Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
10
Average: 10 (1 vote)

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

Port of Spain, on the northwest coast of Trinidad island, is the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago.
A bustling and friendly city, Port of Spain is a great place to spend a couple of days and is the hub for the Trinidad's famous carnival. It has been the capital since 1757 and is the main administrative center, although not the largest town.

The main shopping area is between Frederick Street and Charlotte Street, running south to Independence Square (Brian Lara Promenade). As well as the bricks-and-mortar shops, there are numerous stalls on the street selling everything from fruit to CDs.

In the evening Independence Square is full of locals liming - hanging around, chatting to their friends and sampling food from the stalls scattered throughout. Wandering through here is a great way to get a feel for what Trinidad is about.

History

Read more

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

Destination:
Port of Spain, on the northwest coast of Trinidad island, is the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago.
A bustling and friendly city, Port of Spain is a great place to spend a couple of days and is the hub for the Trinidad's famous carnival. It has been the capital since 1757 and is the main administrative center, although not the largest town.

The main shopping area is between Frederick Street and Charlotte Street, running south to Independence Square (Brian Lara Promenade). As well as the bricks-and-mortar shops, there are numerous stalls on the street selling everything from fruit to CDs.

In the evening Independence Square is full of locals liming - hanging around, chatting to their friends and sampling food from the stalls scattered throughout. Wandering through here is a great way to get a feel for what Trinidad is about.

History

The Port of Spain was founded near the site of the Amerindian fishing village of Cumucurapo ("place of the silk cotton trees"), located in the area today known as Mucurapo, west of the city centre. The name Conquerabia is also recorded for an Amerindian settlement in this area; this may have been a separate village, another name for Cumucurapo, or the result of miscomprehension by early Spanish settlers, who established a port here: "Puerto de los Hispanioles", later "Puerto de España". In 1560, a Spanish garrison was posted near the foot of the Laventille Hills, which today form the city's eastern boundary.

The part of today's downtown Port of Spain closest to the sea was once an area of tidal mudflats covered by mangroves. The first Spanish buildings here, in the 16th and 17th centuries, were open mud-plastered ajoupas, interspersed between large silk cotton trees and other trees. The fort was a mud-walled enclosure with a shack inside, a flagpole, two or three cannon, and few Spanish soldiers. The Caribs were transient, travelling to the mainland (now Venezuela) and up the Orinoco River. The French naval commander Comte D'Estrées visited in 1680, and reported that there was no Port of Spain. But in 1690, Spanish governor Don Sebastien de Roteta reported in writing to the King of Spain: In 1699, the alcalde of Trinidad reported to the king that the natives "were in the habit of showering scorn and abuse upon the Holy Faith and ridiculed with jests the efforts of the Holy Fathers".

By 1757, the old capital, San José de Oruña (modern Saint Joseph), about 11 kilometres (7 mi) inland, had fallen into disrepair, and Governor Don Pedro de la Moneda transferred his seat to Port of Spain, which thus became Trinidad's de facto capital. The last Spanish Governor of Trinidad, Don José Maria Chacón, devoted much of his time to developing the new capital. He compelled the island's Cabildo (governing council) to move to Port of Spain, and he limited its powers to the municipality. The 1783 Cedula of Population, which encouraged the settlement of French Catholics in the island, led to a rapid increase in the town's population and its geographical extension westwards.

From the small cluster of buildings at the foot of the Laventille Hills, eleven streets were laid out west to the area bounded by the St. Ann's River, thus establishing the grid pattern which has survived in downtown Port of Spain to the present day. Along the sea shore was the Plaza del Marina (Marine Square), a parade ground. By 1786, the town had a population of about 3,000.

Realising that the St. Ann's River, prone to flooding, was impeding the expansion of the town, Chacón had its course diverted in 1787 so that it ran to the east of the city, along the foot of the Laventille Hills. (During the rainy season the river still had a tendency to overflow its banks, flooding parts of the city; over the decades its channel would be widened and paved. During the dry season the water level drops to a trickle; hence its nickname, the East Dry River.) Port of Spain was now able to continue spreading northwards and westwards, encroaching on the surrounding sugar-cane plantations.

In 1797, Trinidad was invaded by a British force under General Sir Ralph Abercromby. The British landed west of Port of Spain, at what is still called Invaders Bay, and marched towards the town. Realising his military resources were inadequate to defend the colony and wishing to avoid unnecessary destruction, Governor Chacón capitulated and was able to negotiate generous terms with Abercromby. Port of Spain remained the capital; the new British colonial government renamed most of the streets after British royalty or military figures, but allowed Chacón Street (which followed the old course of the St. Ann's River) to retain its name, in tribute to the former governor.

In 1803 Port of Spain began growing southwards, with the reclamation of the foreshore mudflats, using fill from the Laventille Hills. This began with the area immediately east of the diverted St. Ann's River; the district is still called Sea Lots today. Gradually the landfill crept west and the area south of Plaza del Marina became solid land. Further major reclamation efforts took place in the 1840s, the 1870s, and in 1906. In 1935 the Deep Water Harbour Scheme dredged the offshore area along Port of Spain's western neighbourhoods, and the dredged material was used to fill in the area south of Woodbrook. Wrightson Road, linking downtown Port of Spain to its western suburbs, was constructed at the same time. These reclaimed lands were originally called Docksite, and were home to US forces during World War II; later a number of government buildings were constructed here.

