1. It’s the Caribbean’s biggest party and, in Trinidad and Tobago, everyone is invited. Visitors can play mas like a local while taking in the heart-pounding rhythms and jaw-dropping costumes on the streets of Port of Spain during Carnival, official February 11-12, 2013, but come early that party has already stared.
2. Each year from March to September, as many as 12,000 nesting leatherback sea turtles come to the beaches of Trinidad, having traveled thousands of miles to lay eggs on the beaches where they were born. Not only will visitors have the opportunity to see these gentle marine giants in action but they can assist the researchers and, later in the season, help the baby hatchlings make the perilous journey out to sea.
3. There is almost nothing better than relaxing on the beach while on vacation and, in Trinidad and Tobago, there is definitely an abundance of places to choose from. With both islands surrounded by gorgeous beaches, such as Maracas Bay and Las Cuevas in Trinidad and Pigeon Point and Englishman’s Bay Beach in Tobago, visitors can find many tempting spots to frolic in sparkling cool waters or soak up some sun.
4. Offering spear fishing, big-game tournaments, deep-sea charters and so much more, the waters in and around Trinidad and Tobago are ready for fishermen of all skill levels to land the catch of a lifetime. During the Tobago Game Fishing Tournament, March 13-17, 2013, the best-of-the-best come together to compete and see who has the skills to snag the biggest fish.
5. Ready. Set. GOAT! A unique, unusual and, to some, seriously competitive sport, goat racing is all the rage April 1-2, 2013 on the island of Tobago. Every year, the village of Buccoo prepares for the exciting sporting event held at the Buccoo Integrated Facility as hundreds come to watch the races. Those who would like to show their competitive spirit can cheer on their goat and jockey of choice or participate in the crab races that take place at the same time.
6. Music lovers can get ready to sing and dance the night away during Tobago’s fifth annual Jazz Experience, April 20-28, 2013. With performances by India.Arie, Melanie Fiona, Lianne La Havas and the legendary Dionne Warwick, this year’s event will be sure to impress music fans from around the world.
7. Putting Trinidad and Tobago on the “foodie” map is the shark and bake: a “must-eat” while visiting the dual-island nation. Warm, handmade rolls and fresh catch have customers lining up at Maracas Bay Beach and what really hooks them in is the mix-and-match offer of more than 10 mouthwatering local condiments found at Richard’s.
8. World-class dive sites await underwater lovers in Tobago where divers can experience Caribbean Sea conditions off one coast and Atlantic diving off the other as well as a visit to view the world’s largest brain coral. Visitors can also take part in the Tobago Underwater Carnival, July 22-29, 2013, for a chance to see all the treasures hiding beneath the surface in the waters that surround Tobago.
9. Colorful costumes, cultural festivities and culinary sensations are just the beginning of what travelers can expect at the Tobago Heritage Festival, July 12- August 1, 2013. Visitors will have a chance to experience all the local dishes while celebrating the island’s heritage during the Ole-Time Wedding, where participants dress in costumes with top hats, white gloves and the ladies carry parasols to remember a simpler time.
10. For nature lovers looking to discover the destination’s wildlife, hiking through the UNESCO certified Main Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest protected reserve in the Western Hemisphere, in Tobago gives visitors an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the local flora and fauna. Home to an estimated 16 species of mammals, 24 non-poisonous snakes, 16 lizards and 210 species of birds, visitors should keep an eye out for the white-tailed sabrewing hummingbird, a rare species that is endemic to Tobago.
11. The birthplace of the steel pan drum, Trinidad and Tobago is the place to visit and learn how to play the instrument that is synonymous with the sounds of the Caribbean. In the streets of Port of Spain and throughout the islands, the melodic sounds can be heard by locals and visitors alike as the gentle notes of the drum float through the island air.
12. Trinidad is aglow during the yearly celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, taking place on November 3, 2013. With more than 40 percent of Trinidad & Tobago’s population listed as being of Indian and East Asian descent, it’s one of the more important holidays on the island and visitors will be in awe of the beauty and traditions of the celebrations.
13. Home to some of the best cacao - and cocoa - in the world, visitors can take tours of the local plantations and learn how the bitter seed pods are roasted and made into delicious, mouthwatering chocolate. While at the plantations, visitors can ask how to do the Dance of the Cacao.
With so much to see and do in and around the destination, travelers can get a head start and begin planning an action-packed getaway to Trinidad and Tobago. It is no wonder that 2013 is being considered the year to go and experience the twin-islands known as the true Caribbean.
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