The Tourism and Industrial Development Authority
of Trinidad and Tobago Limited
10-14 Philipps Street, Port of Spain
Trinidad, W.I.
Phone: 809 623 1932/6022, Fax: 809 623 3848
Trinidad and Tobago

Physical geography

Trinidad, the southernmost island in the Caribbean, is only seven miles (10km) off the coast of Venezuela. It is 2,219 miles -3,571km - from New York (4.75 hours by air) and 1,622 miles -2,610.3km - from Miami (3.5 hours by air). Tobago lies 21 miles -30km - to the northeast of Trinidad. Roughly rectangular in shape, Trinidad, 50 miles x 37 miles - 80km x 59.5km - wide, is an area of 1,864 square miles - 4,828 square km. Tobago is 27 miles x 7.5 miles - 43.5km x 12.1km wide.

Three mountain ranges cross Trinidad from East to West. The heavily forested northern range, a continuation of the South American Andes, contains the highest peak in the country, El Terro del Aripo 3,085 feet approximately, or 940.3 metres. The rest of the island is predominantly flat or undulating except for the central Montserrat Hills and the Trinity Hills in the South. The sister island of Tobago, with miles of powdery white sand beaches, is surrounded by a mountain range reaching, 2,000 feet, or approx. 760 metres, at its highest point. Down each side of the ridge run deep fertile valleys.


The country enjoys pleasant weather throughout the year, averaging 79°F - 26°C with little variations, because the tropical climate is cooled by prevailing trade winds.

Economic geography

Trinidad has the most diverse economy in the Caribbean with large natural resource assets of oil, gas, lignite, gypsum, limestone and the world's largest supply of asphalt. The performance of the Trinidad and Tobago economy continues to be strongly influenced by developments in the petroleum sector. Chemicals including ammonia fertiliser, methanol accounts for 4.2 per cent of the GDP, while agriculture (sugar, the world's finest grade cocoa and coffee) accounts for 2.8 per cent. Strong consumer demands have resulted in the construction of automotive assembly plants and sophisticated electronic product factories.


Trinidad and Tobago have approximately 1.2 million inhabitants, a little less than half of them are under 20 years of age. It is a cosmopolitan mixture of many cultures including African, Indian, Chinese, Syrian, Portuguese, French, Spanish and English. The literacy rate is 96 per cent.

A brief history

Trinidad - Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad in 1498, on his third voyage. He had vowed to name his next landfall after the Holy Trinity, and when he saw the three prominent mountain peaks on the southeast coast, he immediately gave the island the name Trinidad.

In 1523 the Spanish established their first settlement, mainly as a base for expeditions in search of the fabled gold-rich land, El Dorado. The lure of gold also brought England's Sir Walter Raleigh to Trinidad's shores. He did not find gold, but he did use the asphalt from the Pitch Lake to caulk his ships in 1595. Tobago - Tobago, the so-called 'Robinson Crusoe Island' was not mentioned by Columbus. It later made up for this neglect by changing hands more frequently than perhaps any other Caribbean island. The English, Spanish, Dutch and French all tried to possess it, and the resulting confusion became so great that eventually the island was declared neutral territory. This, however, made it irresistible to pirates, and Tobago turned into such a dangerous hornet's nest of rogues that in 1662 the British were forced to invade once again and clear them out.

Subsequently, a vastly prosperous sugar industry was developed on the island, and 'as rich as a Tobago planter' became a familiar saying. Since then Tobago has prospered, and today is one of the world's most sought-after holiday havens.


The country is a republic of free religious worship. Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are the principal religions.

Languages spoken by nationals

The national language is English, often spoken with a lilt. Also spoken: Hindi dialects, French patois, Spanish, Chinese and Urdu, all spoken in specific social settings.


The country is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time and the same as Eastern Daylight Saving Time.


The unit of currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar which currently floats against the US$ at a rate of approximately TT$6 per $US1. US dollars are accepted in Trinidad and Tobago, but it is best to (convert to local currency at the banks.

Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)

New Year's Day (1 January), Good Friday (March - Religious), Easter Monday (March - Religious), Spiritual Liberation Shouter Day (30 March - religious), Whit Monday (May - Religious), Indian Arrival Day (30 May), Corpus Christi (June - Religious), Emancipation Day (1st August), Independence Day (31 August), Republic Day (24 September), Eid Ul Ftir (Religious), Divali (Religious), Christmas Day (25 December), Boxing Day (26 December).

Equally important on the calendar, though not official public holidays, is the Carnival which will be celebrated on 10 and 11 February 1997. The dates for the Hindu festival of Divali and the Muslim festival of Eid-Ul-Fitr are determined based on a religious calendar and are usually announced a few months before the actual date of celebration.