Port of Spain continued to grow in size and importance during the 19th and early 20th centuries, peaking in size in the 1960s at about 100,000 people. Since then the population within the city limits has declined in size as the downtown area has become increasingly commercial and the suburbs in the valleys north, west, and north-east of the city have grown. Today Port of Spain is the western hub of a metropolitan area stretching from Carenage, 8 kilometres (5 mi) west of the city, to Arima, 24 kilometres (15 mi) east; this East-West Corridor runs along the southern edge of

Trinidad's Northern Range

.

From 1958 to 1962, Port of Spain was the temporary capital of the short-lived West Indies Federation, though there were plans to build a new federal capital at Chaguaramas, on land occupied by the US military base established during World War II. Federation Park, a residential neighborhood in western Port of Spain intended to house employees of the federal government, is a memorial to that time.

In July 1990, an extremist Muslim group held the prime minister and members of parliament hostage for 5 days while rioting and looting shook Port of Spain. The damage was a significant setback to the city's commercial district at a time of severe economic hardship, yet businesses returned. In 2005 there was an unprecedented series of small bombings in Port of Spain which caused injuries to bystanders. They ceased in October 2005 but the perpetrator has not been charged.

Geography

Port of Spain measures about 10.4 km2 (c. 4 sq. mi) in area and is located in the northwest section of the island of Trinidad, between the Gulf of Paria, Northern Range and the Caroni Swamp.

The Northern Range is the range of tall, biodiverse hills across the northern portion of Trinidad and is considered an extension of the Andes mountains of South America, although that is geologically incorrect. Over 465 species of birds, and 100 species of mammals can be found in these mountains, making it one of the most biodiverse mountain ranges in the Caribbean. The Northern Range runs from the Chaguaramas Peninsula in the west to

Toco

in the east and consists mainly of steeply dipping metasedimentary rocks and lush rainforest containing a wide variety of plants and animal species. Port of Spain lies at the western end and the city climbs into the hills and valleys which are settled and largely deforested. The two tallest peaks are El Cerro del Aripo and El Tucuche which top 900 m (3,000 ft).

The 3278 hectare protected Caroni Swamp has long formed a physical barrier to the city's expansion to the south, forcing urban growth relentlessly eastward at the expense of a traffic relieving ring road. This west coast mangrove area is the island's second largest wetland after the east coast Nariva Swamp which is almost twice as large. It has well over 160 species of birds, including the national bird, the scarlet ibis. It is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions with visitor facilities and regular guided boat tours.

Some of the city lies on land reclaimed from the Gulf of Paria, the calm sheltered bay separating Trinidad from Venezuela, while other parts climb into the hills above the city. Geographically, the Port of Port of Spain is ideal for maritime traffic, providing a natural harbour on Trinidad’s north-western coasts where adverse weather conditions are extremely rare. Unlike Chaguanas and San Fernando, Port of Spain has a cool climate due to elevation and the surrounding Northern Range mountains. In the high, misty valleys and mountains that surround the northern outskirts of the city, temperature inversion is quite frequent and the mountains provide a cooling relief from the sweltering heat below. Blue Basin falls, a popular attraction, is located north in Diego Martin. This is the closest waterfall and is invigorating and refreshing.

Climate

The city has a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw) climate characterized warm to hot temperatures year-round, with little seasonal variation due to its proximity to the equator, though nighttime temperatures dip somewhat during the winter months from January to March. Temperatures typically range from 19 to 34 °C, rarely above 35 or below 17. The wet season lasts from June to November, and the dry season lasts from December to May of the following year. Despite being in the dry season, December–February can get cold during the night hours.

Urban structure

Port of Spain's official population is relatively small, and reflects the narrow city boundaries including the central business district and a number of economically depressed and a few upscale adjoining suburbs. In addition to the official population, the adjacent East-West corridor conurbation has a population close to 600,000 people and the "big city" feel with its suburban car dominated commuting. The corridor is the built-up area of north Trinidad stretching from the capital, Port of Spain, 24 kilometres (15 mi) east to Arima. It includes the towns of Barataria, San Juan, St. Joseph, Curepe, St. Augustine, Tunapuna, Tacarigua, Arouca, and Five Rivers, once distinct communities and now districts within a continuous urban area. For the most part it runs along the Eastern Main Road, between the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and the foothills of the Northern Range.

Downtown

The oldest part of the city is the downtown area (colloquially referred to as "Town", and pronounced by Trinis similar to the word "tong"), between South Quay (to the south), Oxford Street (to the north), the St. Ann's River (to the east), and Richmond Street (to the west).

The heart of downtown is Woodford Square - formerly Brunswick Square (renamed in the 19th century for British Governor, Sir Ralph James Woodford). On its northern side are City Hall and the Hall of Justice, seat of the Supreme Court; on its western side is the Red House, seat of Parliament; the Anglican Holy Trinity Cathedral is on its south side, and on the block south-west of the square is the National Library. A number of government offices are located in the immediate vicinity, and the blocks north and west of the Red House are home to many lawyers' chambers. Another busy area in Port of Spain is Independence Square, located closer to the waterfront and to most of the high rise structures of the city.

Woodford Square itself is a green oasis in the heart of the city, with a late-Victorian fountain and bandstand, trees, benches, and lawns. It has famously been the site of many political rallies over the decades; former Prime Minister Eric Williams gave many public lectures here, dubbing it "the University of Woodford Square", and near the eastern gate is a spot which has become Port of Spain's Speakers' Corner.

A few blocks from Woodford Square is a historic building which was established in 1940 and is known as The Bruce Stephen's Trust. The building is located in close proximity to the Richmond Street Anglican School, and has stood the test of time with respect to preserving the age and character of the building.

Two blocks south of Woodford Square is Independence Square (formerly Marine Square), which runs along the breadth of downtown Port of Spain from Wrightson Road to the west to the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in the east. The section of the square immediately behind the cathedral is called Columbus Square. Before extensive land reclamation in the early 19th century, the city's shoreline ran through Independence Square.

In the early 1990s, illegal vendors who had set up shop in the middle of the square were evicted and major repaving and landscaping was undertaken. The new pedestrian area in the middle of the square was named the Brian Lara Promenade in honour of Trinidad and Tobago's star cricket batsman. Where Independence Square is bisected by Frederick Street there is a roundabout with a statue of Captain A.A. Cipriani, the early 20th-century populist politician and mayor of the city. South of the square, Frederick Street widens and becomes Broadway, which terminates at the waterfront and the Port of Spain lighthouse, no longer used as a navigational aid but considered a major landmark. (For Trinidadians born and bred in Port of Spain or its northern and north-western suburbs, "past the lighthouse" — east of the lighthouse on the Beetham Highway — means outside the city proper.)

On the southern side of Independence Square are the twin towers of the Eric Williams Financial Complex (home of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance) and the Nicholas Tower, a commercial office building. Recently completed was the Richmond street Government Campus Plaza and the International Waterfront Centre Towers including the Hyatt Regency Hotel, with Towers C and D standing as the tallest buildings in Trinidad and Tobago and seventh and eighth tallest in the entire Caribbean region.

Frederick Street, which runs north through the city to the Queen's Park Savannah, is Port of Spain's major avenue, connecting the two downtown squares with the uptown park, and very approximately dividing downtown into retail (east) and office (west) districts. One block east, lower Henry Street is the location of a number of shops selling cloth, mostly owned by members of Trinidad's Syrian-Lebanese community. Another block over, Charlotte Street at its lower end is Port of Spain's Chinatown in all but name, home to dozens of general emporia known for bargain shopping.

Laventille

East of the St. Ann's River, more commonly known as the East Dry River, is the working-class neighborhood of Laventille. For visitors entering Port of Spain from the airport, this neighbourhood dominates the city as it spreads over the surrounding hills. The area is unfortunately portrayed as one of the most violent in the country due to drug, gun and turf wars among gangs (financed arguably by illicit drug wealth which does not remain in the community), but it is also the birthplace of the steelpan and, some would argue, the spiritual capital of the city since calypso. Steelpan and carnival are the life source of many Trinidadians who live in the capital. South of Laventille are Beetham Estate and Sea Lots, two other economically depressed neighbourhoods.

Belmont

In north-east Port of Spain, Belmont, at the foot of the Laventille Hills, was the city's first suburb. In the 1840s–50s, parts of the area were settled by Africans rescued by the Royal Navy from illegal slaving ships. In the 1880–90s, the population swelled rapidly, and the characteristic Belmont street pattern of narrow, winding lanes developed. The black professional class built large homes in Belmont, as they were excluded from the more expensive neighbourhoods such as St. Clair and Maraval; Belmont became known as "the Black St. Clair". Many of these large homes have been renovated and converted to business use, but some remain in family hands. Belmont currently is a lower-middle to middle-class residential neighbourhood. It was the birthplace and early home of many important Carnival designers and bandleaders. Belmont has 9.035 inhabitants.

Famous Persons

~Leroy Clarke is one of the well known artists of Trinidad and Tobago. Some of his works are on display at the Unit Trust Corporation Head Office on Independence Square, Port of Spain. His works are done in oil and are abstract in concept. "In 1998, he was the first to be conferred the title Master Artist by The National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago". His hometown was Gonzalez, Belmont.

Cemeteries located in Belmont

Although taxi drivers who ply the Belmont route speak of the number of cemeteries which are located in the area, the website "Burial Grounds, Cemeteries & Cremation sites in Trinidad" lists one cemetery with an address which is located in Belmont, under the heading of Port of Spain. The cemetery which is being referred to is "St. Margaret of Antioch Anglican Church Cemetery, St. Margaret’s Lane, Belmont". Although the address of the cemetery is listed as St. Margaret's Lane, the church and cemetery are also accessed from the Belmont Circular Road, Belmont as the property is situated on a corner.

Noteworthy Buildings - Homes, Churches & Educational Institutions- Primary, Secondary,Tertiary

One of the more recent renovations in Belmont which was done with a view to preserve the historic character of the building is Myler House. The image in the attached link, is that of Myler House. This house is located on Myler Street and Belmont Circular Road, Belmont. According to "Let me tell you about My Island site, "the first President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago was born on Myler Street".

Other buildings which are either historic due to the age of the existing building or the principle on which the property was established to be used are as follows: ~St Jude's Home for Girls located on the Belmont Circular Road. This Home was established in 1923 according to the image which is located on the website. ~The St. Dominic's Home located on the Belmont Circular Road in close proximity to the St. Jude's Home. The Home has been is located in the St. Dominic's Compound and has been in existence for approximately one hundred and forty five (145) years. ~L'Hospice - This Home for the aged is located in close proximity to Charlotte and Park Streets. The Home has been in existence for approximately one hundred and fifty nine (159) years. For many persons, the L'Hospice is known for being dedicated to two (2) of the causes of St. Anthony of Padua, which are housing the sick and the elderly and feeding the poor. A chapel which is open to the public is attached to the property.

There are schools and churches of at least two denominations which are located within Belmont. These are Anglican and Catholic schools and churches. Also there is a tertiary educational institute which falls under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Port of Spain - CREDI - Catholic Religious Education Development Institute. This Institute is located in the St. Dominic's compound and offers undergraduate and post graduate programmes, along with certificate programmes and short courses.

Belmont is famous for having one of the few churches in the island which is dedicated to St. Francis of Assisi. This church is located on the Belmont Circular Road and is approximately one hundred and fourteen (114) years old.

North of downtown

North of downtown, the area occupied in the earlier 19th century by the Tranquillity sugar estate was formerly residential, but in recent decades has become essentially a district of office buildings, functioning as an extension of the downtown area. Oddly, this part of Port of Spain — between Oxford Street and the Queen's Park Savannah — has no name in common usage, though a century ago it was known as Tranquillity. Port of Spain General Hospital is on upper Charlotte Street, as is the Memorial Park, while nearby on Frederick Street is the National Museum and Art Gallery. West of here is Newtown, laid out in the 1840s, bounded by Tragarete Road (south), the Queen's Park Savannah (north), Cipriani Boulevard (east), and Maraval Road (west).

Buildings and Places of Interest

For many years, the Government Printery Services was located at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Tragarete Road until it was demolished between 2013 and 2015. According to information which was provided at the "Feature Address for the Commissioning Ceremony of the new Government Printery Building, "In 1881, it moved from Mr. Clarke’s residence on Chacon Street to a new office in what was then known as the Tranquility District. That office, which was built especially for the Government Printery, was its home for one hundred and thirty-three (133) years."

~ The Lapeyrouse Cemetery is located along Tragarete Road and stretches from Philip Street to the corner opposite to Cipriani Boulevard. While the cemetery is not considered to be within the "Tranquility area", due to its proximity to this area, it is located on the opposite side of the Tragarete Road which is included in the Tranquility area, it is mentioned in this section of the piece. This cemetery serves as a melting pot of the people of Trinidad and Tobago as described in the following extract from The Caribbean History Archives by Gerard Besson of Paria Publishing Company Limited, "There are rows of graves with Chinese inscriptions, as well as small mansions for the French aristocratic dead. Elegant monuments commemorate the more conservative British, and imposing rotundas and tall obelisks eminent free masons of a previous century."

Woodbrook

The large Woodbrook neighbourhood, west of downtown, formerly a sugar estate owned by the Siegert family, was sold to the Town Board in 1911 and developed into a residential neighbourhood, with many of the north-south streets named for the Siegert siblings, some of whom were Carlos, Luis and Alfredo.

In the last twenty years the main east-west thoroughfares, Ariapita Avenue and Tragarete Road, have become almost entirely commercialised, and Ariapita Avenue west of Murray Street has become a relatively upscale dining and entertainment "strip". A few small parks are sprinkled through the neighbourhood; Adam Smith Square and Siegert Square are the two largest. The Woodbrook Community Association held a series of events in August 2011 to celebrate its 100th Year Anniversary.

Just north of Woodbrook along Tragarete Road is the Queen's Park Oval, a major Test cricket ground, which is owned by the private Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC). At Woodbrook's western end, at the edge of Invaders Bay, is the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the national venue for football and track and field events.

St. Clair

The upscale St. Clair neighbourhood in north-west Port of Spain, between the Queen's Park Savannah and the Maraval River, was developed in the 1880s, 1890s, and 1900s on former agricultural land. It is the location of some of the city's grandest mansions. At its heart, just north of the Queen's Park Oval, is Nelson Mandela Park. In recent decades St. Clair has become home to various diplomatic missions.

Just northwest of St. Clair are two upscale residential neighbourhoods, Ellerslie Park and Federation Park. Duncie Park is located 200 metres west of St Clair.

St. James and Mucurapo

Port of Spain's last major municipal expansion occurred in 1938, when the St. James district north of Woodbrook and west of St. Clair was incorporated into the city limits. In the late 19th century, Indian indentured labourers on nearby sugar estates established houses here, and St. James gradually became the centre of Port of Spain's Indian population, with many streets named after cities and districts in India. Western Main Road, the area's major thoroughfare, has long been the city's main nightlife district, sometimes nicknamed "the city that never sleeps".

Long Circular Road, which curves north from Western Main Road then east to meet Maraval Road, forms part of the city boundary. Its "circle" encloses Flagstaff Hill, a small rise with the US ambassador's residence at its summit, which lends its name to an area of apartment buildings at its southern foot.

South of St. James and near the seashore at Invaders Bay is Mucurapo, a mostly residential district which also contains the city's second-largest cemetery.

V.S. Naipaul, a winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, grew up in St. James.

Singer, songwriter and actress Nicki Minaj was born in St. James and lived there until emigrating to the United States.

Queen's Park Savannah

Port of Spain's largest open space — and the world's largest traffic roundabout — is the Queen's Park Savannah, known colloquially simply as "the Savannah". It occupies about 110 hectares (260 acres) of level land, and the distance around the perimeter is about 3.5 km (2.2 mi). Once sugar land, it was bought by the town council in 1817 from the Peschier family (except for a small parcel near its centre that served as the Peschier cemetery, which remains in private hands).

At first it was used as a vast cattle pasture in what was then the town's suburbs, but by the middle of the 19th century it had become established as a park. Until the early 1990s, horse racing was held frequently at the Savannah race track, and it also contains several cricket, football and rugby pitches. Apart from a ring of trees round its perimeter, the Savannah was never really landscaped, except for the small area in its northwest corner called the Hollows, a former reservoir now drained and planted with flowering shrubs.

