Safety and security
There is a high level of gang related violent crime in Trinidad, particularly in the inner city neighbourhoods east of Port of Spain’s city centre, Laventille, Morvant and Barataria. This crime tends to occur within local communities but can sometimes affect visitors. There’s a higher risk from opportunistic crime during the festive period and carnival season.
If possible, avoid travel outside major populated areas late at night and before dawn. There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by erratic driving to and from Piarco International airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt highway and Lady Young Road. There have been some recent disturbances in the Beetham area that have caused major disruption to traffic on the highway.
Always drive with windows closed and doors locked.
Use hotel or pre-booked taxis and drivers who work with set fares. Private taxis in Trinidad and Tobago are unmetered and unmarked but can be identified by vehicle registration plates beginning with ‘H’. They can take the form of either a private car or ‘maxi taxi’ minibus. Some vehicles with ‘P’ registration plates offer informal taxi services illegally. Crimes including rape, assault, robbery and theft have taken place in private cars and maxi taxis.
You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Don’t walk alone in deserted areas even in daylight. Take care when withdrawing money from ATMs.
Theft from vehicles and property occurs in parts of downtown Port of Spain and other towns/cities. Take particular care around the port area or downtown, especially at night, and avoid straying into areas affected by gang violence. There have been robberies, some involving firearms, at tourist sites, including Fort George, the Pitch Lake, Las Cuevas beach and at supermarket car parks, shopping malls, nightclubs, restaurants and business premises.
Most visits to Tobago are trouble free, but tourists (including British nationals) have been robbed. The inability of the authorities to catch and prosecute offenders remains a concern. Incidents of violent crime in Tobago are rare.
You should maintain at least the same level of security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your living accommodation is secure. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or wear eye-catching jewellery. Use a hotel safe to store valuables, money and passports. Petty theft from cars is common.
Villas, particularly those in isolated areas, should have adequate security, including external security lighting, grilles and overnight security guards.
Don’t walk alone in deserted areas even in daylight. This includes beaches like Englishman’s Bay, King Peter’s Bay and Bacolet beach unless you are in an organised group. Consult your tour operator if in doubt.
Be vigilant at all times and carry a mobile phone with roaming capability for use in emergency.
The standard of driving in Trinidad and Tobago is mixed. High speed road accidents on the main highways in Trinidad often result in fatalities. Some roads are narrow and winding, and the surface of a low standard. Take care when driving.
If possible, avoid travel outside major populated areas after dark, especially routes to and from Piarco International airport. There have been incidents of violence and fatal accidents caused by erratic driving standards to and from the airport, particularly on the Beetham/Churchill Roosevelt Highway.
If you don’t have a vehicle, use hotel taxis to get around, particularly after dark.
Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.