When you hear the words Trinidad & Tobago, you may automatically think, Carnival. After all, nearly 40,000 tourists flock to the twin Caribbean islands each year for the popular event.
Located near Venezuela, the islands are known for their rich Creole traditions and cuisines. They are also the birthplace of the steelpan and music styles such as soca and calypso.
For this next installment of Black Travel Black Dollars, we’ve rounded up some great Black and indigenous businesses committed not only to serving their community but also producing goods and services that work for the greater good – both people and the environment. So, whether it is your first, second or third visit to Trinidad & Tobago, we encourage you to stop by and patronize these businesses during your stay.
As the name suggests, Zabouca Breads is a bakery specializing in breads. The owners fuse Caribbean and European-style bread making and source organic local and quality imported ingredients. They also offer granola, scones and even made-to-order pizza. Located in two spots in Port of Spain — Cascade and Newtown — consider making Zabouca one of your first stops when you arrive.
If you’re a late riser, don’t worry because 54 Saddle is a great spot to dine for a delicious and casual lunch. Located in Maraval not far from Port of Spain, enjoy an extensive lunch menu complete with desserts (gluten-free options are available). The experienced owner Deborah Sardinia-Metivier, formerly head chef at the Trinidad Hilton, has undoubtedly created a little oasis in the busyness of the city.
If your adventures take you to Tobago (and we hope they do), fill up on a delicious meal at Shore Things Tobago. This quaint seaside restaurant offers both great food and amazing ocean views. If you happen to be there on the first Saturday of the month, be sure to check out their market featuring locally handcrafted goods.
Here’s a triple treat. Mariposa Gardens is not only a cafe but also a bed and breakfast, plus they offer nature walks and other organized outings. A perfect choice for nature lovers, Mariposa Gardens is surrounded by lush vegetation in Lopinot, Trinidad. Reservations are required to indulge in the café, but with a menu including homemade chutneys, salsas and tortillas and their specialty cacao menu, all made onsite, it is well worth the planning. Check out their website for reservation information, lodging options and nature walk tour information.
Romantically secluded on the Tobago side lies Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Eco-lodge. It is a nature lover’s and bird watcher’s delight. Surrounded by the rainforest, guests enjoy all that nature has to offer: Well-appointed rooms and scrumptious cuisine made with fresh ingredients and items sourced from the land. Nature really does spoil guests who stay at Cuffie, as guests have the option of choosing one or more tours to enjoy nature up close, including the opportunity to hike and bathe in a local waterfall. Visit Cuffie online to see all it has to offer.
There is so much to do and see in Trinidad and Tobago. To ensure you have the most amazing experience possible, we strongly suggest visiting Brasso Seco, a community located in Northern Trinidad known for its cocoa and coffee farms. If you are looking for an eco-friendly adventure, this is definitely for you. The Brasso Seco Tourism Action Committee (TAC) is a great resource for all things Brasso Seco.
Don’t let the name fool you; a lot is happening at this “little” theater. Established in 1948 by the legendary dancer and visionary Beryl “La Belle Rosette” McBurnie, the venue rotates various performances and dance, art and music events. It even offers community yoga classes as well as drama classes and a pop-up craft market. Its Facebook event page is updated with the latest events and ticket information.
Trinidad and Tobago have several expansive cocoa estates and boasts a thriving bean-to-bar chocolate industry. As such, adding a chocolate tour to your itinerary to learn about how cacao is grown and chocolate is made is a delicious idea. There are several locations to choose from. For Port of Spain chocolate walking tours book with ARCTT, in Brasso Seco, book with Brasso Seco Chocolate Company. Both tours offer a unique perspective of the cacao farming and chocolate production industry.
Bene Caribe is a slow fashion brand offering colorful and fun clothing and accessories for women. Bene Caribe “aims to provide resources to effective non-profit organizations in the Caribbean through the creation and sale of unique, ready-to-wear designs.” You can also find its fashions at pop-ups in the U.S. and London. But for an authentic Caribbean experience, visit their shop located in the Hotel Normandie in Port of Spain during your time on the island.
The Cloth is a fashion house located in Saint George, Trinidad. Robert Young, head designer at the Cloth, is the visionary behind this brand. The brand aesthetic is said to embody, “elements of traditional folk, the spirit of revolution and interest in restoration and integration.”
This environmentally friendly vintage shop is a great boutique to stop by and shop for “new to you” items for yourself or as gifts to friends and family. It is known for its vintage records. However, you can also find vintage clothing, accessories and home decor items.
This article was written with the generous help of Gillian Goddard, Co-Founder of Suneaters Organics and the Alliance of Rural Communities of Trinidad and Tobago (ARCTT). You can learn more about Gillian, Suneaters Organics and ARCTT here and here.