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#myTrinidad: Top Things to Do in Trinidad with Etienne Charles

Trinidad-born Etienne Charles (trumpeter, percussionist and composer) shares some of his top things to do in Trinidad with us. From hiking through Guanapo Gorges to playing mas in Trinidad and Tobago’s historic Carnival, be sure to add these experiences to your bucket list for your next trip to Trinidad.

1) Enjoying Queen’s Park Savannah during Carnival

Trinidad and Tobago’s historic Carnival is a celebration of our melting pot of culture, best expressed through a myriad of artistic expressions, from the sweet sounds of steelpan to the deep-rooted traditions, such as Kalenda (Stick Fighting) or Re-Enactment of the Canboulay Riots. Experiences such as Panorama or the Traditional Characters Parade provide visitors with the opportunity to celebrate our creativity, history and passion for the arts. As traditional characters such as Dame Lorraine, Jab Jabs or Moko Jumbies cross the stage in Queen’s Park Savannah, we are often reminded of the incredible uniqueness of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival.

2) RELAXING DOWN “D” ISLANDS

Escape on a boat ride and head Down ‘d’ Islands located in north-western Trinidad. Explore the magical Gasparee Caves located on the island of Gaspar Grande, or take a Western Isles Boat tour, which features a historical narrative with captivating anecdotes on the history of the islands of the western peninsula and the Gulf of Paria.

3) TAKING A HIKE

Take a hike in Trinidad to explore one of our many caves, waterfalls, rivers and natural marvels throughout our island.

4) EXPERIENCING TRINI CHRISTMAS

Christmas is known to be a religious observance of Christianity celebrating the birth of Christ. However, in Trinidad and Tobago Christmas has expanded well beyond religion to become a cultural celebration.

The entire month of December is a very joyous season. Christmas is celebrated with large gatherings of families and friends sharing sumptuous meals all while opening gifts that are under the Christmas tree.

In Trinidad and Tobago visitors known as paranderos are invited to partake in the celebrations as they go from house to house evoking the spirit of the season by serenading families with indigenous Spanish carols, known as Parang.

5) INDULGING IN LOCAL CUISINE

From street food full of character, to world class fine dining experiences, Trinidad is a food lover’s paradise. Come try our “sweet hand” for yourself!

6) PLAYING MAS

Carnival Monday opens with J’ouvert at 4:00 a.m., where revellers parade through the streets immersed in paint, grease and mud, partying until sunrise. Later on Monday and all day on Carnival Tuesday, thousands of masqueraders flood the streets throughout the islands in bold, colourful, vibrant costumes, dancing through the parade routes to the exhilarating sounds of soca, steelpan and calypso music.

7) CELEBRATING EMANCIPATION DAY

On August 1, 1838, the enslaved Africans throughout the British Empire in the Caribbean were freed from slavery. In Trinidad and Tobago August 1, 1985, Emancipation Day was declared a national holiday and has since grown into a major national festival, where thousands of people participate in various activities.

The Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago hosts a week of activities leading up to Emancipation Day including cultural performances in music, song and dance. Other activities include an art exhibition, lectures by prominent Pan African scholars, opportunities for networking and business development opportunities within the emancipation village.

8) ENJOYING STEELPAN PERFORMANCES

The only fully chromatic acoustic instrument to be invented and accepted worldwide in the 20th century originated in Trinidad and Tobago. During the Carnival season up to a 100-member strong steel drum orchestras face–off against each other during the Panorama Competition.

9) VISITING A MUD VOLCANO

Notable locations include L’eau Michel Mud Volcano, Digity Mud Volcano or Erin Bouffe Mud Volcano.

10) AN ALMA MATER VISIT

11) EXPERIENCING TAMBOO BAMBOO

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO TRINIDAD

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