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Trinidad and Tobago Today

May 30, 2012 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent


Magdalena Grand
Staying at the Magdalena Grand, guests are mere footsteps away from a white-sand beach.


Although it’s Trinidad and Tobago’s 50th anniversary since becoming an independent nation from Britain, the dual-island destination is the one giving out gifts. Besides year-round events to celebrate the nation’s milestone, Trinidad and Tobago has a number of upcoming festivals to attract clients of all interests, plus some hotel news to boot. Travel Agent previews some of the destination’s hottest events and takes a look at Tobago’s first new hotel in 12 years and a refurbished Trinidad favorite with its new staff.

Hotel Updates

Toward the end of last year, the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort on Tobago opened its doors, representing the island’s first new resort in 12 years. More recently, the property launched a “Quick Reservations” booking engine, which can be found on the home page of the website. It allows agents a direct approach to reserving rooms for their clients at the resort and adding optional onsite packages and amenities with user-friendly functionality.


Tobago Underwater Carnival
Tobago Underwater Carnival is designed to showcase the destination’s rich and diverse ecosystem and marine life.


Agents can make reservations by clicking on the “Travel Agent” tab at the top of the booking engine landing page. And as an incentive, agents will earn a 12 percent commission on all reservations made by June 30.

For your clients, a 15 percent “Grand Opening” introductory discount is in effect for all reservations until July 15. In addition, agents can book add-on options for their clients such as an 18-hole or nine-hole round of golf on the 18-hole PGA-designed championship golf course. In the near future, dive options will also be featured on the site.

The Magdalena Grand Beach Resort features 178 deluxe oceanfront king and double-double rooms, including 22 one- and two-bedroom suites with private Jacuzzis, all with breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean from large terraces or balconies. Amenities include five fine and casual dining options, an expansive beachfront, three swimming pools (one for adults only), generously sized and flexible meeting/event space, and the newest spa on the island. The complimentary Club Cee Cee welcomes younger guests ages four to 12 years old; children under four may also attend with a parent or authorized guardian.

The Magdalena Grand’s location provides leisure guests with the opportunity of being mere footsteps away from one of the island’s pristine, white-sand beaches. For the active traveler, the resort also features a full-service water sport and dive center (with training pool), two lighted tennis courts and a well-equipped fitness center. Guests will also have the chance to sample varied cuisines from five different locations that range from poolside casual to fine dining.

Agents should direct any questions they may have to General Manager Vince Angelo ([email protected], 868-660-8500).

Tobago Heritage Festival
The annual Tobago Heritage Festival showcases the island’s traditional culture and lifestyle.

Meanwhile in Trinidad, the Crowne Plaza Trinidad, the island nation’s largest independently owned property, introduced Erik Huber as its general manager last November, one of several recent moves calculated to position the Port-of-Spain property as one of the best city hotels on the island. Huber, a Florida native, has enjoyed a long career in the hospitality, food and beverage, and real estate industries, with his various postings taking him across the U.S. and Europe.

The ownership of the Crowne Plaza Trinidad also recently strengthened two critical areas of the hotel: Warren Solomon, who formerly led the national tourism office for Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the Tobago Department of Tourism, was recently named director of sales, while Frank Pausz is the new food and beverage director. Pausz most recently worked with another international hotel brand in San Francisco.

The first step toward elevating the hotel’s profile was in July 2009, with the completion of an $8 million renovation to improve the level of guest comfort and safety. This included the installation of centralized air-conditioning; sprinklers; and double-paned, glass balcony enclosures.

Travel Agent recommends booking the Crowne Plaza Trinidad for clients for two to three days, then sending them to Tobago. This will let them take in the urban atmosphere of Trinidad before heading to the more laid-back, tranquil Tobago. Agents should reach out to Solomon ([email protected], 868-625-4531) with any queries.

Events and Celebrations

Turtle Nesting Season Begins: Trinidad and Tobago is currently right in the middle of turtle breeding season. Every year through spring and summer (until about the end of August), approximately 6,000 of the world’s largest marine turtles, the leatherback, make the journey to the islands’ shores to lay the eggs that will carry on the next generation of this critically endangered species. With a careful approach to the preservation of one of nature’s most ancient mariners, the leatherback conservation project in Trinidad and Tobago has grown to become the second largest nesting colony in the world. In addition, the project supports more than 80 percent of all leatherback sea turtle nesting in the insular Caribbean Sea.

Conservationists and volunteers can be seen observing the rituals of these gentle giants and the crossing of newly born hatchlings to the ocean. Popular beaches to turtle-watch include Matura, Manzanilla and Grande Riviere in Trinidad and Turtle Beach (of course) and Englishman’s Bay in Tobago.


Crowne Plaza Trinidad
Crowne Plaza Trinidad underwent an $8 million renovation to elevate guests’ comfort and safety.


Visitors who want to witness this spectacular scene unfold from a safe distance can contact ecotour operators found on the destination’s website, or the following conservation groups: Nature Seekers, the Turtle Village Trust and Save Our Sea Turtles.

Tobago Heritage Festival: From July 16 to August 1, Tobago’s traditional culture and lifestyle are celebrated in the annual Heritage Festival with events at villages and community centers across the island. It is an outpouring of joy and creativity. The festival celebrates the age-old beliefs and traditions of the Tobagonian people in their original village settings. Each village presents an aspect of the island’s heritage and shows off its versatility in song, dance, drama, cooking and costuming.

Underwater Carnival: From July 22 to July 29, Tobago will be taking the party beneath the sea this year with its third dive festival. Themed Underwater Carnival, the event is designed to showcase the destination’s rich and diverse ecosystem and the explosion of marine life that can be found off the island’s shores.

Santa Rosa Carib Festival: This lively cultural affair, a homage to Santa Rosa de Lima, the first canonized saint of the Americas, takes place in the week leading up to Independence Day (August 31). Among the highlights are colorful church processions and the crowning of the Carib Queen. The Santa Rosa church is a landmark in Arima, nestled in the foothills of Trinidad’s Northern Range.

Carnival in Trinidad: It’s never too early to start planning a trip for Carnival season, a series of festive events between Christmas (itself the subject of festivals and celebrations) and Ash Wednesday, culminating in a major celebration of music, dance, costumes and flat-out partying, which in 2013 will fall on February 11 and 12. Most of the festivities take place in and around Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Details on Carnival, the Santa Rosa Carib Festival and other events and celebrations can be found on the destination’s website,

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About the Author

Joe Pike
Joe Pike is Travel Agent's senior editor covering the Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda; Hawaii; Central & South America. Previously, Pike was a newspaper reporter for The Asbury Park...

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