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The Caribbean’s southernmost island country, Trinidad and Tobago, is actually made up of two main islands, clumped together underneath one flag, but with vastly different things to offer when it comes to tourism. If you are headed to Trinidad and Tobago but only have time to hit one island, which should you choose? Here’s an overview of each so that you can decide where to spend all your sunny days.

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Beach winner: Tobago

Englishman's Bay

Englishman’s Bay, Tobago

Tobago is the more well known vacation destination, but that’s likely because Tobago is replete with the quintessential white sandy beaches that vacationers expect when heading to the Caribbean. Englishman’s Bay is one of Tobago’s most famous strands but you may also have seen its beaches on the big screen before: Tobago was the filming location for the 1960 film Swiss Family Robinson. The Robinsons’ beach from the film is Richmond Bay, while the pirates’ beach is Mount Irvine Bay.

Culture winner: Trinidad

Not to be outdone by its northerly counterpart, Trinidad is also a wonderful place to visit. Trini is much bigger, located further south and closer to Venezuela, and relies on industry to sustain its economy. While Tobago is the obvious choice in terms of white sand beaches, Trinidad holds plenty of the island nation’s culture, history and wildlife. Trinidad is where you’ll find Port of Spain, the nation’s capital and a remnant of Spanish colonialism. From here, you can visit the National Museum and Art Gallery to learn more about Trinidad’s history and art culture, see artifacts from WWII and see artist renditions of major cultural festivals like Carnival. Port of Spain also has several urban green spaces and a vibrant and bustling nightlife, which isn’t surprising since Port of Spain is the birthplace of our favorite rap goddess, Nicki Minaj. For direct access to all of Port of Spain’s gems, we recommend the Culture Crossroads Inn, located in the Saint James district.

Diving winner: Tobago

Young happy girl in snorkeling mask jump and dive underwater to see tropical fishes in coral reef sea pool. Travel activity, water sports, outdoor adventure, on family summer beach holiday with kids

Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Tobago is also well known for diving locations because it still has a thriving coral community, unlike Trinidad which is too close to the Orinoco River for coral to grow. You can also dive the famed Maverick Ferry, which sank to a depth of 30 meters near Rocky Point. Oddly enough, the ferry was submerged on purpose to create a home for marine life, as well as a diving locale for visitors.

Dining winner: Trinidad

Salt fish and bake for breakfast in Tobago. Local caribbean dish served on a white plate and green table.

Salt fish and bake for breakfast

Trinidad is also ideal for serious foodies who like to expand their palate with food tours. With the Taste of Uptown Port of Spain food tour, visitors are able to explore 19th-century Spanish architecture while tasting pastries, a baked fish sandwich (a local breakfast favorite), as well as tea, wine and dessert. If you’re looking for something a bit spicier, try the Trinidad Nighttime food tour for flavorful, after-dark dishes like pork sandwiches, doubles, roti and ice cream.

Hotels winner: Tobago

Mount Irvine Bay Resort

Mount Irvine Bay Resort

As far as accommodations, there are plenty of places to stay in Tobago, from all-inclusive resorts to private villas, so you’ll have plenty of options when deciding. If you’re looking for a villa with access to community spaces, we recommend The Villas at Stonehaven. But if you’re traveling on a budget, check out Greenhaven Cottage Bed and Breakfast to book a private inland apartment.Golf is also a main attraction on Tobago, as the island hosts two main golf courses at Tobago Plantations and Mount Irvine Bay Resort, two fantastic places to unwind during your stay.

Wildlife winner: Trinidad

Flying Scarlet ibises in Caroni Swamp national park, TnT

Flying Scarlet ibises in Caroni Swamp National Park, Trinidad and Tobago

If you want to check out some local wildlife, head south of Port of Spain to the Caroni Swamp and Bird Sanctuary. While there, take a flat-bottom boat tour through the swamp to look for some of the 100-plus species of birds, boas, caimans and crabs that live a protected life in Trini’s largest mangrove swamp. Then, continue south to Couva and stay in your own budget apartment at Sunflower Apartments Trinidad.

Have you visited Trinidad or Tobago? Tell us about your trip in the comments, including which of the two islands you think is most worthy.

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