Ranked the happiest nation in the Caribbean by the United Nations’ World Happiness Report, in 2013 and 2015, the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago offers visitors the best of both worlds. Bursting with a rich culture, stemming from a history of European colonialism, West African slavery and East Indian indentureship, Trinidad is an entertainment and culture center, while Tobago is a wonder for the nature enthusiast home to beautiful beaches, waterfalls, wetlands and diving sites.
Here’s our PDF printable to plan your fabulous eco-trip-
Bird watchers from around the world come to Trinidad & Tobago to catch a glimpse of the island’s 425 diverse species. Birders can begin their journey in Trinidad at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, located at the protected site of the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis. Then it’s off to the Asa Wright Nature Center, a 720-acre conservatory, and the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, dedicated to the breeding and conservation of various bird and waterfowl species. In Tobago, the Grafton Caledonia Sanctuary, the Main Forest Ridge Rainforest and Little Tobago Island are where rare bird species can be found.
Hiking- Both islands feature trails ideal for hiking such as Paria and Salybia in Trinidad. The Paria River runs from the mountains of the Northern Range and hikers frequent the river’s mouth because of its waterfall, serenity and surrounding forest. Salybia has winding pathways full of Mora trees. After trekking through the Salybia trail, hikers can enjoy the Rio Seco Waterfall and Pool. Tobago’s hiking trails include Argyle Waterfall, where hikers can discover the island’s highest falls at the end of an easy 15-minute hike along a trail lined with cocoa trees.
Biking- Trails on both islands provide a pathway for both experienced and inexperienced bikers. In Trinidad, bikers can ride along highways from Diego Martin in the West all the way to the East and South of the island. Chaguaramas, an area that is surrounded by rolling hills, provides the perfect terrain for cyclists; more experienced riders prefer the challenging trail leading to Cerro del Aripo. Tobago offers scenic trails as well as ones with drops and steep mountains such as Indian Walk, Gru-Gru Boeuf and Chocolate Cake.
Kayaking- Trinidad & Tobago have many different locations to kayak, from where many species of birds and wildlife can be seen. Popular areas for kayaking in Trinidad include the Nariva Swamp on the East coast, Chaguaramas on the West, and Paria Bay in the North. In Tobago, kayaking is spectacular in Speyside across to Little Tobago Island or along the island’s West Coast that features deserted beaches along the route.
The Trinidad and Tobago world famous Carnival occurs in Feb/March on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled stamina for partying, Trinidad’s Carnival is renowned as the greatest show on earth.
Like the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures that shaped the island, Trinidad’s Carnival has influences from the colonial powers and their slaves, where the masked balls of the European masters have exploded onto the streets, with costume and mime and dancing parties, thousands strong, reveling in liberating loud music and licence to cavort in the heart of Port of Spain’s business district!
More than 8,000 masqueraders take to the streets every year. Fetes, masquerade (mas bands), steelpan, calypso, soca are planned in and around Port of Spain. The official Carnival route is 10 miles long. Most visitors arrive during the week before the Carnival and stay until the weekend after.
Trinidad & Tobago is home to flavors of the world that melt together in a multicultural pot of scents, tastes, spices and aromas. The local gastronomy is a reflection of the islands’ various cultural roots, steeped in East-Indian, Chinese, Creole, African and European cuisine. Popular beach and street eats include doubles – made up of savory curried chick peas between two barra, or flat fried bread. Similar to an Indian flat bread, roti is filled with finely ground split peas, then wrapped with curried meat, shrimp and/or vegetables. One of the most popular street foods during Carnival is corn soup – taking it up a notch by adding hot peppers for a kick.
Most of Trinidad’s Northern Range comprises of limestone caves such as the Sea Caves at Las Cuervas Beach. Other places of interest include Dunstans Caves, located on the Asa Wright Nature Reserve that house an oilbird colony, and the Aripo Caves. The Gasparee Caves, which lie below the ground on the island of Gaspar Grande off of Trinidad’s northwest coast where pirates and smugglers once used to secure stolen treasures. These limestone caves feature a crystal clear pool that adds to the mystery of the caves.
Trinidad features a natural ecological phenomenon known as Pitch Lake. The natural asphalt lake is about 250 feet deep and is estimated to have reserves in excess of 6 million Tons. Tobago has the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere (designated on April 17, 1776)
Each year from March to September, as many as 12,000 nesting turtles come to the shores of Trinidad & Tobago after traveling thousands of miles to lay eggs on the beaches where they were born. Sustainable initiatives by hotels and local organizations are encouraging both residents and visitors to experience the yearly rituals of the mother turtles and their hatchings, while ensuring that the important nesting sites are not harmed.
Development and recent unveiling of the Eco-Adventure Trails Project encompasses over five and a half miles of scenic trails stretching from Grande Rivière to Sans Souci on the Northeast coast of Trinidad. The Grande Rivière to Sans Souci trail is part of a wider project to rehabilitate over 600 miles of existing trails throughout the destination over a five-year period.
These rehabilitated trails follow ancient pathways that were once traversed by Trinidad & Tobago’s First Peoples, the indigenous Amerindians of the islands. In addition to a walk through the island’s history, the trails project will also offer locals and visitors an extensive range of eco-experiences including: zip lining; biking; bird watching; sea bathing and nature photography.
To take advantage of all the eco-friendly options of exploring Trinidad and Tobago, you can download the Ecophiles Green Guide to Trinidad and Tobago.