Trinidad & Tobago - Facts

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  • ALERT: Catastrophic oil spill off Tobago February 7th, 2024.
  • Trinidad & Tobago is a republic within the British Commonwealth and its wealth derives from oil, petrochemicals and natural gas, as well as tourism. Its rich culture and many festivals reflect the ethnic diversity of the population.
  • These islands are a useful base for yachts since most insurance companies now require boats to spend the hurricane season south of latitude 12°40’N, (i.e. Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela). Although hurricanes have hit these countries very rarely, they are still subject to strong tropical disturbances during the period June to November.
  • Tobago is the quieter island and the one for cruising, although there are some excellent facilities for yachts here also.
  • Cruisers come to Trinidad for hurricane storage and service facilities with its enormous concentration of yards and people to work on boats. Yachting facilities are now among the best in the Eastern Caribbean, and Chaguaramas is where the majority of marine services and boatyards are concentrated. As with anywhere else in the world, a written estimate should be agreed upon before committing to any major repair work.
  • Docking facilities have improved with the opening of a number of new marinas. Excellent sources of information are Doyle’s Guide and the Free Cruising Guides.
  • The Trinidad Carnival, held in the middle of February, is one of the best in the world. If wishing to visit then, the advance booking may be necessary to obtain a berth.
  • For information on supplies, see the General Info/Yachting Essentials section.

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Trinidad & Tobago was last updated 4 months ago.

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  1. June 23, 2023 at 12:46 AM
    segelferien says:

    Charlotteville check-in:
    No need of advance notification in any way. If you do so you might get charged extra by Jesse James from Tedsunshine…. So best is to not get in contact with him at all!
    Make sure you state as your time of entry, i.e. coming into the bay, a day and an hour within office hours (8am-4pm Mon-Fri). Otherwise you will be charged 364 TT$ extra (100 TT$ by immigration and 264 TT$ by customs) instead of 50 TT$ only.
    After arrival (take a white buoy or drop your anchor at the very SOUTHERN end of the beach) go first to the tourist office opposite the arrival pier (for your dinghy only). Within the Tourist Office there is also Health Check Clearance as well. Fill out their forms, then go up the hill to the customs and immigration building (3 minutes walk). Here the process continues by filling out many paper forms. Allow easy 2 hours for all.
    If you have no TT$ in cash you can walk to the library close by where opposite to the library entrance you find an ATM.
    The library provides you with a password to their wifi, free of charge.

  2. August 20, 2022 at 12:37 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Useful report for any cruisers considering Trinidad and Tobago for hurricane season published this month: Trinidad & Tobago: Update on Security and Safety Issues
    https://www.noonsite.com/news/trinidad-tobago-co-ordinated-effort-saves-yacht-in-distress/

  3. January 4, 2022 at 4:41 PM
    alex5609 says:

    January 2022. Trinidad remains a no-go for us.

    Rules for Grenada are simple. Requirement is a neg PCR test 72 hours prior of departure.
    Rules for Trinidad: a negative.PCR test 72 hours “before arrival” !!!
    When sailing from St.Martin I would need more than 72 hours to arrive. I confronted Peaks Boatyard in Trinidad with our request.
    First their answer, then mine:
    Happy New Year!

    I am very sorry you feel confused about Trinidad’s entry requirements.
    Unfortunately, you had not specified that you were coming from St Maarten earlier on.

    If you are coming from a country from which it would take you more that 72hours to arrive, you will need to do a PCR test upon departure, and once you arrive here, you would have to do another PCR test ($1400 TTD per person), which we understand , may be a bit restrictive, but are the current regulations in place.

    The Government’s TTravelPass website however, is the same as Pure Safe Travel used by Grenada before.

    Please do not hesitate to get back to me if you have any other questions.

    Kind regards,
    Y.

    and here is our answer:
    Please let me correct you: sailclear of Grenada and ttravelpass is a big difference in customer friendly use.

    On sailclear.com you register and all infos are permanently available after login.

    In ttravelpass you have to fill all infos in, over and over again.

    Plus, Grenada rules are: 1 pcr test 72 hours max before departure. Trinidad rule is 72 hours before arrival. That’s nearly impossible to aquire as nobody knows the weather conditions.

    And with all respect … I do not pay for a pcr test in St.Maarten and then again over USD 200 for another one in trinidad. (Beside being alone on my boat)
    That is redicoulous for a fully vaccinated person to come to Trinidad, where most people are not vaccinated.

    I’m surprised that Peaks or Powerboats have no power to convince the government of Trinidad, that this is not the way to go.

    Thank you for your time.
    I will choose sailor friendly Grenada for haul out.
    Kind regards

  4. June 15, 2019 at 10:34 AM
    mark-hoenke says:

    Morning cruisers net is channel 68 at 8:00 AM in Chaguaramos as long as there is a net controller. Boaters haul out May and June and launch September to December. There is good community in the yards at this time with loosely organized activities and tours.

