Port of Spain, on the northwest coast of Trinidad island, is the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago.
A bustling and friendly city, Port of Spain is a great place to spend a couple of days and is the hub for the Trinidad's famous carnival. It has been the capital since 1757 and is the main administrative center, although not the largest town.
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.
Overview of Port of Spain
Westerly view from Botanic gardens at Port of Spain
Piarco International Airport is about 45 minutes from the center of Port of Spain. Allow more when flying out if your trip coincides with the evening rush hour as many people commute from the area around and beyond the airport to downtown Port of Spain.
The airport is served by:
- American Airlines
- Caribbean Airlines
- British Airways
- Continental Airlines
- Copa Air
...and several others.
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.
There 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.
Taxis are expensive, with a minimum price for a journey within Port-of-Spain being US$10.
The National Academy for Performing Arts
- The beaches.
- Carnival. The 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 Ash 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 Centre, Wrightson Rd. A major skyscraper development designed to revitalise the city's waterfront.
- National Academy for Performing Arts, (City side of the Savannah. Can't miss it.). Opened 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 Gardens, Cotton Hill. Established in 1818, these are one of the oldest gardens in the Caribbean. 700 trees of which 13% are indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.
- The Queen's Park Savannah or, more usually, 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 3TT 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!)
Ariapita Road, in the Woodbrooke district to the west of the city, 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
To restaurants at hotels like The Trinidad Hilton to the only revolving restaurant in the Caribbean at the Crowne Plaza.
Just remember Trinidadians and Tobagonians like foods more spicy than North Americans or Europeans! Be careful with the hot sauce, because it is really hot!
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.
- Angie's Bed and Breakfast, St.Ann's Road, St.Ann's,Port of Spain, ☎ 868 627 0710. From $60.
- Carnetta's House & Inn, 99 Saddle Road, Maraval, Port of Spain, ☎ ""868 ([email protected], fax: 868 628 7717), . From $70.
- Copper Kettle Grille, 66 Edward Street, Port Of Spain, ☎ 868 625 4381. From $31.
- D Islands Inn, 7 Anderson Street, St. James, . Private and secure.
- Maracas Bay Hotel, Maracas Bay Road, ☎ 868 669 1914 ([email protected], fax: 868 669 1643), . From $87.
- Par May Las Inn, 53 Picton Street, Newtown,, ☎ 868 628 2008 (fax: 868 628 4707), . From $56.
- S&D Guesthouse, 4 La Puerta Court, Diego Martin, Port of Spain, ☎ 868 684 2494. From $40.
- Samise Villa Bed & Breakfast, 47 St. Anns Road, St. Anns, Port of Spain, ☎ 868 682 9589 ([email protected], fax: 868 369 3836), . From $35.
- The Little Inn, 41 Picton Street (close to the Savannah), ☎ (868) 628-4034 fax (868) 628-4188, . offers a cozy home like feel. from 50US per double room and from 22US per person for groups over 8.
- Tony's Guest House, Papnis Drive, Petit Valley, ☎ 868 763 4230 (fax: 868 632 0440). From $30.
The 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.
- Carlton Savannah, 2-4 Coblentz Ave (to the west of the Savannah), ☎ 868 621 5000 ([email protected], fax: 868 621 5001), . checkout: 13.00. Excellent rooms but rather boring restaurant, bar and overall ambience. US$200.
- 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$160.
- Crowne Plaza, Corner Wrightson Rd and London St. (Waterfront), ☎ 868-625-3361-8 (fax: 868-625-4166), . checkin: 15.00; checkout: 12.00. New waterfront hotel with revolving restaurant. US$190 inc tax and service.
- Hilton Trinidad & Conference Center. Lady Young Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Tel: 1-868-624-3211.. Newly renovated, this 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 Regency, 1 Wrightson Road, (International Waterfront Centre), ☎ 868 623 2222 (fax: 868 821 6401). Brand new hotel with 428 rooms $250 minimum inc. taxes.
- Kapok Hotel, 16-18 Cotton Hill (just off the Savannah near the Botanical Gardens), ☎ 868-622-5765 (fax: 622-9677), . Almost a Port of Spain tradition, having just celebrated its 40th anniversary (2010). US$180.
SIM cards are easily available.
Trinidad has a bad reputation (it has a shocking 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.
- Canada, ☎ (868) 622 6232 / 868-O-CANADA (fax: (868) 628 2930), .
- Suriname, ☎ (868) 628 0704 ([email protected], fax: (868) 628 0086).
- United States, ☎ (868) 622-6371-6 (fax: (868) 822-5905), .