Best things to do in Trinidad & Tobago

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 04.08.2023

Sitting pretty just off the coast of the South American mainland Trinidad and Tobago is one of the Caribbean’s most diverse and underexplored destinations. The islands boast spectacular rainforests, waterfalls, savannas and reefs, and endless undeveloped beaches. T&T is also a cultural pacemaker for the Caribbean. Read on to find out the best things to do in Trinidad and Tobago.

The information in this article is inspired by the Rough Guide to Trinidad & Tobago - your essential guide for visiting Trinidad and Tobago.

1. North Coast Road

Squeezed in between the Caribbean Sea and the Northern Range, with fleeting views of the glittering, island-studded ocean to one side and cliffs with tangled jungle on the other. The North Coast Road stands out as a truly spectacular experience and is among the top things to do in Trinidad and Tobago.

Bois Cano trees drop claw-like leaves onto the tarmac and mineral springs pour down into roadside gullies. The water is chilled, delicious and safe to drink, and many locals stop off to fill up bottles or take a freshwater shower. Be warned that at weekends, the road between Port of Spain and Maracas can get quite busy and is prone to frequent landslides during the rainy season.

Trinidad and Tobago coast, Parlatuvier bay © Claudio306/Shutterstock

Parlatuvier bay © Claudio306/Shutterstock

2. Hiking in the Northern Range

Among the captivating things to do in Trinidad and Tobago, exploring the Northern Range hills of Trinidad is a must for hiking enthusiasts. Here you'll find hundreds of trails through the lush forest. A good guide is essential if you intend to go hiking in the Northern Range.

Trails to places such as Guanapo Gorge, La Laja and Sombasson waterfalls and Aripo Caves are unmarked and impossible to follow without local knowledge. Apart from being able to tell the difference between a harmless rainbow boa and a venomous mapepire snake, a guide will also be able to enrich your hike with background on the fauna and flora of the forests.

Temple in the sea, Trinidad © pansticks/Shutterstock

Temple in the sea, Trinidad © pansticks/Shutterstock

3. Carapichaima

A visit to Carapichaima is one of the best things to do in Trinidad and Tobago for an introduction to Indo-Trinidadian culture, from the Temple in the Sea at Waterloo to the gigantic Hanuman Murti statue. This was once prime sugar territory, first planted with fields of swaying sugar cane when the land was owned by the Tate & Lyle sugar producers.

Today, Carapichaima is wholeheartedly Trinidadian melange. Along the central Waterloo Main Road, the Church of Zion and Presbyterian school sit side by side with a healthy quota of rum shops. Nowhere else is the creative potential of Trinidad’s cosmopolitan cultural mix more clearly visible than at Carapichaima’s Carnival celebrations. Combined with Indian drumming and costume, the celebration draws hundreds of visitors.

South America, Trinidad, Carapichaima. Colorful ceiling with Hindu deities at Dattatreya Temple © Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

Colourful ceiling with Hindu deities at Dattatreya Temple © Danita Delmont/Shutterstock

4. Turtle-watching

Visit in season and you can watch leatherback turtles lay their eggs in the sand or see the hatchlings make their way to the sea. The best spots for turtle-watching are Grande Riviere and Matura in Trinidad and Stonehaven and Turtle Beaches in Tobago. Turtles also nest on many other beaches in both islands, from Paria to Pirate’s Bay. However, only the places listed above offer organized trips with trained guides.

If you do want to go turtle watching (or if you happen upon a laying turtle by chance), it’s important to ensure that your presence doesn’t disturb the laying process. Guides use infrared lights when close to turtles, and it’s best to avoid using torches anywhere on laying beaches; flash photography is a no-no.

Turtles nesting

Turtle-watching is one of the most exciting things to do in Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

5. Escapism at Grande Riviere

Grande Riviere is a truly beguiling place. With a spectacularly rugged curve of wave-whipped beach, capped by jungle-covered hills to each side and with a wide, and clear river offering calm freshwater swimming. Nicknamed “beyond God’s back”, this close-knit village owes much of its popularity with visitors to the leatherback turtles.

There’s plenty to do in Grande Riviere even if you don’t visit during turtle season. Most people divide their time between the beach and river and the interior, where there are hosts of waterfalls and river walks as well as excellent birdwatching. This is also one of the few places in Trinidad where you may be able to see the rare bird piping guan or pawi.


