HILTON TRINIDAD AND CONFERENCE CENTER
Back to Page One
Touring the Towns
The Hilton Trinidad & Conference Center makes the perfect
nest for travelers who want to see Trinidad's sights, and there is so
to see. By rented car, or guided tour the island is easy to navigate
offers many treasures...
Majestic green peaks and steep hills slope down to the ocean
and 1.3 million people of African (40%), East Indian (40%), European,
Eastern, Chinese and Amerindian descent call this 50 mile wide, 37 mile
isle (the size of Delaware) home.
The bustling, sprawling capital city of Port of Spain is the
thriving heart of Trinidad. By day workers weave through the streets,
and out of office buildings and past the traditional gingerbread houses.
Traffic swirls around Queens Park Savannah, a city focal point. It is a
flat open park that was donated to the municipality in the 1820s by a
colonial governor. Here, joggers, skaters, cricket and football players
play while vendors sell roast corn and coconuts. The Hilton Trinidad &
Conference Center overlooks the park.
To get an understanding of the island's rich history, I
headed to the National Museum and Art Galleryon the southeast corner
the Savannah. Artifacts from the country's first Amerindians, souvenirs
from Carnival and paintings from 19th-century artist Jean Michael
are on view. The Botanical Gardens and Emperor Valley Zoo are near the
too, and walking distance from the Trinidad Hilton. Woodford Square on
Lower Frederick Street is home to the Anglican Trinity Cathedral (built
between 1818 and 1823). Parliament sits in the Red House, which dates
On the western side of the city, St. James is the liveliest
neighborhood. The streets are lined with small shops, many owned by
Indians who were brought to Trinidad to work the fields after slavery
abolished. Most didn't take to farming and instead became merchants.
food restaurants attract locals who gather day and night. The hot spots
KFC and Smokey N Bunty's. Try Bunty's roti, Indian bread cooked on a
griddle, filed with split peas, curry and vegetables. Chaguramus is
popular bar- and restaurant-filled district. And boats from all over
Caribbean dock in the Marina section that tends to be far off the
path during that season. Try the delicious Callalloo soup at Crews Inn
Nighttime brings out Trinidad's festive spirit. Diners jam
restaurants like Tamnak Thai, Jenny's on the Boulevard (Chinese food),
Veni Mange (traditional Trinidadian). Drinks like Lazy Limer
and lime juices, vanilla ice cream and rum) and Carib beer are poured,
served and quaffed at bars like The Cellar and Mas Camp Pub. Then
jam discos like The Base and Coconuts dancing to the cool rhythms of
After the emancipation of slaves in the 1830s, Carnival
emerged and became a sign of liberation, an outrageous event marked by
dancing, singing, drinking and revelry. Over time, this holiday coined
own music (Calypso in the 19th century, steel bands in the early 20th,
Soca of late), created its own fêtes, contests and parades. Like
Carnival, Trinidad's extravaganza takes a full year of preparation,
gathers full steam after the New Year when steel bands practice nightly
panyards and house and public parties become daily events. As the
festivities head up to the Monday and Tuesday before Lent there's a
"Panorama" competition (battle of the steel bands), contests for Calypso
Monarch, King and Queen of Carnival and more. Saturday hosts the
Carnival, and before dawn on Monday the "J'Overt" procession begins.
Decorum fades, the celebration starts and few hands are without a bottle
beer or a cup of rum. The most outrageous participants paint themselves
oil, mud or blue paint.
On Fat Tuesday, a big, rousing, vibrant, costumed parade
snakes through the streets of Port of Spain, ending in Queen's Park
Savannah. Steel bands (competing for the "Band of the Year" title) set
pace as stilt walkers and revelers gyrate their hips and do the "wine,"
provocative, hip-thrusting dance. The Trinidad Hilton & Conference
is a great place to stay during Carnival. Reserve a room months in
and definitely book your airline ticket way ahead of time.
Out on Island
I ventured to the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, an
enchanting bird preserve in southern Trinidad 45 minutes south of Port
Spain. It's a serene, beautiful and foliaged bird preserve set on
twenty-six hectares with two lakes and hiking trails. The Trust
refuge for 86 species of birds, e.g., waterfowl (Wild Muscovy Duck),
birds (Blue-winged Teal) and songbirds (Red-capped Cardinal). It
breeds endangered species for release and re-introduction into natural
wildlife areas. A learning center and a small Amerindian Museum are
attractions for adults, kids, bird watchers and naturalists.
for visits must be made in advance.
The next day I drove north over the Northern Range Mountains
(once part of the Venezuelan Andes) to Trinidad's most popular
Maracas Bay Beach, a horseshoe-shaped bay. The hills behind the dunes
densely forested; Tyrico, a smaller and quieter beach, sits at the far
of the bay. Yes, I enjoyed the sun, surf and people watching, but, the
highlight of this day trip was Richard's, a cabana-style food stand,
the specialty is bake-n-shark-- a shark filet cut thin and fried in
called "bake." Yum! And when I wanted to add a little flavor, there
handy bowls of tasty garnishes: mango chow; mango chutney; tamarind
and shadowbene (green cilantro sauce).
Trinidad is off the hurricane path, so it's a fun, safe
trip, all year long. And the regal Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre
welcomes you with open arms. It offers the island's most high quality
accommodations and dramatic views. I can't promise you the excitement
the Ms. World swimsuit competition every time you stay at this Hilton,
if you time it right, that glamorous competition or Carnival can really
spice up your Trinidad vacation.
Back to Page One