Immediately north of the Savannah — also the northern limit of the city of Port of Spain — are the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Emperor Valley Zoo, President's House (recently abandoned after one end fell down), the official residence of the prime minister, and Queen's Hall, the city's major performing arts venue. Lady Chancellor Road, which ascends the hills overlooking the Savannah, is one of Port of Spain's most exclusive residential areas and is the current home of former West Indies cricketer and record breaking batsman, Brian Lara.

On the Savannah's southern side is the Grand Stand, formerly used for viewing horse races, now used for various cultural events, most notably Carnival, when a temporary North Stand and raised stage are constructed in front of the Grand Stand, creating the "Big Yard", Carnival's central location since the early 20th century (previously, the main viewing area for Carnival was in downtown Port of Spain). From this location the Parade of Bands is broadcast live to the nation on Carnival Monday and Tuesday; it is also the venue for the Calypso Monarch and Carnival King and Queen Competitions and the finals of the Panorama steelpan competition. The architecturally soothing arches and curves of the Port of Spain National Academy for the Performing Arts (see picture and caption) dominate the south boundary of the Savannah between the green trimmed landmarks of Memorial Park (in remembrance of fallen soldiers during World Wars I and II) and the gingerbread styled, limestone built, colourful splendour of the Knowsley Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building.

The western edge of the Savannah, along Maraval Road, is the location of the Magnificent Seven, a group of late Victorian and Edwardian buildings built in an eccentric and flamboyant variety of styles. These are the recently well restored Queen's Royal College; the residences of the Anglican bishop and the Roman Catholic archbishop; Whitehall, once a private residence, then the office of the prime minister from 1963 to 2010 ; Mille Fleurs, once a private residence, is undergoing full restoration as a public museum and headquarters for the National Heritage Trust and was sold to the Government in 1979; Roomor, an ornate black-and-white château-like building that remains a private residence; and Stollmeyer's Castle, a turreted house supposedly modelled on Balmoral Castle. The slow pace of building restorations over the years remains a concern.

Suburbs

Immediately north and northwest of Port of Spain lie the suburbs of Cascade, St. Ann's, Maraval and Diego Martin. The last two districts fall outside the municipal boundary, but are sometimes considered extensions of the city. St. Ann's is notable for being the location of the Prime Minister's official residence and diplomatic centre. Cascade, a mainly suburban area with treed lot type housing is located to the south-eastern area of St. Ann's. Cascade borders St. Ann's by a hill named Mount Hololo, a neighbourhood of both middle class and exclusive housing developments.

Maraval is home to the exclusive Trinidad Country Club and right next door to the popular Long Circular Mall. Further afield, west of Diego Martin, lies the suburb of Westmoorings, which is known for its expensive Miami style highrise apartments facing the seafront. One of Trinidad's poshest shopping centres, The Falls at West-Mall, lies at the centre of these developments. As you head west beyond Carenage settlement is sparse, however the peninsula known as Chaguaramas, which was once a large US Army Base, has become a mecca for hundreds of international cruisers and a world major yacht storage and repair hub.

To the east along the east-west corridor, also falling outside city limits, lie the large towns of San Juan, Tunapuna and Arima. With congestion rendering downtown inaccessible during peak hours, major shopping centres like Valsayn Shopping Centre, Grand Bazaar and Trincity Mall have sprung up at highway intersections. The last two are noted for being among the largest shopping centres in the country and in the Caribbean, with 60,000 square metres (600,000 sq ft) of commercial space in each. Two large Universities have been established in the eastern section of the E-W corridor – the regional University of the West Indies, St. Augustine campus and the multi campus local University of Trinidad and Tobago whose main campus is on the Arima outskirts.

Culture and entertainment

Trinidad has a rich tapestry of cultures which create occasions for celebrations beyond many's expectations for a small Caribbean island; thus there is much to see and do after work hours in Port of Spain, even long after the annual Carnival celebration. While the popularity of the major shopping area around Frederick Street as a nightspot centre has remained steady or declined, expansion of entertainment venues into the malls and outlying towns has occurred. St. James, 'uptown' Port of Spain (St. Clair and Woodbrook) have seen a boom in nightclubs, sports bars and fine dining restaurants as workers from Government offices and large corporations disgorge on evenings from high-rise headquarters built in newly commercialized formerly upscale neighbourhoods.

Sports

Port of Spain hosts major sporting venues including the Queen's Park Oval, Hasely Crawford Stadium, the Jean Pierre Complex and various sporting fields on the Queen's Park Savannah. Port of Spain was among the host cities of the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The city hosted the 2009 Pan American Junior Athletics Championship and the finals of the 2001 Fifa Under 17 World Cup.

Green Spaces - Squares & Places

There are a number of well placed green spaces which have been preserved in Port of Spain. Many of them are referred to as squares or parks. Some of the more famous squares are as follows:

Lord Harris Square which is located between Pembroke, New and Abercromby Sts. was "established in the early 1900s, (and) is named as a tribute to Lord Harris, governor of Trinidad between 1846 and 1854".

Woodford Square is located between Frederick, Abercromby and Hart Sts. It s bounded by the Old National Library, The Red House and the Trinity Cathedral. Woodford Square is sometimes referred to as University of Woodford Sq because of its occasional use by soapbox speakers and gospel preachers, this is the symbolic center of downtown. Dr Eric Williams, Trinidad and Tobago’s first prime minister, lectured to the masses here about the importance of sovereignty, which later led to the country’s independence from Britain.

