you to swim with rays (how cool that was!!!) and give you snorkles and flippers so you can see the coloured fish close to the Coral Reef.
I also went on a glass boat from Store Bay to the Nylon pool (a place in the middle of the sea where the water is hot and waist-high), close to the Coral reef etc. and saw incredible Angel fish, huge ones!!
People will offer you tours all the time, so choose what you fancy. In Store Bay, there's a guy called Rusty who sells trip: he's a cool man!!!
I also recommend that you go visit the Argyle waterfalls. You won't forget this stunning experience! You can bathe under the waterfall and see coco beans!
There are also trips to the Rain Forest, Little Tobago etc if you fancy them and have the money:-)
On Sunday (or Monday? Not sure) nights, there is a party called "Sunday School" close to Crown Point, where you can enjoy Steel bands and see stalls. But be careful because after a certain hour, people get a bit drunk and guys can be aggressive with girls.
I also went to a talent competition that was real fun!
If you can, rent a car and drive around the Caribbean and Atlantic side. The road is full of holes so be careful! sometimes people come out of bends on the wrong side to avoid potholes and wild chickens!!!
Fort George is a old colonial fort situated on top of the hill behind the suburb of St James. It is a short drive from the city, and offers views of the city and surrounding valley's.......and on clear days the Coast line of South American can be seen to the West.
There are is a Watch tower and many canons. In all its a well preserved site well worth a visit.
The Caroni Wetlands offer a memorable days adventure.
There are several operators that Runs boat tours that start in the afternoon and finish at Dusk. The wetlands cover a large area, and birds return in the last few hours of sunlight. The National bird: the Scarlett Ibis is the most photographed due to the fabulous red coloured feathers.
There are alligators in the swap, so avoid hanging your leg over the side of the boat.
In addition to the large number of Birds visible, there are also HUGE SNAKES in the Canopy trees over the Mangroves. They prey on the birds arriving at night.
Maracas Bay is a beach covered in Coconut trees, and surrounded by mountains with lush green jungle. It's appearance is not like most other Caribbean beaches. It has more of a South American feel to the place, and definitely..... wild and underdeveloped. The water is a dark emerald green......not like the Aqua blue waters of the sister island: Tobago.
Maracas Bay has the best tasting "Shark and Bake" rolls on the planet. These local vendors have stalls with a huge selection of home made condiments to go with the Shark rolls. Such as, diced mango, Trini peppar, chutney etc.
Maracas Bay is reached by driving North from Port of Spain through Maraval Valley, toward Santa Cruz. In the depths of Maraval Valley the road begins to rise and wind through the mountain. Take a left hand turn at the Santa Cruz cut in the mountain.
When the road meets the top of the mountain, the ocean view opens up. Road continues along past jungle draping from above, natural springs, and the sound of the occasional howler monkey. It then S's its way slowly down to the Ocean side of Maracas Bay.
Another nice tour, a little bit more "cultural" than Little Tobago but as reelaxing and interesting as the other one.
Stepping into the rain forest is an experience, you can go there for birdwatching, for flowers-watching, for trees-watching and so on .. it's a something-watching tour.
A quick tour of the island capital is also a must, nothing really astonishing to see but understanding the way of life in this part of the world simply means going i a city and trying daily activities: shopping in the supermarket, buying a newspaper & so on ...
Believe me it's quite different than in Europe !!!
And this is the risk after some punches :-) getting completely relaxed, smiling & laughing, dreaming about never coming back to the "real" life ... and getting also a little bit stoned.
I make you sure about that: this is not me in the real life :-)
Almost nothing better than enjoying a rum punch on the terrace while sundowning ... and believe me, it's not about the drink quality :-).
Our rate was 2-3 rum punches a day, the most pleasant way to fill in some spare time slots during the day !!!
Maracas is possibly the most popular beach in all of Trinidad.It is very popular with people who live in the Port of Spain area (especially on Sundays and bank holidays).
To get to Maracas one must travel alongg a winding and very scenic drive through the mountains of the Northern Range.
The beach at Maracas is quite long (probably more than a mile), with clean white sand and clear blue water. lt offers good surfing, well-maintained changing facilities, a variety of food vendors and lifeguards on duty daily.
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