Liming in Trinbago
Enjoy the laid back vibe and epic street parties and carnivals on Trindad and Tobago
Today I’ll mostly be liming in TrinBago. If you’re visiting the twin island country of Trinidad and Tobago, you’d better get used to the lingo, and liming is a big part of the culture. You could go liming at Sunday School in Buccoo- nothing to do with church by the way- or maybe take a hiking lime to the Aripo caves. As well as the relaxed, social vibe that is a huge part of the culture in Trinidad and Tobago, the tropical rainforest landscape lends itself to all kinds of outdoor adventures and up close encounters with the rare mammals and birds that live on the islands. Oh, and did we mention carnival?
Located off the coast of north east Venezuela and south of Grenada, larger Trinidad and smaller Tobago became a pair in the early 19th century. Trinidad runs from the northern mountain ranges home to the Blue Basin and Maracas Falls to the capital, Port of Spain in the north-west and down to the central and southern ranges. Tobago meanwhile, just 100 miles across, spreads from Charlotteville in the north down to Scarborough in the south.
Tobago has the oldest protected rainforest in the world, over 9,000 acres that are home to many birds, some that can only be found in Tobago. Newton George Nature Tours takes you by glass bottom boat to the Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary with time to snorkel amongst the coral, or to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Main Ridge Forest Reserve, through the wetlands to catch a glimpse of the hummingbirds, lizards, hawks and fruit eating bats. For more bat spotting, Trinidad’s Aripo caves in the northern mountain range offers a challenging hike through the forest to the caves full of stalagmites and stalactites and a whole community of bats.
At the Port of Spain, Trinidad’s lively capital you can pack a picnic for The Queen’s Park Savannah, an open park and also the place where the Monday before Ash Wednesday the ‘biggest street party on earth’ kicks off, the Trinidad and Tobago carnival. With an early 4am start for J’Ouvert on Carnival Monday, carnival goers cover themselves in paint and mud and party until sunrise. You’ll have to wait until 12-18 Feb 2018 for the next one, but in the meantime Tobago’s Jazz Festival featuring Shabba Ranks and Grace Jones will be held 22nd-30th April 2017.
Around one hour from the Port of Spain lies Maracas Beach in Speyside, a beautiful horseshoe shaped bay protected by lush mountain ranges and plenty of palm trees on white sand beaches to indulge the proper Caribbean fantasies. Tobago has its own version, Batteaux Bay with a reef that is popular with divers. Close by is the Bluewaters Inn with a range of beachfront rooms and bungalows. And for a beach with a real local feel, Castara Bay is where you can see fisherman pulling their daily catch to shore.
Buccoo on Tobago’s Caribbean coastline is becoming popular for its Sunday School, a street party where the sounds of the Buccooneers Steel Band Orchestra merge into a soca and R&B beat as the night goes on, with revellers spilling out into the street. But Buccoo also has some other treasures to tempt you to this village, like the Buccoo Reef, said to be one of the best in the world, and No Man’s Land, a stretch of coral sand in front of the Bon Accord Lagoon. About a 30 minute walk during low tide from the main Buccoo Beach, No Man’s Land is about as close as you’ll get to being on a deserted tropical island without actually being on one!
The cultural melting pot that is Trinidad and Tobago has a big influence on the cuisine here. Expect Indian, African and Middle Eastern influences on the food. And a popular treat is Bene Balls, a concoction of brown sugar and sesame seeds that you can pick up at beach bars and stalls. Just the thing to go with a refreshing glass of coconut water for a day of liming on the beach. See, you’re getting the hang of it already!