Trinidad and Tobago Risk Report
Security travel advice for Trinidad and Tobago
Threat level: Medium-High
When travelling to Trinidad and Tobago you should be mindful of gang related crime that occurs in the country. There have been a reported number of incidents particularly the inner cities of the capital in Trinidad. Crime does not often affect travellers but can be costly when it does. You should remain vigilant when visiting at risk areas of the country.
Trinidad and Tobago consists of two very different islands. Trinidad is characterised by its swamps, rainforests and oil refineries whereas Tobago is considered the more traditional Caribbean island consisting of white beaches and palm trees. It is thought that the safer island is Tobago, with crime against foreigners being rare and mostly extending to petty theft only. Tobago is home to the oldest protected rainforest in the Western hemisphere.
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Recent Security Risk Events
On the 9th of February 2018, the UK and US governments both issued travel warnings, citing the likleyhood terrorist activity at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival on 12th and 13th February. This information comes after the arrested individuals, who it is said planned to carry out terrorist attacks on the Carnival. News is very limited on these arrests and alleged thwarted terror plot. More to follow...
There have been a number of cases of violence against tourists in both islands of the country, most recently a couple were found dead in their rooms in 2015. Many deaths are thought to be associated with robberies that have gone wrong, resulting in violence.
You should be aware of cash point scams that frequently occur across the islands, particularly in Trinidad. X-ray film is placed inside the card slot and tourists’ card get stuck when inserted into the machine. The thief will stay close and offer ‘help’ when you find yourself stuck, suggesting you put your pin number in backwards. This will obviously not help you but allow the thief to see your pin number. When you eventually leave the cash point without your card, they will remove it from the machine and withdraw your money.
Trinidad and Tobago enjoys friendly foreign relations with many of its neighbouring Caribbean countries as well as taking a lead role in the Caribbean Community (CARCOM). As a key member of this organisation, Trinidad and Tobago strongly supported the United Nations effort to bring political stability to Haiti.
The country gained independence in 1962 and since then has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations Relations with the United States are strong as it looks to help Trinidad and Tobago increase investment and allow a more stable supply of energy resources.
Relations between Trinidad and Venezuela are strained as there are issues with fishing and the exploitation of cross-border petroleum reserves.
Most nationals are able to use their driving licenses for up to 90 days when driving a vehicle in the country. Alternatively an international driving permit can be used. You should drive with your windows and doors locked to prevent car theft when waiting at traffic or during slow-moving periods. Cars drive on the left hand side of the road.
The road conditions in Trinidad are thought to be in adequate condition for the main highways throughout the island however you should take car on secondary roads as these are not as well maintained. There are some narrow and winding roads in the country and these should be approached with extreme caution. There have been a number of reported cases of violent and fatal attacks along these roads caused by careless and erratic driving.
Many drivers choose to operate their vehicle whilst intoxicated and is something you should be extremely aware of, particularly at evenings and the weekend as people return from social activities. It is advised that you do not attempt to drive whilst intoxicated or enter the car with an intoxicated driver as this can lead to severe injury and fatalities.
Currency: Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD)
Time now in Port of Spain:
Most visitors are entitled to enter Trinidad and Tobago for the period of 90 days without requiring a visa, however there are some EU and British Commonwealth countries that do not qualify. If you are unsure of visa requirements, more information can be found here: Trinidad and Tobago entry requirements
Travellers’ passports must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your entry. Some visitors may be asked to provide evidence of onward travel upon entry to the country.
It is advised that visitors to Trinidad and Tobago are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus which is usually administered when you are a young baby.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in Trinidad and Tobago, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
It is recommended that if medical treatment is required, you seek private care as medical facilities in the country can be limited. In serious cases, medical evacuation may be required to Miami or another adequate region. As such, it is absolutely necessary that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance that will cover you for all medical requirements.
Trinidad and Tobago has seen a number of reported cases of the Zika virus and Chikungunya Fever. Both diseases are transmitted via mosquito bites and travellers should take the necessary precautions to avoid being bitten such as wearing appropriate clothing and mosquito nets at night time.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
There is a potential threat of natural disasters in Trinidad and Tobago. Earthquake tremors are occasionally felt in the country. Severe storm conditions and occasional hurricanes can cause disruption on the islands. Visitors are advised to monitor local news and weather updates and familiarise themselves with what to do if caught up in a natural disaster.
U.S. Embassy Port of Spain
15 Queen's Park West,
Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
Telephone: +868 622 6371
Emergency telephone: +868 622 6371, then press 1
British High Commission Port of Spain
19 St Clair Avenue,
Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago
Telephone: +868 350 0444
Other useful info
Police emergency: 999
Fire emergency: 990
Medical emergency: 990
Coastguard emergency: 634 4440