Grande Riviere, Trinidad © Stephen Beaumont/Shutterstock

6. Port of Spain

The main focus of the Western tip is Port of Spain, the country’s capital. This is the commercial and cultural centre, which sits between the forested foothills of the Northern Range mountains and the choppy waters of the gulf. Home to nearly a third of Trinidad’s population, it’s a city that buzzes with metropolitan verve, a thriving place that serves as the hub of the southern Caribbean.

While you are here, visit Queen’s Park Savannah. This is a surprisingly restful spot, crisscrossed by paths and shaded by the spreading branches of some lovely trees, that burst into bloom at the start of the rainy season and carpet the ground to beautiful effect as the petals fall.

Overlooking the northwest corner of the Savannah along Maraval Road is the magical realist parade of buildings known as the Magnificent Seven. None are open to the public; they are best admired from the Savannah perimeter path.

Royal Botanical Gardens is a collection of 700-odd trees one of the oldest in the western hemisphere. A lovely spot for a wander, often deserted during the heat of the day but livelier in the late afternoon.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Port of Spain.

Stollmeyer's Castle, located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

Stollmeyer's Castle, located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

7. Trinbago cuisine

A unique and addictive blend of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Latin American influences, the fantastic cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago is a highlight of any visit to the islands. Even in T&T’s larger hotels and international-style restaurants, Trinbagonian cuisine hasn’t been dumbed down for visitors. While here, you’re likely to be offered dishes from the vast array of local food.

Due to the islands’ diverse heritage, “local” can mean anything. From Indian curry and roti to Creole coocoo and oil down or Spanish and South American-style pastelles (cornmeal patties filled with ground meat or fish, olives and raisins, steamed in a banana leaf). And sweet lovers will be delighted above all by Trinidad and Tobago's unbeatable highlight - its fabulous chocolate.


Traditional Creole cajun © hlphoto/Shutterstock

8. A trip to Asa Wright - one of the best things to do in Trinidad and Tobago

Internationally famous for its birdwatching, the 1500-acre Asa Wright Nature Centre was originally a coffee, citrus and cocoa plantation. In 1947 it was bought by Dr Newcome Wright and his Icelandic wife, Asa. Both were keen naturalists and birdwatchers. When the New York Zoological Society set up the Simla Tropical Research Station on neighbouring land, the couple began to accommodate visiting researchers.

After her husband died, Mrs Wright sold the land on the condition it remained a conservation area. Though tropical research is still undertaken here, Asa Wright is mainly visited these days as one of the most popular birdwatching retreats in the Caribbean. You can also visit as a half-day trip, watching birds from the veranda, taking a tour of the grounds and having lunch or afternoon tea.


Asa Wright Nature Centre is a paradise for birdwatchers © Martin Mecnarowski/Shutterstock

9. Tobago’s beautiful beaches

From the emerald waters of Mount Irvine to the often deserted Englishman’s Bay, Tobago’s beaches offer plenty of variety beyond the palm trees and white sand scene. Most agree that T&T’s best beaches are in Tobago, where the water is calmer and tourist infrastructure is more developed.

The epitome of a Caribbean seashore, Pigeon Point is the queen of them all. Here you'll find turquoise water, white sand and pretty palm-thatched gazebos, though it’s rather marred by its overt commerciality.

Maracas is Trinidad’s most popular beach thanks to excellent facilities and a swathe of fine yellow sand and cool, clear green water. More stunning places to swim lie a few miles down the road - Las Cuevas Beach and Blanchisseuse, though all are sometimes subject to rough seas and undertows.


Englishman's Bay © Richard Semik/Shutterstock

10. Carnival

When it comes to the best things to do in Trinidad and Tobago, immersing yourself in the vibrant spirit of Trinidad's Carnival is an absolute must. Trinidad’s Carnival is all about participation rather than watching from the sidelines as in Rio. Anyone with a willingness is welcome to sign up with a masquerade band, which gets you a costume and the chance to dance through the streets alongside tens of thousands of fellow revellers.

This anarchic and raunchy street party is pure, unadulterated bacchanalia, with generous coatings of mud, chocolate, oil or body paint – and libations of local rum. Once the sun is fully up, and a sluice down with a hose has dispensed with the worst of the mud, the masquerade bands hit the streets. Their costumed followers dance along in the wake of the pounding soca.


Participating in Carnival is one of the most fun and exciting things to do in Trinidad and Tobago © Blacqbook/Shutterstock

11. Main Ridge Forest Reserve

The landscape of the eastern interior rises steeply into the hillocks and rolling bluffs that make up the central Main Ridge. These mountains shelter the Tobago Forest Reserve – the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere. Ornithologists and naturalists flock in for the bird- and animal life that flourishes here.

