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It’s Always Carnival Time in Trinidad and Tobago

By Dwight Brown NNPA Travel Writer | 3/14/2014, noon
This dual-island nation is noted for its festive Carnival, which includes parades, concerts, parties and elaborate costumes. But as anyone ...
Carnival isn’t the only reason to go to Trinidad & Tobago. And there are more than enough reasons to stay.

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The Lime Fete, Carnival’s Swank Event

The Lime Fete, Carnival’s Swank Event

The Lime fete, an annual celebration and charity event that supports the United Way Trinidad & Tobago, is now in its fourth year and is one of “the” see-and-be-seen gala events in Trinidad. Tickets cost hundred of dollars to this all-inclusive, eat and drink until you drop soiree. It takes place at the seafront Hyatt Regency Trinidad on Carnival Wednesday. Guests choose Platinum or Diamond level tickets and enjoy an unrivaled selection of culinary temptations: Mexican cuisine; Peruvian food; Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean seafood; local authentic island fare; and vegetarian delights. Signature cocktails like “Lime Time” and “Forbidden Lime” flow like a river. Musical acts like KES the Band featuring Kees Diffenthaller and Roy Cape All Stars featuring Blaxx performed this year. The trendy cutting edge décor provides a swank backdrop for the guests who stick largely to the dress code: white with at touch of lime.

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Pigeon Point with reef in background.

Tobago’s Quiet Beaches

It’s just a 20-minute northeast flight to Tobago, and the contrast to Trinidad couldn’t be more dramatic when you land. Trinidad is multiethnic. Tobago has mostly people of African descent. There are no crowded highways. Fewer people. It’s like the difference between New York City and Key West. The pace would make a snail envious. Your heartbeat slows. Your eyes rest. You decompress. Houses, buildings and businesses are spread apart. After an island tour by car (visit Tobago Cocoa Estate Plantation, port city of Scarborough, Fort King George), take a catamaran ride on the Island Girl, which leaves from Mt. Irvine Beach for an hour voyage to Cotton Bay. What’s at Cotton Bay? Nothing. It’s a small sliver of beach. You can swim, snorkel and sunbathe as the crew prepares and serves a tasty lunch of stewed chicken, grilled Mahi Mahi and potato salad. It’s a perfect time to taste Trinidad & Tobago’s unique drinks: LLB (lemon/lime soda with a touch of bitters), Carib Beer (light and sweet) or Samba Lager (heavier and more filling).

Getting There and Staying Put

Flying from Atlanta you will have to connect in Miami with American or Caribbean Airlines. American has 14 flights to the islands, while Caribbean has 7 from Miami, 7 from Fort Lauderdale and 1 from Orlando. A new flight from JFK on JetBlue (http://www.jetblue.com) arrives daily at Piarco Airport in Trinidad.

The Hilton Trinidad Hotel, on a well-landscaped hillside above Queen’s Park Savannah, has a business center, pool and tennis courts. The newer Hyatt Regency Trinidad in downtown Port of Spain is more upscale and urban. The venerable Coco Reef Tobago is seconds away from the isle’s airport and has placid ocean views. Those in need of a real escape should try the chic, 38-room boutique hotel, Blue Waters Inn, Tobago’s top getaway.

Carnival isn’t the only reason to go to Trinidad & Tobago. And there are more than enough reasons to stay.

For more information about Trinidad & Tobago go to: http://www.gotrinidadandtobago.com.