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The Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago is a dual-island nation lying off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. Trinidad-with the lively capital of Port of Spain-is a mix of diverse city living and pristine mangrove swamps, while Tobago is a relatively untouched landscape filled with sandy beaches, palm tree groves, and misty rainforest. Together, the 2 islands offer plenty for visitors to enjoy, from hiking and biking to snorkeling and birdwatching to the famous Carnival festival that takes over the streets. Boasting a wide variety of cultural influences, this vibrant island nation is a smorgasbord of food, recreation, and entertainment.
Trinidad - Located just off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad is the largest of the country's 2 islands.
Port of Spain: Sitting on the north end of Trinidad's western coast, the country's capital blends contemporary urban living with lush landscapes and colonial heritage. Hotels and cottages sit close to the water, though the majority of the most sought-after beaches are scattered along the island's northern coast. In and around downtown, find modern buildings mingling with historic landmarks, shopping malls sharing the streets with outdoor markets, and busy restaurants and bars along Ariapita Avenue. Within the expansive Queen's Park Savannah are serene botanic gardens, recreational green spaces, and a zoo housing tigers, giraffes, and other exotic animals. Caroni Bird Sanctuary: Just to the south of Port of Spain sits the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, a wetland area comprising mangrove forest and herbaceous marsh that offer some of the world's best birdwatching. In the afternoon, board a boat for a ride through the waterways and into a quiet lagoon. Here, at sunset, watch as thousands of the fiery Scarlet Ibis return to roost, providing dramatic contrast to the surrounding scenery of green, white, and blue. Nariva Swamp: Lying on the eastern coast of Trinidad, Nariva Swamp is the largest freshwater wetland in the country, sprawling out across 24 square miles (62 sq m). Extremely biodiverse, the swamp is home to 58 species of mammals, over 200 species of birds, an array of beautiful butterflies, and much, much more.
Tobago - The smaller of the 2 islands, Tobago sits roughly 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Trinidad and can be reached either by plane or via the Inter-Island Ferry from the Port of Spain Terminal.
Scarborough: The southwest town of Scarborough is the largest city on Tobago and serves as the economic and cultural center of the island. The area is anchored by the lively Scarborough Market, with vendors selling produce and clothing, along with the Scarborough Botanical Garden and its collection of indigenous trees. On a hill overlooking the city, find the ruins of the 18 th -century Fort King George, which are home to cannons, artifacts, and the Tobago Museum. Charlotteville: On the east end of the island, Charlotteville is a sleepy fishing village with picturesque beaches backed by rainforest mountains. Largely untouched by mainstream tourism, the area is peaceful, offering ideal places for swimming, snorkeling, or simply kicking back at a beachside bar. To the west, Lover's Beach-only accessible by boat-boasts soft pink sand thanks to crushed seashells that have washed onto the shore. Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve: Running from the center of the island to south of Charlotteville, Tobago Main Ridge is the oldest forest reserve in all of the Western Hemisphere. Covering nearly 10,000 acres (3,958 ha), the area boasts forested mountains rising to a height of 1,900 feet (580 m). Tours with a certified guide are the best way to explore the region's jungles, wildlife, and waterfalls. Pigeon Point Heritage Park: On the west end of the island, Pigeon Point Heritage Park is a 125-acre (51-ha) nature reserve offering outdoor recreation, casual dining, and live music. For a small entrance fee, gain access to 3 golden beaches, 5 seaside eateries, and a cluster of charming shops. A rental store offers kitesurfing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding, while a glass-bottom boat can take you out into the tropical Buccoo Reef.
See all of Trinidad's best sights on a guided tour of the Port of Spain. With a local behind the wheel, uncover the city's history, culture, and spectacular views as you drive through it's bustling streets. Cruise through Independence Square with its skyscrapers and shopping areas, admire the stunning colonial mansions near Queen's Park Savannah, and then take a ride down Ariapita Avenue, the heart of the island's nightlife and entertainment scene. End your tour at Fort George, which sits on a hill at 236 feet (72 m), for panoramic views that stretch across the gulf and all the way to Venezuela.
Visit the island of Trinidad's best beaches on a tour from Port of Spain up to the northern coast. Embark on a drive along the dramatic North Coast Road through craggy cliffs and lush rainforest. Stop first at Maracas Bay, a postcard-worthy destination with warm, soft sand and aquamarine water. Enjoy free time to go swimming or try a local specialty from one of the food stalls near the beach. Next, continue on to Las Cuevas, a relaxing site that's more sheltered and calm than Maracas. Take time to go for a refreshing drip or snap photos of the rugged landscape that surrounds you.
For even more adventure, set off into the rainforest for a thrilling ride on a 7-course zipline near Macqueripe Bay. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you soar through the trees with unparalleled views of the beach. Experience the ride of your life as you fly at heights of up to 100 feet (30 m). After your zipline, continue further into the rainforest for a hike up to Edith Falls. Travel through what's known as the Bamboo Cathedral, a road with towering stalks that meet overhead to create an otherworldly tunnel. The path then leads you to an abandoned cocoa estate, upon which sits the breathtaking 250-foot (76-m) waterfall.
Back in the Port of Spain, immerse yourself in the city's incredible culture after dark. Venture into the steelpan yards, where the sounds of steel drums ring out in metallic harmony. Watch as local musicians entertain the audience with the tropical pitches of calypso and soca that have become synonymous with the Caribbean itself. Next, head over to Ariapita Avenue-known to locals as just "The Avenue"-where you can soak up the nighttime atmosphere at a range of vibrant venues or tasty eateries.
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