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Trinidad & Tobago: A place that offers less tourism and more local living

Trinidad and Tobago is one of those special places that feels like home. You’re surrounded by food, culture, and a strong love for country that is freely displayed with a humble and unpretentious pride that local residents carry. Flags are posted on buildings and wave in the distance to represent the twin island republic. It is the home of the steelpan drum, Scarlet Ibis, and a land with “Together we aspire. Together we achieve” as its motto. Our mission is to create a safe space to celebrate cultures throughout the Caribbean through art, history, and the stories that inspire our people. Trinidad, you give us so much to celebrate. 

Trinidad does not rely on tourism to fund its economy, limiting the amount of tourists you see. You won’t find many group tours and it has maintained an authentic vibe that surprises us each time we visit. We’re not against tourism. We’re tourists! However, there are places we love because of their tourism industry and our love for Trinidad comes from the opportunity to experience local living.

North Coast Rd
Maracas Bay Village

Car Rental

Provider: http://www.savalotrentals.com/

Our reservation was secured over the phone through Sav-A-Lot rentals. After reading countless horror stories about lost reservations and damaged cars among other big name rental providers, we found one that appeared to deliver. We arrived at the counter located at Piarco International Airport at 6am. While the woman mentioned she did not see the reservation until the night before, she did have a car available. It was not the car we reserved but it was comparable and the same price. She even collected a lower deposit, which we appreciated!

Our local CARIUNITY ambassador had some reservations about the condition of the car. However, the rest of the team appreciated that it wasn’t a brand new model and that each scratch was carefully documented. If you’re looking for high end luxury, this may not be the rental service for you and frankly, for the fearful travelers who give into media, better to blend in. I’ll spare you my rant about how things happen everywhere you go. Just kidding, no promises. I might follow up on that rant as we continue on. 

We had not one issue with our vehicle. It was great on gas and easy to drive. We drove 36km north, 50km south, and 35km west. Upon return, we did have a discrepancy in price. We returned the vehicle at 1:30pm. There was a different representative at the counter who said we were to be charged for that day. We explained that the previous representative knew when we would be returning the vehicle and had charged us accordingly. Our team asked for the issue to be escalated to a member of management and it was resolved without additional funds collected. Again, yes, it was a problem but we cared more about their willingness to hear us out and value our business. We will be using their services again upon our return. 

Airbnb 

Location: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/30400528?source_impression_id=p3_1561575007_eENO84BXwpsVpKP2

Our team prefers Airbnb over big chain hotels. It allows us to shop local, support local, and learn about different communities. We stayed in Sunrise Park located minutes from Trincity mall. We shopped at TruValu for affordable groceries. Savings Tip: No matter where you go, shop for produce in season and for ingredients that are local to the area! The cohosts met us upon arrival, gave us a tour of the space, and were one call away throughout the duration of our stay. The space was clean and had all the necessities. Most importantly, this is someone’s business and in thinking about where you choose to spend your money, spend it local. 

History and Culture 

The drive to Maracas Beach is scenic and worth the distance. It’s a journey through winding roads that wrap around neighboring mountains. We stopped at the Maracas Lookout along the way. We found magic and nothing short of culture. A man sang as he held his cuatro and customized songs for each person he greeted. There was also a family selling chow and other snacks. It rained on and off during our time at the beach but somehow it made it even more beautiful.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, we did have the essentials: bake, shark, and Carib. 

The next day we traveled to Lopinot Historical Complex and were honored to hear Martin Gomez, one of the original Parranderos play. He had our entire group join in song and provided instruments to get the energy high. The tour was full of historical facts presented in an engaging way. He is a part of the history he speaks of and knows a lot of the history that took place before him.

Lopinot Historical Complex

We were able to see a lot in the two days we were there. Our team plans to return and will share additional articles that share where to eat, visit, and make the most of your trip. Someone asked how we could possibly feel safe traveling to Trinidad. It confirmed why it was important for us to create this platform and space. We responded with this question: “Is there violence on your soil? If so, how do you feel safe?” The man said he felt safe because he knew the areas to avoid and that the whole country (US) did not bear the weight of isolated incidents. We said well the same goes for the different countries throughout the Caribbean. CARIUNITY plans to share safety tips to guide you as you travel to any destination!

Trinidad, we thank you and love you for all you offer the world. We cannot wait to return.

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