Trinidad – Things to See & Do
Trinidad is the largest island of the dual island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Tobago is known for its gorgeous beaches and is the resort island of the two. However, that does not mean Trinidad should be overlooked. Trinidad has a lot to offer any visitor.
Maracas Bay Beach
So you don’t feel like you’re missing out – let’s first talk about the beaches. While the quantity of beaches does not compare to Tobago, Trinidad still has gorgeous beaches with crystal clear Caribbean waters. Maracas Bay is one of the most popular beaches on the island. It’s a beautiful blue water beach that’s perfect for a swim or to just lie in the sun with a book! It’s also the place to try one of the most popular foods on the island at one of the most popular locations.
Bake & Shark
Bake & Shark is basically a piece of battered fried shark in between two pieces of bara (bake), an Indian fried bread. Trinidad has the largest Indian descended population in the Caribbean. About 1/3 of the island are people of pure Indian descent and about ½ of the island is Indian in some way. Many of the foods in India traveled to Trinidad, albeit with some modifications. Ask anyone on the island where to try Bake & Shark and they will all tell you to go to Richard’s at Maracas! You can customize your Bake & Shark with the largest variety of condiments and both fresh as well as pickled fruits/vegetables you can imagine! Richard’s lives up to its reputation!
The Temple in the Sea
As I said, there is a large Indian descended population and of this population, Hinduism is the majority religion. Located in the small village of Waterloo near Chaguanas, the Temple in the Sea was built by one man. After he built it in 1947, it was destroyed by the government as it had been built on state owned land.
To avoid permits and all the necessary requirements so he could build it on the island, he instead built it in the sea. Seedas Sedhu dedicated the next 25 years of his life to single handedly building the temple, however it started to become subject to sea erosion.
To commemorate the 150 year anniversary of the Indians arriving in Trinidad, the government reinforced the construction adding a pier and mud flats to protect the temple from the sea in 1994. This is one of the most popular temples on the island used for weddings, cremation ceremonies and puja ceremonies to celebrate the gods. There is a pathway around the temple, with deities along the way.
85 foot Hanuman
Lord Hanuman is one of the most revered gods in the Hindu pantheon. He is prayed to for strength, courage and protection. The 85 foot Hanuman at the Dattatreya Temple in Carapachaima is the second tallest Hanuman in the world; a sight to behold. The temple, built in the South Indian Dravidian style is absolutely gorgeous with its pastel colors. Inside the mandhir, you can say a prayer and marvel at the beautiful architecture and design.
Pitch Lake, located in La Brea, is the largest natural asphalt deposit in the world. Locally regarded as the 8th Wonder of the World, the lakes throughout the asphalt are clean water lakes you can drink from. Rich in Sulphur, the water has many health benefits and you will often see people wading in the waters throughout the asphalt during the rainy season. Locals believe it to be a cure all for every physical ailment.
Over 10 million tons of asphalt are deposited on 109 acres. The asphalt from Pitch Lake has been used to pave roadways and runways around the world from the entrance outside Buckingham Palace to La Guardia Airport in NYC. It’s really a contradiction as you see the black asphalt interwoven with fresh water lakes with lotus leaves floating on top.
The tour guide at Pitch Lake will provide you with all the amazing history. Much of the history of the island has been discovered at Pitch Lake, including signs of prehistoric life and Amerindian (South American/Caribbean native population) artifacts.
This was one of the most interesting spots on the island and not to be missed if you visit!
Most Caribbean islands celebrate Carnival, but Trinidad’s is the largest celebration. Many people from the US travel annually, whether they’re Trini or not, to celebrate the popular festival. After Brazil, Trinidad’s Carnival is the largest in the world.
Experience the music, dance and food of Trinidad at Carnival. Admire the gorgeous costumes and most important, forget all your troubles at home and have fun while dancing to soca music!
So whether you are interested in the beach, spirituality, or the music, dance and food of Carnival, Trinidad has something for everyone!
I suggest renting a car so you can go and come at your leisure. If you prefer not to, you can hire a driver for a few days. Normally, your hotel will have taxi’s they can call for you, for this purpose. Negotiate the day rate before you leave.
Guest Post By: Chef Mireille
I cook. I travel. I write. I’m Chef Mireille, aka The Schizo Chef, a trained chef, food and travel content creator and photographer. I present both traditional recipes from around the world and travel information to help you on your journey to become a global citizen on my website at The Schizo Chef. You can find me on social media @chefmireille or @theschizochef (facebook).