Food and Drink

What foods and drinks should students on a budget try when in Trinbago?(click to tweet) As a culturally rich country, T&T has an abundance of flavourful foods and drinks at economical prices for student visitors! Below I have categorized some of my top food and drink recommendations; prices range from ~$1US to $15US. Enjoy!


Pholourie, Trinidad, Tobago, West Indian



An  Indo-Trinidadian snack food that consists of fried dough, which is made of flour, split peas, saffron, turmeric, and other indo-spices. It is best enjoyed when accompanied with some spicy mango chutney sauce. Where to find it: Debe (Trinidad) is the best place to go, but it also can be found in any nearby curry-shop, or even around the Queen’s Park Savannah.


Corn Soup, Trinidad

Corn Soup Trinibago Style

Corn Soup

A delectable medley of sliced cobs of corn, carrots, special local seasonings, and cassava or flour dumplings! Where to find it: Maracas Bay Look-Out (Trinidad), on evenings at the Queen’s Park Savannah (Trinidad), and Store Bay (Tobago).


Curry Crab and Dumplings, Trinidad, Food

Curry Crab and Dumplin’

Curry Crab and Dumplin’

Succulent crabs cooked in Indo-Trinbagonian styled curry and served with cassava or flour dumplings. While a bit tedious to eat (since you have to crack open the crab), it is quite a satisfying dish! Where to find it: The Breakfast Shed (Trinidad), and Store Bay (Tobago).



Tamarind, Trinidad, Tamarind Balls

L to R: a tamarind ball, unshelled tamarind, a tamarind pod.

Tamarind Balls

A mouth-watering combination of local tamarind pulp(bitter by itself), brown and white sugar, and sometimes pepper. Though very sweet, this local snack is quite addictive and is loved by locals and foreigners alike. Where to find it: Food Stands at Port of Spain lookout, Maracas Bay lookout, and any place that sells preservatives.


Chow, Pineapple, Trinidad, Food

Pineapple Chow

Pineapple Chow

Slices of juicy pineapple marinated in chadon beni, salt, pepper (optional), garlic, and lime. The taste can be described as sweet and salty, depending on how ripe the pineapple is. Where to find it: The same places or vendors that sell tamarind balls and other popular preservatives.


Guava Cheese, Trinidad, Tobago, Food

Guava Cheese

Guava Cheese

A saccharine delight made of guava pulp, water, sugar, and sometimes lime or lemon juice. Where to find it: UpMarket (Trinidad), Peppercorns, and certain local groceries. *Sometimes hard to find.




Soursop, Trinidad, Drinks

The Soursop Fruit


Usually made by blending milk, ice, fruit, and sugar, this sweet drink is out of this world! Flavours to sample include: Seamoss, Barbadine, and Soursop (all locally grown). Where to find it: Tragarete Road in Woodbrook, parlours in Blanchisseuse (some of the better ones I’ve had), or on evenings in The Queen’s Park Savannah.


Sorrel being made


Popular around Christmas, this drink is made with the red flowers of the Roselle plant (locally called Sorrel), which are combined with water, cinnamon, whole cloves, and brown sugar. Where to find it: restaurants and drink shops in December when it’s in season (normally made by households).


coconut, trinidad

A vendor chopping open a coconut

Coconut Water

Best served straight from a chilled coconut, this drink is most enjoyable on a sunny day to quench your thirst. Where to get it: For Fresh Coconuts – Vendors around the Queen’s Park Savannah or at Maracas Bay (bonus: vendors cut-open the coconuts so you can eat the jelly). For Bottled Coconut water: any supermarket.


Ponche de creme, Trinidad, Drinks

Ponche De Crème

Ponche De Crème

A popular rich concoction made during the Christmas season. Ponche De Crème consists of eggs, lime zest, condensed milk, evaporated milk, rum, bitters, and nutmeg. Where to get it: Like Sorrel, it is usually made by families, but can be sourced at restaurants.


Interested in finding our more about Trinbagonian and Caribbean cuisine?
Tamara of Gem’s Living shares wonderful recipes that allow you to get a closer look at island food. Also, the TriniChow blog provides excellent reviews of local eateries’ cuisine.


Eco-Related Activities

To get you acquainted with the natural landscape of the islands, here’s a video of the northern and eastern coasts of Trinidad. This amateur clip shows off the island’s lush green rural land and lovely beaches, and it features the soothing music of local artist, Mungal Patasar.

The North and East coasts of Trinidad are popular areas for eco-related activities and are not too far from the capital city, Port of Spain.

Though not developed to its full eco-tourism potential, T&T offers quite an array of nature-related activities.

My Top Eco-Related Picks:

1.       Hike to Three-Pools

Blanchisseuse Forest

Many enjoyable summers during my teenagers years were spent exploring the rural area of Blanchisseuse with my family. Located on the North Coast of Trinidad, Blanchisseuse’s forest hosts a number of hiking trails, including my favourite, Three Pools. As its name suggests, this trail involves hiking along a path that has three “pools” or basins of water, with the final leading to an enchanting waterfall, which you can swim in. The trail is known to be relatively easy and is usually an all-day affair; however, a tour guide is required to navigate the hike. While hiking through the dense forest, you also get an opportunity to view the tropical wildlife and vegetation. This economical trek (<$10US) is a great bonding experience for both family and friends.

