Situated off the northern edge of South America, between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean are the two small islands of Trinidad and Tobago, which are united into one nation.  As the larger island, Trinidad is much busier of the two, with the majority of the industry of the nation, larger and more bustling cities.  For a much more vivacious night life and bustling daytime, there are many more places to visit in Trinidad.

For a much more laid-back atmosphere, the tiny island of Tobago is where to be.  Both islands have endless opportunities to enjoy the sand and surf, with an abundance of things to do in Trinidad and Tobago as a nation.   Below is a short list of what to do in Trinidad and Tobago when you visit, broken down by island.  Traveling to this wonderful nation any time of year should be on everyone’s bucket list!

 

Things to do in Trinidad

 

1. Queens Park Savannah

Things to do in Trinidad and TobagoWhen you visit Trinidad and pass through Port of Spain, you will undoubtedly want to spend the evening at the Queens Park Savannah, or just “the Savannah” as the locals refer to it.  The largest open area park in the city, the Savannah is used for many events such as the Carnival, the Calypso Monarch, and the finals of the Panorama steelpan competition.  The steelpan is the official instrument of the nation, and has such a wonderful, unique sound, and listening to it is one of the best things to do in Trinidad  On a daily basis however, when the heat of the day has dropped a bit, the center becomes the place to be for games of football or cricket, flying kites or many other activities. 

Vendors abound with cold drinks of coconut water and other delights.  The park is encircled by a road that is considered the world’s largest roundabout.  Along this road you will find the Botanical Gardens and the Emperor Valley Zoo, as well as the official residences of the president and prime minister. Along the western side of the Savannah you will find the “Magnificent Seven”, which is a group of historic Victorian buildings.  These include the Queen’s Royal College, Hayes Court (which is the residence of the Anglican bishop), the residence of the Roman Catholic archbishop,  Whitehall (which is the office of the prime minister), Roomor (now a private residence),  and Stollmeyer’s Castle.  There is also a small cemetery that was built by the original owners of the property, the Peschier’s.  So for a great place to visit in Trinidad where you can relax and get a real sense of the local flavor, the Savannah is where you should head.

2. National Museum and Art Gallery

Things to do in Trinidad and Tobago
As you travel Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Savannah, to the south you will find the National Museum and Art Gallery.  This has bocome one of the top Trinidad and Tobago tourist attractions.  As the National Museum, it appropriately showcases the many local artists from historic to current times in a revolving display of artwork on the top floor.  This includes a very nice collection of paintings by Michel-Jean Cazabon.  There is also a small gallery just for the Carnival arts.  There are also wonderful geological displays that show the development of the oil exploration and petroleum industry of the area.

Originally built in 1892 and named the Royal Victoria Institute, this is a beautiful colonial style building from the Victorian era of the British West Indies.  You will enjoy spending a few hours viewing displays of Amerindian settlers, African slaves and indentured Indians that were such a huge part in the development of the nation.  An added plus is that as you travel Trinidad and Tobago you will find several branches of the museum in other cities.

3 Emperor Valley Zoo

Things to do in Trinidad and TobagoOne of the favorite Trinidad tourist attractions is the Emperor Valley Zoo. Located north of Queen’s Park Savannah, this beautifully landscaped zoo is known for it’s butterfly park, showcasing the Emperor Butterfly, as well as the many exotic and indigenous birds, mammals, reptiles and fish you can see there.  Many varieties of snakes, monkeys and ocelots will greet you, as well as giraffes, Bengal tigers and even warthogs!  

Opened in 1952, it covers over 7 acres and retains much of the natural topography of the area along with many native plants that truly enhance the exhibits.  All of the enclosures and walkways are incorporated into the landscape in such a way as to create a wilderness-like atmosphere.  Kids and adults alike will agree that this is one of the best places to see in Trinidad. With the Botanical Gardens next to the zoo, a full day could be spent right here enjoying nature at it’s finest.

 4. Waterloo Temple

As you travel Trinidad west of Chaguanas to the Gulf of Paria, you will find the Waterloo Temple, a Hindu temple founded by Sewdass Sadhu.   Coming to the island as a laborer in 1907, Sadhu was in love with the island and extremely grateful to have survived the war in India and wanted to do something as a tribute.  He built his first temple in 1947, but it was on state-owned land and the state put a stop to the nearly completed project, tearing down the entire temple and charging Sadhu with trespassing. 

