Trinidad and Tobago

the telecommunications authority

All telecommunications in Trinidad and Tobago are now under the authority of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago TATT ( All telecommunications and broadcasting licenses and franchises in Trinidad and Tobago are obtained from and administered by TATT. Complaints about telecommunications service providers can also be made to them.

Trinidad and Tobago has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Generally, it is best to travel with the sun. When it sets, make sure you are in a safe place with people you trust. This is more important in Trinidad than in Tobago. In Port of Spain, areas east of Charlotte Street become increasingly unsafe but this shouldn't be considered an absolute boundary -- on some east-west streets you can go a block or two further. Stay out of East Dry River, Belmont, and Laventille.

In previous years crime tended to peak in the Carnival January-March and around Christmas October-December seasons, but recently crime activity was year round, but this has now drastically decreased due to the new change in government. But it is still best to exercise some caution at night time, while in Trinidad and Tobago.

For extended stays, register yourself at your country's nearest diplomatic mission. They can provide assistance to their citizens. A listing of diplomatic missions in Trinidad and Tobago is available on the Trinidad and Tobago Government's website. ({B15A2D18-C5B7-45D7-A814-92A58FFA188E}

In an emergency dial 999 from any telephone for the police. Dial 990 for the fire department and 811 for an ambulance. These calls are free of charge from any telephone, including payphones no coins or cards required. For foreigners with countries that have reliable police emergency assistance, it should be noted that when dialing "999" in an emergency the police do not always answer the call or show up when assistance is needed.

The islands are in an earthquake zone, though serious quakes are extremely rare.

landline telephones

Landline telephones are available in larger hotels but may be unavailable in guest rooms of smaller guest houses. The telephone company is Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (, which is jointly owned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Cable and Wireless. Local calls incur toll charges, however, calls in the same area code and telephone exchange are billed at a flat rate for the whole call. Hotels, of course, may charge more if you use their telephones. There are calling cafes around the country. For visitors who wants to make international calls, it might be a good idea to use calling cafes.


Pay phones are a hit or miss in Trinidad. Some phones may be vandalized, full and in need of maintenance or simply not working. If you are lucky enough to find a working payphone, you can use either 25 cent coins or calling cards with an 800 number to access them. Some phones also accept phonecards which are pre-paid with a magnetic stripe. Insert the card and make your call. Some phones in hotels and at the airport allow the use of foreign calling cards. Calls to local 800 numbers, 999 and 990 are free.

internet access

Internet cafés offer Internet access on public terminals at an hourly rate usually from TT$1 to TT$10.

Dialup access is available from TSTT ( and other independent ISP's. There are monthly plans and pay as you go access. Pay as you go service is available through the 619-EASY service for TT$0.75 per minute. Roaming with foreign ISP accounts is available through an agreement between TSTT and IPASS, inc.

Broadband internet options in Trinidad are available. Two major companies that provide these serives are TSTTblinkand FLOW Columbus Communications.

Wi-Fi access is available in a few places such as Piarco airport, Movie Towne and select hotels and restaurants. It is free of charge right now but this is subject to change. EVDO and EDGE broadband access are also available, but may require contracts and a service commitment. Some hotels and guest houses provide free high speed internet. Always inquire if you don't see it listed on their web site, as it may have been added recently.

There are other options including fixed wireless, DSL, cable modem only in a few areas and satellite but these are generally not available to tourists for a short term stay.

A good discussion of Trinidad and Tobago internet access options is available at the TTCS website. (

mobile telephones

Trinidad and Tobago currently has two active operating mobile telephone carriers - bmobile ( and Digicel ( They both operate under the GSM standard, with bmobile using the 1800MHz frequency band, and Digicel using the 850MHz and 1900MHz frequency bands. There are roaming agreements with GSM carriers such as AT&T ex Cingular in the US, however the cost to roam may be prohibitive and calling within Trinidad may incur international toll charges. One can purchase a prepaid SIM card and GSM phone from Digicel or bmobile stores for as little as TT$100 and use that card in an unlocked GSM phone for the duration of their stay. You can also purchase a phone with SIM for that price. CDMA Verizon phones will work in Trinidad and Tobago. They will appear to be active due to TSTT's EVDO data only network, but you can make or receive calls on the CDMA network.

The Tobago Tourist Board boasts that "the wildlife in Tobago won't kill you", which is mostly true. The islands do have mosquitoes and isolated cases of dengue fever have been reported. The tap water is generally safe to drink, though many visitors prefer bottled water because the public water often has a strong chlorine taste. Use your best judgement if in an area where homes collect rain water from the roof, but very few problems are reported.

The adult HIV/AIDS prevalence at 3.0% or 1 in 33 adults, which is 5 times higher than the USA. The best advice is to use caution and use protection if engaging in sexual activity. Condoms are available from pharmacies to help prevent the spread of AIDS and other STD's.

