Port of Spain
Port of Spain, on the northwest coast of Trinidad island, is the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago. The city is famous for its carnival, second only to that of Rio in importance but preferred by many because of its perceptions of being safer.
The main shopping area is between Frederick Street and Charlotte Street, running south to Independence Square (Brian Lara Promenade). As well as the bricks-and-mortar shops, there are numerous stalls on the street selling everything from fruit to CDs.
In the evening Independence Square is full of locals liming - hanging around, chatting to their friends and sampling food from the stalls scattered throughout. Wandering through here is a great way to get a feel for what Trinidad is about.
ClimatePort of Spain enjoys warm temperatures all year round. It is slightly cooler in January and February.
The airport is served by:
- American Airlines
- Caribbean Airlines
- British Airways
- United Airlines
- Copa Airlines
From Tobago there are 14 flights a day on Tobago Express, which is operated by Caribbean Airlines. Flights are on a De Havilland Dash 8, cost US$24 each way and last about 20 minutes. Despite the great frequency of flights these can get booked out very easily.
By carThere is an authorized taxi dispatch at the airport. A trip to Port of Spain costs 30 USD (eq. ~205 TT as of July 2019).
There is a coach from the airport at Piarco weekdays only and it costs 4 TT. The coach will drop you off at City Gate.
When the coach is not running and you aren't carrying massive luggage, you can take a local taxi with a licence plate starting with H at the taxi rank (100 metres to the right of the arrival hall exit) towards what's called "The Junction" and, there, hail a frequently running red-white minivan (Maxi Taxi), which also will drop you off at City Gate (South Quay bus terminal). The taxi is 5 TT, although you'll have to wait for the vehicle to fill up with 4 passengers (which does not take long), and the minivan is 7 TT - altogether considerably cheaper than the 30 USD for the authorized airport taxi.
By boatThere is a Wednesday ferry from Venezuela. See Trinidad.
From Scarborough, Tobago there are hydrofoils that take 2 1/2 hours and conventional ferries that take 5 1/2 hours to Port of Spain. Hydrofoils cost 50 TT one way.
TaxisTaxis are expensive, with a minimum price for a journey within Port-of-Spain being US$10. There are no standard color coded markings for taxis in Port-of-Spain e.g. yellow taxis and by all appearance resembles private motor vehicles. However, all vehicles for hire will have an license plate starting with H instead and you should not be surprised if one stop by and ask if you want a ride. Remember to check if it is a taxi! It is preferable to contact the taxis through your hotel.
During the day, in the central areas, you can move easily even on foot. At dusk, it is recommended for tourists not to venture alone on foot.
By public transportationThe urban area is covered by a bus service. It is necessary to have the travel document before boarding because the drivers do not accept cash, much less credit cards.
- The beaches.
CarnivalThe Trinidad Carnival is one of the best in the world and hotels can be guaranteed to fill up when it is held and double their rates! Taking place in the days before Lent it is a mixture of parades and music and calypso competitions. Participants wear elaborate costumes and parade dancing through the streets to the sounds of a steel band or a soca band. Each year on Carnival Sunday a competition is held to award the King and Queen of Carnival. On Carnival Monday and Shrove Tuesday, the bands compete to win the "Band of the Year" title. Everyone takes part, from young to old and rich to poor. In the weeks before the events the Steel Bands rehearse nightly at their Pan Yards. There may be several in one stretch of road, such as Western Main, and you can buy a beer and watch the rehearsals.
International Waterfront Centreaddress: Wrightson RdA major skyscraper development designed to revitalise the city's waterfront with the Hyatt Regency Trinidad at its heart. This is the only section of Port of Spain's waterfront which is accessible to the public.
National Academy for Performing ArtsOpened at the end of 2009, the construction of this building led to numerous allegations of corruption. The design is supposed to represent Trinidad's national flower but it has been much criticised as being out of keeping with the environment. "Copulating slugs" was perhaps one of the politer descriptions.
Royal Botanic Gardensaddress: Cotton HillEstablished in 1818, these are one of the oldest gardens in the Caribbean. 700 trees of which 13% are indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.
address: Frederick StreetThis is the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago. Founded in 1892, this striking colonial building houses an extensive collection of artifacts and antiques from throughout Trinidad's history
The Magnificent Seven Housesaddress: Maraval RoadThese seven buildings from colonial times have very interesting histories. Only one, Roomor, is still a private residence. The biggest, Queen's Royal College, is a major secondary school. Stollmeyer's Castle, a mansion built like Balmoral Castle in Scotland, was built on the money of an entrepreneur in the coconut water business called Conrad Frederick Stollmeyer.
address: City side of the SavannahBuilt in 1902 by a wealthy merchant, Mr. William Gordon, this house features a veranda made of white marble, hand hewn yellow limestone bricks, and a staircase constructed from wood from Guyana.
Woodford SquareThis central square overlooks the courthouse, the "Red House", the seat of Parliament and the Anglican church dedicated to the Holy Trinity. On the southwest side of the square is the national library building.
Independence SquareSome of the tallest buildings in the country, the Nicholas Tower and the Eric Williams Plaza are located on the southern side of Independence Square.
The Queen's Park Savannahmore usually, known as, just the Savannah is a large park in the middle of the city. It has a circumference of 3.5 km and is a popular spot around sunset for joggers and walkers. With one-way traffic circulating clockwise, it claims to be the world's largest roundabout or traffic circle.
There are many types of traditional and Trinidad food that must be tried, some of these include:
- Bake and Shark
- Chow (e.g. Mango/Pineapple Chow)
- West Indian Style Curry
- Jerk Chicken/Fish
Western Main Highway at St James is a popular night spot with a long stretch of bars and eateries. There are also many food stalls selling Rotis, Doubles, and other local delicacies.