What one should not fail to see

A veritable tropical wonderland, unlike anything else seen in the Caribbean, awaits the visitor to this two island republic. It abounds in 400 varieties of birds, 108 mammals, 55 reptiles, 622 types of butterflies, dozens of sport and exotic fish and a wide range of flowering trees, shrubs, plants and palms, nature reserves. Bird sanctuaries, a botanical garden and a zoo.

Compte de Lopinot Historical Complex - The Compte de Lopinot Historical complex marks the home of another colourful personality in Trinidad's history, Charles Joseph, Compte de Lopinot. A Lieutenant General of the French Army, he fled France at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1680 and established a large estate on the beautiful plain 'La Reconnaissance'. Forts George and Picton in Trinidad, Forts James and King George in Tobago - Built to protect the islands against invasion. Now historical landmarks.

Buccoo Reef, Tobago - Submarine coral gardens viewed through glass bottom boats.

Nylon pool-sea bathing in clear waist-deep water several kilometres from shore.

Gasparee Caves - combine natural beauty and historical interest. The caves, at the western end of Gaspar Grande Island, offer splendid examples of stalactites and stalagmites. The government installed harbour defence guns nearby during the First World War. Local volunteers manned the guns throughout the Second World War.

Maracas Bay/Las Cuevas Bay- Two of the more popular and beautiful beaches in Trinidad. Facilities at the Maracas Bay have been enhanced, making it even more user-friendly and attractive. Angostura Limited - Trinidad's unique contribution to the world's drinking habits. This is Angostura Bitters, first distilled by Dr Siegert while serving in Venezuela at the Military Hospital of Cuidad Bolivar. He brought the formula to Trinidad for commercial production, and it is still a closely guarded family secret.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with sunshine for an average of eight hours per day all year round. The average year-round temperatures are 74°F (23°C) at night and 84°F (28°C) by day. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> Lightweight clothing is essential, but remember that beach wear should be kept for the beach; cocktail dresses for evenings. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Trinidad - Chaconia Inn, 106 Saddle Road, Maraval - Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, Lady Young Road, Belmont - Holiday Inn, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain; Hotel Normandie, 10 Nook Avenue, St. Anns; Kapok Hotel, 16-18 Cotton Hill, St. Clair - Monique's, 114 Saddle Road, Maraval - Bel Air International, Airport Hotel Ltd. - Piarco International Airport, Piarco- Farrell House Hotel Southern Main Road, Claxton Bay, San Fernando. <P>Tobago - Amos Vale Hotel, Plymouth - Crown Reef Hotel, Store Bay; Cocrico Inn, Plymouth - Della Mira Guesthouse Windward Road, Scarborough; Kariwak Village, Crown Point, Mount Irvine Bay Hotel, Mount Irvine Bay; Sandy Point Beach Club, Crown Point - Turtle Beach Hotel, Plymouth - Coral Reef Milford Road, Tobago. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Tennis - The Trinidad Hilton and Trinidad Country Club have tennis courts and public courts are open on the grounds of the Prince's Building. In Tobago there are tennis courts at Mount Irvine, Crown Point, Amos Vale Hotels and Turtle Beach. <P>Golf - The St. Andrews 'Moka' Golf Club, two miles outside Port of Spain, in Maraval, and the Tobago Golf Club at Mount Irvine are both 18-hole championship calibre courses. <P>Water sports - Trinidad has more beach frontage than any other island in the West Indies, with most of the beaches secluded and outside of Port of Spain. Tobago has some of the finest white powdery sand beaches in the world. Snorkelling and scuba diving are a major Tobago attraction with Buccoo Reef and its abundant array of marine life, much of it in only 25 to 60 feet of water. <P>Fishing - Deep sea or inland stream fly fishing is excellent year around with salmon, snapper, tarpon, marlin, wahoo, kingfish, dolphin and bonita providing many challenges. Fishing trips can be arranged through hotels or local tour operators. <P>Horse racing - Horse racing is scheduled in Trinidad almost every Saturday with main meets after Christmas and April-June held at the modern new Santa Rosa race track in Arima. <P>Cricket - Matches are held at the Queen's Park Oval Cricket Ground on St. Clair Avenue in Port of Spain and elsewhere. The season usually extends from January to June. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> Creole, East Indian, Chinese, Spanish, French and Italian specialities ranging from roti (a king-size crepe, highly spiced and filled with chicken, shellfish or meat) to roasted breadfruit. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Trinidad and Tobago has duty free shopping both in Port of Spain and at the Piarco International Airport. Some of the best buys are English and China crystal, French porcelain and glassware, East Indian filigree jewellery in gold and sterling silver, ivory figurines, oriental wood carvings, brassware, sandals and saris. The top locally made products are jewellery, handicrafts including hand-beaten copper goods, palm fibre tote bags, steel drums, paintings, hand-painted fabrics and ready-to-wear garments. