How to be a Trini in a Day: A Trinidad Travel Guide
Ever wondered why Trinis are often referred to as the happiest people on the planet? Well, I can show you how to escape the hustle and bustle of life, with just one free day to spare, as you live the life of a true Trini.
Your day begins in the southlands- Debe to be exact. Start the day off right with a true Trini breakfast of doubles. This is a typical south Indian dish, adapted with a Caribbean flair. It consists of two pieces of fried dough made of chick-pea flour, which sandwiches a delightful and spicy chick-pea curry. The town of Debe is highly reputed as THE place for doubles and other similar Indian delicacies. Stop off at one of the busy shops around the popular cluster, located just after the highway exist, and enjoy your meal street side, (like a true Trini of course!).
To get a realistic glimpse of local life, I recommend stopping off at the regional farmers’ market to sample the wide array of local fruits for the journey ahead. The market is managed by NAMDEVCO, a government subsidiary in charge of the marketing and business development of the local agri-processing sector. It is an easy way to gain exposure into the authentic culture of the island, and the heart and soul of the once vibrant agriculture that propelled its economy. Here you will experience true southern love- who knows, you may even get some extra bananas on the house!
After that satisfactory breakfast, you head north bound on the Sir Solomon Hochoy Highway and exit on to the city of San Fernando. I recommend taking the scenic route through the Rienzi Kirton Highway and on to Lady Hailes Avenue which streams parallel to the Gulf of Paria. Stop off along the coast and bask in the sunshine as it twinkles over the expansive ocean, and just for a moment all your troubles will melt away. Remember this view, because soon you will be soaring above it!
After that calming experience, we seek some adventure! Traverse to the San Fernando Hill, which is treasured by locals, as it is the highest point of the Naparima Plains. I suggest parking your vehicle at the base of the hill, and take the twenty-minute hike up the paved road to the very top. Once you arrive at the top, you will get a true feeling of South Trinidad and what drives the vibrant city of San Fernando. The bustling industrial site of Petrotrin is clearly visible, perched amongst the the vast buildings and centers of commerce for this region. These are all protected by the glistening waters of the Gulf of Paria, who lends her warmth and stillness to this land. From this high, you may even realize just how small of a space you occupy in this wild and wide world…and that there is so much more to life than what we perceive. Sit and enjoy some of your ripe local bananas- you might be hungry after all that walking!
Speaking of hunger- Trinidad is the melting pot of all things delicious, and the country is quickly evolving into a culinary hub of worldly cultures. I recommend lunch at More Vino Restuarant, conveniently located on Scott Street San Fernando with easy access to the highway. This long standing restaurant was once popular for it’s attention to impeccable French cuisine, but today, it’s famous for delectable and authentically prepared Sushi, using local Trinidadian ingredients which highlights that unique Caribbean flavor. The value is exceptional, and the restaurant also offers many international dishes featuring familiar ingredients like pasta, rice and grilled meats and vegies for those who are slightly afraid of our fishy friends!
Your epic evening then continues with a journey to the North Coast- you didn’t think you would visit Trinidad and not experience Maracas Bay did you? But, before you indulge in that delectable and scrumptious treat that everyone has been raving to you about (BAKE AND SHARK!!!), we head further along the North Coast Road to Las Cuevas Beach for an evening dip. This certified blue flag beach is expansive. It’s sandy shoreline is scattered with caves and tiny alcoves- perfect for escaping the afternoon sun. The Atlantic waters are known to get a little rough; however, these green waters are very kind to swimmers. Wade around in serenity and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Las Cuevas is perfect, as it is not commercialized, nor is it surrounded by a chain of mechanically managed resorts. This is where the locals go when they want to enjoy a peaceful evening basking in mother nature’s glory. Several revelations later and after a few quiet conversations with nature- you then head to the very popular and widely anticipated Maracas Bay.
A quick pit spot at Richard’s Bake and Shark is a must. No regrets. You have to. You simply HAVE to. While you’re at it, grab a gold Carib- this is the most popular local beer, which boasts a light and refreshing taste. Ensure that your Bake and Shark is packaged to go, because this evening you will have a VIP seat, complimentary of mother nature. Stroll along the wandering shoreline and just choose a spot. Coconut trees are strewn along the white sandy shore, where you will notice the local children building sand castles or playing a lively game of cricket or football (soccer).
Your perfect day in the life of a Trini ends as you watch the golden sun melt into the ocean, peacefully shedding her pink and purple hues. Life may not always be perfect, but at least you now know that if you live boldly, one adventure at a time, it can always be happy- just like any true Trini knows.