11 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Trinidad and Tobago
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Trinidad and Tobago are two islands joined as one nation with very different characters.
Trinidad, near Venezuela, is the busier of the two and the southernmost of all the West Indian islands. In the bustling capital, Port of Spain, you will find some impressive examples of colonial and Renaissance-style architecture, as well as an eclectic cultural mix of Creoles, Africans, Amerindians, Europeans, and East Indians. Popular palm-fringed beaches are nearby, and three forest-cloaked mountain ranges dissect the island, creating some striking landscapes.
Naturally beautiful Tobago is Trinidad's less-developed younger sister. Rainforests, reefs, and white-sand beaches are the prime tourist attractions here, with excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. The islands attract many independent travelers who appreciate the unpretentious ambience and dramatic topography.
In particular, both islands are renowned for their excellent birding, with many avian species from nearby South America enriching the biodiversity. Trinidad and Tobago is also famous for its Carnival, held on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Discover the best places to visit and most rewarding things to do in these alluring islands with our list of the top attractions in Trinidad & Tobago.
Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.
1. Maracas Bay, Trinidad
Fringed by coconut palms, Maracas Bay is one of Trinidad's most famous beaches. From Port of Spain, the scenic 40-minute drive through mountainous rainforest provides breathtaking views of lush peninsulas jutting into the sea.
The beach itself is one of the most beautiful beaches close to the city. A deep blue bay laps this idyllic crescent of golden sand, and lushly-cloaked hillsides rise at its edges.
You can rent umbrellas and chairs to make your beach time more comfortable, and food trucks and vendors provide tasty snacks along the beach, including Richard's Bake & Shark, a local favorite. Showers are also available.
If you're looking for places to spend the day in Trinidad and soak up the local vibe, this is a great choice. Locals love to "lime" here (hang out and enjoy the scene), in fact this is one of the most popular places to lime in Trinidad.
If you're looking for a more low-key beach day, beautiful Las Cuevas Beach, about 15 minutes from Maracas Bay, is much quieter and less crowded. The calmer waters here also make it a better choice for families.
Address: North Coast Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Trinidad
2. Englishman's Bay, Tobago
For a quintessential slice of coastal beauty in Tobago, pack a picnic and head to Englishman's Bay. This secluded beach lies about 1.5 kilometers from Castara along a twisty narrow road, and it's worth the journey. Kicking back on these dazzling shores is one of the top things to do in Tobago.
Jungle-cloaked hills, peppered with palms, tumble down to this gorgeous crescent of golden sand and jade-green sea - if you're looking for the perfect postcard shot to make all your friends at home jealous, this is the place to bring your camera.
The tucked-away location of this picturesque slice of coast makes it one of the most romantic places in Trinidad & Tobago. You can swim and snorkel in the clear sea, and if you want to make your beach basking more comfortable, you can rent chairs and umbrellas from the little café in the car park.
A couple of gift shops here sell bamboo bird feeders and other knick knacks. But it's the scenery that steals the show.
3. Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge, Trinidad
A paradise for birders, the Asa Wright Nature Centre & Lodge encompasses 1,500 acres of dense forest in the Arima and Aripo Valleys. Hummingbirds, woodcreepers, pygmy owls, trogons, and the rare nocturnal oilbird are just some of the avian species spotted at this former cocoa, coffee, and citrus plantation.
You can sign up for a birding tour, enjoy lunch or high tea on the verandah, or stay at one of the cottages here. Income from guests funds conservation of the surrounding forest, new land purchases, and environmental educational programs.
Fans of hummingbirds will also love Yerette hummingbird sanctuary, deep in the Maracas Valley. Your entrance fee includes an informative presentation by the owner, the chance to photograph the hummingbirds while they feed, and a light snack, but you need to make reservations in advance.
And if you're on a birding mission in Tobago, head to Adventure Farm & Nature Reserve. Here, you can see everything from motmots to bananaquits and many beautiful hummingbirds buzzing around feeders in the tropical gardens.
Location: Spring Hill Estate, Trinidad
Official site: http://asawright.org/
4. Pigeon Point, Tobago
Also known as the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Pigeon Point is one of the most popular stretches of coast on Tobago. White coral-sand rims the aqua waters here, and you'll find a range of different water sports, including stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling.
Unlike Englishman's Bay, this beach offers many amenities, which makes it a great place to base yourself for a day. Snack bars, shops, change rooms, and thatch-covered seating are all available, and you can also rent sun loungers. But the beach does require an entrance fee.
Boats leave from here for snorkeling trips to Buccoo Reef and a swim at Nylon Pool, a meter-deep offshore sandbar with crystal-clear turquoise water that looks like a giant swimming pool.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tobago
5. Port of Spain, Trinidad
Capital of the nation, this bustling business center is known for its many fine examples of colonial-style architecture, as well as a few tourist attractions.
