Port of Spain

Historical buildings in Port of Spain.
Overview

Even if Carnival isn't in full swing, you'll want to head downtown to hear the steel-pan drums at lively panyards the rehearsal spaces dotted around town for steel bands. Walk along Maraval Road to admire its colonial buildings, then head to Queen's Park Savannah park to watch cricket or relax in the sun.

Background

You'll find the centre of bustling Port of Spain at Independence Square, brimming with food stalls and tables of old men playing chess. The downtown area is packed with high-rise blocks sitting alongside elegant colonial buildings on Maraval Road. To the north you can see Queen's Park Savannah, a green space where cricket matches are played, and the Botanical Gardens, bursting with tropical blooms.

First-time visit

Get your bearings at Independence Square in the city centre. Then head to Queen's Park Savannah to wander around the park's rock garden and lily pond or watch an impromptu game of cricket. If you're here for Carnival in February, grab a seat in the grandstand. Along Maraval Road you'll see ornate colonial buildings which trace the history of Port of Spain. The National Museum and Art Gallery has a section dedicated to the history of steel-pan drums and calypso music.

Return visit

Go for a stroll through the colourful Botanical Gardens to get a peek at the Prime Minister's residence. Take a look inside the 19th-century Anglican Trinity Cathedral with its mahogany beamed ceiling. Have a cocktail in a rooftop bar overlooking the green spaces of Queen's Park Savannah before going downtown to visit the panyards, where musicians and dancers spend half the year preparing and rehearsing for Carnival. Take a daytrip to Gasparee Grande, a small area at the south side of nearby Chaguaramas Bay that has caves dripping with stalactites.

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