Caribbean Airlines operates the 20-minute flight between Trinidad and Tobago (one way TT$150). The checked baggage weight allowance is one piece at up to 20kg. While it’s wise to book in advance, it is often possible to buy tickets at the airport on the day of departure. Note that flights are often subject to delays and cancellations.
Fast catamaran ferries make the 2½-hour trip between Queen’s Wharf in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and the main ferry dock in Scarborough, Tobago. It’s a cheap, comfortable way to travel (unless you’re prone to seasickness), with the added bonus of not having to get all the way to Piarco airport. The ferries have a bar, cafeteria and deck, and movies are played in the air-conditioned interior.
There are two to four departures daily from both islands, in the morning and afternoon. Tickets can be purchased from the Inter-Island Ferry Service; do so in advance around Christmas, Easter and in Carnival season.
Buses offer travelers an inexpensive way to get around, especially on longer cross-island trips, but can be infrequent and unreliable. For shorter distances, travelers are better off taking maxi-taxis or route taxis. Check online (www.ptsc.co.tt) for schedules. For bus information, call 623-2262 in Trinidad or 639-2293 in Tobago.
On Trinidad, Port of Spain often has big-city traffic jams, as does the Churchill-Roosevelt Hwy in the morning and evening rush hours; On Tobago, Scarborough can also get gridlocked.
Car rentals start at about TT$300 a day, and include unlimited mileage but not collision damage waiver.
Cars drive on the left, and the car’s steering wheel is on the right (as in the UK). Your home driver’s license is valid for stays of up to three months.
Twisting, narrow roads and fast, horn-happy drivers can make driving on the islands an adventure; in Port of Spain, traffic, complicated roads and poor signage can be challenging. Your best bet is to study a map before you get in the car, take a deep breath and practice Zen-like patience. You will get the hang of it, and you’ll find driving much easier if you simply relax a little and follow the flow. Be aware that fellow road users (especially maxi-taxis and route taxis) will stop suddenly to drop off a friend, say ‘hi’ to a neighbor or pick up a cold beer. Sometimes they’ll simply stop, while other times they’ll wave an arm up and down to signal they are about to do something.
The ignored speed limit on highways is 80km/h, and 50km/h to 55km/h on city streets. Gas (petrol) is about TT$3.11 a liter for regular.
Hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travelers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk. Although common among locals, particularly in rural areas, hitching is not a safe mode of transportation for foreign visitors, especially women.
Maxi-taxis are 12- to 25-passenger minibuses that travel along a fixed route within a specific zone. They’re color-coded by route, run 24 hours, are very cheap and are heavily used by locals. Rides cost TT$3 to TT$12, depending on how far you go. You can flag a maxi at any point along its route, or hop on at the appropriate taxi stand. Keep in mind that, due to their frequent stops, maxi-taxis can take a long time to get from A to B, though in Trinidad maxis that take the Priority Bus Route can be pretty speedy
On Trinidad, many maxi-taxis operate out of the maxi-taxi terminal adjacent to City Gate. On Tobago, all maxis have a blue band.
For information about maxi-taxi routes, contact Trinidad & Tobago Unified Maxi Taxi Association
Route taxis are shared cars that travel along a prescribed route and can drop you anywhere along the way. They look like regular cars, except that their license plates usually start with an ‘H’ (for ‘hire’). They run shorter set routes than maxis, mostly within towns and cities; fares start at TT$5.
Regular taxis are readily available at the airports, cruise-ship and ferry terminals and at hotels. All are unmetered but follow rates established by the government; hotel desks and airport tourist offices have a list of fares. Make sure to establish the rate before riding off, and note that fares increase after 10pm.