  5. February 8, 2019 at 11:18 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Statement from the Ag President of YSATT (Yacht Services Association of T@T)
    Regarding the capture of 5 Trinidadian fishermen in Venezuela:

    These 5 men left from Morne Diablo on the South coast of Trinidad, some 100 miles away from Chaguaramas. The more important fact is that they went fishing up the Manosa River IN Venezuela where they were captured. There is a question being asked as to what they were actually doing up the river. So this happened inside Venezuela and not even in open waters let alone Trinidadian waters, actually not even in Venezuela waters as they were up to the river so they were really IN Venezuela.

    This is not new to Trinidad and Venezuela. There was a flourishing legal and contraband trade from the 60s onwards adapting to whatever was in demand facilitating trade both ways. The coasts, which are just 6 miles apart, are now occupied by married Spanish and Trini families living in harmony on both coasts.

    However, a loud voice can change this perception. This current incident is an isolated case involving these 5 “fishermen”. Pics on social media recently show Venezuelans with basic commodities like toilet paper, waiting in Trinidad to go back to Venezuela. All kinds of stores have popped up in the area offering a wide range of goods for Venezuelan consumption.

    So don’t let this interfere with your plans to visit Trinidad, come to have some Rum, Roti and a Red soft drink and enjoy the warmth of Trini hospitality.

  6. January 23, 2019 at 9:16 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Trinidad Tobago customs officials are very formal and usually request you to inform your detailed plans for locations and dates the boat will be staying.

    But you may ask the customs official to register your intent for a general “bay hopping” instead. This is particularly useful if you wish to extend the 4h departure rule: they can allow you, for instance, to check out but then spend the night along the north coast of Trinidad on your way to Tobago. But you have to ask nicely and insist :).

  7. November 21, 2018 at 4:59 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    We have just left Chaguaramas, where our boat was stored at Peake for 8 weeks. We spent our time in Europe. When we got back the work that Peake was supposed to do on the boat was not done. They were supposed to grind off all the filler under the keel bulb, refill, fair, apply 2 coats of primer and antifoul. All that they had done was slap some filler onto the “old Filler” and gone over it with some sandpaper.

    A long, long shot from what was promised and certainly not worth the $560 US. In the end, we faired, applied the primer (our own) and applied the antifouling. Peak charged us the US $480 for approx 1 hour bodging! I complained bitterly and got a discount of US $95! They had us over a barrel as our boat was in the travel lift waiting to go into the water as they presented us with the bill. Also, the 6 gallons of antifouling was charged to us at the US $495 per Gallon! this is over the US $100 per gallon over the price elsewhere for the same paint!

    When we were at peaks, we were very surprised that 90% of all the work being done on boats was through “outside” contractors, I was told the reason was that Peake workers were not good and much more expensive. I can vouch for this and can only warn people to not have anything done by Peake, unless they have an itemized and thorough costing, in writing. And very important- only when you are standing by all the time to check what is done.

    We had 4 young guys standing around smoking and joking but certainly not working, luckily we had a fixed price, otherwise, they would have billed us for 4 hours at the US $35 for these guys. Peake is fine for storage, everybody is friendly and helpful, but never again would I let them do anything on our boat.

  8. July 21, 2018 at 3:13 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Update regarding visas for Australians arriving on private yachts. You must get a visa and it will cost TT400 per person.
    Jeff O’Connor
    SV Nawii

  9. June 29, 2018 at 1:07 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    ATTN: Cruisers with Pets

    We are planning to arrive in Trinidad August 2018 with our dog aboard and subsequently fly him out for the summer season. I began to follow the recommendations as posted here.

    I have since learned that Trinidad has a new “in transit” procedure for this situation. Until the regulations are clear, I encourage anyone wishing to sail to Trinidad with a pet to contact Jesse James at [email protected], mobile number +1 868 6835202. Jesse will guide you according to your personal situation!

    Kristiann Gips
    s/v Allende

  10. June 12, 2018 at 4:58 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Posted on behalf of SV Bad Bunny:
    Extra Fee on Departure Time in Trinidad

    We stayed for about three months in Chaguaramas for major boat refurbishment. We hired many local contractors and were pleased with the results. During our short stay, we met great people in Trinidad and liked the workers in Peake Yacht Services.

    I want you to be aware of “how to answer your departure time to a custom’s officer”. We went to the customs office around 1:30 pm on Friday, May 11, 2018, during normal office hours. The custom’s person asked us for our departure time. I answered her at 5 pm. Our customs paperwork was completed around 2 pm but we had to pay an extra fee for departure tax and harbour charge (about 235 Trinidadian Dollars = 35 USD).

