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Trinidad

Updated: Aug 4, 2023


Shira on beach in Trinidad

Trinidad:

Trinidad is a country in the West Indies. While Caribbean to its core Trinidad is just north of Venezuela. Trinidad is a small island with a population of 1.4 million people. The island is best known as having the “Greatest Show on Earth” aka Carnival. While small in size, Trinidad (the island) is is big in culture.


Travel to Trinidad:

If you are flying from the United States, I recommend flying from a major airport (JFK, ATL, MIA) and using Jet Blue. Outside of Carnival season flights range fro $200-$300 round trip. For Carnival you can expect to pay $800-$1,100 for a flight. Save from early!


Best things to do in Trinidad:

  1. Maracas Bay Beach: This beach is located in the hills and is perhaps Trinidad’s most famous beach. You can go to Richards for their bake and shark.

  2. Steel Pan Yard Steel pan is a historic music form native to Trinidad. Groups often play outside and you can hear them as you walk/ drive around the city.

  3. Visit Tobago The other T in TT stands for Tobago an island just x of Trinidad. It’s a 2 hour ferry right from Port of Spain to Tobago. Flights fill up quick, but you may be able to get a seat on standby as well.

  4. Attend “all inclusive” events All inclusive parties in Trinidad are more upscale. The crowds tend to be more mature and you pay for the experience. All inclusive a include unlimited alcohol, non alcoholic beverages, and food. Every all inclusive I experienced was high quality and I’d think spending the extra money was worth it. All inclusive parties range from $100-$600 USD so better to buy your tickets early.

  5. Relax Caribbean life is so chill. People walk around without a care in the world and I think that mentality has its perks. Unplug from all electronics and take in the different smelling air. Traveling is all about reflection. Take time to reflect.


Shira posing

Best eats in Trinidad:

Trinidadian food is delicious and arguably the most varied in the West Indies. Everything has flavor and it’s cheap. You can expect to pay between $3-7 USD for a filling meal with a drink.


Bake & Shark

Bake is the bread and shark is shark though it tastes similar to fish. This is arguably the most famous Trinidadian dish. What makes this dish so delicious is all the toppings you put on it like mango chutney, lettuce, tomato, shallot, etc. This dish is a must try in TT.


Roti

Roti is a round flatbread dish that has various types of vegetables, meats, and seafood. Pepper is always optional but expected in TT. There are different types of roti (e.g. Sada) which is eaten for breakfast and other traditional roti that is eaten later in the day.


Doubles

Trinidadian street food that is vegan. It contains split powder, chickpeas, curry. Pepper is optional but expected in TT. It’s a cheap street food but absolutely delicious.


Pepper

Pepper is a staple dish in Trinidad. Almost all the food has it and it will burn your mouth.


Carnival:

Carnival precedes Ash Wednesday and is a celebration. The most important dates are Monday and Tuesday where one “plays mas” or dress up in costume and play with different bands. Each band has different themes and different costumes.

Playing mas, short for masquerading is a two day celebration (Monday and Tuesday) that includes dressing up in costume.

Playing mas is expensive and prices begin around $850 at the least and can cost you a few thousand dollars. It does come with food, costume, and unlimited drinks though.

Playing mas will cost you anywhere between $850-$2,000 which includes your Tuesday costume, unlimited alcohol, meals, and snack, air-conditioned buses to rest on if you get sick, bathrooms, security, and one of the best time in your life.

Experiencing Carnival is definitely a must do at least once in your lifetime, but it isn’t for the weak. I recommend doing heavy physical exercise everyday for a few months to prepare. The amount of drinking, parties (fetes) and walking/running one you do will you leave you sore.


J’ouvert:

J’ouvert means break of the day in French and is the J’ouvert is a large paint party that takes place on the Monday before Ash Wednesday. Like Carnival, you can play Jouvert with different bands. Different bands have different themes and wear.

However, what you wear really doesn’t matter too much as you’ll get covered in paint. On the big trucks they hand out paint and people squirt it everywhere.

There’s no way to avoid the paint so wear shoes that you wouldn’t mind throwing away after. Jouvert lasts from 4:00am-8:00am or longer depending on how slow you walk.

You’ll have access to as much alcohol as you’d like, so drink responsibly. Jouvert goes through the city of Port of Spain though any of the smaller towns outside of POS have their own Jouvert as well.

Personally, I found Jouvert to be the most fun part of the entire trip.



Carnival Monday:

A few hours after Jouvert, starts Carnival Monday which are the same day. You are supposed to wear your “Monday wear” but not your big costume which is reserved for Tuesday. Lots of women wear monokinis and fishnet stockings as pictured above. The fun is getting the stockings ripped with all the dancing you’ll be doing.


Shira posing at Carnival in Trinidad

Carnival Tuesday:

The big day. The most important celebration of all of Carnaval.

I opted to play “backline” instead of frontline which has nothing to do with position but everything to do with if you get feathers or not. Backline means you do not get feathers with your costume. Frontline means you get feathers.

Remember it will be between 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and you will be walking for at least 6 hours. However, the feathers do look amazing and even better in pictures.

The theme was #Iambadass in the Ryder section of Carnival Rogue. Common bands to play mas with are Rogue, Tribe, Bliss, Yuma and so much more!




Shira posing in car

Shira posing after Carnival

Conclusion:

Everyone should experience Carnival at least once in their life. There is no life like the Caribbean life.The serenity, tranquility, food, and excellent nightlife is once in a lifetime.

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