Trinidad and Tobago is a country consisting of two Caribbean islands located off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. This country is known as the most prosperous and industrialized in the Caribbean. Surprisingly enough, tourism is not the main industry in this country which makes this country a paradise on Earth for nature lovers as the natural beauty of these islands is completely unspoiled by the human hand, a quality not common in other Caribbean countries.
The two islands of Trinidad and Tobago are completely different with two different qualities to them. Trinidad is the larger one, and is where the countries city life is centered. If you’re more about that city vibe and activities like shopping, sight-seeing or experiencing a night out in a strange country, Trinidad is your island. It’s also where the country’s industrial centre is, thanks to which Trinidad and Tobago have a reputation of the most prosperous country in the Caribbean. Tobago, in turn, is the tourist paradise, and tourism is actually the main industry here. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t visit both, as they both have their share of unique beauty.
Warnings & Dangers in Trinidad and Tobago
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Trinidad and Tobago is a country definitely not known for safety and you should take into consideration both the high rate of petty crime as well as the high murder rate in this country. Tourists are filled with disturbing stories from Trinidad and Tobago, but if you take all precaution measures, you might just have a good time.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transport is not very safe and reliable in Trinidad and Tobago, and it seems pretty chaotic and unpredictable. While you're standing on a bus station, waiting for a bus, you might get asked if you need a lift by many cars passing by. Never enter them, and your best bet is to either learn the bus schedule by heart or rent a car in this country, keeping in mind to always drive with the windows up and to never leave your valuables in sight.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Petty crime is definitely common and ever-present in Trinidad and Tobago, but, unfortunately, it is not the country's greatest problem. Again, you should apply all possible precaution measures and remain vigilant at all times, making sure not to flash your belongings in crowded places such as bus or train stations, or public transport.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
As for natural disasters, they haven't been known to cause severe destruction to this country. Hurricanes have hit Trinidad and Tobago in the past, though rarely, and severe storms are common.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Violent crime such as muggings, robberies, kidnappings and other kinds of assaults keep happening in this country. If you're going somewhere after dark, which is not recomended, be careful that someone isn't following you. If you're staying in a villa or other kinds of accommodation, make sure your building security is tight. In this country, you can never be too cautious, so just make sure you're safe wherever you go.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Trinidad and Tobago. Although there have been no recent terrorist attacks in Trinidad and Tobago, over 100 Trinidad and Tobago residents have travelled to Syria and Iraq in order to fight with Daesh and are likely to pose a security threat on return.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
There are many scams in Trinidad and Tobago, the most popular being the ATM scam - particularly in Trinidad. A thief uses X-ray film to make a pocket which is placed in the card slot of the ATM, so that once you insert your card you can't withdraw your money, or eject your card. While you're standing, you're helped by a "good Samaritan" who tells you that the way to fix this problem is to type in your PIN backwards. The person who tells you this is probably watching your PIN while you're typing it in, and when you leave without your card, the thief removes the x-ray film, takes your card and inserts your PIN. Apart from this, street vendors and cab drivers might try to cheat you and rip you off if you are not careful.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
Women are definitely at high risk when visiting this country. There have been reports of sexual assaults, rapes and at best you will get hassled by male attention on the streets. It's best to say a polite "good day" or "good morning" than to ignore them completely, but you should never walk around Trinidad and Tobago alone.
So... How Safe Is Trinidad and Tobago Really?
The reason this country has a bad reputation with tourists, when it comes to safety, is the fact that it has one of the highest murder rates in the world, and you should keep this in mind more in Trinidad than in Tobago, which is surprising given the fact that Tobago is more frequented by tourists. Areas to avoid are Port of Spain, areas east of Charlotte Street, East Dry River, Belmont, and Laventille. Back in the day, crime on the streets of Trinidad and Tobago used to peak during the Carnival (that lasts from January until March) and around Christmas (period from October to December), but in the past couple of years, crime is ever-present and people have to be very careful all year round, though recently this has ceased due to the shift in government.
And though this island has some pretty disturbing statistics when it comes to crime and violence towards tourists and many horror stories from other people’s experiences are circling, making this country an unpopular destination with the travelers, there still are ways to minimize the risks and have a good time here. Golden rule is to try and resist the temptation to search for remote beaches far away from other tourists and travelers. You should definitely strive to stay where the crowd is, as this is probably the only place where criminals won’t target you. Isolated beaches you should avoid because crimes have been reported there are Englishman’s Bay, Las Cuevas, just beyond Maracas Bay, and King Peter’s Bay.
- Visas - Some countries do not need a visa in order to enter Trinidad and Tobago for any stays shorter than 90 days. Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Trinidad and Tobago. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Trinidad and Tobago dollar is the official currency in Trinidad and Tobago. ATMs are widespread throughout the country, and many banks have drive-through ATMs and credit cards are accepted in most establishments.
- Weather - Trinidad and Tobago has tropical climate, and is hot all year round, with two main seasons - the dry season, from January to May and the wet or rainy season, from June to December. During the rainy season, mornings are sunny, with rainy afternoons that ensue.
- Airports - Piarco International Airport, frequently referred to as Piarco International is an international airport serving the island of Trinidad and is one of two international airports in Trinidad and Tobago. The airport is located 30 km east of Downtown Port of Spain. The other is A. N. R. Robinson International Airport, located near the town of Canaan, about 11 km from the capital, Scarborough.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Trinidad and Tobago since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.