Trinidad is my land and of it I am proud and glad
But I can’t understand why some people does talk it bad
But I know all of dem who running dey mouth
Don’t know what dey talkin ’bout
They will paint here black every day
And the right things they would never say — Portrait of Trinidad, Mighty Sniper
I was born and raised in Trinidad, and migrated to America when I was 19. When I left for college, I didn’t think for a second that I wouldn’t be moving back home after graduation. But life is that way sometimes. It has been 18 years since I lived in Trinidad. Almost as long as I lived there. So crazy to contemplate. I’ve returned home to visit my family most of those 18 years, but my trips home are centered around family and familiar places. When I go home, I usually stay home. So when my American friends ask me questions about Trinidad, like where to stay, which restaurants to check out, where to go and what to do, my answers based on personal experience are limited at best, dated at worst.
This last trip was different and delightful. I stayed in two different hotels, tried out several restaurants and revisited some old classics, and showed my friends from EDEN BodyWorks some of the most beautiful places and vistas. We hosted a magnificent event — click here to see my recap! My brother Dominic and his friend Bert came with us as unofficial tour guides, to make sure we got the best shots and were in safe places. For the first time, I truly got to experience Trinidad like a tourist, and see my homeland through a tourist’s eyes. It was fascinating and eye-opening and awesome. It was a dream come true. I got to work with one of my favorite hair brands to take home the message of self love and natural hair care and celebration, see my family, and share my country like I’ve always wanted to. It was a beautiful experience. Let me tell you where we went and what we did, so if you visit (or live there) you’ll know! Ready? Let’s go!
Where I stayed
When my husband and I arrived, we checked into the Hyatt Trinidad. It’s a beautiful hotel, complete with the amenities and standard of customer service you’d be used to elsewhere. We were very happy with our stay.
Breakfast was especially bomb, the eggplant choka was everything!
My husband headed back to Chicago and after checking out of the Hyatt, I checked into the Kapok Hotel with the EDEN crew. The Kapok is also lovely, it’s an older boutique hotel that’s been upgraded in recent years. My room was really comfortable and had a beautiful view of Trini hills. I’d totally stay at the Kapok again.
The view from my room at the @kapokhotel in #trinidad- wraparound views of the lush hills. I miss this kind of view, my bedroom overlooked the hills as a little one! Kapok is one of Trinidad’s older hotels but it’s very comfortable, conveniently located and has great restaurants. I really enjoyed my stay! #EDENGoesGlobal
Where I ate
We had some late nights and early mornings on this trip, and convenience led us to the restaurants at Kapok. Both were really good! I’d been to Tiki Village as a little one and I remember loving the fruit punch and the shrimp. It was a pleasure to return. We had breakfast there (I loved the pumpkin choka) and the views from the restaurant are spectacular.
Downstairs is a chic little pizza place (with an extensive menu of other things) called Kava. Super cute, great cocktails, I enjoyed everything I had. Well done, Kapok! On Friday night there was a decent crowd and a fun vibe. Totally would recommend.
I met up with my friend, journalist Laura Dowrich-Phillips (click here to read the piece she wrote about me, Trinis Making Waves Abroad) and we had a GREAT lunch at this really cool food truck on Maraval Road called G Spot — check out their Instagram! They seem to have a cool scene there and the food was incredibly delicious.
One restaurant I LOVE and always try to return to whenever I visit, is Veni Mange. The ambiance is so 100% Trini, the walls are covered in vibrant art and the tables are bright and bold. And THE FOOD. I had the BEST oxtails. And rum punch. And we got to vibe with the owner, Roses Hezekiah, who is one of a kind. I was such a happy woman.
Where We Went
One of the coolest parts of the trip was touring Trinidad with the EDEN BodyWorks crew. Cameraman Alzo Slade captured the magic. Here’s where we went!
First stop, the Royal Botanic Gardens — fun fact, one of the oldest in the world!
The gardens were established in 1818! They’re right next to the Emperor Valley Zoo, so if you’re visiting Trinidad with kids this is a natural place to gravitate towards.
At the very top of the hill, two Afrobella fans approached me to say that they were inspired to go natural because of my blog. Such a heartwarming, affirming moment <3
We ended the day with fresh coconut water from a vendor and sno cones from the one and only Lil Prince around the Savannah. If you visit Trinidad, check him out — across from Queen’s Royal College. He told us his business is a family business, around for 50 years!
Nothing like fresh coconut water. Can you feel my bliss? I’m in my element!
The next morning we headed around the Savannah again, to get a better look of the Magnificent Seven — seven of the most historic and grand buildings in Trinidad. Some are in crumbling condition. Others have been or are in the process of being restored. I was truly enthralled by the current condition of Stollmeyer’s Castle and Roomor, which we got lucky enough to snap a few pics in front of.
This is someone’s house! #goals
My skirt is by Trini-born designer Nicole & Madeline, by the way!
That afternoon we headed down to Chaguaramas for lunch and cocktails at Crews Inn. Jasmine and I got the same drink and it was GOOD.
Crews Inn has a beautiful ambiance and delicious items (but there were some service issues. I can’t lie).
Our event was on the 13th. The next day we woke up early to hit Santa Cruz Green Market. It was my first time going and I had a BLAST. And so did my friends from EDEN!
From left to right — Tia, Renae, Jasmine, Ylorie and Ellisa!
It was a beautiful day for running into old friends. Here I am with one of my childhood teachers, Mrs. Jagbir!! She knew me when I was FOUR! Doesn’t she look great??
I got great goodies at the market — local honey, herbs, jewelry, spices and soaps.
Some of the goodies I bought at the #greenmarketsantacruztt – @greenmarketsantacruz Las Cuevas honey and a special honey cinnamon blend by #ambroseandmarva, tumeric and goat milk soap by Mountain Rose bath and body treats, and dehydrated callaloo and shadon beni by Tropickle Foods #trinidadandtobago #trinidad #trinitings
A photo posted by Afrobella (@afrobella) on
And then it was on the road.
Had to stop at the famous lookout point. Clouds were rolling in, but it was so beautiful anyway. And we bought mango chow and pineapple chow to snack on as we pushed forward.
No trip to Trinidad would be complete without a trip to Maracas Bay and a shark and bake. Of course we went to Richard’s. And look, the man himself.
EDEN BodyWorks made it to Maracas Bay!
We had a beautiful time, and of course we all got our feet wet (just a little).
We ended the trip with a visit to the Bamboo Cathedral. One of my favorite places to be. You can hear the rustling of the leaves and howler monkeys in the distance.
The trip ended so quickly and there was so much more to see and do! Next time I go home, I plan to spend more time outside of Port of Spain and to visit places I’ve never been before. This trip whizzed by quickly, but the happy memories are still with me.
Thanks again to EDEN BodyWorks for allowing me to help kick off #EDENGoesGlobal! Have so much fun on your upcoming journeys!