Tumbling down the hillside that borders Port of Spain to the east, LAVENTILLE was established by freed slaves who settled here in the 1840s – right “on the eyebrow of the enemy”, as the Trinidadian novelist Earl Lovelace rather beautifully put it. The city’s most impoverished and crime-ridden area, it remains a volatile place, said to be a stronghold of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen and forever used as a political football by politicians keen to swing the African vote. The birthplace of the steel pan, Laventille’s winding lanes are lined with a dense mishmash of buildings – some made from salvaged boards topped with rusting galvanized iron, others veritable palaces – which sit on steep and twisting streets in defiance of gravity. However, due to the volatility of the area, it’s not a place for a casual wander; if you do want to get a flavour of Laventille it’s best to go on a walking tour with local Elwyn Francis who also works as a tour guide for the Chaguaramas Development Authority and is well placed to gauge if it’s a good time to visit; violent flare-ups sometimes make it best avoided.

Though Laventille proper isn’t a place for sightseeing, it is worth making the trek out to its outskirts, where the rows of old warehouses between the highway and the Eastern Main Road hold the massive complex of the Angostura Distillers, producers of T&T’s famous bitters, as well as its rums, from Black Label and White Oak to Forres Park puncheon and the premium Single Barrel and 1919 brands. Tours of the rum factory cover the history of the company as well as a look around the bottling plant, distillery and bitters production area; you’ll also see the 700-plus specimens of the Barcant Butterfly Collection, and get to sample the rums. Tours are only available to groups of ten or more; call to see if it’s possible to fit in with existing bookings.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Trinidad & Tobago features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Trinidad or Tobago – which island is right for you?

Trinidad or Tobago – which island is right for you?

The islands of Trinidad and Tobago both have tropical beaches, steamy rainforest and amazing wildlife but are far from identical twins. Here we look at which…

06 Sep 2016 • Andy Turner insert_drive_file Article
Cocoa loco: a guide to chocolate tourism in Trinidad and Tobago

Cocoa loco: a guide to chocolate tourism in Trinidad and Tobago

Our authors have travelled the length and breadth of Trinidad and Tobago, shimmying through the streets at Carnival, body-surfing at the beaches and gorging on …

23 Nov 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Around the world in 20 dances

Around the world in 20 dances

Square Dance, USA The "square" tag has nothing to do with naffness (now why would anyone think that?) but rather to do with the arrangement of the fo…

16 Oct 2014 • Neil McQuillian camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month