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Trinidad and Tobago

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Trinidad and Tobago because of the very high levels of serious crime, including violent crime. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • Terrorist attacks are possible in Trinidad and Tobago. Religious holidays and large crowds could be targeted. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible security threats. See Safety and security.
  • Be aware that some beaches are not safe after twilight. Both popular and isolated beaches have been targeted by criminals. See Safety and security.
  • Avoid downtown Port of Spain at night, as tourists have been robbed and/or assaulted at gunpoint.
  • Be extra alert when travelling to or from Piarco Airport caused by the risk of robbery, carjacking and accidents due to erratic driving.

  • The hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services may occur. See Additional information.
  • See Travel smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Australians travelling to Trinidad and Tobago for tourism purposes can pay a visa waiver fee to Immigration Services upon arrival at the airport. The fee has to be paid in cash.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of Trinidad and Tobago for up-to-date information. There is no High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of Trinidad and Tobago in Australia. To find your nearest High Commission, Embassy or Consulate, see the website of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If you're travelling to Trinidad and Tobago through the United States, or transiting through any US point of entry, you must meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa requirements with your nearest US Embassy or Consulate well in advance of your travel.

More information: Travel advice for the United States of America

Trinidad is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that all travellers be vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to the island of Trinidad.

As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, we recommend that you check the yellow fever entry requirements for Trinidad and Tobago and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the Department of Health website.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to obtain access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible. You can either:

Safety and security

Crime

The number of violent crimes, including murders, kidnapping, shootings, armed robbery, rape and home invasions, remains very high on both islands. Serious crimes against expatriates and tourists have been reported. The inability of the authorities to catch and prosecute offenders also remains a concern.

Visitors can be affected by gang and drug-related crime anywhere in Trinidad and Tobago. Avoid downtown Port of Spain at night as tourists have been robbed and assaulted at gunpoint. Cruise ship passengers should also take care around the docks.

Attacks, including the use of firearms, have occurred at popular tourist sites, hairdressing salons, licensed premises and in car parks of supermarkets, shopping malls and banks. Care should be taken when withdrawing money from ATMs, especially at night. Some areas to avoid in the Port of Spain area include Sea Lots, Belmont, Laventille, Morvant, Beetham and as far as Barataria to the east, and Cocorite to the west. Avoid the interior of the Queens Park Savannah, Lady Young Road and scenic rest stops after dark.

Crimes of opportunity, including theft and robberies, rise significantly in the lead-up to Christmas until the end of Carnival, which is usually held in February or March.

Crimes targeting foreigners have been reported at popular tourist sites such as Maracas and Las Cuevas beaches, Fort George and the La Brea Pitch Lake in south Trinidad. Remain alert at all times and avoid staying in these areas at night. Tourists and foreign nationals have been victims of opportunistic crime in Tobago. Avoid even during the day, visiting isolated beaches, such as Englishman's Bay, King Peter's Bay and the Bacolet area. Tourists have also been robbed at popular waterfalls.

Tourists have been robbed when travelling from Piarco Airport. There have been incidents of violent theft by gangs who follow cars travelling from the airport and attack their victims when they reach their destinations. Avoid travel on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt Highway (which is also the airport route) late at night, as robberies, assaults and carjackings have occurred when travellers have stopped on this section of road. If your vehicle breaks down or you are in an accident on this highway, remove yourself from the area to a safe location before you seek assistance. There have also been reports of attempts to illegally block traffic along Lady Young Road, which is an alternate airport route close to the city of Port of Spain. There have also been fatal accidents caused by erratic driving to and from Piarco International airport, so take care and exercise caution when using these roads.

Avoid shared, route and maxi-taxis, as they pick up additional passengers along the route. Crimes including rapes, assaults and robberies have taken place inside shared taxis. It is highly recommended that females avoid traveling alone, particularly at night or in secluded areas. All other forms of public transport should also be avoided in favour of safer means of transport, such as taxis affiliated with major hotels or private taxis. See Local travel.

Petty crime including bag snatching, pick-pocketing and theft from cars is common, especially near tourist attractions. Visible items left in unattended parked cars are prime targets for smash-and-grab style theft. Ensure that a high level of security is in place at your accommodation, including in private villas.

Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.

Terrorism

Terrorist attacks are possible in Trinidad and Tobago. Religious holidays and large crowds could be targeted. Although there have been no recent attacks in Trinidad and Tobago, on 8 February 2018 Trinidad and Tobago authorities arrested some individuals who planned to carry out attacks against Carnival. More than 100 Trinidad and Tobago nationals have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Daesh (ISIL) and are likely to pose a security threat on return. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible security threats.

