Trinidad and Tobago are only just off the coast of
Venezuela, yet they share little of the culture of South America. The
people are a cosmopolitan mix of African, East Indian, Chinese, European
and Syrian and the music, cuisine, culture, society and politics of the
islands reflect this. You can listen to calypso, parang or chutney
soca, while eating East Indian, Chinese or West Indian dishes and the
food and music are so good that Trinidad's influence has spread through
the Caribbean and worldwide.
Trinidad's ebullient carnival is world famous too and
attracts thousands of visitors ready and willing to spend days jumping
up and parading in the hot sun, carried along by the crowd and fuelled
by alcohol, dancing and singing to the latest calypsos. However, wealth
comes from oil, gas and manufacturing rather than tourism and many of
its beaches remain empty of foreign tourists and fairly unspoilt. Beach
tourism has been developed on its smaller, sister island of Tobago,
where hotels are spreading around the coastline, but there are still
glorious bays and coves and resorts are low key.
Both islands have a huge array of flora and fauna, and
birdwatching is a major attraction. The species found here are directly
related to those found in South America as well as in the Caribbean
islands. The forests and wetlands are denser and contain a greater
diversity of animal and plant life than anywhere else in the Caribbean.
There are several protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries where, in
addition to the birds, you can find a number of mammals such as monkeys
and manatee as well as reptiles like iguanas and cayman.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF