Our journey to Trinidad has been cancelled twice and that was the reason we were somewhat already on our way to Colombia. Even though we went all the way to the North of Venezuela we then headed west and finally reached Carcas. Out of the blue we got a text from the tour operator we were suppose to work with that our voyage was set for in 2 day. Within 3 hours Marta decided to have a 3 weeks time-out to visit her family in Poland and planned everything to get there. After a literally sleepless night we parted the next morning in two different directions and left our beloved tandem as well as most of our luggage with Giomar, a couchsurfer whom we met just a couple of hours before.
After an adventurous 2,5 hours boat ride from Guiria with Nauti Tours, which is a great way to cross over from Venezuela to Trinidad, I happily arrived.
Situated 11 km off the coast of Venezuela is the island of Soca and Calypso music.
Here a little summery about Soca music, which originated in the 1970s in Trinidad and Tobago.Basically there are 7 sub-genres:
-Chutney soca (Indian style with Hindi lyrics)
-Ragga soca (fusion between dancehall and contemporary calypso)
-Parang soca (combination of calypso, soca, Venezuelan and Latin music)
-Steelband soca (is soca using steel pans, a traditional music instrument of Trinidad and Tobago)
-Groovy soca (features sensual vocals over mid-tempo soca rhythms, and very often elements of zouk and ragga soca)
My favourite genre. Here an example:
-Bouyon soca (blends old bouyon rhythms from the ’90s and soca music)
-Power soca (faster paced version of calypso music)
Calypso music is another popular music genre which originated in Trinidad and Tobago in the mid 19th century. My favourite Calypso artists are Ras Shorty I, The Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose and Lord Kitchener.
Here 2 examples of beautiful Soca:
Lord Kitchener -Needle -enjoy the amusing lyrics
Shortly after arriving on the island I felt the relaxing atmosphere of the Caribic. Even though the west coast of the island is crazily overcrowded and the traffic jams do not seem to have an ending you can find limitless peace in the North and east coast. As our Tandem and my copilot was not with me I decided to walk around the island. After arriving in Cedros in the early evening I set off for San Fernando were I reorganised the next 3 weeks without my travel buddy. I then headed eastwards to explore the Nariva swamp, which was one of the most beautiful spots I have ever seen in my life!
The North coast was even better and I was fortuned enough to visit a very special place during my stay – Grande Riviere. Imagine you are laying at a beach where the blank tone makes the waves shine and glitter at night. Due to a specific geographic of the coast line the waves are massive and break about 10 meters from the shore only to let the ocean water stream and shallow up for a long time towards the coast. Even at night the climate is more than pleasant and you can see all kinds of birds and animals roaming around. Without hesitation I can say that being at this spot has been the most extraordinary travel experience I have ever had! Laying for more than an hour next to a couple of leather bag turtles was simply breathtaking and brought tears in my eyes. This beautiful animal has chosen to visit the island of Trinidad at 3 spots at night to hatch their eggs at the beach. Looking at this animal which seems to be from a prehistoric time made me again realise how little I have seen after being 8 years on the road and gave me new strength to keep exploring our wonderful planet.
After spending almost 2 weeks in nearly all parts of the island I headed to the capital- Port of Spain. I did explore the island with different bicycles, which were lent to me in the places I was staying.
Trinidad is an island of party and liming, which is Trinidadian slang for hanging out. I had the chance to do exactly this a couple of times and discover the night life. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to visit the annually held carnival during my stay, which sets the island in state of complete craziness.
Wakeboarding, Stand up paddle boarding, kayaking in the Caroni swamp and meeting all kinds of people were on my schedule.I also had a rendezvous with the well know reggae artist Queen Omega with whom I went to the magnificent islands on the North west coast of Trinidad.
I highly recommend everyone to visit this island, which has been spared by an overflow of tourists. Even though there are a couple of downfalls. Nearly every spot which will be recommended to you in the internet or anywhere else has a entree fee and might not even worthy to visit.
People are generally polite and eager to help however some of them lack the ability to listen carefully to what you have to say. Don’t get frustrated and stay calm in moments where you have to repeat yourself for the 4th time.
The food in Trinidad and Tobago is truly exceptional. Wherever you go you can find a fantastic mix between African, Amerindian, British, Creole, French, Indian and Spanish dishes.
I could go on and on about the food topic. To know more about the street food in Trinidad check out my post about the street food tour in Port of Spain.
If you happen to visit the island during that period you will find yourself in a different world embraced by many party animals, colourful costumes and music which will make your hips bounds.
Even though Trinidad is considered a dangerous place I have not felt any insecurity during my stay. In contrary, the vast majority of the locals took great care of me and loved my enthusiasm to travel. The great infrastructure makes it easy to explore the island to its core. Trinidad is pretty modern and had the third highest GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity in the Americas just after the USA and Canada as of 2015. The country’s wealth is mostly due to its large natural reserves (oil and natural gas). Trinidad’s official language is English which makes it quite easy to communicate with the locals. However you might encounter to some difficulties with the Trinidadian Creole. To get around even better I included a tiny Glossary of the most used Trinidadian slang terms to avoid misunderstandings during your stay.
(To) lime – to hang out/ to party
Moo Nah Boy/ Gone from here – Leave me alone
That is real bad- This is good
Doh Hot Yuh Head – Don’t worry about it
Das meh real Horse – That’s my good friend
Cuff Dong – To eat Hearthly or Quickly
The time I spent in Trinidad has been some of the most precious during my time on the road. I have found time to relax and find myself. It is very important to have some alone time once in a while. Trinidad has been a pleasant surprise and I am certainly looking forward to discovering more Caribbean islands.