Hacking Trinidad in 3 Days

by admin

Maracas Beach

Trinidad is not your normal travel destination like its sister island Tobago, where all the tourists flock to the beaches and resorts.  It’s a gritty, melting pot mostly known for its high energy Carnival with soca music, calypso, and non-stop parties.   Trinidad is covered in undeveloped beaches, waterfalls, nature watching, and many other outdoor activities.  But with the high rate of violent crime and safety concerns, many tourists choose to skip over this destination.  Even with this in mind, the culture, people, party atmosphere, food, and nature scenery makes it a destination you can’t pass up.
Here’s the 3 day whirlwind tour you can complete over a long weekend in Trinidad:
Day 1
  • Maracas Beach – The best beach in Trinidad.  Located approximately 20 minutes drive from Port of Spain.  Rent a beach chair, grab some Carib beers, and Bake and Shark and you’re in paradise.
  • Richard’s Bake and Shark – Located on Maracas Beach.  There are a plethora of other Bake and Shark copycats on the beach, but Richards is the only one with a long line and locals recommend.  The shark meat sandwich with homemade bread and amazing sauces and toppings keep this place serving over 2500 sandwiches a day.
  • Las Cuevas Beach – 10 minutes east of Maracas is Las Cuevas.  Another beautiful place to enjoy a Carib beer and watch the locals play soccer on the beach.
  • Blanchisseuse Beach – 15 minutes east of Las Cuevas you will arrive at the fishing village Blanchisseuse.  Supposedly there is not much of a fishing atmosphere left as the majority of the villagers now live off their government checks (according to the locals) and choose not to fish any more.  The beach is still pristine and beautiful and a can’t miss.
  • Queen’s Park Savannah Market – Queens Park is a large Savannah surrounded by architectural gems (magnificent seven) of years past.  After a long day of beach trekking, nothing is better than a local smorgasbord filled with everything from roti, jerk chicken, homemade ice cream, fresh tropical juices, and doubles.  I tried the yard fowl roti, cow heel stew, tamarind juice, and coconut ice cream and would return every night if I had the chance.
  • St James – With your adrenaline pumping from the anticipation of first night in Trinidad, it’s time to check out the local ‘rum shop’ experience in Trinidad.  The neighborhood St James is most well known for the local rum joint Smokey and Bunty, which was closed due to a recent fire, but there are plenty other rum shops to choose from.
  • Ariapita Avenue – After sampling local rums and beers in St James, head over to Ariapita Avenue, which is loaded with local dance clubs and bars.  All of the locals go ‘liming’, which is the term used to go hang out and socialize.  All of the locals and soca music carry a high energy and keep you from crashing from a long day of exploring.
Day 2
  • Paria Beach and Falls – Get some coffee in you to push away your hangover and start on an early trek to this amazing hike.  The trail head is located on the other side of Blanchisseuse (about 50 minute drive from Port of Spain).  You definitely need a local to show you the way as it’s 4 miles each way of winding trails before you come across a secret cove, the untouched Paria beach full of turtle egg mounds, and then onto Paria falls at the end of a trail off of the beach.
  • Bake and Shark – On the way back from the falls, stop at Maracas beach again to sample one of the other amazing bake and shark shacks (unless you can’t pass on Richard’s for a second time).
  • Fort George – This vintage fort is the perfect place to watch sunset with the breathtaking view overlooking the entire city of Port of Spain and ocean.
  • Paprika – For a higher end, local party atmosphere, check out this eclectic restaurant turned nightclub for top 40 and soca mix to early morning hours.
Day 3
  • San Antonio Green Market – Located 15 minutes from Port of Spain in Santa Cruz.  Open from 6am-1pm Saturdays and 8am-1pm Sundays every week of the year.  Come eat a local, healthy breakfast from many different food and produce vendors.  Don’t miss the authentic Venezuelan food here.
  • Macqueripe Bay – Head west to Chaguaramas for a beautiful beach with crystal clear waters.  The view from above the beach is amazing.
  • Angostura Rum Factory – One of the Caribbean’s leading rum producers and the world’s market leader for bitters.  Tours are held during the weekdays in which the highlight is being able to sample most of the rums they produce.
  • Femmes du Chalet “Breakfast Shed” – Great local food for a cheap price.  No frills attached atmosphere.
Local Food to Try
  • Roti
  • Doubles
  • Pelau
  • Black pudding (blood sausage)
  • Phoulourie
  • Souse
  • Black eye peas and rice
  • Pastelles
  • Oil down
  • Callaloo
  • January-May dry season is best time to go for weather
  • Rent a car.  Taxis are harder to come by and motorbike options are limited
  • Violent crime is high every year.  Be careful of the areas you traverse to
  • Visas not required for stays of 90 days or less
  • Carnival is the most famous time of year to go
  • English is the official language
  • The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, also known as the TT (pronounced teetee)
  • Tap water is safe to drink
  • Purchase a prepaid SIM card and GSM phone from Digicel or bmobile stores for as little as TT$100
Topics: Hacks, Trips

