Unlike many of its fellow Caribbean nations, oil, not tourism, is the main industry on Trinidad and Tobago. The country's tourist infrastructure is not extensive, and you might be surprised that there aren't more people around to appreciate Tobago's indescribable beauty, and Trinidad's diverse, multicultural people — ranging from Lebanese and Indian to Chinese and African. But this relative tourist isolation is what makes the trip so worthwhile. The 21 islands around the main two will also give you a chance to further explore the wildlife and rainforests that are unique to this region.
With so much water all around, the islands are naturally a great place for water sports like kayaking and fishing, and diving spots are especially good around Tobago's coral reefs. Beaches are quieter on the smaller island and although it has a reputation for being prettier, Trinidad's attractions are more than able to compete. The chance to be a silent spectator to the leatherback turtles' hatching season on Mathura beach is reason enough to visit, but if you need something more, Carnival season is the time to go. To experience a celebration that is completely different from those of its South American neighbours, head to Trinidad's Port-of-Spain and dance to calypso beats and steel-pan music in the local parades.
Trini food represents the fusion of all its cultures and ethnicities — there are Indian spices in Chinese food and Lebanese ingredients in traditional African dishes. For a taste of all these flavours, try the Pelau 'quick pot', doubles, or a shark-and-bake. Ginger beer and rum are popular drinks, but for something lighter, fresh fruit juices are also widely available.
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Most international flights arrive at Port-of-Spain (POS) while those heading to Tobago can get a connecting flight from Trinidad to the airport at Scarborough (TAB). Airlines connecting Canada with Trinidad and Tobago include Caribbean Airlines, which has direct flights from Toronto to Trinidad, while other airlines like Air Canada, American, Delta, Continental, and Air Jamaica have flights with one or more stopovers.
All passengers departing the islands on international flights are charged a departure tax and you should remember to save some cash for this, or check whether it has been included in your airfare.
The islands are just outside the hurricane belt but sometimes do receive unnaturally heavy rainfall. The country has a tropical climate with year round daytime temperatures between 29°C and 35°C and dropping as low as 22°C at night. The average humidity levels are 70-75%. Rainfall is at its heaviest from June to December and the driest period falls between January and May. The peak travel period is around Carnival in February, so travel in the shoulder seasons between late-March and June or from October to December to get cheaper fares. Book well in advance if you're going to the islands for the Carnival celebrations as tickets are always more expensive around this time.