In formal business meetings, the same attire worn in Europe and the US is the norm. Temperatures can be quite high during the dry season, making dress codes slightly more flexible.
Men and women generally greet each other with a handshake on first meeting and, with the exception of greetings between men, a kiss on the cheek on casual occasions. Although Trinibagonians are tolerant and welcoming to foreigners, it is recommended that visitors be mindful of the variety of religions that are represented in the country.
Visitors from most countries do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days on holiday or 30 days on business. Immigration officers carry out interviews of travellers at all ports of arrival and visitors are advised to travel with a printed return ticket, along with the address for their stay, be it a hotel or a residence. Visitors on a holiday or business visa can apply for an extension up to six months, although this is granted only under special circumstances.
The local currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$), although the US dollar is accepted and welcomed, especially by taxi drivers. The TT$ comes in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 banknotes and in 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and 1 dollar coin denominations. As of May 2015 the exchange rate was $1:TT$6.35 and €1:TT$7.20. International credit cards are generally accepted and ATMs are widely available.
The country experienced several cases of the Chikungunya virus during 2014. Although it is not strictly required, it is advised that visitors make use of mosquito repellents. Public health care services are available across the islands, but long wait times and widespread inefficiencies mean many people opt to visit private health care facilities instead. Pharmacies are widespread and offer commonly used generic drugs, but some medicines can be difficult to find.
Local restaurants and bars apply a service charge in addition to the bill. A 10% tip for waiters is therefore welcomed, but not necessarily expected.
There are currently two mobile network operators: Bmobile and Digicel. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport after passing through immigration for TT$100 ($16). Data plans can be activated directly from the device, following the operator’s instructions. These provide a decent level of service in most parts of both islands. Internet availability is widespread in bars and restaurants. The local dialling code for Trinidad and Tobago is +1 (868), followed by a seven-digit telephone number.
Electric sockets are designed for 220-V/50-Hz two-pin round plugs. Adapters would be needed for other plugs. These can be provided by most hotels and easily found in local shops.
The working week runs from Monday to Friday. Most private companies will operate from 8am to 5pm, although the public sector traditionally only operates from 8am to 4pm. Local super markets are generally open from 8am to 8pm, while other stores generally stay open until 6pm. Very few restaurants are open on Sundays.
Authorised taxis are available at the airport and at all major hotels. They can be recognised by the letter “H” appearing as the first symbol on the licence plate. It is advisable to get the contact number of either a taxi driver or the reception at the hotel, as authorised taxis are not easily available.
Pick up times need to be agreed upon with taxi drivers whenever possible. Taxis are not equipped with meters, and the fares will vary based on a predetermined arrangement involving waiting time and the destination. Maxi and shared taxis are also used with no defined time schedules.
A water taxi service connecting Port of Spain to San Fernando and Port of Spain to Chaguaramas is available, and is used by daily commuters.
The islands of Trinidad and Tobago are connected by a ferry and by frequent short flights. With the exception of weekends and public holidays, flight tickets can generally be booked on short notice.