Trinidad and Tobago

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Aug 30th, 2003, 11:34 AM
  #1
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Trinidad and Tobago

I have heard alot about this island(s) nation and am looking for a nice beach front hotel near town so we can have some fun shopping, etc. Also does anyone have any idea how much eating out costs? Thanks< Larry
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Aug 30th, 2003, 11:55 AM
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There are no beach front hotels near the town in Trinidad, sorry. However, there are nice beachfront hotels at Maracas Bay, Blanchieusse and Toco including a new resort called Salybia Village. You must remember also that the beaches in Trinidad do not boast white sand and calm blue water. The sand is golden in colour and the beaches have waves. If you want a beach front hotel in Trinidad be prepared to be far from the hustle and bustle of Port of Spain.

If you do want the white sand and calm blue water you will have to take a 20 minute flight to the sister island of Tobago where you will find lots of beaches to match any desire from secluded, to calm to waves.

For shopping, Trinidad is perfect;it's an island that does not depend on tourism for it's income so you will find it very similar to a big city with traffic jams,fast paced and lots of action.

Both islands boast a range of eating choices, in Trinidad you can get meals from as little as $10.00 TT (1 US = 6.30 TT) and there are several US franchise that have been popping up in Trinidad such as Subway,Pizza Hut, Church's Chicken,TGIF, Ruby Tuesday's,Tony Roma's and Hard Rock Cafe due to open in Feburary 2004.

That does not take away from the fact that you will have many choices for dining locally with great restaurants on Ariapita Avenue with very reasonable prices; US dollars go a long way.

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Aug 30th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Thank you babe! Tobago seems like the place for us. We are looking for a nice hotel on a beach beach with calm waters. What about the Tobago Hilton. Any ideas? Thanks, Larry
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Aug 30th, 2003, 01:15 PM
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Hi Larry,
the best beaches in Tobago do not have hotels on them. The Hilton is very nice,upscale with a fabulous pool.It is on a very windy beach on the Atlantic side with lots of waves.Most people walk along the beach but rarely ever bathe there. The other thing about the Hilton that I do not like, aside from the windy beach, is the fact that it is secluded. A very long way inside the hotel is not walking distance to the main road so you are stuck using hotel taxis or renting a car/jeep. They do offer a shuttle to Pigeon Point however, which is an excellent beach meeting all your criteria; calm clear, blue water and white sand. You must pay $18.00 TT to use the beach and beach chairs rent for $10.00. The facilties are ok; toilets, restaurant, beach bar and several boats to the coral reef leave from this location.

In terms of upmarket beach front hotels on Tobago I like the Coco Reef. It's location is the selling point, and the hotel is very nice albeit a bit "overdone" in some minor areas such as the statue overlooking the beach. Their "beach" is clear, white sand and calm....too calm as there is a breakwater with rocks that the hotel constructed to seclude the beach from the next door Store Bay Beach. This gives the "man made" beach a lagoon like feel , which some people like and some people do not. The great thing is that Store Bay is right next door and it's a lovely small beach and Pigeon Point is just a taxi ride away (you can catch a taxi right infront of the hotel).

There are also several good restaurants within walking distance such as Pelican Reef, Kariwak and Cafe Coco.
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Aug 30th, 2003, 01:38 PM
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You got some wonderful input from island babe!

Definitely Tobago has what you are looking for.

There's not much shopping however, but there is a neat little market that runs on weekends in Scarborough where you can buy everything from awesome homemade hot sauce (Winnie Neptune's is the best!), spices, fresh veggies to fish and just-made ice cream.

Without a doubt though, my very favorite thing about Tobago is the friendliness and open welcoming of the people there.
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Aug 30th, 2003, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Diana. Can you tell me a little about Scarborough, like how big it is, the shopping, etc. Thanks, Larry
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Aug 30th, 2003, 03:29 PM
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Scarborough is a typical Caribbean town on the less-developed islands in that it caters more to the people who live there as opposed to tourists.

We have not been there for several years, but when we were there, shopping was not something that is a primary activity on the island.

In fact, if shopping is a priority for you as far as clothing or luxury goods, I would not recommend Tobago.

Unless there have been shopping centers developed, or government-sponsored shops built, there's not much to be found when compared to some of the other Caribbean islands usch as St Thomas or Aruba.

Tobago's lack of touristy glitz and glamour is a draw for those of us who want a laid back vacation experience, and sheer boredom for people looking for a lot of things to do and see other than natural beauty.

For example, the shopping experiences we had on Tobago consisted of finding the latest tape or CD of Carnival music and trekking up a hill to find a local music store where we bought a tape with "Who Let The Dogs Out?" two years before that song was popular in the U.S.

If your interetss run more to finding the best prices on tanzanite or emeralds, or designer sunglasses, then Tobago is probably not for you.
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Aug 30th, 2003, 03:40 PM
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Diana,
there are no duty free shops in Tobago still;no Colombian Emeralds, Tiffany's or Little Switzerland. The closet you can get to that is at the airport in Trinidad and even there the shops are fairly limited and not comparable to other Islands such as St.Martin and Barbados.

