Saturday, March 15, 2014



Trinidad is a large island off the coast of Venezuela.  It’s a cruising destination mainly for boat maintenance and cultural activities, as well as getting away from the hurricane belt.  Cruisers don’t go to Trinidad for the beaches or snorkeling because there really isn’t much of that.  There are some beaches on the north side of the island, but not nicely protected ones.  The ones on the east side of the island have no anchoring areas and people go there by land mainly to see huge leatherback turtles lay eggs on the beaches. 
There are two main anchorages, both in Chaguaramas.   One is at the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association.  There are moorings there and room to anchor.  The other area is off most of the marinas and boatyards.  There are also moorings there as well as anchoring space.  Other anchorages are near the Yacht Club on the road to Port Of Spain and one at Scotland Bay, which is a deep bay near the Boca coming into Trinidad. 

The Trinidad people are warm and friendly and it seems that when cruisers go to Trinidad, there’s always something to keep them there longer than they think they will be.  It has some of the best provisioning in the Eastern Caribbean and quick access to boat parts.  It’s well out of the hurricane belt, so it gets crowded in the summer.  The food is great and inexpensive, - but beware of the hot sauce.   Trinis love HOT food!  Most of the food is made mild and they add sauce to it, so it’s usually not a problem at restaurants. 
My favorite is roti, a curried mix of chick peas, potatoes and chicken (or goat, shrimp, or just more veggies) wrapped up in a roti shell, which is like a tortilla but with a totally different texture and taste.  A Bake ‘N’ Shark is usually found at one of the northern beaches, carnival or other events and is basically a fried fish sandwich.  The combination of the freshly made bun and fried fish with whatever else you want to put on it is just a wonderfully unique flavor.  Another staple usually found at markets and on the streets is a “double”, another curry favorite.  There are two small pieces of flat bread, different from a roti skin, but similar, with curried chick peas on them and rolled up.  Sloppy to eat, but very good. 

Carnival is a great time of year and there are events for two weeks leading up to carnival.  I tried to attend most of them, including J’Ouvert – which starts about 4 in the morning.  Loud music, groups of people in costumes marching (they use the word chipping) down the street, some with painted faces, some covered in oil (yes, motor oil), and some with mud on them.  We were told it was a “special” clean mud.  Part of the fun of this event is knowing that sooner or later you will get mud, paint or oil (or all of it) on yourself.  Everyone has been warned in advance, so we always wore clothes that were close to being rags anyway.

Carnival music is blaring everywhere for weeks (months) before carnival and if you’re there for any length of time, you’ll find a favorite or two.  There’s new music every year and I have CDs from the two times I was at carnival in Trinidad.  For the parade days, Monday and Tuesday, most businesses are closed and streets are jammed with people, bands and parades.  There’s really no way to see it all.  But we always wore ourselves out trying to see as much as we could.
To contrast all that activity, one of my favorite places was Chacachacare.  This was an old leper colony on an island about 7 miles from Chaguaramas.  It’s mostly a deserted island now, except for the lighthouse keeper, any visiting cruisers or partying Trinis.  There are still buildings there and we went exploring to find many abandoned items from the leper colony, including medical records, x-rays, drugs and equipment.  For further information, see my blog about the island -

I spent so much time in Trinidad that I felt like it was home, and went back so much that our usual maxi-taxi driver, Jesse James, always gave us hugs and told us “welcome home”.  It’s not your usual tropical island that you think of when you think of Caribbean islands, but it’s got almost anything you need. 

Check out a few of my slide shows of Trinidad…..

Chacachacare –

Trinidad - Carnival/Kid’s version -

Trinidad Carnival -

Trinidad Flora and Fauna  -




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