Woodford Square was formerly known as Brunswick Square". However prior to 1808, "Woodford Square was first known as the Place of Souls by the native Indians who fought a bloody battle on this open space..... With the coming of the French settlers to the island, they called the Place of souls – Place Des Ames. Place Des Ames means Place of souls. Place Des Ames later became known as Brunswick Square. Brunswick Square was used as a parade ground for soldiers. Many of these soldiers were Germans. Brunswick is a German name, and so it is believed that this open space was named after the German soldiers who used it.
Marine Square, while not a designated green space serves as a meeting place for many visitors coming into Port of Spain. Plaza De La Marina was the name given to the area extending from the Wharf in the west to the Roman Catholic Cathedral to the east. When the British came in 1797 the name was changed to Marine Square.... In the 1880s a fountain was erected in the middle of the square. 1962: Marine Square becomes Independence Square. In the 1980's this area was the site of the statue of Captain Arthur Andrew Cipriani (1875-1945), one of Trinidad and Tobago's celebrated political leaders and sportsmen......The area was then renamed the Brian Lara Promenade in honor of Trinidad and Tobago's most celebrated cricketer and record breaking batsman, Brian Charles Lara (1974-). The Promenade was completed in three phases and finally opened in August 1995.

A little more of the history on Marine Square is revealed in the following extract "the square was the early home of the Syrian/ Lebanese communities when they started to arrive in Trinidad during the early 20th century. They were fleeing from the harsh religious and political persecution of the Turks who had conquered their lands. The original number of these immigrants was small but it grew larger when a confrontation erupted between a Muslim religious sect and the Christian Maronites.

Annette Rahael, a third generation Syrian living in Trinidad explained, when the early settlers arrived and saw the cathedral on Marine Square they immediately claimed it as the House of God and adopted Catholicism as their religious affiliation, since there were no churches in Trinidad celebrating the liturgy of the Antiochan Orthodox religion which they had practised in their country.

Tamarind Square - This square is located between Nelson and George Sts. It is located in close proximity to one of the local banks which was established in Trinidad and Tobago, "Workers Bank". This bank merged with the Trinidad Cooperative Bank and the National Commercial Bank to form First Citizens' Bank.

Victoria Square is located on Duke St. West, Park St, and has been categorised as a Park located in Woodbrook according to WOW City. However because of its location on Duke St. West which starts on Wrightson Road and ends on Charlotte St, it is included here.

Kew Place is one of the smallest "squares" in Port of Spain. "Kew Place has a length of 0.12 kilometres" and is large enough to hold a statue of Gandhi. It is located just opposite the main entrance to Lapeyrouse Cemetery on Philip Street and is within walking distance of Victoria Square.

Arts, entertainment, and nightlife

Nightlife and restaurants

Port of Spain offers a range of nightclubs and entertainment complexes; a few of the best and most expensive ones arguably being Zen, 51 degrees, Coco Lounge, El Morocco and Shakers; however the list changes frequently as partygoers' tastes change. International and regional performers such as Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Sean Paul, Rihanna, Cascada, Akon, Usher, Maroon 5, Kumar Sanu and natively born Trinidadian International Super Star Nicki Minaj to name a very few, have visited Port of Spain.

A great variety of restaurants including Italian, Mexican, Lebanese, Thai, Venezuelan-Panyol, French, Japanese, Chinese, Creole, American and Indian can be found in Port of Spain with many concentrated on Ariapita Avenue, a popular entertainment strip, which also includes a Jazz Lounge and a Wine Tasting restaurant. MovieTowne's Fiesta Plaza, a tribute to Bourbon Street New Orleans, on the city's foreshore, features many new restaurants, open air dining and a bandstand with live entertainment. Port of Spain's award winning restaurants provide a wide range of local and international cuisines, accompanied by the traditional fast food chains. Many of the city's restaurants can be sampled at the Taste T&T Food Festival hosted at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex annually in May.

Arts

Port of Spain is also a cultural hub for the country. Regular dance and theatre productions occur at:

  • The Little Carib at the corner of Robert and White Street which has provided a cultural centre for Woodbrook for the past fifty years. It is one of the oldest theatres in the country, established by local dance legend, Beryl McBurnie, in 1947.
  • Queen's Hall was built in 1959 through the efforts of the music community led by Mrs May Johnstone, a music teacher and partially funded by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. It is designed as a multi purpose facility to accommodate theatrical presentations and various community activities including sport and has seating for 782. The Hall is located on 1.4 hectares (3 1⁄2 acres) of land in St. Ann's. Its eminent neighbours are the President's House on one side and the Prime Minister's residence on the other.
  • The Central Bank Auditorium at the Eric Williams Plaza constructed in 1986 stands as one of the finest facilities of its type in the country. The facility was constructed not only to serve the Bank's needs, but also as a civic contribution aimed at enhancing the performing arts in Trinidad and Tobago. The Auditorium is located at the South-East corner of the Central Bank building. It has a seating capacity for 400 and provides computerised lighting and sound controls. The Auditorium also boasts of an infra-red listening system designed to facilitate the hearing impaired.
  • The Port of Spain National Academy for the Performing Arts (see picture and caption) is the city's newests Arts centre and is meant to be the home for the development of talent in the performing arts, with particular focus on Trinidad and Tobago's national instrument, the steel pan. The architectural design is reminiscent of the national flower the Chaconia. At its highest point, the grand, modern building rises up to 100 feet (30 m) enhancing the state-of-the-art acoustics and offering an inspirational setting for the enjoyment and training of the performance arts. A performance and teaching academy, the Port of Spain National Academy for the Performing Arts features an array of open vistas for the enjoyment of the performance arts as well as contemporary classrooms, teaching halls and other practice spaces for the cultivation of future performance artistes. The 39,864.0-square-metre (429,093 sq ft) facility features a 1500-seat acoustically designed performance hall and a hotel for visiting performers. The performance centre was completed in November 2009 and hosted Queen Elizabeth II and other leaders of the Commonwealth for the opening of the Commonwealth meeting in Port of Spain.
  • The proposed National Carnival and Entertainment Centre which is a state-of-the-art, locally designed 15–18,000 seat cultural centre to be built in the Queen's Park Savannah, the setting for the array of celebrations that are the highlights of the city's diverse national cultural calendar.