Top 8 Most Useful Travel Blogs

by admin


There are literally upwards of a million+ travel blogs in existence, with thousands more being added daily. The majority of these are written poorly, do not have much useful information, or regurgitate what other sites are writing. I have found the below mentioned sites to offer the most useful hacks for many different areas of your travels. There are many others that could be a part of this list, but I have narrowed it down to the ones that keep me coming back to read more.

1. The Points Guy
Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, shows every possible avenue as to how to maximize your frequent flyer miles and other travel points. He shows you how to book international trips for next to nothing and provides an updated list of the top credit card point bonus offers. It’s one of the best resources for keeping up to date with travel loyalty programs.

2. Fluent In 3 Months
Want to learn a language in the quickest way possible? Benny Lewis provides hacks and unconventional learning techniques for getting up to speed on many languages for your travels. His site offers free posts and videos on his experiences learning various languages around the world. He also offers a course and book (not free) for more in depth study.

3. Roman Fitness Systems
This is not really travel related, but provides the most effective (in my opinion) diet and workout strategies for staying in the best shape possible while you travel. John Romaniello, blog founder, takes a humorous approach to fitness, while offering innovative fitness/diet tips. He trains many celebrities and athletes, but does not take himself too seriously. His posts and comments keep you engaged and wanting to come back to read more.

4. Zen Habits
I have been an avid reader of Zen Habits for years. This is another blog not necessarily travel related, but is one of the best resources for keeping you grounded and finding simplicity while you travel (or doing anything in life). Leo Babauta’s blog (one of the top 25 on the internet) helps you focus on what is important, create something amazing, and find happiness.

5. Nomadic Matt
Nomadic Matt’s site is currently the highest ranked travel blog on the internet. He provides you with the necessary tips and advice on how you can travel anywhere you want on a low budget. His mantra is “tomorrow is too late to start your travel”. He has years of blog posts detailing how to live a life of travel.

6. 48 Hour Adventure
Provides “whirlwind” guides and travel advice for career focused people to explore cities around the world in a short time frame. Justin’s one page guides provide a rundown of the “big ticket items”, restaurants, and accommodations to check out during a weekend stay in many large cities worldwide.

7. Wandering Trader
Marcello Arrambide’s travel blog discusses his experiences while traveling/living through 80+ countries, while day trading. It is a great site for both inspiration and information on unique travel destinations.

8. Eat Your World
One of my favorite sites for finding native/traditional food and drinks for upcoming travel destinations. Sites like TripAdvisor are obviously more comprehensive, but Eat Your World offers an engaging layout and descriptive posts that make you want to take a trip only for food exploration.

Topics: Hacks

Getting a Second Passport

by admin

Obtaining dual citizenship opens up your world to multiple travel benefits that do not always present themselves with only a USA passport. Not every country in the world offers the opportunity for dual citizenship and it is not always easy to obtain. The following benefits and methods will help you understand the importance of a second passport and how one could be acquired.


  1. Expand your travel possibilities – Travel to Cuba legally (see here for how to travel to Cuba sub-legally) and without having to obtain a visa to go to countries like Brazil. Passports from Denmark, Finland, Germany, and Sweden are the most valuable and offer the best travel access to countries around the globe, while Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq passports offer the least flexibility. See here for more details on the rankings by country for visa flexibility.
  2. Reduce your profile – In many destinations, showing a USA passport will instantly profile you as a target to terrorists, or criminal groups that think you have a lot of money.
  3. Greater travel privacy – USA passports are now equipped with new technology (bio-metric identifiers and a radio-frequency identity chip) that can track everywhere you travel. This could get you into trouble when you travel to places not favored by USA authorities.
  4. Reside and work in other countries – The legalities and difficulties of trying to maintain residence or work in another country can often be insurmountable. A second passport will open up many opportunities in this regard. For example, a passport from any member of the European Union (EU) will allow you to live and work in any of the 27 EU countries.
  5. International tax planning – If you ever want to expatriate (give up USA citizenship) and move to a place (ie. Panama) with much more lax tax laws, you must gain a second passport first.