A local flour and chick peas delicacy called Doubles (available all over the island, even just outside the airport). There are several stalls on Independence Square can get these for 5TT each - make sure to get their early though as they tend to sell out pretty quickly.
American fast food chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Burger King (try the totally local fast food chain Royal Castle!)
Mid-rangeAriapita Avenue, in the Woodbrook neighborhood of Port-of-Spain, is a popular dining and nightlife area with a good selection of mid-range restaurants.
To eateries like - Benihana and many others available at Trincity Mall, 15 mins from Piarco Airport
- Prime (BHP Billiton Building): One of the top steakhouse in Trinidad, look to spend around USD200++ and above.
- Chaud (2 Queen's Park West): Specialises in fusion cuisine, excellent location at Savanna and food. USD100++ and above.
Beer is a little expensive, priced around 9 TT (1.5 USD) at grocery stores and 15 TT (2.5 USD) at restaurants for a 275mL bottle. The local brew consist of Carib and Stag (lager). Rum is widely available and the local distiller Angostura is among one of the top producers in the region with its Royal Oak line.
For non-alcoholic drinks, Trinidians in general favor a sweeter flavor. Some of the local beverages can be found in the list below:
- Sorrel, a sweet dark pink beverage made from the Roselle plant
- Mauby, a bitter sweet drink with a herbal flavor made from the bark of a local tree
- Peanut Punch, a drink made from peanut butter, milk and sugar
Angie's Bed and Breakfastphone: +1 868 627-0710address: St.Ann's Road, St.Ann's
address: 99 Saddle Road, Maraval
Copper Kettle Grillephone: +1 868 625-4381address: 66 Edward St
address: 7 Anderson Street, St. JamesPrivate and secure.
phone: +1 868 669-1914address: Maracas Bay Rd
phone: +1 868 628-3334address: 114-116 Saddle Road,
phone: +1 868 628-2008address: 53 Picton Street, Newtown,
S&D Guesthousephone: +1 868 684-2494address: 4 La Puerta Court, Diego Martin
phone: +1 868 682-9589address: 47 St. Anns Road, St. Anns
phone: +1 868 628-4034address: 41 Picton Stoffers a cozy home like feel.
Tony's Guest Housephone: +1 868 763-4230address: Papnis Drive, Petit Valley
SplurgeThe recent opening of the Hyatt Regency means there is now a surfeit of "Splurge" rooms for much of the year. Try bargaining to get rates less than those listed.
phone: +1 868 621-5000address: 2-4 Coblentz AveExcellent rooms but rather boring restaurant, bar and overall ambience.
- Courtyard by Marriott Port of Spain Spacious accommodation, free high-speed Internet, a full-service restaurant and other convenient amenities and services. Invaders Bay, Audrey Jeffers Highway - Reservations: +1 868-627-5555 US $149.
phone: +1 868-625-3361-8address: Corner Wrightson Rd and London StNew waterfront hotel with revolving restaurant.
phone: +1 868-624-3211address: Lady Young RoadThe hotel boasts hosting President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the whole US delegation during the 2009 Summit of the Americas. Despite the renovation, however, maintenance leaves much to be desired. Built on a hillside overlooking the Savannah, you enter from the top floor. Perversely, the high numbered floors are actually lower down, which takes a bit of getting used to. Great views of POS from the hotel's many terraces.
Hyatt Regencyphone: +1 868 623-2222address: 1 Wrightson Road,Hotel with 428 rooms.
phone: +1 868-622-5765address: 16-18 Cotton HillAlmost a Port of Spain tradition.
Trinidad has a bad reputation (it has a shockingly high murder rate), but if you are sensible and stick to the main areas, you shouldn't have a problem and will find the locals incredibly friendly. Avoid any ostentatious display of wealth, and don't wander down dark backstreets at night on your own, and you shouldn't experience any problems at all.
Wear sunblock, even in early morning or late afternoon, since Trinidad is very close to the equator.
Embassies and High Commissions
- phone: +1 868 822-5450address: 18 Herbert Street, St ClairThe High Commission is also accredited to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Christopher (Kitts) and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname.
Barbados (Consulate)phone: +1 868 638-8431address: 12 Mayfair Gardens, Lower Santa Cruz
- phone: +1 868 622-6232, +1 868-O-CANADAaddress: Maple House, 3-3A Sweet Briar Rd., St. Clair
- phone: +1 868 622-6976address: 39 Alexandra St, St. Clair
- phone: +1 868 628-1931address: 7 Mary St, St ClairForeigners who are legally resident in Trinidad and Tobago must apply at the Embassy of Spain in Port-of-Spain for Schengen visas for travel to main destination France in the Schengen zone. Other visa applications (Long Stay and for travel to the French Overseas Departments and Territories) must be made at the French Embassy in Castries, St. Lucia.
- phone: +1 868 628-2616, +1 868 622-2913address: 12 Alexandra St, St Clair
Netherlandsphone: +1 868 625-1210, +1 868 625-1722address: 69-71 Edward StM-F 09:00-12:00
- phone: +1 868 625-7938address: 7th Floor, Tatil Building, 11 Maraval Road
Surinamephone: +1 868 628-0704address: 5th Floor, Tatil Building, 11 Maraval Road
- phone: +1 868 350-0444address: 19 St Clair Ave, St Clair
- phone: +1 868 622-6371address: 15 Queen's Park W
Venezuelaphone: +1 868 627-9821address: 16 Victoria Ave