Trinidad and Tobago Travel Guide
Yes, New Orleans and Brazil are probably first in mind when you hear Carnival, but Trinidad and Tobago also throws down. How serious is the island about pre-Easter partying? They've already had one Carnival fete and dozens more are on the island's official calendar before Ash Wednesday on February 25.
In late January, steel pan bands start competing in what's called the National Panorama, a contest that usually wraps the Saturday before Dimanche Gras, the Fat Sunday that kicks off Carnival week. Monday is then J'Ouvert, the opening festival that features soca and calypso bands parading through the streets, flinging water, mud and paint on each other.
The even bigger parading happens on Tuesday, and while you could just watch it, why not join a band and march around in a ridiculous costume? Register online to run with a crew like Spice and you'll be in the thick of things, with a skimpy get-up, unlimited booze and a willing band of cohorts. Ladies might choose the brown sugar look for $485 all-in while fellas can do Scotch bonnet for $445.
Our Eat 'n Sleep feature profiles a restaurant in a random city and a hotel nearby. It's kinda like that old show "Dinner and a Movie" but you know, with restaurants and hotels. And better jokes.
The island of Trinidad boasts not only scenic vistas and a gorgeous waterfront but also two Nobel Prize winners, Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul who both frequent the island. Maybe you'll be inspired by a stay in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad's capital and largest city.
The Kapok Hotel offers a plethora of choices--suites or rooms? Pool or sauna? Shopping in the hotel or shopping downtown?--but there's only one choice for dinner. The hotel's own Bois Cano Bistro is the place to go. Be on the lookout for its tropically inspired dishes like coconut shrimp and sweet chili chicken samosas.
[Photo: Mikko Rauhala]
While you were busy sleeping off your New Year's partying, BWIA was busy disappearing. British West Indies Airways is no longer. But don't fret: Caribbean Airlines is the newer, sleeker version that--Travel Weekly says--picked up the airline's traffic with nary a hiccup. That is, if you don't count the axing of about 1,200 employees. (Is the catering staff among them?)
According to the article, the new staff of about 600 is keeping flights around the Caribbean on track. Gateways to get to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, remain Toronto, Miami, New York and London. If you had BWIA frequent flier miles (we're impressed!) those are still good, too. The best news? Online checkin begins tomorrow, making, here's hoping, lengthy lines a thing of the past.
Trinidad's Pitch Lake is a 95 acre lake of tar on the island's east coast.
Rastafarian tour guides will show you the ins and outs of the "giant parking lot".
The tar is over 350 feet deep and according to one visitor:
The Lake seemed to me more than anything to be like a large creature with no face, only arms and guts in which it slowly swallowed everything around it.
Sounds kinda like that Sarlacc Pit that swallowed Boba Fett.