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Honeymoon and Holidays in Trinidad & Tobago

The true Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago offers travelers a unique experience like no other.

TRINIDAD

A visit to Trinidad today would reveal a multicultural melting pot stirred by the descendants of settlers from Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East. But in 1498, when explorer Christopher Columbus set foot on Trinidad, things were very different.

Arawak and Carib Indians prospered here on the island the Amerindians called Ieri, land of the Humming Bird, until Columbus spotted the island he named for the Holy Trinity. When the Spaniards discovered no precious metals on Trinidad, the Amerindians were enslaved and shipped off to work on other Caribbean settlements.

Nearly a century would pass before Spain established Trinidad's first European community, San Jose de Oruna (St Joseph), which was sacked and burnt by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595. Sir Walter Raleigh was also said to have discovered the Pitch Lake, from which he used material to caulk his leaking ship.

Trinidad remained a Spanish possession from the 15th Century and the Cedula of Population in 1783, allowed French planters and their slaves to emigrate from the French colonies to the island. The British would capture Trinidad in 1797 and negotiate an amicable treaty of rule with the Spanish.

In the following years, enslaved Africans were brought in to work on sugar plantations and in 1802, the island became a British colony. After slavery was abolished by Britain, landowners imported thousands of indentured laborers from India, China and the Middle East.

In 1889, Britain joined the smaller Tobago to Trinidad as an administrative ward. The islands achieved independence from England in 1962 and became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 1976.

Carnival

An explosion of color, music, revelry, and creativity, Trinidad's Carnival has spawned similar celebrations around the world; but nothing on earth can rival the abandon, euphoria and stunning spectacle of our festival.

With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled stamina for partying, Trinidad's Carnival is often described as the greatest show on earth. It is a time for release and everyone is invited to join the party.

Adventure

Trinidad offers a range of adventure and activities for all ages and abilities with rainforest hiking trails, limestone caves, hidden waterfalls, bird watching and turtle watching, cycling through verdant countryside or kayaking past wildlife filled mangrove forests.

trinidad honeymoon

Culture

There's always something to celebrate in Trinidad.

The contributions of the different ethnic groups that settled in these islands have combined to create a rich inheritance of dance, music, art, cuisine and festivals.

Many of the festivals celebrated in Trinidad, like the Muslim festivals of Hosay and Eid-ul-Fitr and the Hindu festival of Divali are religious observances.

Other festivals, like Emancipation Day, Shouter Baptist Liberation Day and Arrival Day, highlight the traditions, customs and contributions specific ethnic groups have made to the islands' development.

Carnival, a two day explosion of color and drama, is the ultimate showcase for the rich artistic and cultural expressions of the island.

With a calendar of public holidays and festivals that is second to none, visitors are sure to encounter one or more of these diverse and exciting events, no matter when a trip is planned.

TOBAGO

Named for the tobacco cultivated by the original Carib population, Tobago existed separately from Trinidad for centuries. While the explorer Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1498, he did not land and no attempts were made to colonize Tobago.

But long before European powers expressed interest in the island's strategic harbor and fertile soil, it was the center of battles for control between the Carib population and other Amerindian tribes.

Later, in the 17th century, English, French, Dutch and even Courlanders (Latvians) fought to control the strategic island and it changed hands more than 30 times.

During British rule in the late 1600s, sugar, cotton and indigo plantations were established and thousands of Africans were brought to Tobago as slave labour. In 1781 the French invaded, but by 1814 the island was ceded to Britain.

In 1889, during a period of economic decline, Britain annexed the smaller Tobago to Trinidad as an administrative ward. The islands achieved independence from England in 1962 and became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 1976.

The base of Tobago's early economy was agriculture, but this was ravaged by severe hurricanes in 1847 and 1963.

Today the island is serene, yet the many forts and batteries that dot Tobago's landscape hint at a thrilling past.

Fierce slave revolts, bitter battles for control between European powers, attacks on European settlers by the Amerindian Indians who inhabited the island and pirates are all part of Tobago's rich history.

In 1629 an expedition of Dutchmen established a settlement which was annihilated by disease and the Amerindians. More settlers were sent in 1632 but an attack by the Spaniards four years later drove them out.

English Puritans also attempted to settle in Tobago, but many were killed by the Amerindians and the survivors driven out.

Carnival

More than steelpan, masqueraders and calypso, Tobago's Carnival celebrations embrace many of the island's traditions. Speech bands, whip wielding devils called jab jabs (from French diable), bottle and spoon bands and African drumming are incorporated into the island's celebrations. Tobago's Carnival is laid back when compared to the frenzied festivities in Trinidad.

The two day climax of pre-Lenten Carnival celebrations kick off between 4 and 5 am on Carnival Monday with J'Ouvert (French patois for opening of day). J'Ouvert revelers covered in mud, men dressed as women or costumed in nightgowns and waving chamber pots, party till daylight on the streets of Scarborough, Tobago's capital. From around noon on Carnival Monday to late Carnival Tuesday, Scarborough belongs to the revellers of masquerade bands - largely comprised of women in revealing feathered and sequined costumes.

In the weeks prior to Carnival, Tobago also hosts cultural events. There are calypso competitions, where the island's calypsonians compete to be crowned Calypso Monarch. Calypso tents showcasing the island's singing talents spring up and steelbands compete for a chance win the title of Tobago Panorama Champions.

Adventure

The mention of Tobago brings to mind clear blue seas, wide sandy beaches, colorful coral reefs and coconut palms swaying in balmy tropic breezes. While the island offers all of these, this Caribbean island has much more to discover. Explore the green depths of Tobago's Rainforest Reserve, the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere or drift dive with Manta Rays and Sharks. The options for adventure are abundant, from cycling, bird watching and kayaking, to goat and crab racing.

Culture

In the Caribbean island of Tobago you'll find more than swaying palms and sun-kissed beaches. When you visit this historic island, you'll enjoy a cultural feast, rich in folklore, music and dance, inspired by the African heritage of Tobago's inhabitants. Every year, from mid-July to early August, the Tobago Heritage festival moves from village to village, celebrating the island's fascinating culture, customs and traditions.

Folklore

Tobago has many folk tales and superstitions unique to the island.

One such tale is that of Gang Gang Sarah, an African witch who flew to Tobago. After spending some time on the island the witch tried to return home but found she had lost the power of flight after eating too much salt. Her grave can be found in the village of Culloden.

Source: www.gotrinidadandtobago.com

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