Trinidad Cruisers Exploring the Island

Discovering Chaguaramas

The first priority for Cruisers arriving in Trinidad is to get settled into Chaguaramas. Once in your marina or anchorage, most things can be reached by walking. A bit of a longer walk if you are at TTSA.

Lay of the Land and Where to Find Things

Northeast Corner of Chaguaramas Bay showing the marinas and the customs dock.
Northeast Corner of Chaguaramas Bay showing the marinas and the customs dock.

Chaguaramas is the heart of the cruising community in Trinidad.

The yards and marinas are clustered around the east end of Chaguaramas Bay and most front on the Western Main Road leading to Port of Spain. Crew's Inn is just around the east end on the south shore and TTSA (Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association) is just down the road to the east. All are within easy walking distance of all the various marine stores or chandeliers. It is a bit of a longer walk from TTSA, but doable (a bike helps). The table on (Services Table) provides a handy list of where to find things.

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The east end of Chaguaramas Bay.  The Curtoms Dock is in the center with the red and white striped light.
The east end of Chaguaramas Bay. The Customs Dock is in the center with the red and white striped light.
Alcan Fishing Village, at the east end of Chaguaramas Bay.
Alcan Fishing Village, at the east end of Chaguaramas Bay.
The Customs Dock with Crew's Inn to the right.
The Customs Dock with Crew's Inn to the right.
Just south of Chaguaramas Bay, looking east toward Port of Spain
Just south of Chaguaramas Bay, looking east toward Port of Spain

Places to Shop and to Eat

Places to find boat parts and supplies are covered separately

Chaguaramas has limited shopping available for things that are not boat related. There are two small groceries, one located at Power Boats (near the water) and the other a small Massy grocery store just off the customs dock in Crew's Inn. For shopping beyond those limited stores, most cruisers venture either to West Mall (the closest mall - just east along the Western Main Road), to Port of Spain, or take one of the shopping trips arranged by Jesse.

Restaurants and Places to Eat

Resturant Name
Location Phone
Hours Food Specialty Category
Notes:
 
Caf Feel Oh
Coral Cove Marina & Boatyard
M-F: 9am-10pm, S: 9am-10pm, S: closedCaf/Pub
 
 
The Corner Post
Coral Cove Marina & Boatyard
Good Hot DogsFast Food
 
 
Rations
Coral Cove Marina & Boatyard(868) 376-4572
M-F: 7:00am to 3:00pmPopular Lunch BuffetEthnic
Now have breakfast.
 
Caffe del Mare
Crews Inn(868) 634-4542
M-Th: 8am to 6pm F, S, S: 8am to 8pmCaf/Pub
 
 
Lighthouse Resturant
Crews Inn(868) 607-4000
Daily - 7am to 10pmFine Dining
Full Service Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Open Air Setting overlooking the marina Weekly Sunday Brunch
 
Zanzibar Restaurant
Peake Yacht Services
Casual Dining
 
 
Sails Restaurant & Pub
Power Boats
Casual Dining
 
 
The Roti Hut
Power Boats
The Name says it allEthnic
Also have a nice breakfast
 
Doubles Stand
Skinners Yard
M to Sat: 05:00 till 10:30 or they run out.DoublesFast Food
Just in front of Budget Marine
 
Wheel House
Tropical Marine(868) 634-2339
Casual Dining
Wed Night - Barbecue , Sat Night - Bake and Shark

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The Small Grocery Store at Powerboats.
The Small Grocery Store at Powerboats.
Zanzibar Resturant at Peak Yacht Services
Zanzibar Restaurant at Peak Yacht Services

Activities within Chaguaramas or nearby

Many cruisers focus on getting their boat work done, but there is still room in the day for social gatherings. For ideas of what to do outside of Chaguaramas, look here. For local options, consider some of the following:

Weekly Music Jams- A group gets together once a week to play, sing or just sit back and enjoy. Currently meets at the Roti Hut in Powerboats on Friday nights.

Pot Luck BBQ s.- A long time staple of the cruising community. They occur at most of the marinas, who provide facilities for the use. There is a long-running one at Powerboats on Thursday Nights.

Walks or Hikes- Local hikes are possible, either along the road in front of the marinas or a longer hike to the bamboo forest.

Water Aerobics- They are often arranged in one of the local pools. Announced on the net.

Cricket- Informal matches are set up from time to time.

Swimming or Liming with the locals- Scotland bay and other bays to the west of Chaguaramas are quite popular with Trini's on weekends. They allow a pleasant change from being tied up in the marina or a mooring.

Dominoes- Another activity often part of the cruising community. They meet every Sunday afternoon.

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Christmas Music Jam, Powerboats, Trinidad
Christmas Music Jam, Powerboats, Trinidad

Water Quality in Chaguaramas Bay

One of the often sited reasons for people not to go to Trinidad is the quality of the water in and around the marinas. They say that the water is dirty and they cannot swim. Chaguaramas Bay and the surrounding section of the Gulf of Paria is a commercial port. It serves as a port for much of Trinidad's fleet of oilfield supply vessels and other support ships. Tankers from the refinery on the west coast of the Gulf of Paria transit the Bocas and there are many oil platforms in production and not in the Gulf of Paria. There is also a local fishing fleet. However, aside from a surface film that occurs from time to time, the water supports a great diversity of marine life. We often see turtles swimming around the boats in the marinas, flocks of pelicans fish in the waters, and you often see schools of fish around the boats.

Every so often oil gets spilled. In the seven years, I have visited Trinidad (most all of it in the water) I have experienced two spills. There was one last year that had a significant impact on cruisers. But, the government of Trinidad and Tobago, YSATT, the marinas, and even the cruisers pitched in and helped clean it up. There was a black band around many waterlines. YSATT provided some bio-safe solvent and we were able to clean the ring off the boats affected.

Last November just after the latest spill, I had occasion to take a boat out into the Gulf of Paria. Less than two miles from the marinas I found a pod of dolphins that followed the boat for more than an half an hour.

The net effect is that like any marina, you don’t swim. But, you will find ample place to take your boat or dingy within a few miles that are great places to swim. Scotland Bay is one such.

See an Oil Spill

You can report it to the Environmental Management Authority.

(868) 628-8042

24/7 Hotline: 680-9588

Also notify: The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM)

24/7 hotline is 640-1285

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Pod of Porpose, Gulf of Para, Trinidad
Pod of Porpoise, Gulf of Para, Trinidad
Pod of Porpose, Gulf of Para, Trinidad
Pod of Porpoise, Gulf of Para, Trinidad
Gulls, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
Gulls, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Where to find additional information

Facebook - There is a good "Frequently Asked Questions" document on the Trinidad Cruisers Facebook page. It is a good group to join if you are planning to travel to Trinidad. If you are not a member, you should consider joining.

The Trinidad and Tobago Boaters' Directory - This booklet is available from YSATT, Jesse James, or most all of the yards and chancelleries

The Morning Radio Net (VHF Ch 68 at 8am) - A great place to ask fellow cruisers for their recommendations or to get their help.

Also check out the Notices on this site.

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Carnival 2014, Trinidad
Carnival 2014, Trinidad