2.       Beaches:

Trinidad – Surf’s Inn Bay

Surf's Inn Bay, Trinidad, Surf

Surf’s Inn Bay

In terms of relaxation, my favourite spot is of course in Blanchisseuse. Many people favour Maracas Bay, but to me it can’t compete with Surf’s Inn Bay. Sure you get tasty food and attractive scenery in Maracas Bay, but Blanchisseuse offers cleaner, clearer waters and less crowded but equally beautiful surroundings. Since Maracas is on the way to Blanchisseuse, I often stop there to pick up some food and then head straight to Surf’s Inn Bay for some peaceful leisure time (especially after a night of partying). The quaint beach is frequented by a few surfers and is somewhat secluded (except for the private beach houses). During low tide, on the right side of the beach, by the rocks, you can explore the natural rock-reef pockets filled with water that are home to many small sea-creatures like hermit crabs, sea urchins, lobsters, fish, and the like.

Tobago – Pigeon Point

Tobago, Pigeon Point

Pigeon Point

Generally noted for having more picturesque beaches than Trinidad, Tobago is home to a number of sublime beaches. Located close to the south-western tip of the island is Pigeon Point, my preferred beach. Known as one of the more popular beaches on the island, this spot has a seemingly endless sprawl of white sandy shorelines and aquamarine coloured waters. Even though it’s the only beach in the country with an entry cost (~$3US), Pigeon Point has well-developed facilities, and it offers several activities for tourists and locals alike. Besides basking in the seductive sun, you can wind surf, play volley ball, snorkel (my favourite activity), build sand castles, listen to live entertainment, have your hair braided, and enjoy local cuisine, among other things.

3.       Buccoo Reef Tour

Buccoo Reef, Tobago,

Buccoo Reef

Located in Tobago, Buccoo Reef is rated by infamous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as the third most spectacular reef in the world. Tobago’s largest reef is home to an abundance of tropical marine species. Each time I’ve visited the magnificent reef, I took a fantastic glass-bottom boat tour. This tour allows you to not only view the thriving and colourful wildlife that live in the coral beds through the transparent bottom of the boat, but also to snorkel and get an up-close look at the reef. Additionally, the boat ride makes a stop at the Nylon Pool, which is known for its white coral sand and shallow light blue-green waters, where you can snorkel and swim. Normally the tour returns in the evening, giving you a chance to experience a breathtaking sunset at sea.

Popular picks from others (on my to-do list):

  1. Hike to Paria
  2. Turtle Watching
  3. Gasparee Caves

Check out Limin’n’Stylin’ Caribbean Style for additional eco-related activities, plus more!


Trinidad and Tobago has a multiplicity of festivals. In terms of events for visiting students with tight budgets, the following are a few select annual festivities that students might be interested in:

Carnival – March/February

Frequently referred to as “the greatest show on earth”, many flock to Trinidad and Tobago to experience Carnival. It can be traced back to the Europeans who brought the tradition during the colonisation period. The two-day celebration takes place before the Christian period of Lent. Over time, the many distinct cultures of the islands helped to transform it into what we know as Carnival today. While passing through the streets, expect to see brightly coloured costumes and to hear the roar of sweet soca and calypso music. Though the overall aesthetic seems to be gradually getting closer to that of the Brazilian Carnival, traditional costumes (satires and folklore characters) are still worn.

Trinidad, Carnival, Costumes, Masqueraders, Colourful,

Carnival in Trinidad

Costumes, especially well-made ones, are quite expensive (> $500 US), but sometimes you find great deals. Harts, Island People, and Tribe are the popular carnival masquerading bands. If you can’t afford the high prices of the Carnival costumes, you can still participate in the festivities, by observing from the sidelines and by attending the pre-parties. J’ouvert is also another cheaper possibility; many participate in both Carnival and J’ouvert.

Marking the start of Carnival, J’ouvert commences at the crack of dawn. People dress up in inexpensive make-shift costumes (<$28US) and go out on to the streets in the wee hours of the morning to have fun. Paint, oil, chocolate, and like matter are thrown around, making it a messy but enjoyable time.

For more information on dates, fetes, costumes, J’ouvert and the like, visit Trinidad Carnival Diary.

Diwali (Divali) – November

Known as “the festival of lights”, Diwali is celebrated not only by the Hindu community, but also by the wider population. It commemorates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. Deyas (diyas) are lit in remembrance of this triumph; they function as a symbol of good, dispelling the darkness (physically and mentally). Hindus during this period pray to the goddess Mother Lakshme, for prosperity and wealth.

Deyas, Trinidad, Diwali, Divali

Girls Lighting Deyas in Trinidad

Many public areas (temples, savannahs, houses etc) around the country are converted to exhibit this show of lights. The Divali Nagar is one such space to visit during this season. At Diwali events, music from tassa drums and rhythm sections can be heard; traditional Indian cuisine is served; people dress in classic Indian attire; customary dances are performed; and of course deyas are lit and displayed on intricate cut-out bamboo displays.

Foreigners are always welcomed to join in on the activities. Festivities are normally open to the public and are free. Even the deyas and related supplies are modestly priced (~$1US each). Diwali is a great opportunity to experience the many aspects of Hindu culture, especially when in Trinidad where the population is notorious for being warm and friendly.

Tobago Heritage Festival – July/August

Bele, Dance, Tobago Heritage Festival

Bele Dancing in Tobago

Known as one of Tobago’s main yearly events, this festival seeks to preserve the distinct traditions of Tobagonian culture. During the commemoration, locals and foreigners visit charming villages and learn about life of the early 1900s. Villagers dress in costumes reminiscent of the past and share via performance their folk dancing and singing; local dishes are served as well. Other activities that take place include story-telling, stick-fighting, and limbo.

The cost of attending the festival’s events varies, but it is generally cheap (~$7US), and in many cases events are free. Visit the official Tobago Heritage Festival site for more information on this culturally-rich celebration.

Want to know more about the major happenings in Trinbago?
Visit to find out more.

Feel free to share (by leaving a comment) any festivals you think international students may be interested in.

Next week: Look out for a post on Eco-related activities!