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Notes for visitors to Trinidad and Tobago
 


Entry formalities, arrival and departure

Visas are not required by British passport holders for a stay of less than six months, but you must have an onward ticket. You may bring wine or spirits not exceeding one litre, 500 grammes of tobacco or fifty cigars/200 cigarettes and fifty grammes of perfume. Restricted items include flowers, fruit, vegetables, meats, plants and firearms.

Do check in two hours before departure for international flights, and confirm onward tickets during the visit. Departure tax is TT$100. Porters handle baggage for TT$2 per piece.

Health and personal security

No vaccinations are required unless you are coming from an area with a recent outbreak of disease such as cholera. Consult the booklet Protect your health abroad published by DHSS if you have specific concerns. Tap water is generally safe to drink, but you are advised to boil drinking water. Bottled water is available. Uncooked fruits or vegetables should be washed carefully.

Mosquitos and biting insects can be a nuisance but there is no malaria. Fairly good medical facilities, modern drugs and other medicinal preparations are readily available.

Climate and clothing

The average annual temperature is 29 degrees Centigrade in the daytime and 23 degrees Centigrade at night. There is high humidity, especially during the rainy season (June to December) when the average rainfall is seven inches per month. The coolest time of the year is from December to April. Tobago is cooler and less humid than Trinidad.

Lightweight, easily washed clothing is ideal for the climate. Men should bring a suit or jacket for formal occasions. Women generally wear short-sleeved cotton or linen dresses, or blouses and skirts, for business or leisure. For formal meetings, suits or smart dresses are worn.

Currency and rates of exchange

The Trinidadian dollar currently stands at about TT$6 to US$1, or 10 to £1. A traveller may be asked to declare all currency in his/her possession when entering or leaving the country.

Major currencies in banknotes or traveller's cheques are easily exchangeable in banks; banking hours are generally from 0900 to 1400 Monday to Thursday and 0900 to 1200 and 1500 to 1700 on Friday. There are no authorised bureaux de change. Credit cards (American Express, Mastercard/Access and Visa) are accepted by hotels and most restaurants and shops.

Internal travel

The journey from the airport at Piarco to Port of Spain takes thirty to forty-five minutes, although it can take an hour or more during the rush hours. Taxis are available and a fixed schedule of fares is displayed at the airport. A tip of ten per cent of the fare is appropriate.

There are two types of private taxi: established companies which charge relatively high fares - depending on the time of day, and 'route' taxis - operated by licensed individuals - which ply short, fixed routes in a similar way to the state-owned buses. Taxis are identified by the letter 'H' prefixing the registration number. You must have an international driver's licence to rent a car in Trinidad and Tobago. Traffic drives on the left.

Scheduled flights operate between Piarco airport in Trinidad and Tobago's Crown Point airport, eight miles west of the capital, Scarborough. Flights are heavily booked during the tourist season (December to April). There is also a regular ferry service. For more information visit http://discovertrinidad.com/

Hotels

Two of the largest hotels in Port of Spain are the Hilton and the Holiday Inn. Among the smaller hotels in the capital are the Kapok, the Normandie, the Valley Vue and the Chaconia Inn. There are also several guest houses. Further information and rates can be obtained from http://discovertrinidad.com/. For more tourism links, go to Caribbean Travel Links.

Generally the electricity supply is 115 volts. Tipping of ten to fifteen per cent is appropriate if a service charge has not been added to the bill.

Local cuisine makes good use of the wide selection of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as meats and fish which are available all year round. Food is generally highly seasoned but not necessarily hot.

Post and telecommunications

Surface mail can take up to five weeks, so you are advised to send all mail by air. DHL and Fedex are also available. Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago (TSTT) have a public bureau at their office on Independence Square with international telegram, telex and telephone facilities.

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