    The customs lady explained to us that this fee occurs because we plan to leave at 5 pm, not before 4 pm. If we had responded to her at 3:59 pm (to be safe), we would not have had to pay this additional fee. We told the lady, in that case, we want to leave at 4 pm. The official told us it cannot be changed because we already told her we plan to leave at 5 pm.

    We had a great time in Trinidad, and the additional fee isn’t that much; however, I felt like a fool with this Trinidadian Customs rule: “Paying an overtime fee even though we processed our paperwork during their normal office hours.”

    Be aware, when you are asked about your departure time, make sure to answer that it is 3:59 pm. (Don’t say 4 pm because they might say we are closed then.)

    John (S/V Bad Bunny

  11. August 16, 2017 at 4:57 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Sargassum hits Tobago:
    Reported by Joan Conover 10 August 2017.
    Tobago has its beaches full of Sargassum weed. There is currently no solution to this problem. An online site to track Sargassum weed via satellite images is in development – lots of discussions right now about what to do about this problem.
    Search “Sargassum” on noonsite for latest news items.

  12. May 13, 2017 at 10:56 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Update on Tobago from SY Keyif, 19/2/2017 to 23/2/2017

    We had reached Scarborough early in the morning after a 24 day, 19-hour passage from St. Helena.
    The anchoring space was extremely limited, and even with our shallow draft boat of 1m, we were unable to fit our 45ft monohull Keyif into the place we were ordered by the Port Master.
    So we stayed only for an hour, not to be in the way of the ferries running back and forth from Trinidad. The immigration officers were very friendly, but it was expensive to check in as we arrived on a Sunday.

    The check-in procedure with the customs was also expensive but went relatively smoothly, after which we anchored in Store Bay, 9 miles south.
    The sea was inviting, but the never-ending parade of jet skis made swimming a frightening experience. The life ashore was pretty mediocre, with bad infrastructure and shabby tourist establishments.

    The fresh vegetables and fruit were hard to find, and the prices were surprisingly high.
    We are runners, and ran from Store Bay to town and back, also did some other runs nearby, but found the island to be generally not very friendly. Not worth a visit at all, and pretty disappointing after a long passage.

    The check out in customs turned out to be terrifying for me. We are used to bureaucracy and have dealt very successfully with sometimes difficult officials all over the world during our five-year circumnavigation, and being from a country famous for its bureaucracy, we are proud of our ability to handle delicate situations with extreme care. Never in our lives at sea or on land, had we experienced such unpleasantness, leading to terror.

    The customs official had previously stated that he did not need to see the captain on check out. So my husband stayed on the boat, and I took the bus to town to finish the check out procedures. Upon arrival in customs, there was another officer who asked if I was the captain, and when I said ‘For now, yes’, accused me of lying to him.

    I apologised and reminded him that this was a two person small sailboat, so it did not really matter who the captain was, upon which he said I was insulting an official of the government, and he would call the police and have me jailed. In spite of my profuse apologies and explanations, I was not allowed to leave, but to sit and wait for the police.

    After the official left the room, I waited for some nerve-wracking minutes. Eventually, one of the other officials who had witnessed the whole affair took and secretly stamped my papers to let me go. As I was leaving, the one who wanted to have me jailed came to create another scene, and the two ended up fighting while I quickly escaped.

    I would never visit Tobago again, and never advise anyone to do so. There are so many islands to choose from in the Caribbean, one more beautiful than the other, and Tobago is definitely not worth the effort or the expense

  13. May 13, 2017 at 10:55 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Update on Trinidad from SY Keyif 24-28/2/2017

    Keyif was in Crews Inn Marina for the Trinidad Carnival. We thought this to be the perfect ending to our five-year circumnavigation. We would like to thank Mr Jesse James for taking unbelievably good care of us during our stay and making sure we had a fantastic time. Without him, we could never have experienced the Carnival so intensely, so easily and so safely.

    However, the Carnival was a disappointment for those of us searching for the authentic experience. It has become a big touristic attraction, full of paying guests from the US and Europe who do not know how to dance, in fact, the outsiders in some bands outnumber locals, and there are no show but clothes.

    Crews Inn Marina has an excellent, rather inexpensive do it yourself laundry, good pool, very efficient and helpful dockmaster, OK wifi. Beware the mosquitos and the secretarial staff. Especially the lady supervisor is extremely rude and unpleasant.

    The customs in Trinidad are on the marina premises in Crews Inn, and they are very helpful. However, it costs a lot to check in and out after hours. Even if you finish your check out the procedure within working hours, you still must pay if your actual leaving time is after 16:00.

    The immigration officer played an unpleasant trick and made us wait for half an hour until it was 16:05, then made us pay for overtime. In total, we paid nearly 350$ for a five-person crew, three of which joined us in Trinidad, an exorbitant amount when you compare with the other islands of the Caribbean.