David Attenborough filmed parts of his celebrated Trials of Life series at Little Tobago, a solitary sea-bird sanctuary off the coast of Speyside. For slightly less committed nature lovers, the island’s forested interior offers plenty of opportunities for birdwatching or a splash in the icy waterfalls.

Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra, Tobago Main Ridge nature reserve. Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra, Tobago Main Ridge nature reserve. Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

12. Buccoo Reef

Buccoo Reef is Tobago’s largest and most heavily visited collection of corals, from hard stag and elkhorn varieties to waving purple sea fans and peach-coloured fire coral, patrolled by the brilliantly coloured trigger, butterfly, surgeon and parrot fish which thrive here.

There’s plenty to see at Buccoo, particularly in outlying areas such as Coral Gardens. You’ll have no difficulty in finding a glass-bottom boat to take you. The tours are often fairly raucous, accompanied by loud music on the way home. However, they offer a good glimpse of the coral as well as a pretty perspective back over Tobago’s southwest coastline and hilly interior.

View of Beaches in Tobago around Buccoo Reef © Shutterstock

View of Beaches in Tobago around Buccoo Reef © Shutterstock

13. Nylon Pool

To the south of the Buccoo Reef is Nylon Pool, a gleaming coralline sandbar forming an appealing metre-deep swimming pool smack in the middle of the sea. It’s said to have been named by Princess Margaret during her stay in the 1950s. She supposedly remarked that the water was as clear as her nylon stockings.

Nylon pool in Tobago © Shutterstock

Nylon pool in Tobago © Shutterstock

14. Fort King George & Tobago Museum

Fort King George in Scarborough is the largest fortification in Tobago, built by the British in 1777 and initially composed of some thirty buildings, but reduced to around ten by an 1847 hurricane. It was occupied by French troops between 1781 and 1793, who built the solid stone perimeter walls. Inspired by the French Revolution, the soldiers mutinied in 1790, imprisoning their officers and razing the town below.

There are signs dotted around the complex giving some background to the buildings. At the top level of the complex, some 140m above sea level, the Officer’s Mess is the fort’s largest building, now housing the Tobago Museum. Beyond the Mess, a series of cannons point through cut-stone walls and out to sea. The walls afford spectacular views of Bacolet Bay, Minister Point and the rugged interior to the east.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Scarborough.

Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago © Shutterstock

Fort King George in Scarborough, Tobago © Shutterstock

15. Caroni Bird Sanctuary

Bordering the Gulf of Paria between the mouths of the Caroni and Madame Espagnole rivers, Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary is one of Trinidad’s most popular attractions. This is the roosting spot for flocks of elegant and spectacularly red scarlet ibis, T&T’s national bird. It is also where one can find forty square kilometres of tidal lagoons, marshland and mangrove forest that house 157 species of birds.

Most people visit Caroni for a motorboat tour of the swamp. Two companies offer trips aboard open pirogues that chug slowly through a maze of channels into the mangroves. These have an otherworldly appearance. Some have twisted aerial roots growing downwards into the water, while others have roots that grow upwards, emerging from the murky depths like stalagmites.


Scarlet ibis birds in Caroni Bird Sanctuary © Shutterstock

16. Argyle Falls

Among the best things to do in Trinidad and Tobago, don't miss the opportunity to visit Argyle Falls.

A few kilometres further east along the Windward Road beyond Belle Garden will take you to the entrance road to the much-visited Argyle Waterfall, the island’s highest cascade. The waterfall tumbles 54m out of the greenery into a deep pool. Just past the entrance, you pay the entrance fee at the Roxborough Estate Visitor Service Co-Operative booth. There’s also a café selling soft drinks and snacks.

The falls themselves are a pleasant fifteen-minute walk from the car park, and you can hear the water long before you reach it. Argyle is one of Tobago’s most accessible cascades, but to see the best parts you’ll have to exert yourself a little and climb up the right-hand side along steep and sometimes bushy paths.

Argyle waterfalls, Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

Argyle waterfalls, Trinidad and Tobago © Shutterstock

Ready for a trip to Trinidad and Tobago? Check out The Rough Guide to Trinidad and Tobago. For more inspiring ideas for your exotic journey read our guide to the most exotic places to travel in the world. And when considering a Caribbean destination, also take a look at Belize, where you will also find plenty of exciting things to do. Or make your choice using our guide to Central America: an adventure travel paradise.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Trinidad and Tobago without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Top image © Claudio306/Shutterstock

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 04.08.2023

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