Port of Spain is the centre of one of the largest Carnivals in the world, with tens of thousands participating in the pre-Lenten street party.

One of Port of Spain's most prominent artisans is Peter Minshall, who creates 'mas' or masquerade costumes for Trinidad's annual carnival. Internationally, he helped design the opening awards ceremonies for the 1987 Pan American Games, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 1994 Football World Cup and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Museums

The National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago is the country’s most important museum. It displays depictions of national festivals, Carnival, life during the World War II and artifacts from the country’s earliest settlers, the Amerindians. There are also displays by leading local and international artists. The museum was established in 1892 and was originally called the Royal Victoria Institute, as it was built as part of the preparation for Queen Victoria’s jubilee. The National Museum has two smaller branch museums; Fort San Andres which is located on South Quay, opposite City Gate and The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Museum which is located at the Old Police Headquarters on St. Vincent Street.


Source:
Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago: Port Information


Your cruise ship will dock in Port of Spain. The terminal (Cruise Ship Terminal Complex) has all facilities: information office, duty-free zone, shops, etc.
The city center is within a 15-minute walk.
Taxis are available and can offer you a sightseeing tour. 

 

Get around Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Taxis are quite expensive. There are no standard color coded markings for taxis in Port-of-Spain e.g. yellow taxis and by all appearance resembles private motor vehicles. However, all vehicles for hire will have an license plate starting with H instead and you should not be surprised if one stop by and ask if you want a ride. Remember to check if it is a taxi!

What to see in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


  • The beaches.
  • Carnival. The Trinidad Carnival is one of the best in the world and hotels can be guaranteed to fill up when it is held and double their rates! Taking place in the days before Lent it is a mixture of parades and music and calypso competitions. Participants wear elaborate costumes and parade dancing through the streets to the sounds of a steel band or a soca band. Each year on Carnival Sunday a competition is held to award the King and Queen of Carnival. On Carnival Monday and Shrove Tuesday, the bands compete to win the "Band of the Year" title. Everyone takes part, from young to old and rich to poor. In the weeks before the events the Steel Bands rehearse nightly at their Pan Yards. There may be several in one stretch of road, such as Western Main, and you can buy a beer and watch the rehearsals. 
  • International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Rd. A major skyscraper development designed to revitalise the city's waterfront with the Hyatt Regency Trinidad at its heart. This is the only section of Port of Spain's waterfront which is accessible to the public.
  • National Academy for Performing Arts (City side of the Savannah. Can't miss it.). Opened at the end of 2009, the construction of this building led to numerous allegations of corruption. The design is supposed to represent Trinidad's national flower but it has been much criticised as being out of keeping with the environment. "Copulating slugs" was perhaps one of the politer descriptions.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Cotton Hill. Established in 1818, these are one of the oldest gardens in the Caribbean. 700 trees of which 13% are indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Royal Victoria Institute, Frederick Street. This is the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago. Founded in 1892, this striking colonial building houses an extensive collection of artifacts and antiques from throughout Trinidad's history.
  • The Magnificent Seven, Maraval Road. These seven buildings from colonial times have very interesting histories. Only one, Roomor, is still a private residence. The biggest, Queen's Royal College, is a major secondary school. Stollmeyer's Castle, a mansion built like Balmoral Castle in Scotland, was built on the money of an entrepreneur in the coconut water business called Conrad Frederick Stollmeyer.
  • Knowsley Building (City side of the Savannah.). Built in 1902 by a wealthy merchant, Mr. William Gordon, this house features a veranda made of white marble, hand hewn yellow limestone bricks, and a staircase constructed from wood from Guyana.

What to do in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


  • The Queen's Park Savannah or, more usually, just the Savannah is a large park in the middle of the city. It has a circumference of 3.5 km and is a popular spot around sunset for joggers and walkers. With one-way traffic circulating clockwise, it claims to be the world's largest roundabout or traffic circle.

What to eat and drink in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Eat

There are many types of traditional and Trinidad food that must be tried, some of these include:
  • Roti
  • Doubles
  • Bake and Shark
  • Chow (e.g. Mango/Pineapple Chow)
  • West Indian Style Curry
  • Jerk Chicken/Fish

Budget

Western Main Highway at St James is a popular night spot with a long stretch of bars and eateries. There are also many food stalls selling Rotis, Doubles, and other local delicacies.

A local flour and chick peas delicacy called Doubles (available all over the island, even just outside the airport). There are several stalls on Independence Square can get these for 5TT each - make sure to get their early though as they tend to sell out pretty quickly.

American fast food chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Burger King (try the totally local fast food chain Royal Castle!)

Mid-range

Ariapita Avenue, in the Woodbrook neighborhood of Port-of-Spain, is a popular dining and nightlife area with a good selection of mid-range restaurants.

To eateries like - Benihana and many others available at Trincity Mall, 15 mins from Piarco Airport

Splurge
  • Prime (BHP Billiton Building): One of the top steakhouse in Trinidad, look to spend around USD200++ and above.
  • Chaud (2 Queen's Park West): Specialises in fusion cuisine, excellent location at Savanna and food. USD100++ and above. 

