|Currency||Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)|
|Area||total: 5,128 sq km |
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km
|Population||1,163,724 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 29.4%, Hindu 23.8%, Anglican 10.9%, Muslim 5.8%, Presbyterian 3.4%, other 26.7%|
The Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago make up a Central American country between the eastern Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, to the northeast of Venezuela.
Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt.
- Saint Andrew
- Saint David
- Saint George (Trinidad)
- Saint Patrick
- Port-of-Spain - Capital
- San Fernando
- Ports and harbors
- Point Fortin
- Point Lisas
Mostly plains with some hills and low mountains
- highest point
- El Cerro del Aripo 940 m
The islands came under British control in the 19th century; independence was granted in 1962. The country is one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Tourism, mostly in Tobago, is targeted for expansion and is growing.
- 31 August 1962 (from UK)
- National holiday
- Independence Day, 31 August (1962)
- 1 August 1976
Passport holders from the countries of Australia, New Zealand, all Asian and Pacific nations require a visa in advance. The only exceptions are South Korea, Israel, and Turkey. No visa is required for USA, Canada, EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and rest of the British Commonwealth except the Commonwealth African countries of Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. Mexico and all non-Commonwealth/non-EU Caribbean, Central and South American countries require a visa in advance except the nearby countries of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Surinam. Remainder of non-Commonwealth/ non-EU Europe and Africa also need a visa in advance. Both advance and free on-arrival visas (for everyone else) are for a 90-day stay.
Air service is available from Miami, New York (JFK & Newark), Washington DC (with a Caribbean stopover), Atlanta, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA; Toronto, Canada; London, UK; Caracas, Venezuela; Georgetown, Guyana; various other islands in the Caribbean. No service from Mexico and Central America--they must transfer in Miami or Caracas. Elsewhere in South America usually transfers from Caracas. Other European countries can transfer in London, though there might be an occasional flight from Germany (to Tobago) on Condor airlines.
Due to its varied background, Trinidad and Tobago have excellent and varied food options. In particular, the Indian roots have provided for some of the best street foods of any country in the world.
The unofficial official meal of TT are tasty "Rotis", which are breads stuffed with chickpea curry, usually some meat, and other items (including green beans, pumpkin, and mangoes). The breads, also known as the skin, can be plain or can have split chickpeas inside. Many stores also sell rotis with no skin but with bread on the side, known as bust-up-shut. Supposedly the origin of this word comes from busted shirt, or old shirt, because the piles of bread resemble an old torn up shirt. If you can't tolerate extremely hot and spicy food, be sure to let the cook or waiter know in advance.
Another must try in TT is the infamous Bake 'n Shark or Shark 'n Bake. Most easily obtained along the north coast near Maracas Bay, pieces of Shark are deep fried, served in cut buns, and accompagnied by various sauces, including garlic and corriander.
Trinis love to drink. Rum till you die!
Generally, it is best to travel with the sun. When it sets, make sure you are in a safe place with people you trust. This is more important in Trinidad than in Tobago.
The current trend in criminality is kidnapping for ransom, but it is usually directed at local store owners and other prominent Trinidadian families. Foreigners haven't been targeted much yet, but it is advisable to be careful just in case.
Trinidadian society has yet to fully accept interracial couples, especially black and white. Such couples are not typically subject to violence, but they may face discrimination including, but not limited to, being refused seating in a restaurant, scornful or hateful stares if walking hand-in-hand in the streets, and sometimes blunt and very unkind comments.
It's a good idea to greet a stranger before asking him or her a question. Homosexual behavior is prohibited, and should be kept private. There is no nude or topless bathing anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago.
In Trinidad, all five of the world's great religions are well represented. Although it has a large Indian Hindu community, there are no taboos that Westerners would have a difficult time getting used to. The cow is not so sacred as to prohibit eating beef or wearing leather. Also, the left hand is not considered unclean. Upon arriving in Trinidad a century ago, the Indians lost their former caste, and are considered equal to each other (as in Western society). Avoid asking exactly where in India a person's ancestors came from. Most people simply don't know.
- http://www.guardian.co.tt/ — The Guardian, a Trinidadian newspaper
- http://www.trinidadexpress.com/ — The Trinidad & Tobago Express, a Trinidadian newspaper