    Apart from hauling out for the hurricane season, there is nothing in Trinidad that appeals to a long distance cruiser. Then there is the biggest drawback to hauling out there, the hassles with immigration and customs! So no more Trini for Keyif and crew.

  14. October 6, 2016 at 1:52 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    From http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20160930/news/millionaire-tax-coming
    Sep. 30th 2016
    Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced during the reading of the 2016-2017 Budget today that foreign yacht repair services will be made a VAT exempt service for yacht owners. This in keeping with international best practice and will take effect in the first quarter of 2017

  15. March 14, 2016 at 2:51 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Posted on behalf of Captain Peter:

    Few tips to sailors approaching or leaving Trinidad. Don’t use the south entrance into the Gulf of Paria if you’re coming from East, come in between Tobago and Trinidad, then enter the first most Easterly Bocas and head into Chaguaramas. If you’re coming from North ( Grenada ) keep east so you can enter the East Bocas, don’t let the current push your boat West so you end up entering the Bocas having border to Venezuela.

  16. March 4, 2016 at 11:51 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Our Experience with Trinidad Customs – Forwarded by SV Tegan 1, 2 March 2016:

    We checked out of Trinidad on Feb 10, 2016, and at that time Customs told us that even though Immigration gives you 24 hours to depart, Customs gives you only 4 hours. ALSO, if you actually depart (or arrive for that matter) outside of regular office hours (0800-1200, 1300-1600 hrs, Mon-Fri) you will be charged overtime.

    For example – we were in the office on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 15:30, but because we told them we were leaving at 19:00 we were charged 193.40$TT overtime, plus 10$TT for ‘Harbour Master fees”, on top of the ‘Harbour fees’.

    Janet Pinder
    SV TEGAN I

  17. August 6, 2015 at 3:48 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Our experience with officials in Scarborough was the opposite. We arrived in Store bay after an overnight from Trinidad and took a bus to Scarborough where we found out that we were not legally allowed to be there, having cleared from Trinidad for Granada, not Tobago.

    We explained that it was our mistake, a misunderstanding of the rules, and after several immigration and customs officials discussed it, they accepted our explanations and allowed us to clear it up by checking in and out, or something I am not sure what, with a few papers and a lot of passport stamping, but at no cost to us, and we were fine.

    They were understanding and patient with us. So I guess it just depends on who you talk to and what attitude everyone present is having that day. We loved Tobago and spent a couple of weeks there, stopping in many of the bays. Charlotteville was our favourite even though it rained a lot and I ruined my phone by jumping out of the dingy at the beach just as a wave came in. Oh Well. At least the rain allowed us to fill our tanks.

  18. January 31, 2015 at 3:46 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Upon arriving in Tobago from Trinidad, we checked in immediately in Scarborough. While our immigration papers were in order we were missing one paper for Customs. They immediately confiscated our papers and scheduled a hearing for two days forth. At that hearing, we explained that it was an innocent and unintentional mistake to have not filled out one form and that it was our intention to comply.

    We went before a hearing officer and were fined $3000.00 TT. Upon reflection of all factors and the severe penalty for a minor error, we were only able to account for the highly punitive measures as a reflection of prejudice. We are white, we are cruisers, and we are from the USA. Tobago is not a place one should go unless they are interested in patronising an island that doesn’t value them.

    While Trinidad is completely different and many there were wonderful to us, Tobago is in our opinion a place to be avoided. If you do go, be forewarned that Customs is a nightmare and you will be at risk of their arbitrary and capricious behaviour.

  19. January 14, 2015 at 4:45 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    There is a great resource for cruisers in Trinidad named Jesse James. Jesse has been assisting cruisers in Trinidad for many years and is the SSCA Station Host in Trinidad as well.
    Jesse may be contacted at jessejamesmembersonly[at]yahoo[dot]com

  20. November 13, 2013 at 1:45 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Tobago, Buccoo Reef and Speyside: New buoys installed November 2013 to record climate change, coral bleaching, and changes in the reefs. Take care if navigating in these areas.

  21. October 25, 2013 at 12:44 PM
    Data Entry2 says:

    Update for Australian visitors to Tobago.

    We arrived from Grenada yesterday and went to Immigration at the port in Scarborough. On presenting our Australian passports we were advised that Australians require visas (TTD$400 or USD$67).

    We questioned this as we had visited last year and didn’t have to pay anything even though I had read up that Australians require a visa. However, I had queried this with various Australian friends and no -one had come across this.

    The Immigration Officer went to confirm this and came back with the information that CREW on yachts are NOT required to have a visa! But tourists entering by plane or ferry DO require visas!
    Lynne Sands, SV Amarula

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