Living in Trinidad and Tobago
An entire season of fun starting after Christmas and culminating in late February/early March with 2 days of masquerading in the streets of Port of Spain and other venues. The country comes to a complete stop on these two days of fun, parades dancing and music.
This is the home if the steel drum band (called “pan sides”) and it’s fun to go to the “pan yard” in the evening to watch them practice. Some of them have 100 members. Calypso is also quite popular year round. Soca is a form of calypso. One can find West Indian music events to attend just about any time, but especially between Christmas and Carnival.
The National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) is a stunning new performing arts facility along the Savannah in downtown Port of Spain. It offers monthly, free classical concerts performed by its teaching faculty and also scheduled plays, musical performances, and other cultural activities throughout the year.
The water around Trinidad is not good for diving. The Orinoco River, South America, dumps silt into the ocean and the water is not clear. Tobago, on the other hand, has clear water and diving is considered good, if not spectacular. Snorkeling is also good in Tobago. ISPS has a diving club for staff and students.
Sailing is popular and some teachers who are sailors have been known to crew for races, and/or own their own boats
Tobago, only 20 minutes away by air, is widely known for its beaches, diving, good food, and laid back lifestyle. It’s a popular destination for ISPS teachers, whether for a weekend or during a longer holiday. BWIA flies the route about 10 times a day in a 60-seat passenger propeller plane. It’s quite possible to leave school at 3:15 p.m. on a Friday, make the 5:00 p.m. flight, and be sitting on the beach by sundown. Tobago is still rustic and the few resorts are spaced far apart, so that one doesn’t get a “Miami Beach” feeling. In fact, 4 cars at a traffic light are considered a traffic jam.As a resident of the country, you will be eligible to receive up to a 30% discount at hotels in Tobago.
The Caribbean is a big, big place! Don’t expect to dart off to other islands casually. Having said that, certain nearby islands are accessible on 3 and 4 day weekends, and, of course, anything is possible during winter and spring breaks. Grenada, Barbados and St. Lucia are all an hour or less away by air. Guyana, although it is on the mainland of South America, was actually a part of the British West Indies, and is the only English-speaking country on the continent. Guyana is close, with several non-stop flights a day. The extent of your international travel will be limited only by your bank account and your energy level.To be candid, most people who have visited Grenada, Barbados and St. Lucia return home to say that Tobago, which is far closer and cheaper, has better beaches.
Check your globe. Trinidad is closer to Denver than it is to cities in Argentina! Unfortunately, travel to South America (except for Guyana and Caracas, Venezuela) is quite difficult and expensive. Most people who live in Trinidad travel far more often to London than to Brazil, more to Miami than to Ecuador, and more to Toronto than to Venezuela. Because Trinidad is not Latin America, the airline connections from here are mainly to other English-speaking countries. The easiest way to reach most of South America from Trinidad is through Miami!For those who can’t live without a taste of Latin America, the place that is the most accessible is Caracas, Venezuela, with several non-stop flights a day from Port of Spain, but connections to the rest of the continent are poor.