Gabar Goes Global: Top 5 Things to do in Trinidad & Tobago

Hi! Welcome back to GabarIskuFilan—a radical feminist solo female travel blog! This is a blog where I document my solo female travel adventures across the African diaspora. Prior to the world coming to an abrupt halt, I enjoyed two-weeks in paradise aka Trinidad & Tobago. I was in Trinidad & Tobago from February 18th-March 3, 2020. It was the most incredible experience of my life! Here’s a guide of the top 5 things to do in Trinidad & Tobago from the perspective of a solo female traveler! 

1. Eat.

Trini food is so delicious!! You have to try doubles! They’re basically naan with chickpeas and a creamy pepper sauce. Go to Maracas beach and try bake and shark. Bake and shark consists of fried bread, shark meat, coleslaw, and chili sauce. I ate a lot of barbeque. In case you didn’t know: barbeque originated from enslaved Africans in the Caribbean. Once the Africans freed themselves, the British promised Indians land and wealth after completing indentured servitude. Hence, why there’s tons of Indian influence in Trini food.

Lunch with the girls at Apsara Restaurant

2. Get Familiar with Soca Music

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t familiar with Soca music before I decided to travel there lol. I’ve heard of Machel and Kes. I love Afrobeats and Dancehall. But Soca is different. I heard a lot of steel pan which was new to me. Every year, Soca artists release new music. They compete to be the Soca Monarch which is the song that is played when you’re crossing the stage on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. I noticed that they love that song Joanna by Afro B.

3. Experience the Greatest Carnival in the World

Forget Caribana, Miami, Rio de Janerio and Notting Hill. Trinidad Carnival is the elite carnival. Not only is the birthplace of carnival, but it also draws in the largest crowds. Around 40,000 people arrive in Trinidad from all over Europe, Canada, US, and the Caribbean. Be warned: Trinis party nonstop! I got off the plane, checked into my Airbnb and went straight to a fete. The adrenaline of being in a foreign country solo was incredible. My favorite fetes were: Phuket, Soca Brainwash and AM Beach. Soca Brainwash is a must. This year, Ludacris and Nicki Minaj were there.

Via Soca Brainwash 2020’s Facebook
Soca Brainwash 2020
AM Beach

4. Play Mas

Playing Mas is when you dress up for carnival. Since Africans weren’t allowed to participate in masquerade balls, they started their own! I wore a costume from Yuma. I played Frontline which just means I got to carry a huge feather backpack around! Frontline is the most expensive option. I even got my makeup professionally done. I felt very beautiful! I really appreciated how progressive Trinis are. I never felt unsafe. I remember when I had to cover my earlobes under this ugly jilbaab because I was told I’d be raped if I didn’t. I took a rideshare at 4:30am and I felt safe. What do you mean I can wear whatever I want to and still be respected?! My life has been changed forever!

5. Cool down in Tobago

Trinidad is the political and economic hub of the country. Trinidad is where carnival happens, so it’s often the main focus, but there’s also another island that doesn’t get as much attention. I flew to Tobago on Caribbean Airlines to enjoy 4 days of paradise. Trinidad is very industrial. You’ll see oil rigs everywhere. Tobago, on the other hand, is pristine and remote. You’ll see goats on the road. People flock to Tobago to “cool down” after carnival. Take a taxi to Pigeon Point where you can, then, take a boat to Nylon Pool. Expect to pay about $15USD for dinner and drinks.

Trinidad & Tobago during carnival was very safe for a solo female traveler like myself. Have you been to Trinidad & Tobago? What was your experience like? Share in the comments below!!

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I'm a feminist blogger who writes about solo female travel, politics, fashion and the Black experience abroad.

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