He then decided to build out at sea, literally, and started the new temple out in the waters of the Gulf.  He did much of the work himself initially. It is said that he carried each foundation stone to the edge of the water on his bicycle!  At the time of his death in 1970 it was still not complete, but the Hindu community finished his work and it opened in 1995.  This magnificent building ­is known as the Temple-in-the-Sea.  There is a 90m causeway that takes you from the water’s edge across the water to the temple.  It is not only a sacred site for Hindu worshipers, but it is a well-known Trinidad tourist attraction.  With the Waterloo Cremation Site adjacent to the building, this is a very moving and tranquil site you will not want to miss.  Trinidad travel would certainly not be complete without seeing it.

5. Woodford Square

Another one of the nice things to do in Trinidad while you are in the capital city of Port of Spain is to visit Woodford Square.  Located in the center of the Port of Spain, it is the main hub of the city.  Originally the site of many speeches, it is still used for that purpose today by anyone that has an agenda, from politics to preachers to soapbox. A schedule of the topics and upcoming speeches are even posted on a nearby chalkboard.  Surrounding the square are many historical buildings, government offices, hotels, shopping and restaurants.  The most prominent of these structures is the Red House, which is where the House of Parliament and the Hall of Justice are located, and where all judiciary proceedings occur. 

Shops galore, from larger ones to small Mom-and-Pop stores, are not to be missed.  You will want to visit the fabric merchants and their wonderful textiles for all occasions.  The National Library for Trinidad and Tobago is here, as well as the beautiful Trinity Cathedral.  Many other historical buildings can be seen surrounding the Square, and it may be worthwhile to enlist one of the tour guides that are readily available when you travel Trinidad.

6. Asa Wright Nature Centre and Lodge

Whether you are a bird watcher or lover of nature at it’s finest, then the world-renowned Asa Wright Nature Centre is definitely one of the best places to see in Trinidad.  Located on over 1300 acres, it has been billed as the best place for birdwatching in the Caribbean, with upwards of 400 different bird species living here.  It has the most diverse and spectacular bird life to be found anywhere in the world.  You can find many varieties of oilbirds, manakins, hummingbirds, mockingbirds, and purple honeycreepers, just to name a few.  Many of these live in the nearby Dunston Cave.  You will no doubt see many species of other wildlife as well as you wander over the grounds. 

You could spend several days here and not see even a small portion of what the Centre has to offer.  To get the full experience of the Centre, you may want to stay at the lodge located on the property.  The accommodations are very comfortable.  The restaurant serves wonderful local dishes such as callaloo soup, all made with ingredients grown in the organic garden on site.  This site must be on every person’s list of what to do in Trinidad and Tobago.

7. Carnival

Things to do in Trinidad and Tobago

Photo source: gotrinidadandtobagotourism.com


One of the most fun things to see in Trinidad and Tobago is the annual Carnival.  Held each year on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, it is the most significant event in the country.  It is held in the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain and has many cultural events leading up to the actual carnival.  There are so many colorful costumes, and amazing calypso music that the country is famous for, although recently Soca music has also gained a foothold in popularity.  A big street parade precedes the carnival, and you can either watch or put on a colorful costume and join in the fun!  You can even cover yourself in chocolate and participate in the J’Ouvert festivities if you are game.  Dance the day away and join in the stick-fighting and limbo competitions that are plentiful during the festival.  Watch the music competitions, such as the steelpan bands, and get a thrill from these native sounds.  Whether you participate or spectate, you will have an unforgettable time.

The islands also have many other festivals during other times of the year.  Each of these celebrate a particular part of the culture.  There is the Hindu festival of Divali, the Mulsim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, and several Christian festivals.  Panorama is the annual competition for steelpan bands,  while the Laventille Steelband Festival is another special time for all to enjoy the national instrument.  Steelpan bands also play a series of concerts called the Pan Yard Sensations in various places throughout the islands.  Any of these events are some of the amazing things to see in Trinidad and Tobago.

