I’m a very, very proud son of the soil: my dad is from Trinidad and my mum is from Tobago, so I’m loyal to both islands in this southernmost Caribbean republic. Most of my childhood was spent on Trinidad, but I went back and forth to Tobago: it’s a short flight – 25 mins – to get between the two islands. I grew up in a tight-knit family – my parents are both one of seven siblings – surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. I left for college in the US when I was 16, but am still grounded in the magic of my Trinidadian culture.

Geologically, Trinidad and Tobago is part of South America – we’re right next to Venezuela and benefit from the same natural resources as they do. As a result, we’re a relatively wealthy country where industry has taken precedence over tourism and so we’re one of the less visited Caribbean countries.

Maracas Beach on Trinidad
Maracas Beach on Trinidad © Shutterstock

Coming to Trinidad is like coming to a friend’s home: you must break bread with us. There is a unique joie de vivre here that stems from our mash-up culture. The Spanish settled here over the course of the 16th century; then the English brought enslaved people from west Africa and, later, indentured labourers from India. The result is a vibrant mix of African and Indian people, as well as Syrians, Chinese, Lebanese and French Creoles. We celebrate everything here, regardless of religion – Christmas, Diwali and Eid are equally embraced. I am always happy to light the candles and honour someone else’s traditions. 

Farrell at The Brix’s Sugar High Roof Top Lounge
Farrell at The Brix’s Sugar High Roof Top Lounge © Kelly-Ann Bobb
The view from Brix’s Sugar High Roof Top Lounge
The view from Brix’s Sugar High Roof Top Lounge © Kelly-Ann Bobb

Port of Spain, our capital, is where you’ll find hotels including The Brix, with its sleek pool, fitness centre and rooftop bar. A more rustic authentic option is Asa Wright Nature Centre, a bird sanctuary and eco-lodge with an incredible variety of wildlife. The same group is behind Mt Plaisir Estate Hotel on the north coast of the island, where the Grande Riviere river meets the Caribbean Sea. It’s an excellent place to see leatherback turtles.

Food is central to life here: iconic dishes include “doubles” – fried flatbreads with chickpeas that are sold on roadsides for breakfast, dinner and 2am snacks – and buljol, saltfish eaten with bake, our version of fried bread. Fancy doesn’t always equal better in Trinidad; exceptions to this are The Meena House’s Indian cuisine and Chaud Café & Wine Bar’s excellent tuna tartare and tamarind-glazed pork chop. 

Farrell in the park’s The Hollows
Farrell in the park’s The Hollows © Kelly-Ann Bobb

We’re a fresh-fish culture – plus crab, langoustines and conch – and the grouper here is softer and more delicious than anywhere else. At Castara Beach on Tobago, you can buy barracuda, mahi-mahi and tuna fresh from the seine net and grill them on the spot. For another low-key option, I like U-Pick Farm – a cool spot in the north-west of Trinidad where you can pick your own vegetables, and where they also serve lunch under a canopy of bamboo. 

Trinidad is known for its nightlife – specifically the energy of its celebrations. From Carnival in February or March to enjoying cocktails on the “strip” – aka Ariapita Avenue – Trinidadians love to gather. People will ask, “Are you liming on the Avenue later?”, meaning “hanging out not doing much”. Liming has its roots in the second world war, when sailors hung out and sucked on limes to avoid scurvy. It can be done anywhere; the only rule is that you can’t lime alone!

Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain
Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain © Kelly-Ann Bobb
Farrell outside White Hall, the office of the prime minister
Farrell outside White Hall, the office of the prime minister © Kelly-Ann Bobb

Address book


Chaud Café & Wine Bar Woodbrook Place, Unit 4A Damian Street, Port of Spain, 00000 Trinidad

The Meena House themeenahouse.com

U-Pick Farm @upicktt


Asa Wright Nature Centre asawright.org

The Brix marriott.com

Mt Plaisir Estate Hotel hadcoexperiences.com


Argyle Waterfall Tobago

Blanchisseuse Trinidad 

Castara Beach Tobago

Hundred Steps Trinidad

Pigeon Point Tobago

Queen’s Park Savannah Trinidad

Store Bay Tobago 

The natural beauty here – and our beaches in particular – is a major focus, and Pigeon Point and Store Bay in the south-west of Tobago are both beautiful. On Trinidad, I like Hundred Steps and Blanchisseuse. Other scenic highlights are the Argyle Waterfall in Tobago for a hike, and Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Savannah, an enormous green roundabout surrounded by the Magnificent Seven. These seven stately homes are excellent examples of French colonial, Scottish baronial, Indian Empire and Moorish Mediterranean architecture, with lots of Caribbean flavour throughout.

There’s magic here that’s hard to put into words. I think this is largely because the people are so joyful and creative. The country’s cultural mosaic has nurtured a level of inventiveness, from our music – a blend of steel pan, calypso and soca, calypso’s higher energy, rebellious cousin – to our cuisines. When we bring this ingenuity to other parts of the world – and I believe we will – watch out! 

This article has been amended to reflect that indentured labourers, rather than enslaved peoples, were brought from India to Trinidad by the British

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