I think that my boyfriend would agree that one of the biggest things that we made sure to do on our trip was to NOT GET BIT BY MOSQUITOS. This was a task that took appropriate planning before we got to Trinidad. The first thing I did was go onto the CDC site and see what their recommendations were for preventing Zika. As I read all of their recommendations the only one that I found the easiest was using bug spray. Of course that was a given but I felt like I needed a little bit more protection. So I went on Amazon and ordered two types of mosquito repellent wristbands (one that was cheaper and another that seemed more legit). I also ordered the OFF clip-on fans that spray the repellent as its clipped to your belt loop. And of course I purchased the traditional OFF bug spray.
I may have gone a little OD with the amount of repellents I had but the whole time I was in Trinidad I only received maybe a total of 3-4 mosquito bites. Each day my boyfriend and I would start our day by spraying on the bug spray then maybe once again during the day and then again before we went to bed. We both wore wristbands and I wore the clip-on for part of the time I was there.
Although my cousins did make fun of me by all the things I had to prevent from getting bit, this was something serious to me, hahaha.
In order to get to Tobago from Trinidad, there are two options. One can either take the boat or the plane. The boat takes about 2.5-3 hours while the plane takes 20 mins. Advantages of taking the boat include being able to take your car with you and the cheaper cost, while the obvious advantage of the plane is the short amount of time it takes. Considering I had no car to bring with me and I hate traveling for long periods of time , I elected to take the plane while some people in my family took the boat.
In all of my times of going to Trinidad I have only been to Tobago once before this last trip. I was about 9 years old the last time I went and I was taken there by one of my aunts. All I can remember doing was waking up, going to the beach, eating, going back to the beach, sleeping then repeating it the next day. I was curious to see how much Tobago had changed since my last visit and what activities we would embark on.
Once we arrived to Tobago we went straight to one of the four villas that had been rented for my family in a gated community called Samaan Grove. Our accommodations were more than what I expected. Although not right on the beach each house had its own pool, very large updated kitchen, and bathrooms in every bedroom. The pools were amazing. I’m not much of a pool girl myself, but being able to swim at all our of the night was quite enjoyable. My favorite part about all of the properties were the landscaping. It was quite peaceful being around so many beautiful and exotic trees and plants.
*Maracas Bay lookout
Although we didn’t get the chance to do or see a lot of things that I would I have wanted my boyfriend to experience, we did get the chance to go to one of my favorite places in Trinidad and that is Maracas Bay. People have their critique about Maracas and I know many people in my family are probably tired of it but for some reason no matter how many times I come to Trinidad I always try to go to Maracas. I am always told that there are way better beaches in Trinidad but for some reason this is the place I love the most. When I am there I am flooded with so many memories of grandparents, and my youth.
*view of Port of Spain
The views driving to Maracas beach are amazing. We were able to stop and take some pictures at a “lookout” of Port of Spain (the capital city). I can’t recall ever stopping there in any of my visits to Trinidad, so seeing the whole city in that manner was a true treat for me. After leaving the lookout we proceeded to Maracas bay where we were able to stop at another lookout before getting to the actual beach. The views of Maracas are breathtaking, but one thing that Maracas is known for is bake and shark. Bake and shark consists of a piece of bread like substance that is fried and a piece of fried shark. After getting the bake and shark you would then dress it with a number of different sauces and veggies. Bake and shark shacks are all over Maracas beach, but the most famous shack is one that was featured on Andrew Zimmerman’s Food Network show Bizarre Foods. This shack is called Richards Bake and Shark. We were in a very large group (as some people in our group had never been to Trinidad) so we made it a point to go to this shack. As I had mentioned before I have not been to Trinidad in five years so making sure that I go to as many places as I could was important to me but going to Richards was quite disappointing. I’m guessing since they have gotten some notoriety from the tv show they have had to produce at a higher rate daily and this has brought down the quality. Other people in our group really enjoyed it, as it was their first time eating it but I took two bites from my sandwich and was done with it. My boyfriend was completely unimpressed by the bake and shark as well lol. But the trip was still a good trip as we were able to see some extremely beautiful views exclusive to Trinidad.
The first four days of our vacation were spent in Trinidad. I had hoped to introduce my boyfriend to a lot of my favorite things that Trinidad has to offer but without a car and without the convenience of car service apps such as Uber, it was extremely hard for me to do that. It saddens me to know that he will leave Trinidad never trying doubles 😦 or ever eating the jelly of a coconut, but I think that he has gotten a slight sense of the culture hanging out with my family. The first four days were filled with family members arriving to Trinidad, lots of food and liming. Very uneventful but still relaxing (at least to me).
My boyfriend admitted to me yesterday that he googled Trinidad and to his surprise Trinidad was right off the coast of South America. I have told him the location of Trinidad before and when ever I tell people where Trinidad is I always tell them that it is right off of the coast of Venezuela. Literally right off the coast…. You can actually see Venezuela from Trinidad and vice versa. Venezuelans migrate to Trinidad, and Trinidadians migrate to Venezuela (my great-grandmother being one of those people who actually moved to Venezuela to live). I have heard many different things about the actual distance from the closest point of Trinidad to Venezuela. Ive heard any where from 3 to 9 miles. I don’t know why but I was having a hard time finding this information on google. Either way, what I do know is that, Trinidad is was closer to Venezuela than it is to Tobago and any other Caribbean nation. And, the fact that my boyfriend was perplexed as to why its considered part of the caribbean and not part of South America is a valid reason to be confused lol.
So my first trip that I will be highlighting will be my trip to Trinidad and Tobago. I have been to Trinidad hundreds of times in my life (I use to live there with my grandparents, then once moving to the United States, my parents would send my sister and I back to spend all of our summers in Trinidad) but this has been the longest time that I have gone without going. I use to go to Trinidad every year but once my grandmother passed away in 2011 visiting Trinidad went to the back burner. This trip will actually also encompass a family trip to Tobago for a “Family Reunion”. My immediately family and I are the only ones who dont live in Trinidad, so once we arrive to T&T, the family reunion can commence! This trip is a little bit more special because I will be bringing my boyfriend with me. In all of my years of dating and travelling to Trinidad, I have never brought anyone “home” for my family to meet. I am very excited and hope that my boyfriend does not get overwhelmed by my 8 cousins (theres 10 of us all together), my 4 cray cray aunts (my father is the only boy), and all the other family members who are attending this trip. We will be in the republic of Trinidad and Tobago for all of 10 days. A portion of that time will be spent in Tobago. I am just really excited that I will be able to show my boyfriend one of the biggest parts of me, and that is Trinidad.
*pictured above a picture of my cousin and I during our visit to Maracus Bay ’09*