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> Entry requirements : Passports and an ongoing or return ticket from point of embarkation are required. There is no exception to this requirement for any country. Visas are required for visits exceeding three months. <H3>Customs regulations</H3> The duty free allowance is TT$1,200 per person with families able to pool their purchases. Free of duty are locally made items including 100-year-old antiques, original paintings, sculptures and handicrafts, fine fashions, hand-tooled work in leather, bronze and copper and musical instruments. <P>Pet regulations - There is a six-month quarantine on all animals imported from the USA. A permit is required from the Chief Veterinary Officer Ministry of Food, Production and Marine Exploitation, St Clair Circle, P.O.S., before arrival. Tel: (809) 622-1221. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> By Air - From New York and Miami, Trinidad and Tobago is served by BWIA and American Airlines. Inter-island travel is available via BWIA and LIAT. There is a special domestic carrier - Air Caribbean - which provides a daily service to Tobago. Flights out of Trinidad start at 6am and continue on a hourly basis. <P>By road - Taxis, buses, mini-buses (locally referred to as Maxi-Taxis) and rental cars are readily available on both islands. Taxis do not have meters, so have your driver quote you a price, in TT, beforehand. Trinidad and Tobago has 4,600 miles - 7402.78km - of good roads. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Miscellaneous </H3> Departure tax/other taxes - TT$85 per person; ten per cent service charge and ten per cent government tax at larger hotels. A 15 per cent VAT is also added to certain items upon purchase. <P>Medical facilities - excellent doctors and hospitals. Marriage regulations - a marriage licence is available upon presentation of proof of citizenship such as a valid passport or a birth certificate - proof of divorce (if applicable). Normally it takes approximately three to seven days. <P>Electricity - 110 or 220 volts, AC, 60 cycles. <BR>Shopping hours - Monday to Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Shopping malls open every day, except Sunday. <BR>Banking hours - Monday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 2:00p.m. - Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m. to: 500 p.m. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Representatives abroad</H3> BARBADOS AND ASSOCIATED STATES: High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Cockspur House, Nile Street, Bridgetown, Barbados. Tel.: 809 429 96 00/1. <P>BELGIUM: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 14, avenue de la Faisanderie, B-l 150 Brussels. Tel. 762-9415/9400. <P>BRAZIL: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, SHI5 OL8 Conjunto 4, Casa 5, 71600 Brasilia DF, Brazil. Tel.: 55612481922/1268. <P>CANADA: High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 75, Albert Street, Suite 508, Ottawa, Ontario KIP SE7. Tel.: 613 232 2418/9. <P>Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Authority, 40 Holly Street, Suite 102, Toronto M4S 3C3. Tel. (416) 486-4470. Consulate General of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1700, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3L4. <P>ENGLAND: High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 42 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8NT. Tel. 0171-441-245-9351. <P>GUYANA: High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 91, Middle Street, Georgetown. Tel. 01-592-202-7201/2/3. <P>INDIA: (Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka) High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 131, Jor Bagh, New Delhi 1, 10003, India. Tel. 61-81-86/7. Telex: (81) 314112. <P>JAMAICA: High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Pan Jamaica Building, 3rd Floor, 60 Knutsford Blvd, Kingston 5. Tel.: 809 92 5730/9. <P>NIGERIA: High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, P.O. Box 6392, Lagos or Plot 1374, 6 Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Tel. 614527. Telex: (Trinto) (905) 21041. <P>SWITZERLAND: Permanent Mission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, 37-39, Rue de Vermont, CH-1202 Geneva. Tel. 34 91 30. Telex: (45) 27802. <P>USA: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 708 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC, 200036. Tel: (202) 467-6490. <P>Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Authority, Suite 1508 25 W, 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. Tel: (212) 719 0540. <P>Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Authority, 330 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 310, Miami, Florida, 33132. Tel: (305) 374 2056. <P>Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, 331 Graybar Building 420, Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 100017. <P>Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, New York, 675 3rd Avenue, 22nd Floor, New York NY 10017. Tel: (212) 697 7620. <P>VENEZUELA: Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Quinta Serrana, 4A, Avenida Altamira, Entre 7 y 8 Transversales, Apartado del Este N 61, 322, Caracas. Tel: 582 261 3748/5796/4772. <P>In all other countries please contact the nearest UK diplomatic or consular authority. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <I>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Trinidad and Tobago thanks to the co-operation of The Tourism and Industrial Development Authority. <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>