On 1 November 2017, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago approved a national counter-terrorism strategy, and drafted an action plan to address violent extremism. The Minister of National Security has spoken publically about Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to tackle terrorism and violent extremism.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

Avoid demonstrations, protests and large gatherings, as they may turn violent.

Money and valuables

Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports.

Local travel

Driving in Trinidad and Tobago can be hazardous due to poorly maintained roads, local driving practices and traffic congestion. High-speed accidents, particularly along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, often result in fatalities. According to the World Health Organization, you're around three times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Trinidad and Tobago than in Australia. Conditions on rural and mountain roads are particularly hazardous. Avoid driving at night, unless on major highways.

The road from Port of Spain to the popular Maracas beach area is narrow, windy, poorly maintained, subject to landslides and busy; road users often drive in a dangerous manner.

Avoid travel outside major populated areas and to and from the Piarco International Airport late at night and in the early hours of the morning.

Avoid shared, route and 'maxi taxis' (mini-buses). Use the private taxis available at airports and hotels. Private taxis in Trinidad and Tobago are unmetered and unmarked but can be identified by vehicle registration plates beginning with ‘H’. The airport is served by the Airport Taxi Drivers' Cooperative. See Safety and security.

More information: Road safety and driving

Sea travel

An inter-island ferry operates between Trinidad and Tobago. Cancellations may occur with little or no notice. Check the status of your travel with the Port Authority.

A water taxi operates between Port of Spain and San Fernando. Purchase tickets at water taxi terminals.

Airline safety

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Trinidad and Tobago.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to the local laws and penalties, of Trinidad and Tobago, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular services charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and possession of even small quantities of illegal drugs, including marijuana, may lead to imprisonment. When departing, visitors are thoroughly screened for drug possession. More information: Carrying or using drugs

It's against the law in Trinidad and Tobago to use mobile phones while driving, except in ‘hands-free’ or Bluetooth mode. The penalty for talking or texting while driving is US$240 or three months imprisonment. Trinidad and Tobago police administer tests at unannounced check-points and conduct traffic stops when driving under the influence is suspected.

Penalties for some serious crimes, including murder and treason, include the death penalty.

Homosexuality is illegal. Penalties include imprisonment ranging from five years to life, but this legislation isn’t often enforced. More information: LGBTI travellers

Public nudity in non-designated areas and indecent language, such as cursing, can lead to arrest.

It is illegal for civilians to wear army or police camouflage clothing.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Health

Get comprehensive travel insurance to cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

More informaiton:

The standard of medical facilities in Trinidad and Tobago is variable. Costs at public hospitals range from free for general problems to very expensive for complicated procedures. At private hospitals, where treatment can be very expensive, patients are required to make a down payment in local currency. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to Miami may be necessary, costing from US$30,000.

Tobago has one decompression chamber which is located in Roxborough in the north of the island.

The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Trinidad and Tobago is high. Take precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Trinidad is listed by the WHO as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. Get vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to the island of Trinidad. See Entry and exit for information about vaccination certificate requirements.

More information: Department of Health

Mosquito-borne illnesses occur commonly in Trinidad and Tobago, especially during the rainy season (June to December). Seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache as they are symptoms of both dengue fever and chikungunya virus. Take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose-fitting, light-coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

There is widespread transmission of Zika virus in Trinidad and Tobago. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas.

More information:

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis A) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. 

  • Boil drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.

Where to get help

Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurance provider in the first instance.

Emergencies

  • Police: 999
  • Fire services: 990
  • Ambulance: 990 or 811.

Tourism products and services

If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular services charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas. For consular assistance, see contact details below.

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain

18 Herbert Street, St Clair
Port of Spain
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Telephone: (1 868) 822 5450
Fax: (1 868) 822 5490
Website: trinidadandtobago.highcommission.gov.au
Email: ahc.portofspain@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in the Caribbean

See the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

​Additional ​information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

Hurricanes

The hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services may occur. Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Trinidad and Tobago is rarely affected by hurricanes but can experience severe storm conditions. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning. Check the latest information on hurricane or severe weather conditions at the National Hurricane and Tropical Prediction Center, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

In the event of an approaching hurricane, identify your local shelter. Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. Contact your airline for the latest flight information. The hurricane could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe hurricane may not be available to all who may choose to stay. Familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. Carry your travel documents (passport, picture IDs) at all times or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. Contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

More information: Severe weather

If you're travelling to Trinidad and Tobago during hurricane season, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.

Earthquakes

Trinidad and Tobago is located in an active seismic zone and  subject to earthquakes. You can find out further information on earthquakes from Trinidad and Tobago's Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management and the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre.

More information:

If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Additional resources