Arima is one of the central locations in Trinidad. it can easily be reached from any major hub via maxi taxis or regular taxis. There are public buses to and fro Blanchisseuse, Brasso Seco, Carapo, La Horquetta, Malabar, Morne La Croix, Mundo Nuevo, Port of Spain etc although that for the less popular routes are infrequent. The schedule on the Trinidad & Tobago public transit website is also unreliable.
From the Piarco Airport: Look for drivers with officially registered badge (for the rest are likely to overcharge), expect to pay around 160 TT$. Less expensive option is to take the shared taxis that will get you to the Arima dial for about 5 TT$. If traveling during the Carnival (or similar festivities) it might require a transit at Arouca.
From Port of Spain: The buses (4 TT$) are fairly reliable. Regular maxis (6 TT$) leave from the City Gate (next to the bus terminus)for Arima taking roughly 45 minutes. Taxis (7 TT$) leave from the corner of Henry's and South Quay and are ideally the fastest option, but may be stuck in traffic during the peak hours for they take the Churchill-Roosevely Highway unlike the maxis that take the Priority Bus route.
Given the buses are infrequent and often fail to run on schedule, (shared) taxis are the best and possibly the only option. In theory only the ones that have number plates starting with "H" can be hired, but in practice it is possible to get a ride in those with "P" (for private) - just be careful and stick to advice from locals regarding which cars to use. The usual fare is 3 TT$ within the town while taking the taxi off the route closer to your destination is allowed for an extra but nominal charge.
During the Christmas season, there are numerous venues that host Parang concerts. Parang is a genre of folk music that originated in Venezuela and was brought to Trinidad by Venezuelan settlers during the Colonial era, as both countries were once colonies of Spain. The songs are sung exclusively in Spanish, and all tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Recently, a new form of Parang has emerged, dubbed as "Soca Parang". This new sub-genre combines instrumentation from traditional parang with soca and is sang in Trinidadian English, usually centred on the festivities of Christmas as opposed to the birth of Jesus.
The Arima Dial on Pro Queen street is an unassuming but important landmark Arimanians are proud of. It is with reference to this central point in Arima downtown that directions are referred to. The original dial was donated by the then-mayor Francis Wallen (1898-99) in 1898 and was purchased from France. It was replaced in September 1985 with a Dial compatible with modern technology. However, it stopped functioning and had to be replaced in August 2011. That said, the time the four different faces of the dial show today often does not match.
Asa Wright is located in Arima Valley. The best way to get there is via hired taxis or private vehicles - arrange a return trip. Visit their website (www.asawright.org) for details on booking a nature tour. Activities: bird watching, nature walk, swimming in the small pond.
Cleaver Woods Recreational Park A very small museum of Amerindian relics is located at Cleaver Woods. There is also the possibility of a nature walk.
Carnival also takes place in Arima for Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Carnival Monday is usually the bigger celebration of the two days in Arima. Festivities begin early in the morning with J'Ouvert, after which there is a break during the day until party-goers return during the evening for massive celebrations in the streets of Arima.
Although Carnival is a relatively safe event in Arima, there have been a few incidents where fights took place. However due to the large presence of the police and army, fights are quelled very quickly.
For the launch of Arima Carnival, there is usually a special event with performances by soca artists. This event is not well-publicised however so it is usually patronised by a small crowd.
Cycling has been a major sporting event in Arima for many years. The Easter Grand Prix draws cycling enthusiasts from within the region. Following this is the highly anticipated "West Indies vs. the World" event where the West Indies cycling team competes against cyclists from other nations at the Arima Velodrome.
Looking for a nearby river for bathing? Try visiting Mannette Ranch, located about one and a half miles up Blanchisseuse Road. Call 667-6586 for bookings. Cost: ~$60 per person to use this private facility.
Hearty Foods - Corner of Sorzano and Pro-Queen Street
Hi Lo - At Ridgewood Plaza - at the corner of Woodford St. and Hollis Ave.
The Dial is not just something Arimians are proud of because it's been a major landmark for a long time, it's the hub of most businesses in the borough. There are several clothing and shoe stores in the immediate vicinity of the Dial.
WIthin the vicinty of the Dial, there are several places to buy stationery. There are also a few bookstores, north and east of the Dial.
Naipaul's Book Store and Handicraft Centre is at the corner of Pro Queen and Sorzano St.
Jadoo's is along Broadway, east of the Dial.
Personal Items/Hair Products/Cosmetics
Some pharmacies in the vicinity of the Dial will have such items available, but the best one stop location is Pennywise Cosmetics located just east of the corner of Hollis Ave and Pro Queen Street (north of RBC Royal Bank Ltd; listed at maps.google.com)
Like most places in Trinidad, the majority of food outlets are fast food chains, Chinese restaurants and roti shops, in addition to Trinidad's famous street food, doubles. This is not usually appealing to the health conscious traveller though, and finding a complete, balanced/nutritious meal may be difficult.
Beneficial Eatery located at #25 Hollis Avenue, next to the Arima Diagnostic Clinic is one of the few healthy options.
Gyros Express one block south of the Arima Dial, on the left. Very ordinary, but offers a possible escape from the greasy fast food Trinis are in love with.
B's Ice Cream few blocks south of the Arima Dial, on the right. An ice cream parlor with seating arrangements in the porch. This is the largest local ice cream chain and is inexpensive (6 TT$ for a single scoop cone). It claims to serve 'homemade' ice creams.
Doubles Although there are a handful of vendors across the town one at a few steps north of the Arima Dial (usually right next to a coconut vendor) seems to be the most popular. Cost: $4 TT
Mario's Pizzeria is located along Pro Queen Street just south of the Arima Market.
Pizza Boys at the corner of Green Street and Pro Queen Street. Free wifi available: Flow. The free wifi works best upstairs although there is a big area for sitting downstairs.
Home Restaurant (Homes), Broadway (A few metres west of the Dial, less than a block away). 7am-6:30pm. Creole (rice, peas stew, chicken, callaloo) and East Indian cuisine (roti, curried chicken, curried potato and channa/chickpeas, masala mango). Seating available.Prices vary for meals.
There are several clubs in the Arima area.
Joseph's For those who like to shoot pool and have a few drinks.
The Living Room, corner of Queen and Sorzano St. They hosts artistes occasionally.
The Paddock for those who like to sip drinks in a smoke free environment
Rituals Coffee is located in the same space as Pizza Boys. Average price for a cup: $22 TT. Free wifi (Flow) works best upstairs although there is a big area for sitting downstairs.
Fresh coconut water (in the pod) is available near the junction of Woodford St. and Hollis Ave. Look for a pickup truck with coconuts on it. Cost: $6 (2013)
About a few metres north of the Dial on Pro Queen Street, there is another coconut vendor.
The vendors are usually able to provide you with straws and fill a bottle for you if you wish, at a cost.
To Port of Spain
Maxi taxis travelling via the Bus Route, are at the north east corner of Broadway and St. Joseph street: $6 TT
Taxis at the corner of Broadway & Woodford St. (one block east of the maxi taxis)
To places between Arima & Port of Spain
Maxi taxis travelling via the Eastern Main Road are at the south west corner of Broadway and St. Joseph street. Fare varies depending on destination, no more than $5 TT maximum.
To Chaguanas and San Fernando/South Trinidad
Get to Curepe Junction via the maxi taxis that go to Port of Spain via the Bus Route and transfer to a taxi or maxi taxi at Curepe Junction to go to Chaguanas or San Fernando. Other option for San Fernando: ferry from Port of Spain.