Trinidad and Tobago has an extensive network of highways and roads connecting most points of the islands, which makes it relatively easy to get around. Cars, taxis and privately owned minibuses, called maxi taxis, are the most popular form of transport on the islands. If you prefer to do your own exploring and discover the islands at your own pace, moving between Trinidad and Tobago is "no problem" with a daily ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough or via a 20 minute flight on the air bridge.
To drive you will need a valid international driver's permit or one issued in the Bahamas, Canada, England, France, Germany or the United States of America. This permit is valid for 90 days after arrival.
Trinidad and Tobago has several multi-lane highways, and a network of secondary and rural access roads. In both islands, traffic moves on the left side.
In the city and towns, gas (petrol) stations are located on main thoroughfares, but are scarce in rural areas. The State owned National Petroleum, or NP is the most common gas station chain and you can expect to pay approximately TT$3.00 per litre for premium unleaded fuel.
On the road, local drivers, particularly taxi drivers, use hand signals to indicate turning, stopping, or slowing. Although many drivers are courteous, visitors are advised to be attentive when driving as some locals bend traffic regulations.
Seatbelts are required for drivers and front seat passengers.
Trinidad and Tobago is home to many car rental companies that can provide you with a variety of vehicles. A complete listing of car rental companies can be found in the yellow pages of the telephone directory and companies have desks at the Piarco and Crown Point airports.
Rates vary among companies, but you can expect to pay upwards of US $35 per day.
It should be noted that during peak periods (Carnival season, Easter weekend in Tobago and the Plymouth Jazz Festival in April) rental rates are higher and cars must be booked months in advance.
Most vehicles, including rentals, are right-hand drive and to secure yours a credit card or cash deposit is required.
Trinidad and Tobago has a wide-ranging system of public transport, including a state owned bus service, taxis and maxi-taxis (mini buses and vans).
State owned buses are run by the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) and are clearly marked with the company's name and logo. Painted blue and white, yellow (rural transport) or white with red, and black, many of the newer buses, except the transit and rural service, are fully air-conditioned.
Trinidad's main bus terminal, City Gate, is located at South Quay, Port of Spain and it is the hub for public transport between the capital city and outlying towns and villages. Bus routes cover most of the island, but some of Trinidad's most scenic towns and costal villages do not have a reliable service. Bus fares (one way) in Trinidad range between TT$2 and TT$12 and it is advisable to purchase tickets before boarding. Bus rides within the city cost TT$2.50. The city service and buses to major towns departs City Gate every hour, less frequently on weekends.
In Tobago, the PTSC runs a regular daily service throughout the island from the main bus terminal at Sangster's Hill, Scarborough. A special service runs from the Crown Point International Airport every 30 minutes from Monday to Friday and every hour on weekends, from 5.30am to 8pm. Bus fares (one way) in Tobago range between TT$2 and TT$8. When using the bus service on both islands it is advised you call the PTSC, at (868) 639-2293 (Tobago) or (868) 623-7872 (Trinidad) to confirm departure times as schedules can change without notice.
Schedules of departure times, along with tickets, are available at the main bus terminals in Port of Spain and Scarborough.
To learn more about the bus service in Trinidad and Tobago, visit the Public Transport Service Corporation website (www.ptsc.co.tt)
Maxi taxis or mini buses and vans are privately owned and are an easy and affordable way to explore the islands. There are two sizes of Maxi taxis seating 12 or 24 persons. The coloured bands on the sides identify maxi taxis' fixed route.
- Yellow Band or Route 1 Maxi Taxis cover the western end of the island including Chaguaramas, Petit Valley and Diego Martin. The hub for this service is based in a fenced compound at the corner of St Vincent Street and South Quay, Port of Spain. Fares range from TT$3 to TT$10
- Red Band or Route 2 Maxi Taxis travel the eastern route from Port of Spain to as far east as Sangre Grande. The hub is based at City Gate, South Quay, Port of Spain and fares range from TT$3 to TT$8
- Green Band Maxi Taxis ply the Port of Spain to Chaguanas route and some cover other areas in Central Trinidad. Based at City Gate, this service costs TT$5.
- Black Band Maxi Taxis cover the southern parts of the island and from Chaguanas travel to Princes Town.
- Brown Band Maxi Taxis operate between San Fernando and communities on the southwest of the island.
- Blue Band Maxi Taxis cover the island of Tobago.
Maxi taxis follow set routes, but no timetable, and after 9pm this form of transport is unreliable.
From rural villages to cruise ports, you can find a taxi almost anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago. Recognisable from private cars by the "H" on their licence plates, there are taxi stands at the airport, cruise ship ports, hotels and in towns and cities. Private taxi companies are listed in the telephone directory. There are also taxis run by individuals, but with fixed fares and routes, at marked stands in cities and towns. Fares are regulated by the various taxi associations, but are usually inexpensive, but you should confirm the fare with the driver before starting for your destination. Requests for transport to areas off the taxi's designated route will incur an additional charge on the set fare. Further information on this form of transport is available from the Tourism Development Company Limited at (868) 675-7034 or the Tobago House of Assembly Department of Tourism (868) 639-0509.
Taxi fares listed below are subject to an increase of 50 per cent after 10 pm.
There is a regular air service, or air bridge, between Trinidad and Tobago, with the first of roughly 12 daily flights leaving Piarco International Airport at 6am. This service is run by Caribbean Airlines, Trinidad and Tobago's national air service provider.
Flights on the air bridge cost US$24 one way or US$48 return. Return tickets for children under the age of 12 cost US$24. You can purchase tickets online or at the airport counter.
If you are travelling to Tobago via the air bridge it is important to note that during peak periods (Easter weekend, Plymouth Jazz Festival in April and Great Race weekend in August) the service is often over subscribed and it is possible to face long delays, even when holding a confirmed ticket.
The Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (PATT) manage a daily ferry service providing transport for passengers, vehicles and cargo between Port of Spain and Scarborough. Services on board the vessels include dining and bars.
At present the PATT operates two fast ferries - the T&T Express and the T&T Spirit - on the route. The crossing takes approximately 2 ½ hours.
Return tickets cost TT$100 (about US$16) for the fast ferry and TT$75 (about US$12) for a place aboard the conventional vessel. The cost of transporting a vehicle incurs a separate charge based on the type, model, size and weight.
Tickets are not available for purchase online, but can be bought at the following locations:
- Government Shipping Service Terminal, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain (opposite the Central Bank Towers)
- Tobago Terminal Office, Scarborough, Tobago
- Selected TTPost outlets
For further information on sailing schedules, ticket outlets, fares and important guidelines see the Port Authority of Trinidad & Tobago (www.patnt.com)