Flights to Port of Spain arrive at Piarco International Airport, which is a 45-minute drive from the centre of the city. Piarco offers a selection of passenger services such as a duty-free zone, post office, ATMs and foreign exchange as well as the usual concessions, gift shops, and news stands. You can get free Internet access via Wi-Fi in the coffee shop. There are hotel desks and tourist information counters along with tour guide and rental car agencies. Many people obtain cheap flights to Port of Spain by booking resort packages that include both airfare to Port of Spain and lodgings.
Taxis are rather pricey so many tourists reserve a rental car when they book their Port of Spain flights, especially since petrol is pretty cheap there. Any time you plan to use a rental car in a foreign country it is advisable to purchase the highest coverage insurance available, and keep maps of all the areas you plan to visit in the glove box. You should also check ahead of time to see if you need an international driver's license. If you do plan to use taxis, you should always check the license plates for the ‘H' prefix to make sure they are legal taxis. There are cheap buses in Tobago and Trinidad, but the waiting time can be excessive. Another alternative is the ‘maxi' which is a mini-bus taxi that has reasonable fares.
Port of Spain is the capital for both Tobago and Trinidad and there are many attractions scattered throughout the two islands. Trinidad hosts the famous Carnival each year, which is the Mardis Gras of the Caribbean. Parades, music and festivities fill the days prior to Lent during Carnival, but if you want to experience this festival you will have to make arrangements well in advance. If you prefer a more laid back trip you can see many lovely sites such as the Botanical Gardens and the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain. Trinidad offers breathtaking beaches along its undeveloped North coast, and you can see the giant leatherback turtles at Mathura Beach. You can also see some historical colonial sites at Fort George in Tobago or catch the hilarious goat races on this island.
There are many shopping centres in Port of Spain. You will find an abundance of shopping sites on Frederick and Charlotte Streets and the Brian Lara Promenade where you can buy items from regular shops or street vendors. The local cuisine is a blend of many ethnic influences, predominately Indian and African. West Indian curry and jerk chicken or fish are local favourites, but you should not leave Port of Spain without tasting “doubles”. These are pancake sandwiches filled with curried garbanzo beans and topped with peppers, vegetables and a choice of sauce. Since there is a significant Hindu population, Port of Spain has a lot of vegetarian offerings as well. Bars and dance clubs are easy to find on any Caribbean island, and you can enjoy fine rum and local beer for cheap.
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Beverly B, Asheville