Trinidad and Tobago - Landmarks and Points of Interest

One of the first nature centers in the Caribbean, the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) sits seven miles north of Arima in the Northern Mountain Range. The nearly 1,500 acre property includes land in the Arima and Aripo Valleys, with the Centre's primary facility at Spring Hill Estate, a former cocoa, coffee and citrus plantation. The AWNC is best known for its bird watching and includes a breeding colony for the Oilbird—Trinidad is home to an estimated 450 birds, 55 reptiles, 25 amphibians and 617 butterflies, many of which can be observed at the AWNC. Visitors may want to stop by the Centre during Trinidad's dry season, between January and May, when most vegetation is in bloom.

Brazilian monks fleeing religious persecution founded Mount St. Benedict Abbey in 1912. The monastery, located 25 minutes from Port of Spain, is the oldest in the Caribbean and—at 800 feet above sea level in the Northern Range—is another good choice for birders to spot any number of local species. 

A labor of love and devotion, the Temple in the Sea at Waterloo was originally built by an Indian immigrant named Sewdass Sadhu in 1947 on land owned by a sugar company. The structure was demolished because the land did not belong to Sadhu and he went on to spend time in prison and pay a fine for his actions. Upon release, Sadhu vowed to rebuild the temple in land that belonged to no one—so he built it in the sea. Over 25 years, he hauled materials into the water and slowly created his new structure. In the mid 1990s, the temple was refurbished and a pedestrian walkway was added so visitors can easily access the house of worship.

Tobago's Fort King George, built in the 1770s, offers grand views of the ocean and coast from its perch on the south side of the island. Visitors will enjoy one of the island's best preserved monuments, complete with a prison, barracks and cannons positioned over the cliffs in addition to an arts centre and The Tobago Museum, with its collection of antique maps and Amerindian artifacts.

Tobago is also the home of perhaps literature's most famous marooned mariner—Robinson Crusoe. Visitors to Crown Point can, for a small fee, see Crusoe's Cave, the purported shelter of Crusoe during his fictitious sojourn on the island.

Off the northeast side of Tobago is Bird of Paradise Island (also called Little Tobago Island). This small piece of land is only one mile long, but it serves as a habitat for an extensive collection of birds. The island was owned during the early 1900s by Sir William Ingram, who brought over birds of paradise from New Guinea in hopes of using the island as a breeding colony for the birds. Following Ingram's death in 1924, the island was turned over to the government on the condition that it be used as a bird sanctuary.

Cricket is something of a religion in Trinidad and Tobago, where players have the good fortune to play on the largest cricket ground in the Caribbean, the Queen's Park Oval. The Queen's Park Cricket Club (QPCC) was founded in 1891 and now boasts 2,700 members, but The QPCC is only one of many cricket clubs throughout the country whose members play for glory and for entertainment. Cricket was brought to Trinidad and Tobago by English soldiers, and was eagerly adopted by West Indian planters; it continues to amuse, preoccupy and frustrate players and fans alike.

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