Practically all visits to Trinidad start at Port of Spain, one of the most important capitals in the Caribbean. It is the centre of influence historically, culturally, politically and economically not only for Trinidad and Tobago themselves, but for much of the eastern Caribbean.
The city lies on the Gulf of Paria, under the southwestern edge of Trinidad's Northern Range. Tucked between the hills and the sea, the centre is small-everywhere is within walking distance more-or-less.
Port of Spain's downtown area contains the main commercial streets, with the busiest shops on Independence Square. Woodford Square is the political centre, with the Red House, the seat of Trinidad & Tobago's parliament, along one side. The garden in the square is the setting for open-air political debate: the topic of the day is written on a blackboard each morning. Weekly lectures in the square by Dr Eric Williams, the father of the independence movement and the nation's first prime minister, created this public forum-the 'University of Woodford Square'.
The wide open space of the Queens Park Savannah is to the north. Just to the west, you'll want to explore the streets of Woodbrook which mostly date from 1910 or so when it first developed as a genteel residential area. Woodbrook is fashionable again, dotted with restaurants and bars, many of which are in the original small 'gingerbread' houses, fringed with fretwork and delicately painted.
Some of the finest examples of this architecture are between Woodbrook and the Queens Park Savannah, in the more upmarket streets of Newtown and St Clair, which date from the turn of the twentieth century.
The seven grandest examples of Victorian houses lie in a row along St Clair's border with the Savannah. Known as the 'Magnificent Seven', the houses are each in a different style but vie to outdo each other in form and decoration.
Brian Lara's house is perched on a hill overlooking the Savannah-a gift from a sports-mad nation.
Nearby are the Botanical Gardens and the impressive President's Residence. The leafy suburbs of St Ann's lie behind.