Trinis will give you unsolicited and plentiful advice about how to stay safe. Take it!
If you find yourself east of Charlotte Street, Port of Spain, for instance (and you look like a tourist), someone is bound to tell you that there are lots of pick pockets in the streets and try to escort you out of there! Most Trinis are very considerate and good people.
Do what the locals do - like don't flash jewelery and money. Have deep pockets.
Don't leave valuables in your car in case the car is stolen.
Be aware of who is around you, especially if you look like a rich tourist.
This next piece of advice is a difficult one to follow because Trinidad is a party place and booze etc.. is cheap compared to North America and the UK - but try to stay reasonably sober and straight ! A drunk is an easy target.
Here's a no-nonsence link for information: http://travel.state.gov/asafetripabroad.html
As you explore the island of Tobago, it is very common to see rasta's smoking ganja.
Even in in the center of Crown Point, I've seen them smoking in public.
(Or in the middle of the rainforest, as we even found a couple of locals using ganja there.)
Beware!! If police arrest you, there will be severe punishment.
I've heard a story about a guy being beaten up by police, hitting him on his hands with a wooden stick, so he would be unable to hold anthing in his hands for two weeks.
So, if you consider to get the ultimate rastafari feeling, beware if there is no police around you.
when you fly into the port of spain make sure not to take a cab because they are not trustworthy. they love to take advantage of tourists. especailly americans. and also watch out for the locals that carry around machettes. theyll getcha. scarry
Unfortunately, many young tobagans seem to have been effected by the ragga music from jamaica, with many locals wanting to be gangsters. Its quiet embarrasing for these you boys to be wearing baggy american basketball tops and caps claiming to be from the ghetto when castara is really just a tiny and friendly fishing village! i was called a 'white boy ***' once but laughed it off, the locals with any sense know we are their main source of income. However i would also warn girls to watch themselves, european women are a somewhat sort after delicacy for the local rudeboys. big up the castar crew though i ilmed out with them boys everyday and they had my back a few times.
The people I met in Tobago were lovely, but I was lucky so make sure you're careful. There is a website (I'll post the name when I find it) that warns you of some dangers: first of all, mind your possessions. If you're a girl, be careful because guys tend to be quite aggressive in their avances, even if you're there with your boyfriend. Make sure you don't walk around in the dark.
Mind the mosquitoes! Some can give you Dengue feaver! You'll need a good insect repellent.
Trinidad has huge divide between Rich and Poor, for a country with plentiful Natural Resources. The corruption of the sucessive government has failed to lift the stardard of living of the people.
The level of poverty across the general community has led to a variety of crimes - including Muggings, Kidnappings, Murder etc.
All general rules for travelling in Poor Nations apply for Trinidad. You need to be constantly aware of your surroundings, never wear any Jewlery that looks expensive, stay well clear of poor or dangerous areas etc.
Kidnappings are the most recent addition to criminal activity, the lack of motivation to catch the criminals has let this problem get out of hand. The target of the majority of kidnappings has so far been on families of local Business owners. Extreme caution is still recomended.
Yes, crabs !!!! Shocking only to think that you can find crabs in a forest !!!
They are not dangerous at all (actually they escpae from you) but if you do not realize you are hitting one of them, they can become a little bit hectic, like this one.
When driving around Tobago watch out for the numerous animals on the roadsides. Locals tie up their goats and cows to pasture on the roadsides (which are narrow as well as the roads) so sometimes part of the animal is on the road itself and the animal can't make way very quickly as it can not move freely.
When asking about walking in the dark, we got two different advice. Others said that we'd be fine, no trouble. But then again others said that for example the Old Stonehaven road in Stonehaven (between the beach and Grafton resort) should be avoided after dark. It is a very dark road near the sea and the area is isolated. Some people staying in the Seahorse Inn had been followed there during our visit, but nothing bad had luckily happened. So its best to take a taxi, just to be on the safe side.
You may not notice them at first when enjoying the beautiful beaches of Tobago, but don't let this fool you. USE PLENTY OF INSECT REPELLENT OR CITRONELLA OIL!!!
Their bites itch like hell and look really horrible especially if they get infected.
Take care when leaving your stuff on the beach. The beach bums don't just walk along the beach, they hide in the trees and will come along when no-one is around. The locals were great, they would come and warn us as soon as we got to the beach and advise us to look after other peoples stuff too. Always make sure that you leave your stuff near other tourists.
Have a meeting spot in case anyone in your group gets separated while "playing mas" (participating in Carnival). When the whole country is in costumes, it's easy to get lost in the crowd!
Also, it's really easy to get dehydrated while playing mas. Make sure that you have at least 1 glass of water for every rum that you consume. Drink the rum straight over ice or mixed with coconut water; venders along the street will chop open coconuts for you & pour out the FRESHEST coconut water you've ever tasted. Mixing rum with Coke will give you a SEVERE hang over.
I am a big guy 6'2" 250. And It did not take more than one block from the hotel for someone to start following me. iIt was still evening time but I was alone and stood out like a sore thumb. I had heard of two muggings earlier in the week so I didnot venture any further. Apparently they work in gangs and jump you when your ripe.
It's said that Tobago has a lot of violence but still many people move from Trinidad to Tobago 'cause it's so safe there. At least we didn't have to worry about that. As the city often loses all electricity we had to feel safe walking around at night time otherwise would've had to sit in the room enjoying the candle light..
If you want to park at some of the more out-of-the-way spots its better to have your stuff in the car trunk. If you rent one of the little Jeep-like things you'll have no trunk, and the roads don't require anything other than a car.
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