8. Deep Sea Fishing

things to do in trinidad and tobago
For any angler, or even non-angler, deep sea fishing is tops on the list of what to do in Trinidad and Tobago.  For Trinidad, the Orinoco River flow into the ocean, providing rich food sources to the myriads of big game fish found there.  Year-round you will find sharks, tarpon and tuna, with sailfish, dolphins, marlin, wahoo and others appearing seasonally.  You can fish or simply enjoy watching them play. 

The country is host to several international fishing tournaments throughout the year, including the Kingfish Tournament in June, Tarpon Bash in August and Wahoo Tournament in early March.  Many guides are available and happy to take you out to make the catch of a life time!

Where to stay on Trinidad Island

Acajou Hotel

Probably the cheapest place in town, but it doesn’t sacrifice any of the amenities. Only seconds away from amazing beaches and rain forest, and they offer all of the fun activities and tours that you came to Costa Rica to experience. 

Hyatt Regency Trinidad

If you are looking for more of a luxury stay, or on a romantic holiday, La Mariposa is exactly where you need to head. Located in one of the most magnificent scenery’s of the world on the magnificent Costa Rica beaches,

13 Things to do in Tobago

things to do in TobagoThe tiny island of Tobago (only 42m across) has a very relaxed way of life.  As small as it is, there is such a diverse topography that you will be able to do and see so many different things you will wonder how to do it all in such a short time.  From the rugged mountains of the interior, thick rainforests, many fishing villages, birdwatching, snorkeling, scuba diving and so many more things to do in Tobago, you will want to extend your vacation!  Below are just a sample of what there is.

1. Crown Point

When you visit Tobago, you will want to be sure and stop in the city of Crown Point, the island’s tourist epicenter on the southwest tip of the island.  The Crown Point International Airport is located here, and well as many hotels, restaurants and some nightlife, which makes it the perfect starting point for all activities visitors to the island may enjoy.  In fact, with so much to offer, many tourists choose to stay right here and make day-trips to other parts of the island, or just relax here for the entire stay. The white-sand beaches start at Crown Point and follow the coastline to Arnos Vale.

There is diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, kite-surfing and many other water activities you can enjoy here.  Store Bay is a street vendor that sells some of the best authentic local food in the area, and is just a 10 minute walk from the airport.  There are so many places to see in Tobago and Crown Point, that you could spend your vacation centered from here.

2. Scarborough

Perhaps the most bustling places to visit in Tobago is Scarborough.  Set in the lowlands of the southwest, east of Crown Point, this is the only true city on the island.  Here is where the residents of the island do business, such as their banking.  More than 150 international companies have opened shop in Trinidad and Tobago, including Citibank, Unilever and British Gas, some of whom are located in Scarborough. You will find many places to shop and eat here, and a very nice public market.  This is a crowded port city, with much more activity and traffic congestion than you will find anywhere else on the island.  While this isn’t considered one of the better Tobago tourist attractions, it is the place to go to see where and how business is conducted, and to do some shopping for items other than souvenirs.  It is certainly one of the things to see in Trinidad and Tobago.

3. Buccoo Reef

things to do in tobago

Image source: climateandreefs.org

Buccoo Reef is the most spectacular places to see in Tobago.  In fact, Jacques Cousteau, who has visited here many times, has billed it as the third most spectacular sights in the entire world!  It is one of the most bio-diverse reefs to be found, sporting all of the known hard corals, and most of the soft ones.  Giant manta rays are numbered with the hundreds of other reef fish that can be found here.  Divers and snorkelers can spend hours in and around the reef and not see all there is to see.  For non-swimmers, there are many glass-bottom boat tours that will take you out for an incredible view of this underwater world.  They could even take you to the Nylon Pool where you can swim in the relatively shallow waters.  Be sure to bring your camera!

Surrounding the reef is the beautiful Buccoo Bay and Bon Accord Lagoon.  You will find a variety of coastline through here such as white sand beaches and fringed mangrove swamps.  All along the coast there are many turtle species, including the hawksbill, the green loggerhead, and even the endangered leatherback.  There is year-round swimming for everyone.  Many vendors are in the area that offer kayaking, jet skis, banana boat rides, stand up paddle boarding and many other fantastic water sports for all interests.  Of course there are also many food vendors with wonderful local favorites as well as anything you wish to drink with it.  Tobago travel would simply not be complete without spending a day, or week, at this famous and relaxing spot.