How To Obtain

1. Ancestry
Many countries have programs which grant citizenship to descendants of emigrants. Here are a few examples:

  • Ireland – Ireland has detailed and clear laws in determining citizenship eligibility to descendants of Irish nationals. Check out here for more details.
  • Poland – The laws for receiving Polish citizenship from a Polish ancestor are difficult to navigate. The following article found here can give you a detailed overview on what is required. If you have Polish ancestors in your bloodline, you may want to contact a firm like CK Law Office in Warsaw to find out your eligibility.
  • Germany – Germany offers citizenship for children and grandchildren of former Germans who were deprived of their citizenship status between January 30, 1933 and May 8, 1945 on racial, political, or ethnic grounds. You can read more about it here.
  • Italy – Italy offers citizenship to descendants of certain Italian nationals going back two generations. Find out more at MyItalianCitizenship.com.
  • Greece – If one or both of your parents or grandparents were born in Greece, you are eligible for Greek citizenship.
  • Lithuania – You have a right to citizenship if one of your ancestors was a citizen of the country. See here for more detailed information.
  • Canada and United Kingdom – Offer citizenship to those born outside of the country and have parents with citizenship.

2. Residency
Here are some of the countries that offer the possibility of citizenship after a period of lawful residency:

  • Australia – Apply for citizenship after four years lawful residence (temporary or permanent visa) in Australia. This period must include 12 months as a permanent resident immediately before making an application for Australian citizenship and absences from Australia of no more than 12 months in total in the four years prior to application, including not more than 90 days in the 12 months immediately prior to application.
  • Belgium – Apply for citizenship after three years of legal residence.
  • Latvia and Austria – Apply for citizenship after 10 years of legal residence.
  • USA – After five years of legal residence from the date of receipt of a conditional green card, it is possible to acquire US citizenship and to obtain a passport
  • Czech Republic – To apply for citizenship, it is necessary to spend 5 years of legal residence after receiving permanent residence permit. Note that Czech Republic does not allow dual citizenship.
  • Brazil – Apply for citizenship after four years of residency. This period can be reduced to one year if you have a Brazilian parent, child, or married to a Brazilian.
  • Canada – You must have permanent residence status for three years before being able to apply for citizenship.
  • Bahamas – Apply for citizenship if you have resided in the Bahamas for at least 6 years and have lived there for 12 consecutive months before applying.
  • Panama – Citizenship can be acquired after five years of legal permanent residence and full immigrant status.
  • United Kingdom – Apply for citizenship after being in the country for five years with not spending more than 450 days outside the UK in the period. Also, you must not have spent more that 90 days outside the country and hold permanent residence in the final 12 months immediately preceding the application.
  • Spain – Offers a reduced two-year residence before citizenship to citizens of any of several Latin American countries. Also, someone with a grandparent from Spain may apply for citizenship after one year of residency.

3. Economic Contribution
Only three countries in the world offer immediate citizenship through an investment:

  • Dominica – Requires USD 75k (100k for family) and 9-12k for government registration charges and due diligence. You also must visit the country and go through a personal interview to gain citizenship.
  • St.Kitts & Nevis – Requires USD 250k as minimum investment and 7.5k for due diligence and processing fees. No personal visit is required.
  • Austria – By investing EUR 2-3 million, you can directly get the citizenship without any residence requirement. The less expensive option is to provide a EUR 100k investment, which allows you to get a residence permit and citizenship after 10 years of residency. With a residence permit, you can travel visa free to all European ountries.

In Israel, the “Law of Return” entitles all Jews, and those of Jewish ancestry (at least one Jewish parent or grandparent), to be able to obtain Israeli residency and citizenship. If your ancestry does not fit this description, the law also provides the ‘right of return’ to all converted Jews of all denominations, and the conversion need not take place in Israel in order for it to qualify. Once your background check returns clean and you have been accepted, the applicant is entitled to immediate citizenship. For the first year, a temporary travel document is issued. After the first year, the government issues a standard passport.

Anyone born in one of the countries below, no matter their nationality, is entitled to citizenship in that country, no matter the legality or status of the parents:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominica
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Marrying a citizen of another country does not usually offer immediate citizenship, but can sometimes speed up the residency requirements for applying for citizenship. For example, you need to legally reside in Colombia for five years before being able to apply for citizenship. This is reduced to two years if you marry a Colombian. In Brazil, the requirement is reduced from four years to one if you marry a citizen.

Topics: Hacks, Tools