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Monday
Sep042017

Country Profile – Trinidad and  Tobago

This Caribbean twin-island offers electric nightlife, an annual Carnival and some of the best experiences that the natural world can offer – Trinidad and Tobago remains unchanged by tourism and is therefore replete with an unspoiled beauty that is rare in most islands nations. Find out more about one of the Caribbean’s most culturally and historical diverse nations! 

Location and Main Cities

Just off the coast of Venezuela, the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago is populated by 1.3 million citizens! The capital is Port of Spain (Scarborough being the capital of Tobago) and the explosive nature of the country’s development has created a metropolitan hub hosting bustling markets, lively fetes and thriving bars and restaurants!

History

Although Trinidad and Tobago were first inhabited by South American mainland settlers, the islands were first ‘discovered’ by Christopher Columbus which prompted Spanish immigration. Later French traders and finally the British seized the island in 1798, thus instigating the heavy immigration of Portuguese, Chinese and Indian workers. Trinidad and Tobago were united in the late 1800s and gained independence in 1962. In the succeeding decades, the country industrialised using their oil and gas deposits, creating a prosperity that propelled the island nation to become the wealthiest in the Caribbean.

Wikipedia Commons | UnknownTop Sights and Attractions

The Trinidad Carnival is an iconic event and one of the best carnivals in the world – witness the vibrant costumes, catch the calypso music and revel at the rhythmic culture! Taking place in the days before Lent and in the capital city, this annual extravaganza is not to be missed! Port of Prince also offers the Queen’s Park Savannah which claims to be the world’s largest roundabout! This centrepiece of the capital has a 3.5km circumference and is popular amongst walkers and joggers!

Located in the Northern Range, the Asa Wright Nature Reserve is a former coffee plantation-turned nature reserve and one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most unique experiences! The 80-hectare sanctuary is home to numerous woodpecker, toucan and parrot species and offers hiking trails to everyone from nature amateurs to seasoned birdwatchers. The rainforest location acquaints visitors with some of the world’s most splendidly colourful specimen and is always worth a visit!

Flickr | Verino77Fort King George was built by the British in the late 1770s and now holds the Tobago Museum. This restored colonial-era building offers visitors magnificent views of the surrounding bay area!

Beaches in Trinidad and Tobago are aplenty but a popular place amongst visitors is Mount Irvine on the Leeward Coast in Tobago. Complete with beachside bars, roti shacks and surfboard hire, surfers and sunbathers are found here all year around, particularly during the surfing season between December and March. Like most Tobagonian beaches, the area is renowned for its beautiful bays and stunning sands!

An incredible display of Trinidadian and Tobagonian history is at the National Museum and Art Gallery housed in a colonial-era building on the East Coast. Displaying the artwork alongside historical and geological exhibits of Amerindian settlers, African slaves and indentured Indians – visitors will gain an invaluable insight into the nation’s colonial history as well as the thriving ‘Trinbago’ art scene!

Wikipedia Commons | UnknownBest Time to Go

Since Trinidad and Tobago lies within the tropics, the island receives over 80 inches of rain a year between June and December. But generally, the tropical climate is pleasant and its southerly location keeps annual temperatures consistent! Moreover, the islands lie outside the hurricane belt so tropical cyclones are rare!

Other Points of Interest

The primary language is English but the vernacular language is Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole. The nation’s currency is its own eponymously named dollar. The rainforest regions are teeming with mosquitoes and necessary precaution is advised!

That concludes our country profile on Trinidad and Tobago! This incredible island, named after what is thought to be a ‘corruption of its old name: Tobaco’, boasts a vivid history, vibrant culture and vivacious people – true to its Caribbean identity.

By Anaka Nair - Online Journalism Intern

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