Geographically, Trinidad’s south presents a mirror image of the north: a long littoral extending beyond the main body of the island, with the low ridge of the forested Southern Range as its spine. In the Gulf of Paria, where the southwest peninsula crooks a finger towards Venezuela, Trinidad’s second city, precipitous San Fernando, sits at the base of its oddly shaped landmark hill, while to the south, the vast reserves of asphalt at the Pitch Lake represents the only organized attraction in these parts.

That’s as far as the comparison goes, however. San Fernando is a booming business town, but beyond its city limits lies Trinidad’s most sparsely populated region. Although many southerners still earn a living from agriculture and fishing, the economy here is hinged around oil, pumped both from offshore rigs and the 1600-odd pumping jacks scattered all over the countryside, many in large expanses of forest which, aside from the pumps, remain largely undeveloped. The coast, meanwhile, is similarly untouched, with picturesque Cedros and Icacos, and the remote fishing village of Moruga, seeing few visitors, despite offering gorgeous scenery and lovely yellow-sand beaches, best visited during the dry season (December to May) when the sea and sand are clear; during the rainy months, rivers wash mud and a fair bit of rubbish into the sea.

Though the south isn’t traditional tourist territory, you’ll find that hospitality is second to none here, with locals keen to show visitors what Trini life is like away from the capital. The lack of tourism is a mixed blessing, though: there are no crowds but also few facilities for visitors. Outside of San Fernando, accommodation is practically nonexistent, but given the somnolent nature of the south, and its relatively compact area, you’re best off staying in San Fernando anyway, exploring by way of day-trips and returning in the evenings to take advantage of the city’s bars and restaurants. Given that Port of Spain is only an hour’s drive from San Fernando, it’s also more than possible to see the south from there.

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