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Three Perfect Days: Trinidad and Tobago

This Caribbean nation proudly celebrated 50 years of independence in 2012—but with its sublime landscapes, sensational food, riotously fun nightlife and vibrant culture drawing a new generation of appreciative visitors, the best is yet to come

Author Sam Polcer Photography Sam Polcer

The Waterloo Temple, a.k.a. the Temple in the Sea

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The inside scoop from those in the know

“The best local plays are at Queen’s Hall and the National Academy for the Performing Arts. For calypso, go to Mas Camp Pub—they have dancing and a live band. The younger people like soca, though.”

“I like the Tobago Plantations Beach and Golf Resort. There are caimans in the ponds, and there’s a huge number of water birds because of the lakes, wetlands and mangrove swamp. It’s just great.”

“Mayaro Beach, in the southeast, has lots to explore. There are fishing villages, swamps and marshland. At sunrise, the villagers pull in their nets—if you lend a hand, you might be rewarded with some fish!”

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The origins of soca

Regardless of whether you’ve shaken a tail feather at Carnival, you’ve likely heard (perhaps in the middle of a “Hot, Hot, Hot”-induced conga line on a cruise ship) the energetic dance music known as soca, which makes up the bulk of the festival’s soundtrack. The style’s origins go back to the late 1960s, when an artist named Lord Shorty added Indian rhythms and instrumentation to Trinidad mainstay calypso, dubbing the mixture “soca”—the soul of calypso. His 1974 classic, Endless Vibrations, is recognized as the genre’s first full-length album.

But nothing can be left alone in a place like Trinidad, where cultural exchange is a matter of course. Today, there are innumerable soca offshoots—rapso, ragga soca, chutney soca—which incorporate other Caribbean influences. At Trinidad’s clubs, DJs generally don’t limit their palette to one style, yet the end result is always the same. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” says a dancer at Zen in Port of Spain, “your hips will move.”

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5 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Trinidad and Tobago”

  1. Gwendolyn A. Henry Says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    I want to thank the Company for acknowledging Trinidad and Tobago . A great place to visit and rubbed shoulders with the locals , everyone needs to experience the trueness of this historical Country. thanks

  2. Nyree Says:
    December 3rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I am so happy that UNITED Hemispheres did Three Perfect Days: Trinidad & Tobago. My hubby and I visit the twin island republic every year for carnival (for the past 9 years or so). I love Trini people, the food and carnival.

    Also as an island girl, from St.Lucia (though I now live in Virginia), I thought it necessary to mention that the poet Derek Walcott is St.Lucian. He is one of two Nobel Laureates from St.Lucia.

  3. T. E. Davenport Says:
    December 16th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I would spend three days on my rear end…

    December 16th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    My name is usha & my family in the U.S. Houston TX works for United. I have benefits with ur Airline & ur the best. I’ve flown to India, China, Ireland & always had the best treatment with all airline employees. also took part in ur airplane magazine contests. i live in Trinidad&tobago & it’s an honor for ur airline 2 show our country. THE QUEENS PARK SAVANNAH IS THE BIGGEST ROUND-A-BOUT IN THE WORLD. We also have the PITCH LAKE IN POINT FORTIN- which is 1 of the 7 wonders of the world. Right now our Government is building Highways which will take u to alot of the rural areas which is beautiful, our PRIME MINISTER is from this area, & the highway will take u 2 the pitch lake in no time. OUR MINISTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY WAS FIFA’S VICE PRESIDENT, MR BARACK OBAMA WAS HERE ABOUT 2 YRS AGO AT THE HYATT REGENCY IN POS FOR THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS.We have MAYARO-TOCO-CEDROS-CHAGUARAMAS,4 CORNERS OF TRINIDAD & we have in TOBAGO 15 mins by air the NYLON POOL IN THE MIDDLE OG THE OCEAN WHERE U CAN BATHE IT’S KNEE DEEP & also the BUCCO REEF WHERE U TAKE A TOUR WITH THE GLASS BOTTOM BOAT.THANK U FOR HIGHLIGHTING OUT TWIN ISLAND.

  5. Dennis O'Donovan Says:
    December 16th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Didn’t even know United flew to Trinidad-Tobago. I’m a Hawaii regular; I’m inspired to check out T&T.

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