Moving to Trinidad & Tobago

William Russell Expat Health Insurance

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Moving to Trinidad & Tobago: Expats, retirees and digital nomads talk about everything you need to know before moving to Trinidad & Tobago.

What do I need to know before moving to Trinidad & Tobago?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Trinidad & Tobago, they said:

"Laventille, Enterprise, Sea Lots, Blue Basin and some rural places are where you DON'T want to live. If you are brown, you will fit in anywhere. Try for higher ground because flooding is common on days of rain, but not where vegetation is missing because mudslides do happen," commented one expat who made the move to Carenage.

"We were limited to what the realitor wanted to show us, mainly West Morings. My husband talked to people at work (other expats and locals) and they told us about different areas. We insisted in viewing the other areas we knew of. (Like the US, realitors are looking at their best interest; not yours. They want to show you where they have rental properties, need I say more...) Secondly, Drive to work and back during your work hours once you find the area you like. Adjust the hours or the location depending on your choice. Everyone complains about traffic, but Houston's traffic is the same if not worse with 6 lanes on every road," remarked another expat in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

"Think about your daily life and plan accordingly. Are you willing to fight traffic to live up in the hills or nearer to the beach? We weren't after doing that in California, so we chose a location close to our school and my husband's office. He has about a 15 min commute. We did bring our pets, a dog and two cats. You have to fill out forms, get permits and inspections, etc., and they were in quarantine (2 for 1 month, 1 for 3 months). It was expensive, but worth it for us. In dealing with the animal authorities, customs, and various bureaucracies, just remember to keep your cool and pay the man what he says you owe. It does no good to get mad or fight it. There's no computerization and things seem inefficient, but it's really just that Trinis value living in the moment and fun rather than time-management. The government seems designed to employ the most amount of people rather than building efficient processes. Dealing with the ministries was the hardest part of the move, but now that we're through it (we've been here 5 months now), I truly like living in beautiful Trinidad and especially the friendly, family-oriented culture. My kids have settled in, I'm happy with the school, and I've learned my way around town. Life is good, you just have to cultivate the right attitude," said another expat in West Moorings.

""drivers" and "housekeepers" are common in the expat community. Often, a driver is referred to as a security guard. The quality and selection of meats and produce is dismal. The prices of food will shock you ( I recently bought a table-size bottle of Balsamic Vinegar for the same amount of money as a housekeepers day rate). You may find comfort in " gourmet " shops, within the upper class neighbourhoods ( WestMoorings, Maraval, Fairways ). Word of mouth is everything... I've never heard of any other kind of networking here. Respect and manners are alive and well here; " Good morning", "Good afternoon", and "Good evening" are expected and delivered. I have been heckled for being " white ". If I could advise you on choosing a home, I'd suggest thinking of your first selection as temporary, and making arrangements as such if at all possible. Once the culture shock wears off, and you begin to feel you're getting the hang of things around here (and there's soo much to get the hang of, let me tell you! (when someone asks you "are you gettin' through?" -what they're asking is whether or not you would like their help finding something"). It is then that you're going to find a home that suits you," remarked another expat who made the move to West Moorings.

"I would say definitely start early. Trinidad is a laid back place and they are not in a rush to get anything done here. Check out place well in advance and send emails to the schools every week for your kids," explained one expat living in St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago.

"Generally in the areas I mentioned above there is very little crime. Houses in those areas are more expensive, but you can negotiate! Also, look at more than a couple of houses don't be pressured into renting the first one you see because the agent has told you it's safe and you won't find any better! There is a lot of crime in Trinidad but when you read the papers or listen to the news it is Trinidadian people fighting / killing each other! Saying that... you need to have your wits about you and be more alert. For example, when deciding where to park your car when you go to the supermarket. Definitely do not leave anything visable in your car. Don't walk around with lots of cash on you. Make sure that nobody is watching / following you when you are at a cash point. These are basic things that I suppose you subconsciously do back home, but here it needs to be done more vigilantly. All in all, I really like living in Trinidad, and I am sure that there are a lot worse places you could go! You are probably thinking "I am never moving there," but the climate is great, there are some beautiful places to visit (boat trips round the smaller islands of Trinidad and Tobago), seeing leatherback turtles and liming (chilling out) on the beach. What I like the most is having quality time with my family -- and getting that time is very easy in Trinidad. Also the other Caribbean islands are very accessible and most hotels give a special caricom rates," said another expat in West Moorings.

How do I find a place to live in Trinidad & Tobago?

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 8 Best Places to Live in Croatia and the Living in Mexico Guide. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get a Quote

Living in Trinidad & Tobago GuideLiving in Trinidad & Tobago Guide

Expats in Trinidad & Tobago love the family-focused Trinis, the laid-back island culture and the beautiful beaches. That being said, many expats find dealing with bureaucracy a challenge, the pace of life frustrating and the cost of housing, food and cars much higher than expected.

Trinidad & Tobago Forum Trinidad & Tobago Forum
Meet other expats and talk about living in Trinidad & Tobago.

Cost of Living in Trinidad & TobagoCost of Living in Trinidad & Tobago

Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Trinidad & Tobago.

Moving to Trinidad & TobagoMoving to Trinidad & Tobago Guide

Our guide to moving to Trinidad & Tobago with lots of advice from expats on the ground.

Real Estate in Trinidad & TobagoReal Estate in Trinidad & Tobago

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Trinidad & Tobago.

Contribute to Trinidad & Tobago Network Contribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Trinidad & Tobago.

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