Caribbean Island Guides: Trinidad and Tobago

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About Trinidad and Tobago
A cosmopolitan island with a charm of its own. Bustling Port of Spain is a hive of activity ---a visit to Frederick Street with its many quaint shops and wayside vendors is a great experience. A trip to the famous Maracas Bay is well worth well and Chaguaramus ( site of the former US Naval Base) with its charming marina are among the places of interest. A trip to neighbouring Tobago, either by ferry or air, is advised if time permits. An excellent Zoo is within easy distance from the capital. A variety of experiences await the visitor.
While its sister island Tobago is better known as a tourist destination, Trinidad has several well know natural attractions. Eco tourism is becoming increasingly popular and the natural flora and fauna, in particular the wide variety of bird life, provides much attraction to the nature lover. The northern coast with its famous Maracas Bay and less known but very attractive Las Cuevas is well worth the trip across the rugged terrain. Further south there is the famous La Brea Pitch Lake. Caroni and Nariva swamps with their variety of wildlife, the birdbreeding at Pointe-a-Pierre Wildlife grounds are among the attractions for the nature lover.
Port of Spain the island's capital is a fascinating place to explore. The Savannah where the world famous Carnival takes places each year is the focal point of many activities and there are many historic houses and buildings near by which are well worth visiting. The famous Emperor Valley Zoo is close to town and is excellent. The next door Botanic Gardens is also with in easy reach. Visit Chaguaramus ( site of a former American Naval Base) where there is a yacht haven and military museum. Venture further afield to the North to Maracas and stop for "a shark and bake".Further on there is Las Cuevas which is well worth a stop. Shopping in Port of Spain can be fascinating and there are several N. American type malls outside the city. Visit the Asa Wright Centre for an ecotourism experience. If you are lucky to get down South visit the famous La Brea Pitch Lake. A variety of island tours can be arranged at the hotels.
Trinidad was originally occupied by Amerindians from South America. It was discovered by Columbus in 1498 and claimed for the Spanish. Many French planters also settled there and in 1797 the British invaded and claimed the island. Slaves from Africa worked on the plantations until the slave trade was abolished, then indentured workers from India were brought over to Trinidad. Meanwhile, many Portuguese and Chinese also became part of the work force, and today Trinidad remains a truly multi-ethnic island. In the early 20th the discovery of oil paved the way for the nation's prosperity today. During World Ward 11 the Americans established several bases in Trinidad under an agreement with the British. Trinidad was a part of the ill fated West Indies Federation and attained independence from Britain in 1962. With its sister island of Tobago it became a Republic since 1976.
 

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