Trinidad and Tobago

Driving Directions Trinidad and Tobago

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO form the third-largest British Commonwealth country in the West Indies. The islands, situated off the Orinoco Delta in northeastern Venezuela, are the most southerly of the Lesser Antilles group.

Trinidad consists of a mountain range in the north and undulating plains in the south. It has a vast, asphalt-producing lake, Pitch Lake, approximately 42 hectares or 104 acres in size. Tobago is a mountain that is about 550 meters or 1,800 feet above sea level at its peak.

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The climate is tropical with little varia­tion in temperature throughout the year and a rainy season from June to December.

Trinidad is one of the oldest oil-producing countries in the world. The output is small but provides 90 percent of Trinidad’s exports. Sugar cane, cocoa beans, citrus fruits, vegetables, and rubber trees are grown for shipping, but imports of food now account for 10 percent of total imports. Tobago depends mainly on tourism for revenue.

A slump in the economy in the 1980s and early 1990s saw widespread unemployment, but economic growth has improved.

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Trinidad and Tobago are situated on the continental shelf of South America and are geographically, but not geologically, part of the West Indies. Trinidad, the larger of the two, is within sight of the Venezuelan coast and was once a part of the mainland. A few miles northeast of Trinidad, Tobago is part of an underwater mountain chain related to the continent. Trinidad, the second-largest of the Commonwealth Caribbean islands, is roughly rectangular with peninsular extensions at the northeast, northwest, and southwest corners. Tobago lies to Trinidad’s northeast and is separated from its sister island by a channel about 32 kilometers (20 miles) in width. Both islands sit on the South American Tectonic Plate.

The Caribbean Sea surrounds the Trinidad and Tobago islands to the north and west and by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. In the Caribbean, southwest of Tobago, the Buccoo Reef houses coral gardens.

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