Electricity

Electrical current is in Trinidad and Tobago 110 - 120 volts, 60hz. Two-pin flat blade plugs are used as well as three-pin plugs in the North American style.

Language

English is the official language in Trinidad and Tobago.

Money

The unit of currency is the Trinidad and Tobago Dollar, or TT Dollar (TTD), which is divided into 100 cents. Most ATMs and stores will accept international credit cards. Travellers cheques, US dollars cash, and credit cards are accepted by most establishments. Money can also be changed at bureaux de change offices. Banks are open from Monday to Friday.

Tipping

Most hotels and restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago add a service charge to the bill, usually 10 or 15 percent. If this is not the case, a 10 percent tip is expected for good service.

Health

A yellow fever vaccination is required for those entering Trinidad and Tobago from infected areas, and it is recommended that all travellers to Trinidad are vaccinated against yellow fever anyway. Those who are only visiting Tobago do not need a yellow fever vaccination unless arriving from an infected area. Vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B are also recommended for all travellers. Insect protection is advised, as there is an increasing risk of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease.

Medical facilities are limited in Trinidad and Tobago and medicines may be in short supply. Emergency evacuation to a nearby country will likely be required for serious injury or illness. Proof of ability to pay is often required before treatment is given, even in emergencies. Medical insurance with provision for evacuation is strongly advised.

Safety

Most visits to Trinidad and Tobago are trouble free, but there is an increasing incidence of crime against tourists on both islands. In Trinidad be especially vigilant in downtown Port of Spain (particularly at night), and when travelling from Piarco Airport where gangs have been known to follow cars and attack the occupants at their final destination. There has been an increase in robberies at tourist sites, including Fort George and the Pitch Lake, and these attacks can be violent; visitors are warned not to resist muggers and robbers who are also targeting foreigners at car parks outside places like shopping malls and restaurants. Take precautions like not wearing flashy jewellery and storing valuables in hotel safe deposit boxes.

Local customs

The people of Trinidad and Tobago are friendly and hospitable and generally happy to assist tourists, but keep in mind that it is polite to greet a stranger before asking a question. Nude or topless bathing is frowned upon in Trinidad and Tobago. Despite the decriminalisation of homosexuality, the local population are still not fully open to it so homosexual couples may receive some unwarranted attention. The penalties for possession of drugs are severe and thorough checks are often done at borders. If invited to a home, it is customary to bring a gift.

Doing business

The economy of Trinidad and Tobago has been growing steadily over the past few years and foreign investment is on the increase. A firm handshake starts and ends a meeting. Formal attire is common but not always strictly necessary; it is worth finding out about the dress code for the relevant sector of business. Business cards are generally handed out and received immediately after introductions. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with about an hour taken over lunch.

Duty free

Visitors arriving in Trinidad and Tobago are allowed to bring in the following goods without paying duty: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco; 1.5 litres of spirits or wine; gifts; and perfume for personal use. Alcohol and tobacco products are allowed only for passengers over the age of 17 years.

Communications

The international dialling code for Trinidad and Tobago is +1 868. To dial out from the islands the prefix is 011, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). Mobile networks are in operation on the islands, with fairly wide coverage. There are several internet cafes on the island in the main town centres.

Passport & Visa

Passports must be valid for at least the period of the proposed visit. Visitors require documents for return or onward travel and a fixed address for the period of their stay. Since 23 January 2007 all US citizens travelling to and from Trinidad and Tobago by air require a valid passport; this requirement has been extended to include all land and sea border crossings as well. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

The wearing of camouflage clothing, or the possession of camouflage bags in Trinidad and Tobago is illegal for anyone not in the military services. Visitors wearing such items will be asked to change and the camouflage items will then be confiscated. Failure to comply with this rule will result in detention and possible fines.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a valid passport for the duration of their stay. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days for touristic purposes.

UK passport holders require a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

Canadians need a passport valid for duration of stay but do not need a visa.

Australians require a passport valid for duration of stay and a visa for Trinidad and Tobago. A visa can be obtained on arrival.

South Africans nationals require a passport valid for duration of stay, but do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Irish nationals require a valid passport for duration of stay, but do not require a visa.

New Zealanders require a passport valid for duration of stay and a visa for Trinidad and Tobago. A visa can be obtained on arrival.

Useful contacts

Trinidad and Tobago Tourism: www.gotrinidadandtobago.com

Emergencies: 999 (Police); 990 (Fire/Ambulance).

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 467 6490.

High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7245 9351.

High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 232 2418.

High Commission of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 460 9688.

Embassies / consulates in Trinidad and Tobago

United States Embassy, Port of Spain: +868 622 6371.

British High Commission, Port of Spain: +868 350 0444.

Canadian High Commission, Port of Spain: +868 622 6232.

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain: +868 822 5450.

South African Embassy, Port of Spain: +868 622 9869.

Irish Honorary Consul, Port of Spain: +868 628 2385.

New Zealand High Commission, Ottawa, Canada (also responsible for Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago): +1 613 238 5991.

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