Elaborate parade costumes and successes at beauty pageants- that's about how much we associate with Trinidad and Tobago. Floating in the Caribbean under the flag of a single nation, the islands are far from being two peas in a pod. They're more like two pearls in a single oyster shell- one smaller than the other, extracted at a different stage of formation, and displaying different iridescence, but both sharing the same history, made from the same matter, and endowed with a unique luster.
Tobago is one of the few remaining Caribbean oases that have successfully kept the grubby little hands of developers away, still maintaining its beaches idyllic, rainforest unspoiled, and folk traditions as vivid as at the time they were brought to life. With a ridge of forested mountains down its spine, rugged cliffs and fringing reefs, it makes a tranquil alternative to frenetic Trinidad, with which it is linked by regular air services and daily ferries. The moment your toes touch sand and your gaze meets water, you know it's exactly where you wanted to be. It's the instant sense of belonging. It's finding that your departure from your humdrum reality of red tape and insincerity is also your arrival at a place where you enter an open-air bar straight after a splendid surf, where locals don't have tourists' greenbacks in their eyes and accept visitors with a markedly disinterested "so you're here... big deal " kind of attitude.
Trinidad, meanwhile, is a lot bigger, extrovert, energetic, driven by a rapidly growing economy and the invigorating rhythms of soca. Experience the exhilaration of the world famous Carnival- a time for steel bands, elaborate processions, stuffing yourself up with pralines and washing them down with heroic quantities of beer. Have your senses bombarded with a mind-blowing melange of spices in restaurants along Cipriani Boulevard in Port of Spain, and marvel at the curious backdrop of multiculturalism inherited from the varied ethnic groups that have settled here since long before colonization.
With folk traditions still as vivid as when they were brought to life, Trinidad and Tobago is a place where the triumph of life over darkness is unfailingly celebrated through the Divali observance, where La Biablesse roams the night and a hickey on your neck invariably provokes a friendly "Eh, Eh, Soucouyant suck yuh las' nite oh wha?". Make yourself at home here as nobody is going to treat you as a guest. The no-fuss, low-key approach to tourism means you can truly get under the skin of Caribbean life mixing with peoples who don't give a damn about your wallet's size.