If you need prescription medication, it is best to bring enough with you for the duration of your trip. There is no guarantee that what you need will be available. American OTC drugs are often available in many pharmacies, however, don't expect everything to be available. They may also be under different names whether American or European market names.

cities, boroughs and towns

Port-of-Spain - Capital city

San Fernando - Southern city

Scarborough Capital of Tobago


Arima - birthplace of famous calypso artiste "Lord Kitchener"

Chaguanas - fastest growing and largest municipality mostly populated by descendants of East Indian indentured labourers

Point Fortin - south western municipality, which lies on the outskirts of the La Brea Pitch Lake and is known for oil production


Chaguaramas - a town with one of the major yachting centres, also famous for nightlife; venue of the 1999 Miss Universe Pageant.

Princes Town


St. James - fondly known by locals as the city that never sleeps

postal facilities

The postal service is run by the Trinidad and Tobago Postal Corporation, TTPost ( Postal rates are available on the TTPost website. Post offices are located close to the center of town in many places with red drop-off boxes in some places. Thanks to restructuring of the postal service, TTPost has become comparable to the postal service in many developed countries and is generally reliable. Additionally, other services such as US visa fee payment, bill payment and the purchase of inter island ferry tickets are available from TTPost.


Trinidad's international area code is 868 under the North American Numbering Plan. From the U.S. and Canada, it's no different than calling other states and provinces 1+868, but costs more. Its top level domain is .tt and its ITU callsign prefixes are 9Y and 9Z.


English is the official language. Words are spelled with British spellings e.g. colour, labour, tyre, etc.. English is spoken with a strong accent in Trinidad and Tobago, so it can take some getting used to understanding the locals. English Creole though it's not referred to by locals by that name is very frequently used for informal communication among locals. It's mostly an oral language, and is seldom written and then just by ad-lib. A Trinidadian Dictionary, "Cote Ci Cote La" can be found at one of the many bookstores in the country and is an excellent souvenir to remember your vacation to Trinidad and Tobago. Here's an example of just one of those many words that have radically different meanings from American English:

liming ; meaning to hang out in public with your friends

Also, Hindi, French mostly Creole or Patois, Spanish, and Chinese are occasionally heard. It may seem, at times, you are in a country that only speaks a foreign language. However, since virtually everyone knows standard British English, there's no need to ask. Of course, if someone does suddenly start talking in standard English -- take notice. They may very well be talking to you!


It's a good idea to greet a stranger before asking him or her a question. It's a better idea to avoid strangers when not in the company of others. There is no nude or topless bathing anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago.

Many Trinbagonians like to discuss sports. Being a former British colony, these discussions usually centre around footballsoccer and cricket.

In Trinidad and Tobago, many of the world's great religions are well represented. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Bah'ai are popular. Judaism is not very popular and is practised mostly among expatriates. Atheism and agnosticism are not widespread although many people will hold agnostic beliefs without being openly agnostic.

Although Trinidad has a large Indian Hindu community, there are no taboos that Westerners would have a difficult time getting used to. The cow is not so sacred as to prohibit eating beef or wearing leather although Hindus do not eat beef. A few ultra-conservative Hindus may take exception to all this, but they are very, very few in number.

Trinidadians can be extremely friendly and hospitable -- especially with guests who share a common religion with them. Be sure to bring small gifts to show your appreciation, as some visitors who had no intention of visiting or staying with locals end up doing so anyway.

Some homes including a few guest houses in rural areas are not connected to any underground water mains. However, they may still have running water from a large, round, black outdoor water tank. If staying in such a place, be sure to conserve water -- especially in the dry season or year-round if it doesn't collect rainwater from the roof. If the tanks run dry, water trucks for refills may be available. However, even underground piped water may be rationed during the dry season. In short, if you are not staying in a major hotel, ask about the water situation.


Public Healthcare is free to everyone in Trinidad and Tobago and is paid for by the Government and taxpayers. Healthcare services are offered on a walk-in basis. There are a few major hospitals throughout the country as well as smaller health centers and clinics located regionally. These can be found on the Minstry of Health's website. ( The public health facilities are way below the standard of what can be found in developed countries. Industrial action strikes and sickouts by doctors and nurses happen from time to time, and some healthcare facilities are overcrowded and understaffed, with older equipment and medicines. As an alternative there are also private healthcare facilities that offer healthcare services. Prices will vary and can be quite expensive. Private doctors are also available on an appointment basis.

Public Ambulance services are available to everyone by dialing 990. This service is operated by the fire department. However these may prove to be unreliable since ambulances are limited and fire stations are often far away. Private ambulance services are available. They are generally more reliable but are not free. In an emergency it may be better to arrange one's own transportation to a healthcare facility.