One of the most popular things to do in Port of Spain is to soak up the architectural highlights around Queen's Park Savannah. Here, elegant mansions called the "Magnificent Seven," line the sprawling green space. Architecture fans should also visit the impressive Red House Parliament in Woodford Square.
Near Queen's Park Savannah, you will also find the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, bordering the president's grand residence, and the National Museum and Art Gallery, with exhibits on local art, history, and culture.
But Port of Spain is perhaps most famous for its exuberant Carnival. The city comes alive the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with an extravaganza of colorful costumes, limbo competitions, and contagious calypso and soca rhythms.
For an overview of the city, try a three-hour Port of Spain City Tour. These operate in the morning and afternoon and include entrance fees to some of the attractions.
6. Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad
Caroni Bird Sanctuary (Caroni Swamp), just south of Port of Spain, is a nirvana for nature lovers. This series of mangrove-lined waterways is the nesting place of the scarlet ibis, the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago.
Afternoon boat tours cruise the estuaries in search of these spectacular flame-colored birds. Sign up for a cruise just before sunset, and you can capture beautiful photos of the birds as they descend on the trees in large flocks to roost for the evening. It makes a great photo op.
The area is rich in biodiversity, and you can also spot many other species of wildlife, such as herons, egrets, cormorants, tree boas, anteaters, and caimans. Fishing and photography tours are also available.
Address: Butler Highway, Caroni, Trinidad
Official site: www.caronibirdsanctuary.com
7. Little Tobago Island
On the east end of Tobago, across from Speyside, Little Tobago Island is one of the most important sea-bird sanctuaries in the Caribbean. The island is uninhabited, and several kilometers of trails weave through the lush foliage.
Look seaward from the hilltops for the most spectacular views, and you can see red-footed boobies, red-billed tropicbirds, and frigate birds swoop in large flocks. More than 50 species of birds live on the island, including Audubon's shearwater and laughing gulls.
Glass-bottomed boats whisk you to the island, revealing the coral reefs below as they circle past the smaller Goat Island in Tyrrell's Bay. Tours often include snorkeling on the nearby reef and a hike to the island's peak.
8. Mount St. Benedict Monastery, Trinidad
Rising above the Northern Range Hills over Tunapuna, the red-roofed church tower of Mount St. Benedict Monastery is one of the most striking landmarks east of Port of Spain.
Benedictine monks established this community in 1912, and the monastery is the largest and oldest in the Caribbean. Founded on the principles of self-sufficiency and hospitality to strangers, the monastery complex encompasses religious buildings, a farm, a rehabilitation center, and guesthouse.
Hiking and birding opportunities abound in the surrounding forest, and the monastery is famous for its yogurt, which is shipped to supermarkets across the country.
Official site: www.mountstbenedictabbey.org
9. Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, Trinidad
The middle of an oil refinery may seem an odd place to visit a nature sanctuary, but this is one of the best bird-watching spots in Trinidad. Surrounded by lush tropical foliage, the 30-hectare sanctuary encompasses an interpretive center and nature trails along lily-topped lakes, where you can spot species such as the scarlet ibis, black-bellied whistling duck, and white-cheeked pintail.
This is a great spot for photographers hoping to catch a close-up shot of one of these feathered beauties.
The Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust protects the sanctuary and operates rehabilitation and captive breeding programs for endangered species.
Address: San Fernando, Trinidad
Official site: www.papwildfowltrust.org
10. Main Ridge Forest Reserve, Tobago
Rich in biodiversity, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve is purportedly the oldest legally protected forest in the Western Hemisphere. The reserve harbors more than half the island's bird species, including the blue-backed manakin, collared trogon, and many species of hummingbirds - the rare white-tailed sabrewing hummingbird is also a resident here.
Hiking through the lush foliage, you can also spot frogs, lizards, snakes, and butterflies. The road through the reserve from north to south, near the eastern end of Tobago, is one of the more scenic ways to see the forest. At the top of the ridge are hiking trails and freelance guides.
11. Fort King George & the Tobago Museum, Tobago
Built in the 1780s overlooking Scarborough Bay, Fort King George is one of the top historical tourist attractions in Tobago and the most well-preserved fort on the island. It offers beautiful views over town and the coast, and is a lovely spot to wander around, with lush lawns, magnificent old trees, and beautiful plantings.
Still surviving are remnants of the original brick and stone walls, an early prison, the officers' mess, several cannons, and a lighthouse.
Also on the grounds, The Tobago Museum adds context to the fort's history. It displays collections of antique maps, African Art, Amerindian artifacts, coins, and shells.