Drink

Beer is a little expensive, priced around 9 TT (1.5 USD) at grocery stores and 15 TT (2.5 USD) at restaurants for a 275mL bottle. The local brew consist of Carib and Stag (lager). Rum is widely available and the local distiller Angostura is among one of the top producers in the region with its Royal Oak line.

For non-alcoholic drinks, Trinidians in general favor a sweeter flavor. Some of the local beverages can be found in the list below:
  • Sorrel, a sweet dark pink beverage made from the Roselle plant
  • Mauby, a bitter sweet drink with a herbal flavor made from the bark of a local tree
  • Peanut Punch, a drink made from peanut butter, milk and sugar

Shopping in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Prices in shops and stores are generally displayed and do not change according to the customer. Outdoor vendors, however, are another story: they are likely to charge a different, higher price for a foreigner than for a local. A few will even suggest or demand payment in US dollars. You can try haggling, or just grin and bear it.

Most items except necessities and certain other items that are zero rated attract Value Added Tax (VAT) at the rate of 15%. The tax is collected at the time of sale.

Safety in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Trinidad has a bad reputation (it has a shocking high murder rate), but if you are sensible and stick to the main areas, you shouldn't have a problem and will find the locals incredibly friendly. Avoid any ostentatious display of wealth, and don't wander down dark backstreets at night on your own, and you shouldn't experience any problems at all.

Wear sunblock, even in early morning or late afternoon, since Trinidad is very close to the equator.

Language spoken in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


English is the official language. Words are spelt with British spellings (e.g. colour, labour, tyre). English Creole (though it is not referred to by locals by that name) is very frequently used for informal communication among locals. It's mostly an oral language, and is seldom written (and then just by ad-lib). A Trinidadian Dictionary, "Cote Ci Cote La" can be found at one of the many bookstores in the country and is an excellent souvenir to remember your vacation to Trinidad and Tobago. Here's an example of just one of those many words that have radically different meanings from American English:
  • liming ; meaning to hang out in public with your friends
Also, Hindi, French (mostly Creole or Patois), Spanish, and Chinese are occasionally heard. It may seem, at times, you are in a country that only speaks a foreign language. However, since virtually everyone knows standard (British) English, there's no need to ask. Of course, if someone does suddenly start talking in standard English -- take notice. They may very well be talking to you!

LOCAL TIME

1:30 am
December 15, 2018
America/Port_of_Spain

CURRENT WEATHER

24 °C / 75.2 °F
few clouds
Sat

27.15 °C/81 °F
light rain
Sun

27.41 °C/81 °F
light rain
Mon

25.09 °C/77 °F
light rain
Tue

25.22 °C/77 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

TTD

1 USD = 6.74 TTD
1 EUR = 7.62 TTD
1 GBP = 8.48 TTD
1 AUD = 4.84 TTD
1 CAD = 5.03 TTD

Travelers recommend visiting the following places of interests



http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Public domain Maracas Beach, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 10 (10 votes)

Maracas Beach is a beach on the island of Trinidad. It is located on the north side of the island, an hour's mountainous drive from the capital city...
Public Domain/Pixabay-Note: the image is for illustration purposes only. Real place may vary. Fort San Andres, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

Fort San Andres is the last surviving fortification from the period of the Spanish Occupation of Trinidad, which came to an end in 1797 with the...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.7 (10 votes)

Queen's Park Savannah is a park in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Known colloquially simply as "the Savannah," it is Port of Spain's largest...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Emperor Valley Zoo, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.4 (10 votes)

The Emperor Valley Zoo is the main zoo in Trinidad and Tobago. It is located north of the Queen's Park Savannah and west of the Botanic Gardens in...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Public domain Downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.6 (10 votes)

Downtown Port of Spain is the central business district of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The largest of the city's 12 commercial districts. The...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 National Museum and Art Gallery, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.4 (10 votes)

The National Museum and Art Gallery is the national museum of Trinidad and Tobago, in Port of Spain on Trinidad island. It is located at the top of...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 Caroni Swamp, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

The Caroni Swamp is the second largest mangrove wetland in Trinidad and Tobago. It is located on the west coast of Trinidad, south of Port of Spain...
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=652875 Royal Botanic Gardens, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.4 (10 votes)

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Trinidad is located in Port of Spain. The Gardens, which were established in 1818, are situated just north of the Queen'...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.5 (10 votes)

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic Cathedral in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. It is the seat of the Archdiocese...
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0 ||| Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Blanchisseuse, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Average: 9.3 (10 votes)

Blanchisseuse is a village in Trinidad and Tobago. It is located about midway along the north coast of Trinidad on the northern slope of the Northern...

Latest travel blogs about Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago



Photo by by Mandy/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Top-10 things to do in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago


Trinidad & Tobago is a sunny island country that consists of two major islands (actually, of the island of Trinidad and the island of Tobago) and five small islands. It welcomes its guests with warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, pristine nature, and exciting things to do in Port of Spain , the...

Part one: Trinidad And Tobago. P.1. Between the 16 and 17 February 2015, in Trinidad and Tobago, there was a traditional carnival. It is not as famous as the carnival in Brazil, but is considered the most colorful. Anyone can participate in the carnival (in English 'play mas'). Several groups...
Trinidad and Tobago is an island country near the coast of South America, in the Caribbean. From a geographical point of view, it is not the same as the Antilles (Caribbean) Islands. Trinidad and Tobago are an extension of the South American continent, separated from Venezuela by a shallow strait...