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Chaguanas is one of the largest municipalities in Trinidad and Tobago. It is also one of the most diverse in its people as the pre-dominant Indo-Trinidadian population is interspersed with Afro-Trinidadians. Chaguanas is situated in the central part of the island and when it comes to deals and bargains Chaguanas is the premier shopping place to go.
It is also known for having beautiful homes at affordable prices. The name Chaguanas is derived from the Amerindian tribe called Chaguanas who had settled in this area. Back then the town was well known for agriculture and also had many estates which included sugar estate, sugar refinery and a coconut and cocoa estate.
There was also a railway that was built in Chaguanas which added value to the town. Today Chaguanas is a built-up town which comprises of many new homes and several businesses as well. As other parts of the country, Chaguanas enjoys sunny months from January to May while the rainy months are June to December.
During the months of November and December in particular the night-time can get a bit chilly so it would be advised that you bring along a light jacket when you visit. Chaguanas is just an amazing town brimming with so much to explore. There is definitely no room for boredom here; just a lot of photographic opportunities that you would be proud of when you return home. The famous Caroni Swamp is situated on the northern side of the town.
Also known as the Bird Sanctuary you can take a boat tour where you can see over 200 species of birds here as well as reptiles. The swamp is also the dwelling place for the Scarlet Ibis which is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago. The birds fly in groups and seeing their scarlet colour as they fly overhead is truly majestic. The Scarlet Ibis has a daily rhythm which is to fly some 11 miles to Venezuela, Trinidads nearest neighbouring country where they go to feed during the day and they return just in time to blend their colours with the beauty of dusk.
Elsewhere you can tour the place known as The Lion House which is the home where Nobel-Prize winning author V.S. Naipaul was born. It has now been converted into a museum of sorts. If you happen to be in Chaguanas during the month of Divali which is usually in the months of October or November, then you should visit the Divali Nagar site.
The Nagar site showcases the best of Trinidads Indian culture with a host of entertainment, deya-lighting and of course it gives you a chance to feast on some tasty Indian cuisine. Chaguanas strong Indian influence is also represented by the many Hindu temples that you would see here as well. The Waterloo Temple is a must-see as it is a temple that jots out into the sea.
If you have never been to Indian then Chaguanas in Trinidad is as close to it as you would get. Because of its strong Indian-Trinidadian population the influence here is unmistakable and definitely a joyful experience. On a normal day it isnt unusual to walk down the streets and hear Indian music blarring from the speakers that are in front of a few stores downtown; even some taxi drivers play Indian music in their cars while they take you to your destination.
Its just one of the things that are synonymous with Chaguanas, a part of the culture that is embraced by all races here. When you stay in Chaguanas you do so at guesthouses or at a bed and breakfast. If you want to stay at a high-rise hotel you would have to go to another nearby city and commute to Chaguanas.
There are no beaches in Chaguanas but there are a few beaches that are some 15-20 minutes away in the northern part of the island. While in Chaguanas you can find several things to do such as following hiking trails, go bike riding or kayak and all of this can be done at the La Vega Estate which is on the outskirts of Chaguanas. This estate spans over 250 acres and is the ideal place for relaxing with your family and even the kids. There are also beautiful lakes here and all the best that nature has to offer.
Since Chaguanas is the shopping capital of Trinidad, there are many stores and shopping centres that are littered all over the town. No matter where you choose to shop in Chaguanas you are always guaranteed to get the lowest prices around. So good are these prices that people are known to leave other far-way parts of the country just to cash in on the savings here. In Chaguanas you can get everything from jewelry to traditional Indian clothing and accessories and of course pottery items which are great as souvenir gifts. Market days are big in Chaguanas and although they run on a daily basis it is recommended that you go on Saturdays.
The market is the place to get fresh fruits and vegetables; truly a reminder of Chaguanas agricultural beginnings. Chaguanas has several restaurants as well where you can enjoy everything from authentic Trinidadian food such as pelau which is a mixture of browned rice and beans and stewed meat all of which simmers in coconut milk. Pelau has been likened to jambalaya in its taste and method of cooking. Indian dishes can also be enjoyed here both in the restaurants and at a food hut at a street corner. From the street corner vendors, you can enjoy doubles which is a mouth-watering tasty treat which consists of flour that is rolled as a fajita with beans and special Indian chutneys and sauces in them.