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Is Trinidad And Tobago Safe? Travel Advisory 2024

Trinidad and Tobago is a country that consists of the two Caribbean islands that are featured in its name. Although part of the same country, these islands offer very different experiences for travelers.

Generally, Trinidad and Tobago is a beautiful country with many areas that are safe and welcoming to tourists and residents alike but on the other hand it struggles with high levels of violent crime.

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Choosing between Trinidad and Tobago for a visit depends on what you’re looking for in your vacation. Both islands offer unique experiences, landscapes, and activities, catering to different preferences and interests.

Trinidad vs. Tobago? Difference between islands

Trinidad, the larger and more populous of the two islands, is known for its vibrant culture, bustling cities, and diverse ecosystems. Here’s what Trinidad offers:

  • Cultural Festivities: Trinidad is famous for its Carnival, one of the world’s greatest street parties, filled with colorful costumes, steelpan music, and Calypso bands.
  • Nature and Wildlife: The island boasts rich biodiversity, with opportunities for bird watching in the Asa Wright Nature Centre and hiking in the Northern Range.
  • Beaches: While Trinidad’s beaches are more rugged and less commercialized than Tobago’s, Maracas Bay and Las Cuevas are beautiful and worth visiting.
  • Nightlife and Cuisine: Trinidad has a lively nightlife scene, especially in Port of Spain, and offers a wide variety of dining options, showcasing the island’s multicultural heritage.

Tobago

Tobago, on the other hand, is smaller and provides a more laid-back, quintessentially Caribbean experience. Tobago is known for:

  • Beaches: Tobago is famous for its idyllic beaches, such as Pigeon Point and Englishman’s Bay, offering clear waters and fine sand, perfect for relaxation and water sports.
  • Eco-Tourism: The island is a haven for nature lovers, with the Main Ridge Forest Reserve being one of the oldest protected forests in the Western Hemisphere. It’s great for hiking, bird watching, and experiencing rich biodiversity.
  • Diving and Snorkeling: Tobago’s coral reefs, such as Buccoo Reef, are among the best in the Caribbean, offering spectacular underwater adventures.
  • Tranquility: Tobago is less commercial and more serene, making it ideal for a peaceful retreat, with opportunities to explore small villages and secluded beaches.

LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from Trinidad and Tobago:

February 2, 2024: Fifteen murders mark the start of 2024

On January 8, 2024, CaribbeanNationalWeekly.com reported that Trinidad and Tobago had experienced a concerning start to the new year, with 15 reported homicides in the first week. This figure is more than double the murder toll for the same period in 2023 when it stood at seven. Over the weekend, there were six reported murders in various areas, including Port of Spain. In response to this surge in violence, Police Commissioner Earla Christopher has expressed confidence in law enforcement’s ability to combat crime and restore peace and order in the country.

Dangerous Areas

In Trinidad itself, dangerous neighborhoods that should be avoided include :

  • Laventille
  • Beetham Gardens
  • Sea Lots
  • Corcorite
  • Carenage
  • Morvant
  • Savannah Park
  • Fort George
  • La Brea (Pitch Lake)
  • Las Cuevas Beach

You also don’t want to hang out in many areas at night, including the Fort George overlook, downtown Port of Spain, and all the beaches.

It’s best to avoid any deserted areas, such as Queen’s Park Savannah during weekdays or isolated beaches like Englishman’s Bays. Also, take note that Beetham Highway is a hot spot for carjackings and kidnappings.

Safe Areas

When considering safe areas in Trinidad and Tobago, it’s important to remember that safety can vary widely based on several factors, including time of day, current events, and specific neighborhoods within cities or towns.

In Trinidad, the more residential and tourist-friendly areas tend to be safer. These include:

  • Westmoorings, Diego Martin, and Port of Spain’s upscale residential areas: These neighborhoods are known for their safety, although visitors should still exercise standard precautions, especially at night.
  • Maraval and St. Ann’s: Known for their scenic beauty and safer environments.
  • San Fernando: The country’s second-largest city also has safer areas, especially in the more residential neighborhoods.

Tobago is generally considered safer than Trinidad, with a more laid-back atmosphere. Popular areas like:

  • Crown Point: Known for its hotels, beaches, and nightlife, it’s a hub for tourists.
  • Scarborough: While it’s the capital and has busier areas, it also has safe neighborhoods.
  • Speyside and Charlotteville: These smaller communities are tranquil and welcoming to visitors, offering fantastic snorkeling and diving spots with a lower crime rate.

It’s crucial to exercise common sense safety measures no matter where you are in Trinidad and Tobago or any other destination. This includes avoiding walking alone at night, being cautious of your surroundings, securing your belongings, and staying in well-lit, populated areas.

For the most current safety advice, consulting travel advisories from your country’s foreign office or embassy, and local sources in Trinidad and Tobago, can provide up-to-date information tailored to your travel dates and specific destinations within the islands.

Crime in Trinidad and Tobago

While tourists in Trinidad and Tobago are often exposed to petty crimes such as pickpocketing and theft, they can also become victims of violent crime. Unfortunately, crimes of all kinds are rife in the country. While most of the violent crime in Trinidad and Tobago is due to gang activity and drug trafficking, criminals also often target tourists since they are regarded as lucrative prey.

Tourists are not only robbed but are sometimes also kidnapped for ransom money. Highway robberies are another threat. Other forms of violent crime that tourists should be aware of include murder, assault, and rape.

Official Travel Advisories

US Travel Advisory

The U.S. Department of State has issued a ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel‘ travel advisory for Trinidad and Tobago, warning U.S. citizens of potential risks when traveling to the islands. The advisory highlights several concerns, including crime, terrorism, and health-related issues. It notes the high level of violent crime, particularly in certain areas, and advises travelers to exercise increased caution and remain vigilant.

Canada Travel Advisory

Travelers to Trinidad and Tobago are advised to exercise a high degree of caution due to the prevalence of violent crime, including armed robberies, assaults, and sexual assault, particularly in the capital, Port of Spain. Tourists have been targeted in these incidents. Since 2018, there has been an increase in kidnapping for ransom cases, making it essential to exercise caution, especially around the docks in Port of Spain.

UK Travel Advisory

The UK government’s travel advice for Trinidad and Tobago emphasizes the importance of being cautious due to safety and security concerns in the region. It highlights the presence of violent crime, including armed robberies, assaults, and sexual assault, with tourists being targeted in some instances.

Petty crimes like pickpocketing, bag-snatching, and thefts from cars are common, with increased opportunistic crime during events such as Carnival celebrations, Christmas holidays, and the Tobago Jazz Festival.

Important Considerations for a Safe Trinidad and Tobago Visit

If you decide to visit Trinidad and Tobago, here are a few precautionary steps you can keep in mind:

  • Book accommodation that’s in a good area and has proper security.
  • Don’t flaunt valuable belongings when out in public.
  • Don’t buy drugs or any other illegal items while in the country. Apart from the fact that penalties for drug offenses are quite harsh, you don’t want to get close to any gangs.
  • Only carry the cash around with you that you need for the day.
  • It’s safest to travel around in groups.

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