Sightseeing Trinidad like a Local
This past summer I finally took James to visit the homeland. I introduced him to family members he had yet to meet. My Grandma made sure he was never hungry. We adventured through the island courtesy of my amazing family. James got a lot of experience in understanding Trini Speak. It was the perfect trip spent sightseeing Trinidad and spending time with my family! With that in mind I figured I would share this local’s guide to sightseeing Trinidad.
A Local’s Guide to Sightseeing Trinidad – The North Coast
No visit to Trinidad is complete without stopping at The Maracas Lookout. Especially if you’re making your way to Maracas Beach, or any of the other beaches on the North Coast. It’s the perfect location for some great views of the North Coast and THE place to stock up on snacks before hitting the beach.
Maracas Beach is the first beach you come across when you hit the coast. It’s also the most touristy. Yes, it is still beautiful and perfectly captures Trinidad’s tropical rainforest island vibes, but there are so many other beautiful beaches.
Personally my favorite is Las Cuevas Beach, or even Tyrico Beach which is just next to Maracas. But if you’re in the mood for some bake and shark – a trini delecacy, Maracas Beach is the place to be.
There are stalls everywhereee selling the famous dish, along with other tasty trini delicacies.
A Local’s Guide to Sightseeing Trinidad – Port Of Spain
One of the historic sites of Trinidad, it is completely free to visit. Located on the hills of St. James you can easily visit Fort George after a visit to Maracas Beach. If you’re afraid of heights, do not look out on the window on the drive up. Trust me. Fort George easily has one of the best, unobstructed views of Port of Spain set against the ocean. When we were there we actually saw a wedding occurring, and I can only imagine how beautiful their photos came out.
Port of Spain
The capital city should definitely be visited on any trip to Trinidad. Stroll through Queen’s Park Savannah, discover the Magnificent 7 or explore The Emperor Valley Zoo and Botanical Gardens. I personally love the Botanical Gardens and it has always fascinated me.
For more spectacular views of Port-of-Spain, head on over to “Lady Young Road” lookout.
Caroni Bird Sanctuary
Trinidad and Tobago is home to the Scarlet Ibis, amongst many other animals. Many bird enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike flock to the Sanctuary to see the national bird. I took the tour for the first time ever with James, my brother and sister-in-law. While it was very interesting to see the various birds flying around, I personally found the tour a bit boring. I think I would have enjoyed this if I really had a passion for birds, or was a younger kid.
A Local’s Guide to Sightseeing Trinidad – NorthEast Coast
Trinidad is one of the nesting sites to the endangered LeatherBack Turtle. If you’re lucky to be there during nesting season, you can take a guided tour during the night and see the turtles laying their eggs. Get ready for a potentially long evening, as the turtles lay their eggs at night. I remember once waiting a couple hours before any turtles were sighted in the wee hours past midnight.
I highly recommend doing this only with a tour – and advise against doing this by yourself. There are poachers that venture out to steal the eggs. Even if you don’t encounter poachers, it’s extremely easy to step on eggs/hatchlings. Plus, paying a tour guide to show you around not only gives you a wealth of information but provides funding and support for many of these volunteer groups that seek to protect the Turtles.
Situated on the northeastern coast you can find the Toco Lighthouse, or the Galera Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is a historic lighthouse, and was completed on the 50th year of Queen Victoria’s ascent to the throne. As a result it was commemorated as such. Beyond the history it provides a great view of the tip of Trinidad. Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the lighthouse on the this trip. We tried to see the lighthouse before we went Turtle Watching but we got to the NorthEast coast too late and didn’t have enough time to do both. I do remember visiting this as a child and being amazed at this site.
A Local’s Guide to Sightseeing Trinidad – Down South
One of the most popular tourist sites down south is the Pitch Lake. Trinidad and Tobago is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world. It is actually only one of three that exists in the world. The lake isn’t necessarily a lake in traditional senses. You can walk on this lake, and it feels like you’re wearing those moon shoes from the 90s. You can feel the pitch slowly sinking beneath your feet the longer you stand in a spot. Don’t worry you won’t sink away – but it was quite the experience.
There are various pools of water that are formed throughout the lake during the season. Depending on the color some are safe to swim and some are not. Due to the sulfur beneath the surface some of these pools are said to have healing powers.
San Fernando Hill
Located in the center of San Fernando, one of the larger cities in the South, this hill stands at 192 m high. At the top of the hill lies a visitor center and recreation area, and provides for some great views over San Fernando.
While Down South, make sure you take a pit stop at Debe and check out the many vendors and stalls present. Debe is said to have some of the best doubles in the country, and James and I were more than happy to taste test them while there. If you read my guide on What to Eat in T&T, you know Doubles is a must try!