welcome to the west indies
hello from the west indies! i’ve just spent a week here in trinidad & tobago by invitation
of the tourism board, and during my stay i’ve come to know and appreciate much more
about this region. i have a few posts to share, but let’s start with an overview of the area…the twin islands of trinidad and tobago are somewhat of a mystery to many. the name may be familiar, but as i told
people i was heading here i found that there is a lack of knowledge about their whereabouts and background..including
myself! this could be because the dual island nation is not tied or identified to one single place. located in the southeastern
region of the caribbean – just seven miles from venezuela – the location can be associated with nearby latin america,
africa, india, china, spain, and great britain. each of these groups arrived here in various ways throughout
history and contributed cultures that make up the fabric that is trinidad & tobago today.
this true melting pot creates a fascinating destination which is really best suited for the traveler, not the tourist.
there are plenty of posh islands for tourists to visit throughout the caribbean, but trinidad and tobago is about more
than a relaxing vacation by the beach. it has that beautiful side, but it also has a gritty history and spirit that sends
travelers home full of knowledge and new perspective. t&t also attracts foodies with the incredible fusion of global
dishes found here. i have to say i was shocked by the impressive level of cuisine. due to all of the diverse traditions
and influences that meet in this region, the flavor and creativity that goes into food is unlike anywhere else.
the culinary experience here is the epitome of the word “fusion.” it is a major draw of this area.
although they may be nicknamed the “twin islands,” trinidad and tobago are definitely not identical.
to give some perspective, the population of trinidad is 1.3 million while tobago is just 55,000.
think of trinidad as the larger, industrial tech center (a bit rough around the edges), and trinidad as
the small island getaway that some describe as the “last best kept secret in the caribbean.” both are
diamonds in the rough that you’ll discover and learn to love after getting to know them.
the people are another best kept secret. despite stories of crime and theft, the true locals welcome you warmly.
while here i had trinbagonian people come up and dance with me, laugh with me, and one trinidadian woman even
offered me her shawl when she noticed i was chilly at dinner one night. they are proud of where they come
from, light-hearted, and without guile. almost every local you meet will greet you with a huge smile and hug.
(ps fun fact: people call them selves either trinidadians or tobagonians depending on which island they live
on, and if you refer to the group as a whole it can be combined as trinbagonian. say that ten times fast!
i love the way the people speak here, with simple & charming slang. one favorite was saying
“sweeties” for candies, or “lime/ limin'” for hanging out or having fun. also: “jus’ now” means
in a little while, which explains the slower paced island time that these islands run on :)
one other slang term i picked up is “muster point.” this what the trinbagonian’s call a meeting point:
signs with this phrase are everywhere, and i remembered it. so fittingly, let’s make the twin islands our next
muster point sometime soon! next time you want a trip beyond just a suntan, this is your caribbean destination.
*below are some photos from my time here, with a few posts on specific activities coming next week.
after a red-eye flight from san francisco to florida and another flight down to trinidad, i
boarded a little island hopper on caribbean airlines and finally touched down in tobago ^^
^^ i have a thing for arrival signs. cheesy, but have to get a picture in a new place!my very tired self perked right up at the sight of the bright blue water ^^
as tobago is more of the beach destination, we spent time on the water here right
away at stunning pigeon point and all along the reef to no man’s land island.
(another post coming on that experience!) ^^
we stayed in this cute bacolet beach club hotel right on the ocean. it was a
little ways from the airport, but felt so secluded and even had a private beach.
a welcoming view of the hotel pool with the ocean beyond, as well as the private beach below ^^
we got to try the famous bake and shark sandwich ^^^ YUM
the island of tobago feels largely untouched – our tour guide told us that 90%
of the island is uninhabited, with residents living in certain areas. beautiful!
the week was filled with lots of warm nights and amazing seafood dinners ^^
midway through the week we island hopped back to port of spain in tobago ^^
^^ and any sadness from leaving tobago melted away with this view at the hyatt regency trinidad.
colorful buildings and colorful food can be found everywhere here ^^
there were so many amazing homes that we passed while driving through both islands,
but i couldn’t get pictures of them from the car. just picture brightest colors with white trim!
i loved every meal i had here in t&t. definitely watch for more about the best places to eat here.
the great view from the lobby of the trinidad hyatt ^^
where the pool meets the ocean at our trinidad hotel ^^
literally living on the edge!
the back side of the hyatt in trinidad is just the sea wall. so pretty! ^^
i ate lots of my favorite plantains in all forms ^^
and sushi by the water of course… ^^
beautiful paramin + the herb garden, a part i loved but had to cut a bit short ^^
we even did a cooking school and demo while there…right up my alley ^^
everything from adventuring on the water, learning about the history, meeting
the people, eating the food, flying between islands, and soaking up the lovely, glowing
nights here in trinidad & tobago has been interesting and adventurous. i just miss chase!!
^^ goodnight, trinidad!
time to go home (and say goodbye to my new friend, our fabulous guide ted who showed us around.)
happy friday, see you from the mainland!