What is the population?
The population of Trinidad & Tobago was 1.3 million in 1994.
How big is the country/island?
Trinidad & Tobago covers a total area of 1,980 sq miles. Trinidad measures 37 miles by 50 miles for a total area of 1,864 sq miles, and Tobago measures about 25 miles by nine miles for a total area of 116 sq miles.
Can I drink the tap water?
Tap water is chlorinated and generally safe to drink.
What are the best things to buy here?
Good buys include leather items, cotton fabrics and Asian and East Indian silk. Luxury items, such as crystal, china, watches, jewellery, perfume, cosmetics and designer clothing and accessories are readily available at shops in Port-of-Spain. Duty-free shops at the airport sell perfume, crystal, jewellery, sunglasses, handbags and cosmetics.
For souvenirs with local flavour look for calypso, soka and steel-pan music CDs, straw baskets and other straw items, woodwork, figurines of limbo dancers and carnival costumes, hot sauces, tamarind chutney, guava jelly, lime marmalade, calypso shirts, batik clothing and fabric, paintings and sculptures by local artists, silver jewellery and bracelets made from the scales of the cascadura fish.
There is a local market in Scarborough, Trinidad.
Are there nude beaches?
Nude and topless sunbathing is against the law.
What are the main industries?
The main industries are petroleum, natural gas, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage and cotton textiles.
What is the drinking/gambling age?
The legal drinking age is 18 years and the legal gambling age is 21 years.
What native dishes should I try?
Popular local dishes include callaloo (a bright green soup made with dasheen leaves, coconut milk, pumpkin or okra and crab, salt pork or salt beef), roti (thin pastry filled with curried potatoes, chickpeas and beef, chicken, goat, shrimp or vegetables), curried crab and dumplings, pastellas (seasoned mincemeat with olives, capers and raisins in a cornmeal casing wrapped in banana leaves), arepas (spiced corn patties filled with meat or chicken), pelau (rice, pigeon peas and meat, similar to paella), oil down (breadfruit and salt fish boiled in coconut milk with hot peppers, thyme, celery and chives), coo-coo (a cornmeal pudding with okra), and bake and shark (seasoned battered shark fried and served between two fried dough patties).
Instead of bacon and eggs for breakfast try bake and buljol (baked coconut cakes served with strips of salt fish tossed with onions, sweet peppers, hot pepper, tomatoes and oil) or doubles (fried dough filled with curried chickpeas).
On Sunday try the traditional Trinidadian lunch of rice, peas, callaloo, macaroni and stew chicken.
Can I use my calling card from here?
Local directory enquiries, 6411
At select TSTT phone booths and hotels you can dial 1-800-271-1111 and follow the automated voice prompts to make a collect call or to use a credit card or any US calling card. Look for the "Home Direct 1-800-271-1111" sticker on phones at the Piarco International Airport (luggage/arrival/departure areas); Cruise Ship Complex, Port-of-Spain; Peake Marine Marina and the Trinidad & Tobago Yachting Association, Chaguaramas; Trinidad Hilton; Kapok Hotel, St Clair; Monique's Guest House, Maraval; and TSTT Customer Service Centres at Independence Square in Port-of-Spain, St James St in San Fernando and the Caroline Building in Scarborough.
AT&T: Service is available for calls to the US only using AT&T Calling Cards, AT&T Corporate Cards, American Express, Diners Club, Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard and Visa. Dial 1-800-872-2881 + area code + local number and follow the voice prompts.
BT: no service available
Canada Direct: From hotels dial 1-800-744-3501 for direct access to a Canadian operator. From ports dial 22. Service is available with calling cards from Bell, MTS, Aliant, SaskTel and Telus.
MCI MinutePass: Service is available from hotels, pay phones and ports of entry. Dial 1-800-888-8000.
Sprint: Dial 23 or 1-800-877-8000. An English-speaking Sprint phone operator will request your Sprint Foncard number.
For more information see the section in General Info: Telecommunications.
How should I dress to go out?
Lightweight tropical clothing, such as cotton and linen, are best suited for the climate. It is unacceptable to wear bathing attire in public areas other than the beach or pool area. Some hotel restaurants require casual evening wear, including jackets for men. You may want to bring a light sweater/jacket for evenings, especially in the winter.
Can I use my hair dryer and electric shaver?
Electricity is 110 volts, 60 cycles, which is the North American standard.
How much should I tip?
Most hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10-15% surcharge to the bill so check first as it is not necessary to leave more. Tip taxi drivers about 10%. Elsewhere tipping is optional, but appreciated.
Information is provided as a service to visitors and is updated regularly. All information should be verified prior to travel.