Heading to Trinidad & Tobago
May 6, 2008 8:12 AM   Subscribe

A few friends and I are planning a trip to Trinidad & Tobago this summer. We are going to spend a few days in each place. Does anyone have any recommendations on places to stay, things we should do, where we should eat, who makes the best roti, places to see old style Calypso or modern Soca or Rapso, where to find the best rum tour, etc...? I have been researching ideas at the library and on various travel forums, but I would like to hear from any of you who have been to (or live in) Trinidad or Tobago.
posted by toddst to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
best roti at the Hotte Shop on Maraval Rd in Port of Spain. best doubles at the airport, outside by the parking lot ( turn left upon exiting airport ).

for a real treat get the bake and shark at Maracas Bay. Go to Richard's, the last shop on the right when facing the beach. Gary ( Richard's son ) will hook you up. and if you have a real apetitie get the shark pie. yummmm.....
posted by dawdle at 9:44 AM on May 6, 2008

Seconding the bake and shark at Maracas. It's also a really beautiful spot, so it's worth the drive, which is gorgeous itself (lots of sweeping views as you drive across mountains).

When I lived there (years ago) there was a guy called "Sauce" (not sure of the spelling) who sold doubles on the road near the university. You definitely have to try doubles, which is a sort of sandwich of roti with chickpea filling. Sauce had this great mango chutney, and was renowned as a master of his craft. Yum!

Also, take a maxi-taxi and enjoy the ride (most come with blasting music and lots of local color in the form of kitchy decoration); this is how I met a lot of locals when I lived there -- you often get packed in with other people so it's easy to strike up a conversation.

And there's a big Tobago cultural festival in the summer (I don't remember exactly when; the internet should tell you) which is very fun.
posted by tractorfeed at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2008

Thanks for the recommendations! Everything that you both mentioned is now on my list of things to do. I'm so excited about the food since that was one of my initial motivations for planning this trip.
posted by toddst at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2008

Bake and Shark.
There's a Monestery at the top of a mtn somewhere(should be in a guidebook) that has excellent afternoon tea as well as having an excellent view.
If you can get a boat or get on a cruise, there's an island a couple hours away from the mainland that used to be a a leper colony run by nuns. Its very cool, two and half years ago there some squatters had taken up some of the abandoned buildings but there was enough to explore.
Pick starfruit off the trees.
Green coconut water
Guinness icecream
Wander downtown.
The bird sanctuary is very cool and up a windy mtn path. I believe you can stay there overnight.
Boat tour in the mangroves.
I can't remember the name of the taxi/minibus service that we hired but they had tours of some of the above.

Sorry, can't remember the names of stuff, but its a pretty awesome place to explore.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:43 PM on May 6, 2008

Nthing bake and shark at Maracas. It was super, especially with all the condiments. I had a good burger at the resort there, too.

My brother-in-law, who is Trini, wouldn't let us try a lot of the local foods, like coconut water or spicy foods. I don't think he understood that, here in Vancouver, we eat a wider range of foods than he or his wife would have in the Maritimes (where they lived for a while). They did let us have doubles, which were great.
posted by acoutu at 1:28 PM on May 6, 2008

England will be playing a friendly with Trinidad on the 1st of June in Port of Spain, if you're interested in that sort of thing.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 2:21 PM on May 6, 2008

Once again, thanks everyone! Your responses have made me even more excited for the trip.
posted by toddst at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2008

Late response from feathermeat's husband, who is Trinidadian:

I am glad that you are planning on visiting Trini.Are you concerned about the crime scene? check out guardian.co.tt or trinidadexpress.com . When I was back home in November, though, I felt quite comfortable though a bit taken aback by the changes that have taken place over the years. I see you are keen on some calypso/soca . If you want to see live music there is a pub on the corner of French street and Ariapita avenue in Woodbrook. It used to be called Mas Camp pub but it's present name escapes me. To get CDs you can either check out the streetside vendors who sell them for about 20ttd or go to Crosby's record shop in St. James. The response about Richard's bake-and-shark is right on, but if I were you I would fill my belly in Maracas and then head out ten minutes down the road to Las Cuevas bay. There are few tourists there and the beach is one of my favourites. Blanchichesse is at the end of that road and is another nice beach and has a river as well. Hott Shoppe roti is a boss and Sauce is a master doubles man. You can visit Toco or all the way to Matelot village, the road is pretty bad but if you want to get away from the pace, that is one way to do it.
I wish you the best and feel free to ask any questions.
There is a nice lime around the Savannah you can get some decent corn soup and plenty coconut water but watch out for the oysters.
posted by feathermeat at 3:11 PM on May 7, 2008

to feathermeat & feathermeat's husband - Thanks for the late response. While researching, I did find quite a bit of information on crime which initially made me nervous, but after doing more research and realizing that I have lived in three crime filled US cities (2 murders not too far from my house in the last couple of weeks alone), I realized that as long as I keep my street sense there like I do here, I should be fine. Also, most of the violent crime in Trinidad seems to be gang or drug related (much like Boston but at a much higher level) or kidnapping of merchants' children. Whenever I travel, though, I always know that as a tourist I will stick out and that there is greater chance that I might be robbed...and since it has happened to me before at home, it is not too great of a fear.

I think that we are going to be staying in Woodbrook so we will definitely check out the place that used to be known as Mas Camp.

I will probably email you with a few question in the coming months as the trip gets closer.

to everyone who responded: I can't wait to check out Bait & Shark (and then head to Las Cuevas Bay). Unfortunately, we are going to be too late for the festival and the football match.

to captain crouton: your suggestions have left me with quite a few things that I want to look up.
posted by toddst at 6:42 AM on May 8, 2008

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