Trinidad and Tobago

Shutterstock/49672639/PHB.cz (Richard Semik)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
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