Scuba Diving Trinidad and Tobago
This region is known as the “drift diving capital of the Caribbean,” due to its profuse amount of drift diving locales.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelago state in the southern Caribbean, lying northeast of the South American nation of Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.
Trinidad: Carnival, a pre-Lenten fest marked by calypso and masquerade parties; Duvali, when hundreds of oil lamps are lit in commemoration of the Hindu goddess of light; Phagwa, in celebration of the vernal equinox and new year; and Hosay, which memorializes the murders of Mohammed’s grandsons Hussein and Hassan. The fact that these festivals are equally important to the locals is reflective of the country’s multicultural composition and worldly view.
Tobago, low key and underdeveloped, is considerably more serene than Trinidad — it’s where Trinidadians go on vacation to escape the cosmopolitan pace of their own island. It has sheer cliffs and volcanic mountains covered in rainforests. White-sand beaches scallop the west coast. Buccoo Reef, a marine park of shallow coral formations, and the Nylon Pool, with its soft sandy bottom and crystal water, lie off the southwest coast.
SCUBA DIVING TRINIDAD
Trinidad is the only Caribbean island that does not have the clear blue waters typically associated with our location, this is due mainly to the emptying of the Orinoco river into our waters. The diving here has been compared by many as being similar to “back home” in England, or the lakes and quarries of North America. On the positive side the plankton and nutrient rich waters that feed into the Trinidad waters support some of the largest Manta Rays, Whale sharks and such marine life, not usually seen in the numbers that they are seen here, elsewhere in the Caribbean.
SCUBA DIVING TOBAGO
Rich and colourful shallow water reefs surround Tobago, making it easy for you to explore the island’s spectacular aquatic communities by scuba diving or snorkeling from shore.
Prepare yourself for a wild ride when you dive the reefs of Tobago. This small island sits like a boulder in the middle of the Guyana Current, which reaches Tobago (and its sister island Trinidad) from South America, where the current picks up an infusion of nutrients from Venezuela’s mighty Orinoco River. As a result, divers find top-notch reefs and marine life, ranging from tiny tropical fish to massive manta rays, and drift diving with the Guyana is spectacular. On the northern end of the island you’ll find swift currents, colorful sponges and abundant hard and soft coral growth. On the southern end, slower-paced shallow reefs and mini-walls are popular. Tobago also features large pelagics like sharks and dolphins thanks to its proximity to the open ocean.
The waters around Tobago support approximately 300 different species of coral, including staghorn, elkhorn, fire coral, giant tube sponges and starlet coral. There is also a broad range of reefs, rock pillars, wrecks and extravagant undersea gardens filled with giant sea fans, whips and plumes. Remarkable sites exist off Speyside, Little Tobago and Goat Island on the northeastern side of Tobago where you can drift dive along reefs with sponges the size of bathtubs and bushes of black coral. On the southeast coast are the exceptionally clear Nylon Pool and Buccoo Reef National Park.
During the months of March to July, Manta Reef is the place to see giant rays, although divers also encounter dolphins, marine turtles and sharks.
A favorite drift spot is the Japanese Gardens, where divers glide along a large coral reef and through a rocky crevice referred to as “Kamikaze Cut.”
Dive Season – You can dive the Trinidad & Tobago all year long, but the tropical, rainy season runs from October to January. Hurricane season is June to the end of November.
Visibility – Generally the visibility runs 40-100 feet. While the weather is consistently good year-round, during the rainy season (roughly October to January) visibility can dip below the usual 20-60 feet.
Water Temperature – The weather in Trinidad & Tobago is very consistent year-round with temperatures not varying much. Although people generally assume it’s going to be much hotter in the summer than in the winter months, that is normally not the case. Daytime highs near the coastal areas range from about 22 to 30 degrees Celsius (72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Currents – Mostly mild, but can vary by location
Weather – Warm tropical weather is the norm, with little change in temperature from winter to summer. Average annual temperature is 85° F/29.4° C. Humidity is usually high, especially from May to September.
Diving Skill Level – Divers of all levels will find the Trinidad & Tobago exciting.
Dive Access – Most of the diving is via boat. Although Trinidad & Tobago also offers accessible shore diving to great coral reefs with little to no current.
Featured Creatures – Diving here offers excellent opportunities for encounters with frogfish, seahorses, colorful mollusks, crustaceans, anemones and tunicates. Divers will be enthralled by the variety of marine creatures to see – and underwater photographers will think it’s a dream come true. Other resident creatures often spotted here include nurse sharks, lobsters, octopus and squid. Visiting squadrons of eagle rays and manta rays are frequently sighted, and patrolling reef sharks
CLIMATE: Trinidad and Tobago has a warm, sunny climate year round. The average daytime temperature is about 75 to 85 F.. Our islands have two main seasons, the Dry Season, from January to May and the Rainy Season, from June to December. In the Rainy Season, mornings are usually sunny, followed by rainy afternoons and fair nights. During this time, our general rainfall pattern is interrupted by days of brilliant sunshine.
LANGUAGE: The official language of Trinidad and Tobago is English, but Spanish and to a lesser extent French patois, Hindi and Chinese is spoken by some segments of the population through culture and heritage.
ELECTRICITY: 110/220 volts. If this voltage is different from your home country, some hotels offer adapters to their guests or adaptors can be purchased from local hardware and electrical stores.
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: The local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar. US dollars are widely accepted at an approximate rate of TT $6 to US $1 and you can find rate information.
GRATUITIES: This is left to your own discretion; however you can follow the guidelines: Taxi Drivers: 10% of the fare. Service Staff at a Restaurant: 10 to 15 % of total bill. Spa Attendants: 10% of total bill.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: With two cellular phone service providers in Trinidad and Tobago – Digicel and the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) – it’s easy to stay connected. Even if you decide to leave your laptop at home, sending and receiving e-mail, chatting online or surfing the World Wide Web is simple and cheap. Internet cafes are very popular in T&T and rates start at US .80 cents per hour (there may be an extra charge for the use of webcams, printers and other accessories). Internet access is free at all public libraries with a library membership card.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: Business travelers and tourists must produce passports valid for three months longer than the intended stay and a return ticket, for entry into Trinidad and Tobago. For tourism and business related visits of up to 90 days, visas are not required for citizens of the United States, Caricom (except Haiti), European Union and British Commonwealth with the exception of some countries. More Information
CUSTOMS: For passengers over 17 years: free import of 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1/2lb. of tobacco and of one quart of wine or portable spirits (opened bottle). Duty shall be paid on the whole quantity if any passenger imports a quantity of alcoholic beverages and/or tobacco products exceeding those specified.
DEPARTURE TAX: Departure Tax Fee $100.00 TT (adults and minors 5 years and over) A person in transit for 48 hours or less is not required to pay the departure tax fee.
CARNIVAL: Trinidad’s Carnival is an explosion of color, music, revelry, and creativity! Nothing on earth can rival the euphoria and stunning spectacle of our festival! With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled stamina for partying, Trinidad’s Carnival is often described as the greatest show on earth! A time for release and everyone is invited to join the party.
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