4. Scuba Diving

things to do in tobagoOne of the most popular things to do in Trinidad and Tobago is diving.  With so many beautiful beaches, coral gardens and reefs that surround the island, it is an underwater extravaganza!  There are so many varieties of coral, including fire coral, giant tube sponges, staghorn, elkhorn and starlet coral.  Hundreds of fish species also inhabit these waters and reefs.  Besides Buccoo Reef, there is Manta Reef, where of course you can see the giant Manta Rays.

Many other sites can be found around Speyside, Little Tobago, Goat Island and any other coastal town or village. You can find underwater wreckages, magnificent coral gardens showcasing giant sea fans, whips and plumes and many other sites to behold.  You may also be lucky enough to have great encounters with dolphins, sharks, turtles or any number of sea life.  Even if Scuba diving isn’t your specialty, snorkeling can be just as rewarding.  There are numerous shops that rent equipment and give lessons for both.  Or get a ride on a glass-bottom boat for a tour of the ocean’s wonders.  So when you visit Tobago, no matter what section you are in, ask one of the locals where their favorite spot is for enjoying the island’s beautiful blue waters, and you can’t go wrong.

5. Pigeon Point

things to do in tobago
In the center of Buccoo Bay is Pigeon Point, and is certainly one of the places to visit in Tobago.  This beach has the most amazing white sands and clear blue water.  There are also some great waters perfect for more active water sports such as kite-surfing, stand up paddle boarding and wind-surfing.  There are also several bars and restaurants to partake in as well as toilets and showers for your convenience.  With the palm trees surrounding this beach and all of it’s amenities, this is a perfect place to spend the day.

6. Canoe Bay

things to do in tobagoJust a few miles east of Crown Point you will find Canoe Bay.  Especially if you travel Tobago with a family, you will want to stop in Canoe Bay.  With a gorgeous shallow bay, kids and adults alike will be able to more safely enjoy swimming in the ocean and spend the day having a picnic.  The Canoe Bay Beach Resort is also located here for a wonderful place to stay that boasts a great bar that serves drinks and snacks.  So for an awesome place with things to do in Tobago for the entire family, Canoe Bay is a great choice!

7. The Kariwak

things to do in tobago
For a real resort experience, the Kariwak village is the place to see in Tobago.  Situated outside of Crown Point, this luxurious eco hotel has all of the amenities you would find at a 5 star resort in other places.  The wonderful rooms and cottages are very comfortable and cozy, with a lot of quiet and open space.  Be sure to take advantage of the Jacuzzi, hammocks and gardens to unwind in.  There are many Yoga and Tai Chi classes as well as massage therapists that offer aromatherapy, craniosacral, shiatsu, deep tissue, hot stone and Thai Yoga massages.  Anything a person needs for total mind and body health can be found right here.

Once you have been rejuvenated, you will want to partake in the open-air restaurant with wonderful Caribbean and Creole cuisine.  Underneath a thatched roof and coral-stone walls, the ambiance is terrific. The food is simply delectable, with many of the ingredients coming from the organic gardens on-site.  The bar and nightclub is then the perfect way to end the day in the company of other people from around the world.  So whether you are a writer or artist, diver or bird-watcher, hiker or kite-surfer or just want a getaway to relax, the Kariwak is definitely the thing to do in Tobago. Click here to check them out!

8. Cafe Coco

For a wonderful and exotic meal, the best place to visit in Tobago would be Cafe Coco in the Kariwak village outside of Crown Point.  You will first notice the beautiful waterfall that enters a pool full of tropical plants and fish, giving that soothing sound that only water falling can make.  There are almost 20 different antique statues tucked away in small alcoves and an abundance of artwork from the John Jefferis collection.  With soft music playing in the background and so much to see you will love wandering around sipping your drink while waiting for your meal.  The meal itself is so delicious you will wonder how you could ever have anything better.  All in all, you will have the best experience in fine dining ever.