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Aug 30th, 2003, 03:51 PM
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island_babe,

I can't tell you how happy that makes me
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Aug 30th, 2003, 03:54 PM
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Shopping is not for high end stuff, just a diversion with enough variety to keep one interested. Not looking for Aruba but would not want a one stop light town, so to speak. Seems like Scarborough is, hopefully not too quiet. If it compares to say, Playa del Carmen or even Puerto Aventuras that is enough. Thanks again for all the great info. Keep it coming! Larry
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Aug 30th, 2003, 04:14 PM
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Definitely not even close to PDC. Playa has many neat places to shop and eat, and lots of cool bars.

Shopping is NOT an activity or a diversion on Tobago.

Not trying to discourage you, just trying to portray an accurate picture of what you can expect...
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Aug 30th, 2003, 04:50 PM
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Understood and appreciated. Thanks again, Larry.
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Aug 31st, 2003, 08:32 AM
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About duty-free shops -- When we stayed at the Tobago Hilton last March, there was a small shop on the grounds that I remember advertising itself as duty-free. It carried mostly liquor and perfume, as I remember. We bought some Scotch there, and I recall that there were two sets of prices: one set for consumption in Tobago, and another set for goods to be taken out of the country.
We've stayed twice at the Hilton (and over 5 trips, also at Le Grand Courlan and the Blue Waters Inn). The Hilton is not within walking distance of much; however, unlike hotels in Crown Point -- like the Coco Reef -- it has a mile-plus long, uncrowded beach for long walks. We usally rent a car for most days of our trip, as we enjoy exploring the island.
But, to echo other posters, Tobago is not for people who need a lot of shopping and nightlife. We love it as it is, but as more villas and hotels get built, we wonder how long it will remain such a beautiful, uncrowded, friendly place.
I just made airplane reservations yesterday to return to Tobago in February. That will help me get though the coming cold weather here in Boston. Last year, we divided our trip between the Blue Waters and the Hilton; we may do that again, as we enjoy both ends of the island, which are quite different.
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Aug 31st, 2003, 09:41 AM
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Actually I am giving serious consideration to the Hilton. Night life is not a priority by any means. Does the Hilton have any entertainment at night? Thanks, Larry
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Aug 31st, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Larry,
One of the bar/restaurants at the Hilton has live bands and is packed with a younger crowd when it does. I don't remember how many nights a week that goes on. When will you be there? I imagine there'd be more entertainment nights in high season. Once a week, there's a manager's cocktail party, which we find quite pleasant. You get to talk with other guests, most of whom are from England. Also, there's often a steel band playing for Sunday brunch (I know that's not nighttime but it's pleasant.)
You asked about meal costs. Breakfasts at the Hilton last March were US$15 per person. Very good breakfasts -- much fresh fruit, juice, omelet station, choice of pastries, cereal, yogurt, etc. If you go to the Hilton website, you'll find they have rates that include breakfast. Very worthwhile from my point of view. For lunch at the Hilton, sandwiches are $10 to $15 at the poolside restaurant. We're usually so full from breakfast that we split a sandwich (the sandwiches are big). Full-course buffet dinners at the "coffee shop" are about $25, and prices are slightly higher at the "fancier" restaurant. You may also order a la carte, for less.
When we take the shuttle to Pigeon Point, we have lunch there for about $4 each. Store Bay has food kiosks that also are very reasonable. At the better tourist restaurants, entrees generally are $20 and up for dinner. Keep in mind that there's a 23% VAT and service charge on almost everything you buy. Some restaurants and hotels include this tax in their prices; others add it on. So check, first. The info is usually on the menu.
The Hilton rooms (very comfortable) are equipped with coffee pots. We bring coffee and coffee filters from home, because we like good coffee. Instant coffee is popular in Tobago.
You'll have such a good time.
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Aug 31st, 2003, 12:03 PM
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oonarose,
Vat is 15 % and service charge ranges from 10 to 13 %, however most restaurants include these taxes in the menu price.
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Aug 31st, 2003, 01:40 PM
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Thanks oonarose. Our plan is for the summer of 2004. Know that is a long way away but after returning recently from vaca. just gotta start planning another! Cheers, Larry.
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Aug 31st, 2003, 02:30 PM
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Hi, Island Babe --
About the VAT and service charge: I meant that the two together total about 23%.
I've encountered one or two restaurants that don't add the charges in, but, you are right, most of them do incorporate the taxes in the menu prices.
Some hotels quote room rates with taxes included -- like the Blue Waters --and others add the taxes on. Most of the time, that's made clear from the start, but it's worthwhile to check as 23% can make a difference.
Of course, it's worthwhile to check everywhere these days. As I understand, some resorts are tacking on charges for such things as use of the swimming pool. I haven't heard about that happening in Tobago, though.
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