Capital: Port of Spain, Trinidad
Population: Trinidad and Tobago's population stands at 1, 297, 944.
People of African and Indian descent comprise the majority of the population, with people of mixed race, European, Chinese and Middle Eastern ancestry adding diversity to our ethnic mix.
Currency: The local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. US dollars are widely accepted at an approximate rate of TT $6 to US $1 and you can find rate information at local banks, or the daily newspapers. Euro's and the Pound Sterling (GBP) are not as widely accepted as US dollars.
Traveller's cheques and international credit cards are accepted at most hotels, restaurants and malls.
ATM machines are located at the airport, banks, malls, cities and towns.
Language: The official language of Trinidad and Tobago is English, but Spanish and to a lesser extent French patois, Hindi and Chinese is spoken by some segments of the population through culture and heritage.
Political Status: Independent nation and Republic within the Commonwealth
Area: Trinidad is approximately 185 square miles (4,800 sq km) and Tobago 116 square miles (300 sq km)
Location: Trinidad and Tobago are the most southern islands in the Caribbean, located a mere seven miles off Venezuela's north eastern coast. The islands are a 3 hour and 19 minute flight from Miami, 4 1/2 hours from New York and 58 minutes from Caracas.
Climate & Weather: Trinidad and Tobago has a warm, sunny climate year round. The average daytime temperature is about 28 degrees Celsius.
Our islands have two main seasons, the Dry Season, from January to May and the Rainy Season, from June to December. In the Rainy Season, mornings are usually sunny, followed by rainy afternoons and fair nights. During this time, our general rainfall pattern is interrupted by days of brilliant sunshine.
Religion: Freedom of religion is enshrined in Trinidad and Tobago's Constitution, and Catholics, Hindus, Anglicans, Baptist, Pentecostal, Muslim, Seventh Day Adventist are all represented in our islands.
Banking & Business: Banks are open on Monday to Thursday, 8am-2pm and Friday, 9am-12noon and 3-5pm. Banks located in shopping plazas and malls are the exception to this rule with business hours from 10am to 6pm.
The principal banks are Citibank, First Citizens Bank, Intercommercial Bank, Republic Bank, RBTT and Scotiabank.
As a rule, the day starts at 8am and ends at 4pm, from Monday to Friday at most Government Departments and private business. Shops open from 8 am to 5 pm from Monday to Saturday - except for stores in malls, which are open from 10am to 7pm.
Most malls and shops are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
- Hotel Tax
This tax of 10% is standard to all hotels and guesthouses in T&T. In addition, hotels may add on their own service and utility fees or security deposits - but this depends on the provider. The best way to find out about these fees is from your hotel or guesthouse.
- Value Added Tax
Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a 15% tax added to goods and services. The prices displayed in stores usually include this tax, unless otherwise stated. Companies registered to charge VAT, must prominently display their Certificate of Registration. Information booklets on VAT are available at the VAT Administration Centre, 20 St. Vincent Street, Port of Spain, or any VAT Regional Office. Call 623-4735 or 4737 for more information.
Electricity: 110/220 volts. If this voltage is different from your home country, some hotels offer adapters to their guests or adaptors can be purchased from local hardware and electrical stores.
Telecommunications: The international dialling code for Trinidad and Tobago is 1-868 followed by seven digits. On the islands, use the seven digits alone.
- Cellular Service
With two cellular phone service providers in Trinidad and Tobago - Digicel and the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) - it's easy to stay connected.
Cellular service covers both islands and TSTT provides state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure that features digital technology and fiber optic systems capable of supporting a wide range of services, including wireless. Both companies also provide roaming facilities. Phones or sim cards can be purchased from licensed B Mobile (TSTT) and Digicel dealers in most villages and towns.
Even if you decide to leave your laptop at home, sending and receiving e-mail, chatting online or surfing the World Wide Web is simple and cheap.
Internet cafes are very popular in T&T and rates start at US .80 cents per hour (there may be an extra charge for the use of webcams, printers and other accessories). Internet access is free at all public libraries.
Laws: Illegal drugs are not allowed into Trinidad and Tobago. Travelers found to be in possession of illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana (even a small amount) face serious penalties and jail sentences.