Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city is famous for its annual Carnival celebrations. This year, the pre-Lenten festival takes place February 11 & 12, and, as always, it will be a raucous, colourful, bacchanalian frenzy that’s sure to leave revelers thoroughly exhausted.
Carnival is the biggest annual event in Port of Spain, and by far its greatest tourist draw. But there’s still plenty to see and do in this bustling Caribbean hub once the partying comes to an end.
Here are a handful of our favourites…
Lime on the Avenue
In Trinidad and Tobago, “liming” (or relaxing and hanging out with friends) is a true art form. You can do some serious liming along Port of Spain’s Ariapata Avenue when the sun goes down. Bars and clubs along “The Avenue” are busiest from Thursday to Saturday, with crowds often spilling out onto the sidewalks.
See the Magnificent Seven
These seven structures are worth checking out. Stroll past each of the colonial-era gems lining Maraval Road and take in their grandeur. Though all but a few have fallen into a state of disrepair, it’s impossible not to be impressed by their interesting mix of European architectural styles and Caribbean flair. When you’re done ogling the buildings in the daytime heat, head over to a nearby coconut vendor and re-hydrate with fresh, straight-from-the-coconut water.
Tour the House of Angostura
Discover the story behind the creation of Angostura bitters, as well as Trinidad and Tobago’s most popular rums. A two-hour tour of Angostura’s factory gives you a peek at the bottling plant, the distillery, and the aromatic area where those world-famous bitters are produced. You’ll also get to peruse the onsite museum, watch a movie on the history of the company and, somewhat bizarrely, explore a butterfly collection featuring 700-plus specimens. Last but not least comes the opportunity to sample some of Angostura’s divine rums for yourself. (Tours are US$10 per person.)
Try the Food
Whether you’re sampling corn soup, doubles or roti from street vendors, or enjoying a meal in a fine dining establishment like Chaud Creole or Veni Mangé, you’ll quickly discover that the food in Port of Spain is exciting, creative, and wonderfully filling. Try every local dish you can, from curry crab and dumpling to callaloo, coocoo and cow heel’s soup.
Take a Day Trip
One of the most compelling things about Port of Spain is its vicinity to nearby eco activities. You can leave the city for an all-natural adventure—swimming at Maracas Bay, birdwatching at the world-class Asa Wright Nature Centre, hiking in the Northern Range or touring the eerie Caroni Swamp—then be back in time to enjoy dinner and POS’s dynamic nightlife.
The Best of Rum: Tours, Tastings and Tips
From sipping rums and rum-based cocktails to touring distilleries like Mount Gay in Barbados, there are plenty of rum-filled things to do on your next Caribbean vacation. Here, we share everything you need to know about this storied spirit, including its history and tasting tips from rum master blender Joy Spence.