8Great: Venture Trinidad & Tobago

8Great: Venture Trinidad & Tobago

Looking for something to cure that wanderlust? Try Trinidad & Tobago, home to the largest Caribbean Carnival, festivals, gastronomy, cultural history, and the Western Hemisphere’s oldest protected rainforest.

Where: Trinidad & Tobago is located in the southeastern region of the Caribbean.

When: September to Early June.

1. It’s a dual-island nation that offers a diverse blend of culture, eclectic cuisine and a bevy of eco-adventure activities. An easy “island hop” back and forth between the two islands using the high- speed ferry, makes for an interesting adventure.

2. Trinidad is the ‘cultural capital of the Caribbean,’ and is home to the world famous Carnival (Feb. 16-17, 2015). It’s also the birthplace of the steel pan drum, which is the only new acoustic instrument to be invented in the 20th century. The island boasts great restaurants, museums, and events. It’s also the island where music is alive, not just for Carnival, but year round.

3. Tobago, Trinidad’s sister island is the quintessential Caribbean island. Private beaches, charming villages, beautiful villas for rental, and award-winning eco-attractions such as the Main Ridge Rainforest make this a true great escape.

4. They say there are two seasons for nightlife in Trinidad & Tobago—Carnival and getting ready for Carnival. It’s the birthplace of soca—a style offshoot of Kaiso/calypso, with influences from Cadence. Calypso and steel pan, which is the island’s national instrument means a festive nightlife scene. Ariapita Avenue, located in the capital city Port of Spain, known to locals as “the Ave”, boasts clubs, lounges, restaurants and bars. Visit to a true ‘Trini’ means hitting the panyard, an open-air place where steel orchestras come to play.

5. Both islands are known for their multicultural pot of scents, tastes, spices and aromas. Foodies will appreciate the various cultural infusions that are steeped in East-Indian, Chinese, Creole, African and European cuisine—curried delights off street carts to a wide selection fine dining eateries offering creative fusion dishes.

6. It seems like at every turn, the islands offer a sundry list of traditional celebrations. Tobago’s 16th annual Blue Food Festival takes place in October, when local chefs and indigenous cooks join in to share their cooking secrets and savory delectables. Also in October, Trinidad celebrates Divali, also called Hindu Festival of Lights—a formal event, Yagna, showcases Indian décor, film, music and food. A highlight is Divali night—when lamps made of artistically designed bamboo arches and plantain trees are lit across the country.

7. Tobago’s offers up warm Caribbean waters for sea-lovers, and for divers underwater marvels, including the world’s largest brain coral, countless fish and marine life make for interesting dives, from whale sharks, turtles, porpoises to manta rays, butterfly fish, a one-of-a-kind diving experience. In Trinidad, the northern coast is perfect for surfing. All levels can surf, and it’s the perfect place to grab a board and hit the waves.

8. Adventures on land on either island are spectacular, and on Trinidad, there’s a tour to spot the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, which offers daily tours in the mangroves. Check out the Gasparee Caves, and travelers to Chaguaramas can mountain bike and zip line with seven zip lines and five canopy walks with ZipItt’s zip lining tours.

Trinidad & Tobago visit www.goTrinidadandTobago.com