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Trinidad And Tobago Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time in Trinidad and Tobago is GMT -4.

Electricity

Electrical current is in Trinidad and Tobago 115/230 volts, 60hz. Two-pin flat blade plugs are used.

Language

English is the official language in Trinidad and Tonago.

Travel Health

A yellow fever vaccination is required for entry for those entering Trinidad and Tobago from infected areas, but it is recommended that all travellers to Trinidad and Tobago are vaccinated against yellow fever. An inoculation for Hepatitis A is also suggested for those visiting rural areas. Insect protection is advised, as there is an increasing risk of dengue fever. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Medical facilities are limited and medical personnel prone to striking. Proof of ability to pay is often required before treatment is given, even in emergencies. Medical insurance with provision for evacuation is strongly advised.

Tipping

Most hotels and restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago add a service charge to the bill, usually 10 or 15%. If this is not the case a 10% tip is usual.

Safety Information

Most visits to Trinidad and Tobago are trouble free, but there is an increasing incidence of crime against tourists on both islands. In Trinidad be especially vigilant in downtown Port of Spain (particularly at night), and when travelling from Piarco Airport where gangs have been known to follow cars and attack the occupants at their destination. There has been an increase in robberies, where tourists have been attacked and robbed. There has been an increase in attacks at tourist sites, including Fort George and the Pitch Lake, and sometimes with the use of firearms; visitors are warned not to resist muggers and robbers who are also targeting foreigners at car parks outside places like shopping malls and restaurants. Take precautions like not wearing flashy jewellery and storing valuables in hotel safety deposit boxes. In Tobago there has recently been a spate of violent robberies against foreigners, mainly in the south west area, and crime on Tobago is a serious concern. Those staying in private villas, especially in the south west, are particularly vulnerable to violent robberies and should hire security officers; visitors are also warned against staying in villas near the Mount Irvine Golf Course area where several incidents have been reported. Use official guides to visit attractions, stay in groups in country areas, avoid isolated beaches and use taxis after dark. In December 2005 there were attacks and sexual assaults on foreign nationals at Englishman's Bay and at King Peter's Bay in February 2006.

Local Customs

The people of Trinidad and Tobago are friendly and hospitable and generally happy to assist tourists, but keep in mind that it is polite to greet a stranger before asking a question. Nude or topless bathing is not allowed in Trinidad and Tobago. If invited to a home, it is customary to bring a gift.

Business

The economy of Trinidad and Tobago has been growing steadily over the past four years and foreign investment is on the increase. A firm handshake starts and ends a meeting. Formal attire is common however not always necessary; it is worth finding out from the relevant sector of business. Business cards are generally handed out and received immediately after introductions. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken over lunch.

Communications

The international dialling code for Trinidad and Tobago is +1 868. To dial out from the islands the prefix is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). A GSM cell phone network is in operation on the islands, with fairly wide coverage. There are several Internet cafes on the island in the main centres.

Duty Free

Visitors arriving in Trinidad and Tobago are allowed to bring in the following goods without paying duty: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 227g tobacco; 1 quart wine or spirits; and perfume for personal use. Travellers are also permitted to bring gifts totalling not more than US$200 in value. Alcohol and tobacco products are allowed only for passengers over the age of 17 years.

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We are looking for contributors for our Trinidad And Tobago travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Trinidad And Tobago or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.