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The islands of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago off Venezuela’s northeastern coast offer beaches, birds and jazz. Appreciate the fascinating history and singsong accent of the people living on these Caribbean islands.
Columbus sailed past Tobago and landed on Trinidad in 1498, finding native Arawak and Carib Indians. Later, Spanish, Dutch, French and British inhabited the lands, resulting in a delightfully diverse culture. Learn about some of the islands’ history at Fort King George near Scarborough on Tobago. See how the culture has evolved through time to yield an unusual mix of Creole food, goat racing and cricket.
Enjoy swimming, snorkeling and diving at the beaches and waters circling the islands. Trinidad’s Maracas Bay is a family favorite. Take a glass-bottom boat to Buccoo Reef off Pigeon Point Beach on western Tobago to see colorful fish swimming over the shallow coral floor of Nylon Pool. Travel north to Castara and Englishman’s Bay for more swimming and snorkeling. Look for wildlife as you hike in the rainforest of Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
Trinidad’s Asa Wright Nature Centre has many of the islands’ 400 species of native birds and over 2,000 varieties of flowers. Visit Caroni Swamp National Park on the western shore to see thousands of scarlet ibis coming to roost among the mangroves just before sunset. Be mesmerized by iridescent hummingbirds at Yerette.
The capital city of Port of Spain on Trinidad comes alive in spring with Carnival, a spectacular festival incorporating elements of all the cultures of the islands. Travel to communities across Tobago to listen to music during the April Jazz Festival. See native dance, goat racing and other cultural events during Tobago Heritage Festival in the summer. Later in the year join the islands’ Hindu population celebrating Divali’s festival of lights.
Fly to Trinidad or Tobago on major international airlines and travel between the islands by ferry or plane. Bring your bathing suit and sunscreen, but note that it is illegal to wear military or camouflage clothing in Trinidad and Tobago.
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