Trinidad and Tobago

Living on Trinidad and Tobago

Iyna Bort Caruso

The twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago considers itself the cultural capital of the Caribbean. It’s hard to argue. It’s the birthplace of calypso, soca, and steel pan music (made from discarded steel drums), and its Carnival celebration is one of the largest street parties in the world.

The republic is located seven miles off the coast of Venezuela. Frequent flights offer direct service to many major international cities.

Unlike most Caribbean nations, much of the country’s wealth is derived from industries other than tourism. Trinidad’s economy, in particular, is based on petroleum, oil and natural gas products, making it one of the Caribbean’s wealthier nations. “Trinibagonians” enjoy high purchasing power and a high standard of living. 

As separate islands, Trinidad and Tobago were each ruled by a succession of European powers. In 1889, they were consolidated under the British flag as a crown colony and became a sovereign nation in 1976. The melting pot influences of Africans, Europeans, Chinese and indigenous Indians accounts for the country’s unique culture and cuisine.

The two islands have vastly different feels. Trinidad is fast-paced and cosmopolitan, a business-mixed-with-pleasure locale. The overwhelming majority of the country’s 1.3 million people live here. The capital city of Port of Spain has the largest stock exchange in the Caribbean and a cityscape that encompasses modern glass towers with heritage architecture.  Properties on the island range from colonial-era mansions and upscale high-rise apartments to estates in gated communities.

As lively as Trinidad is, Tobago is as laid-back. White sand beaches, dive sites and windsurfing draw visitors here.  The island offers beachfront homes, villas in luxury golf course communities and land for development. However, international investors are required to obtain a government-issued license to buy property while those same buyers can purchase up to one acre of property for residential use in Trinidad without having to obtain a license.