The dual islands of Trinidad and Tobago are the southernmost of our Caribbean islands, and although together they make up one nation, the true beauty is in their difference. Whether you are looking for a boutique bolthole, a holistic retreat or a beachfront resort with all the facilites, these contrasting twins have something to suit everyone.
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Trinidad is the busier of the two, with an explosion of steel drums, calypso and soca welcoming you to the vibrant capital, Port Of Spain. Tourism is not a high priority thanks to the island's oil and gas wealth, so if you want to experience an authentic slice of Caribbean life, this is the place to come. The cultural mix means that there are plenty of festivals, with Corpus Christi, Divali, Easter and Holi all celebrated with equal fervour. Trinidad’s Carnival is the biggest in the Caribbean, and testament to the island’s well known party stamina, but that’s not to say that the island can’t be tranquil. Away from the capital city’s textile shopping and street food, the often deserted beaches and turquoise waters provide stunning picture postcard vistas. With more exotic plants and birds than on any other Caribbean island, Trinidad is rich in natural attractions. At the Asa Wright Nature Centre, crested oropendolas and white-bearded manakins flit about the echoing tropical rainforest, while leatherback sea turtles come to nest at Grande Riviere and Matura Beach on the northeast coast from March to August. The island also boasts an eclectic mix of Indian, African and Creole cuisine, where pepper sauce goes with everything.
Sun soaked Tobago is Trinidad’s wistful, sleepy sister, an island of intoxicatingly laid-back resorts, wide golden beaches and majestic beauty. There are swaying coconut palms, bone white beaches and sapphire waters, but there is also the jungle capped Main Ridge, charming ramshackle villages and plenty of hidden coves. As you would expect on such a small island, the restaurant scene is limited, and the hotels are your best bet, with the pink mint ice cream at Kariwak Village a must! Beach barbecues with locally caught seafood are commonplace, and El Pescador is a great spot to watch the fishermen bringing back fresh lobster and snapper. If you don't mind hunting your own, the islanders will happily gear you up with a spear gun, snorkel and mask so you can head below sea to catch a barracuda. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, with golden white shores on the Caribbean side and darker volcanic sands on the Atlantic coast. Bloody Bay on the northern coast is one of the most sheltered, a deserted and glorious spot that typifies what Tobago is all about.