From music and nature to food and culture, there’s no shortage of things to soak up beyond the sun while vacationing in Port of Spain, the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago. Sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in all that this two-island nation has to offer; we guarantee it’ll be an experience of a lifetime. Here is your guide to Port of Spain.
Trinidad and Tobago is a true melting pot of cultural influences, with elements of Indian, African, Portuguese and Spanish culture that make up this diverse country.
Calypso music was born in Trinidad, originating in the 17th century with the arrival of African culture on the island. Calypso pushed boundaries, with witty folk songs mimicking the societal and political woes of the time, eventually even evolving into a way to spread news around the island. Taking notes from jazz music and influenced by the French, Calypso uses all instruments in the brass family as well as guitar and of course, the iconic steel drum. Today, Calypso music can be recognized by its illustrious steel drum beat and overall island feel. You can hear these native beats at what locals call panyards.
When visiting, be sure to check out a panyard or two, such as North Stars, located at 63 Bombay Street in St. James, just a short 11 minute drive from the Hilton Trinidad Conference Centre, or TEC Power Stars at 14 Western Main Road, St. James.
Situated just off the coast of Venezuela, Trinidad is full of lush landscapes. Wildlife thrives here, and you’d be hard pressed to miss the beautiful birds who call Trinidad home. Port of Spain as well as surrounding areas are well known for their bird watching. Just south of Port of Spain you’ll find the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, where you can take a guided tour through the sanctuary by boat and experience the wildlife up close. Painting the sky red between the mangroves, the Scarlet Ibis is one of many amazing creatures you’ll encounter on this tour!
If you’re looking to come face to face with some larger animals, The Emperor Valley Zoo is the biggest zoo in Trinidad and Tobago and is home to lions, giraffes, parrots, snakes and other large reptiles. There are also plenty of hiking trails to enjoy at the botanic gardens, conveniently located next door to the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre.
Eat Like a Local
Trinidadian cuisine perfectly illustrates how deliciously all the cultures here come together as one.
Callaloo is perhaps one of the most popular dishes in the region. This African dish is typically made with okra or water spinach and is served as a hot stew which may include crab, conch or lobster, spices and chili pepper (to give it just the right amount of spice!). Looking to get a healthy bite in while on vacation? Callaloo is happens to be considered a superfood, as it contains plenty of vitamins!
If you’re looking to get a good sampling of all the local cuisine has to offer, look no further than the island’s street food. Roti is very popular when it comes to street food in Trinidad. This Indian-style burrito can be customized with chickpeas, veggies, or curry and topped with your choice of chutney. Roti flavors range from sweet and spicy to even savory, and pair perfectly with a fresh beverage.
Looking around, you may find yourself near a punch stand, the local take on a traditional smoothie. Find a roadside “punch man” and enjoy soursop punch and all the many health benefits that come with it!
As your food tour of Trinidadian street cuisine comes to an end, top it off with a cone of sorrel ice-cream. This pretty pink ice cream is an amazing mixture of cream, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk, the perfect ending for a day spent exploring Port of Spain.