Trinidad and Tobago use the dollar as their official currency. As is the case with other dollar currencies you will see it represented by the dollar sign – $. Locally this will usually be displayed in front of the amount as per usual, such as $50. However you may also see the letters for Trinidad and Tobago in front of the sign to show this is the particular dollar currency in use. This will appear as TT$50.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
While there are half a dozen coins in use for this currency, only four of them are regularly used. These are the one cent, five cent, 10 cent and 25 cent coins. Their dollars are split into 100 cents just as all other dollar currencies are. There are two other coins that are legal tender but aren’t seen or used very often. These are the 50 cent and the $1 coins.
You will also come across six banknotes on your travels. These are the $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 banknotes.
From past to present – the history of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar
To explore the first use of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar we have to travel back in time to 1898. At this time it was used as legal tender alongside the pound sterling as used in Britain.
It would be several decades before the Trinidad and Tobago dollar took over as the main currency of this island nation however. Indeed it was not until 1964 that it superseded all other currencies and came into being as the single recognised currency in this part of the world.
How to get hold of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar
You will have several opportunities to collect some dollars when you first arrive at the airport. In common with many other airports around the world there are currency exchange facilities, so you can make sure you get your dollars here.
The islands do have cash machines but they are not perhaps as plentiful as you might imagine. When you arrive at your accommodation it is wise to figure out where the nearest cash machines are so you know where to go when you need cash. It is a good idea to take some US dollars too since many businesses will accept them. It gives you another option if you should need it. In terms of changing currencies the best bet is to exchange either US dollars or British pounds.
Make sure no one is loitering around you when you use a cash machine. Also you will need to check the one you are about to use will accept your card. Some people take credit and debit cards with them on holiday so they have a few options to choose from. Make sure you contact all your card providers to let them know where you are going on holiday. You should also let them know when you will be away; hopefully this will prevent your cards from being stopped when you try to use them.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Trinidad and Tobago dollar
Many online currency converters have the most popular world currencies included on their list. This normally includes this particular version of the dollar. You may have to scroll down the list quite a way to find it but you can make life easier if you enter the letters TTD. These represent the ISO code for the currency and they should speed you to the currency you need. Just make sure you enter your own currency as the ‘from’ currency and the Trinidad and Tobago dollar as the one you wish to convert to.
The rates given to you by bureaux de change will usually incorporate their commission. This is why the two rates will differ from one another. Make sure you take every possible step to compare various rates so you know you are getting the best exchange rate you can find.
If you are thinking about travelling to Trinidad and Tobago to enjoy a holiday break, make sure you get as much information on the island country before you go. The best way to find out more is to visit the official website for the High Commission for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. This can be found at http://www.tthighcommission.co.uk/.
Travelling safely with Trinidad and Tobago dollars
You will be pleased to know that most people who choose this destination as their holiday base have a great time. However as is the case with every region and country in the world it makes sense to stay as safe as possible. Crime does occur here and the capital has seen a significant amount taking place, some of which is targeted at tourists.
For the most part common sense will help you stay safe. Stay out of quieter areas at night and don’t travel on your own. Stay alert when driving too because some crimes occur when criminals force cars to stop. This can be done in a number of ways such as by stopping their vehicle in front of yours in a ruse that makes it appear as if their car has broken down. Keep your doors locked at all times and don’t stop. Keep your eyes on the road and stay alert for any possible hazards of this kind.
Other than this it is wise to carry the absolute minimum of valuables with you at all times. This is true of cash, jewellery and all other items. Wear a money belt if you possibly can and separate any cash or cards you have on you to carry them in different places. Keep all other cash and cards in your hotel safe. Your passport should also stay safely locked away in the safe for the duration of your visit to the islands.
Where to spend your dollars in Trinidad and Tobago – and what to spend them on
Trinidad and Tobago are known jointly as an island formation that can be found off the northern coast of South America. They are closest to the coast of Venezuela and Trinidad is by far the larger of the two islands. Tobago lies just off to the north east of Trinidad. The capital of the islands is Port of Spain, which can be found in Trinidad.
Indeed this makes a good place to start when you want to explore. It has the type of skyline you would expect from a major city and it also plays host to lots of great attractions. Among these are the Emperor Valley Zoo, which is home to many local species as well as many others from other countries. You may also wish to visit the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens, which have a history stretching back almost 200 years. It is quite an experience and as you can imagine its history means it has developed remarkably over the years. There are many local trees and shrubs here that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, all well-established after so long.
Of course many people who choose Trinidad and Tobago as their target holiday destination do so because of the promise of great beaches and great weather. As such one of the highlights in this area is Maracas Bay in Trinidad. This has a variety of services for beach lovers and the presence of the bay means the waters are better for swimming than at some of the other more exposed areas. There is plenty of greenery here too including palm trees, which really makes you feel as though you’re in paradise.
If you are staying on Tobago you have an equally gorgeous beach to visit. Try Pigeon Point for size and see how much you will love it. There are shallow waters to paddle or swim in and comforting sands to lie back on. You may have to pay an entrance fee to access the beach but it is well worth doing so – you’ll gain access to all kinds of great services here as well.
Once you tire of the beaches (although it is hard to see how you would!) you can explore other parts of these islands. Tobago boasts a village called Speyside which has its own remnant of the age when sugar plantations were the main source of income here. Look out for the huge water wheel that still stands here, although it is in a somewhat rusted state now when compared to how it once looked.
It is also said that Tobago was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe when he created a story about Robinson Crusoe and shipwrecked him on an island. This is the reason why a cave at Crown Point on Tobago bears the name Crusoe’s Cave. If Crusoe was shipwrecked on the island today he would arguably have a rather better time of it than he did in the 1700s when the book was written!
Many beach lovers tend to dream of going to Trinidad and Tobago and it is not difficult to see why. The beaches here are but part of the story though, and if you want to make the most of your time on the islands it makes sense to see some of their other sights as well. There are plenty of ways to part with some dollars but not all the activities you can do involve spending money. What will you do first?