Practical Information

Practical Info

Official Name|Republic of Trinidad and Tobago**


Capital|Port of Spain**


Official Language|English**


Official Religion|None**


Form of Government|Multiparty republic with two legislative houses (Senate and House of Representatives)**


Head of State|His Excellency President Anthony Carmona**


Head of Government|The Honorable Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar**


Monetary Unit|Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$)**


Population|(2012 est.) 1,330,000** 


Religions|Roman Catholic 26%, other Christian 31.6%, Hindu 22.5%, Muslim 5.8%**


Total area|1,990 (sq mi) or 5,155 (sq km)**


Urban-rural population|Urban: (2010) 13.9%  Rural: (2010) 86.1%**


Time Zone|Trinidad and Tobago is the same as Eastern Coast Time in the USA. (GMT - 4:00) the islands do not recognize day light saving time**


Working Hours|Banking hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon - Thur and Fri from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Public Sector office hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Retail business typically operate within the same period except for Shopping Malls that are opened between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.**


Communications|The islands are quite up-to-date with the latest in  4G mobile services being offered by the two major cell phone companies. There is also good LAN Internet connectivity**


Driving|Drivers use the left lane and wearing a seatbelt is mandatory (there is a $500 TT fine for not wearing your seatbelt). Visitors can drive up to 90 days on valid foreign or international licenses**


Electricity|Trinidad and Tobago has a very dependable supply of electricity with arguably the lowest rates in the region. Voltage is 110v/220v, 60Hz and power interruption on the islands are rare and the local power generation company PowerGen is usually quick to restore any outages**


Immigration, Work Permits and Visas|A return or ongoing ticket and a valid passport are all that is required by visitors when traveling to the islands. If you are visiting on business and staying more than 30 days a work permit will be required**


Ethnic Makeup|The two predominant races ethnicities being East Indian 40.3%, African 39.5%. Mixed accounts for 18.4%Chinese and other 1.2% and Europeans 0.6%**


Post Office|TT Post, is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and provides a comprehensive international mail service inclusive of registered mail, money orders and package tracking**


Health|Government hospitals and clinics provide free medical care to all. There are some private hospitals like West Shore Medical and St Clair Medical that also provide medical services for a fee. Tobago's Scarborough Hospital can handle basic A&E however a government air ambulance is ready to transport patients to Trinidad in serious cases**


Water|Mostly drinkable out of the tap, however, you may want to examine it for any discolorations which though rare can occur. As an alternative there is cheap bottled water available at retail outlets nationwide**


Striking a Good Bargain|In Trinidad this usually comes down to your powers of persuasion as well as willingness to walk away. No Trini retailer wants to lose a sale, especially from a tourist, so holding your nerve in a game of chicken just might win you a meaty prize**


Taxes|A 10% room tax + 10% service charge at hotels; VAT 15% on goods and services**


Tippings|This is completely up to you. Some establishments add a service charge to your bill which goes to your host. However, should you feel so inclined you can personally tip your waiter, bagman etc**


Drugs|The use, sale or trafficking of illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine is prohibited and strictly enforced and can entail long jail sentences**


Flora & Fauna|Mosquitoes and Sandfly bites are common more so during the wet season so walk with your repellents as a precaution although many brands can be bought here. The best repellents are those containing eucalyptus and citronella oil. The Manchineel tree is found near beaches throughout the islands and special attention should be paid not to touch the bark or fruit of this tree as it secretes a very corrosive toxin**