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Caribbean dreams

Visit Trinidad and its sister island of Tobago in the West Indies for their food, for their calypso and steel band music, or just for a chance to chill out on one of their sunny beaches.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Visit Trinidad and its sister island of Tobago in the West Indies for their food, for their calypso and steel band music, or just for a chance to chill out on one of their sunny beaches.

Beaches? There's a guide to spots such as Blanchisseuse and Maracas Bay at Discover Trinidad & Tobago - http://www.meppublishers.com/online/discover/ - under "Things to See & Do." That section also has a guide to the islands' diving opportunities, with addresses of dive operators, and other water sports. Give a glance to the calendar for holidays, festivals and horse races. And you'll need to read the brief welcoming introductions to the two islands and their guides to entertainment, food and shopping. Too bad they don't have photographs.

The smaller (26 miles by 7 miles) island of Tobago - http://www.exploretobago.com/ - boasts of natural wonders including the birds that fill its protected rain forest. Check out "Adventures" for details on the Buccoo Reef marine park, wildlife sanctuaries and historical spots including Fort King George, build in the 1770s. If you prefer to be on the water, "Fishing" has a brief description of wahoo that average 65 pounds, and sailfish that often weigh more than 100 pounds.

Take a look at "Off the Beaten Track" at Tobago Guide - http://www.tobagoguide.com/ - to learn more about beaches on the smaller island. And while you're in that section, dip into "Eco Adventures" for more info about forest preserves, Turtle Beach where leatherback turtles nest, and Argyle Falls. Scuba diving and golf are described under "Ways to Enjoy Tobago" and you'll need to visit "Travel Planning" for vacation package deals and basic details.

Take a more detailed tour, with photos, at the official Trinidad & Tobago -http://www.visittnt.com/ - but there's a catch: You have to download electronic "eBrochures," and you'll need patience if you try it over a slow dial-up Internet connection. If you're willing, go to "Create Your Brochure" and try the standard brochures, including a recipe book, or choose sections on festivals, towns, sports, beaches, cruises and night life. Don't worry, they have plenty of other information that doesn't have to be downloaded. Too bad we've missed the "Taste T&T" food festival, held in May, but you can start making plans now for Carnival in February.

More helpful information is available from Trinidad Hotels Reservations - http://www.tobagoguide.com/wc/trinidad/touristinfo.htm - including some cautionary dos and don'ts for travelers planning to hit the islands during Carnival. You could easily pass up their "Trinidad Image Gallery," which leads to a subscription photo service.

As with just about any travel outside the United States, you might want to see what the State Department - http://travel.state.gov/ - has to say. Look for "Consular Information Sheets" and scroll down to Trinidad & Tobago for the latest health and safety suggestions.