9. Fort King George

things to do in tobagoIf you are wondering what to do in Tobago, look no further than spending the afternoon at Fort King George.  Originally built in 1781 by the French to protect Port Louis (modern day Scarborough) it is one of the last old colonial-era forts in the nation.  Sitting on top of the hill at the end of Fort Street in Scarborough, this fort, named after King George III, is a true icon of the nation, and one of the best preserved.  Cannons line the stone walls, defending the fort from land and sea.  The officer’s quarters are just some of the well preserved colonial style buildings, and included in them is a small museum. The Amerindians were a large driving force in those days, and their history , military relics and maps from the 1600’s are on display here.  There is also a wonderful collection of watercolor paintings by Sir William Young that reflect Tobago from the 1807-1815 era.  The view from the fort out over the bay is a spectacular way to watch the sun set over the horizon.  There are even benches under the shady saaman trees to relax and enjoy the views.  This is one of the nicest Tobago tourist attractions you will find.

10. Speyside

things to do in Tobago

Flickr Credit: Quinten Questel


Speyside is a small fishing village located on Tyrrel’s Bay.  It’s protected waters and abundant coral and reefs make this another scuba diver’s paradise to visit during your Tobago travels.  There are some high-end, diver-oriented hotels here that can make staying here a dream vacation.  You can mix with the locals easily here and maybe even find out some of their “special spots”!  There are a few hiking trails that will take you up to areas that offer the most spectacular views.  Bird-watchers and non-divers alike will also love this village, especially as it is the main place for heading out to Little Tobago.  Renting a glass-bottom boat makes for an amazing way to spend the day!

11. Little Tobago

things to do in tobago

Flickr credit: Roger Sargent


One of the great places to visit in Tobago is the uninhabited island of Little Tobago.  This small island, which is a 15 minute crossing from the mainland by boat, is a dry, hilly region that was once a cotton plantation.  Here is The Tobago Forest Reserve, also known as Bird of Paradise Island, and it is a wonderful sanctuary for seabirds.  Bird-watchers will love the wide variety of bird species found here, such as  red-billed tropic birds, magnificent frigate birds, brown boobies, Audubon’s shearwaters, laughing gulls and sooty terns.  Also found in Little Tobago is some of the best diving in the region, with Angel Reef and it’s abundant coral and diverse marine like right there.  Glass-bottom boats can be rented, as well as diving and snorkeling equipment.  There are even a couple hiking trails that will take you up higher for some spectacular views.

12. Jemmas

When you get hungry, the absolute best place to see in Tobago is Jemma’s Treehouse Restaurant in Speyside.  As the name suggests, this restaurant is nestled in a tree-house setting overlooking the beach.  It is built around the trunk of a tree and has different levels you can sit on.  There is such a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere here, and the food is authentic, homemade Caribbean dishes you will love.  Miss Jemma is even there to personally make sure your experience is a wonderful one.  While they do not serve alcohol, you are welcome to bring your own.

13. Goat and Crab Racing

One of the most unique things to see in Tobago are the goat and crab races!  Such a unique and fun day that was started in 1925.    Held on Easter Tuesday each year, it is a great annual tradition for all to see, and taken quite seriously by the competitors.  The goats and “jockeys” train all year for the races.  The jockeys do not ride the goats, but instead run alongside them, keeping the goats on long leashes.  As in horse races, there is much pageantry associated with it all, and the winners are greatly honored.  The crab races are equally competitive, with the largest crabs (usually Blue crabs) being entered.  The “jockeys” harness their counterparts with a long piece of string, and then coax them to run to the finish line.  Such a wonderful way to spend the day for all.  Of course, great street food and tropical punches make the day even more enjoyable!  This is definitely a perfect place to visit in Tobago if you are here during this time.

Where to stay on Tobago Island

Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort

Probably the cheapest place in town, but it doesn’t sacrifice any of the amenities. Only seconds away from amazing beaches and rain forest, and they offer all of the fun activities and tours that you came to Costa Rica to experience.

Coco Reef Resort

If you are looking for more of a luxury stay, or on a romantic holiday, La Mariposa is exactly where you need to head. Located in one of the most magnificent scenery’s of the world on the magnificent Costa Rica beaches,

If you’ve been to Trinidad and Tobago and know of some great things to do in the country that we missed, leave a comment below and let us know! Be sure to check out our article about 19 Interesting Facts about Trinidad and Tobago

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Justin Carmack

Justin Carmack

Wanderer and diver at Art of SCUBA Diving
I've been on the road for 5.5 years now, visiting 80 countries, 6 continents and endless adventures. Divemaster and SCUBA addict. Travel junkie. World roamer.
Justin Carmack

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