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“full of bustle” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Independence Square

Independence Square
Port of Spain, Trinidad
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Ranked #14 of 16 Attractions in Port of Spain
Type: Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Landmarks
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Attraction details
Owner description: Also called Brian Lara Promenade, this crowded area runs the width of the center of Port of Spain.
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“full of bustle”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

If you like mingling with the friendly citizens of Trinidad doing their daily business routine, the street/roadside vending and access to main office of all the major banks, you'll love it here. on the other hand bumping into busy pedestrians may be disconcerting,

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79 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Its not really tourist centered”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2011

Its good for shopping and business, not very touristy unless you just want to see trinis go about their business

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Matlock, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
51 attraction reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
“A big, wide street through Port of Spain - not exactly "Las Ramblas Barcelona"”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2011

If you approach this street with views of Las Ramblas or the Champs Elysees you will be dissapointed. However, for the Caribbean it is as metropolitan as it gets. My wife and 2 children and I have walked down it and enjoyed the people-watching, shops and busyness of the street. At no point did we feel threated or harassed. Walk along it and then carry on to some of the other sites Port of Spain has to offer.

Visited August 2011
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Sarasota, Florida
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Not worth the dangers - leave Port of Spain for shopping”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2010

We went against all suggestions from Locals, Hotel and Police and went walking around during the day to get some sights and shopping in. When we went a HUGE cruise ship was in so the place was crawling with people, including police but we were still followed by a pick pocket in one of the shopping areas (although not a victim) and you could see tons of other just watching the tourists waiting to pounce (it was creepy). The recomendation from the police is do not carry any bags or wear and jewery they will snatch and grab in a heart beat. We kept our hands on our kids at ALL times even though they are 11 and 8. The police suggest to stay off the side streets however we did not (thats were the shops are). If the cruse ships has not been in we would not have braved it, There is nothing worth while to see unless you want lunch at the highest selling KFC in the world.

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Hampshire, England
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
155 helpful votes 155 helpful votes
“Watch your step”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2005

I visited Port of Spain without my family for a meeting. I found it quite an alien place. There is a big problem with crime at the moment - a kidnap victim was found in a field minus his head one day I was there. There is a daily body count relating to gun and gang crime on the island. The local paper offers a big listing of doberman, pitbull and rotweiller puppies.

Having said that, I did not feel too much under threat and wasn't approached every few minutes, as happens in some places. I only went out in the daytime. I wanted to get some photos of Independence Square but was not comfortable with getting my (small) digital camera out when it was busy. I went back at 8am and rattled off a few shots quickly - there's not a great deal to see!

The square is really a long rectangle with footpath and road each side and a long pedestrianised walkway in the middle. I believe this is the Brian Lara Promenade but I cannot see the great man walking down there very often. The paved middle bit has benches, tables with chess boards on the top and that is about it. At the docks end, nothing much happens - though I can recommend the souvenir shop at that end - begins with K, nice stock and helpful. There is also a pharmacy (watch your change) and a sort of bakery that looked quite good. You can get your bottled water there. (This end is just a short walk from the Crowne Plaza hotel so is quite useful - out of the hotel turn left and turn left at the 2nd traffic lights).

At the downtown end there is the KFC, which seems to be a big deal in Trinidad. There are some street traders - newpapers, T shirts, jewellery etc and some shopping malls but they cater for local trade. If you want a sequinned halter neck top or a manmade fibre sports clothing then this is just the place for you. There is a very friendly little area called Drag something which sells nice beads and interesting sandals. You can see the guys making them on the 2nd floor. It's supposed to be a rasta outfit but the lady selling beads has a Jesus poster up.

Personally, I wasn't enamoured of the area. There were lots of street people - apparently the government doesn't have any provision for them. This is an oil revenue country so I don't understand this. There were a fair few people with physical disabilities who didn't seem to have any proper health provision. Another group just wearing shorts - no shirts or shoes. One guy was filling an empty beer bottle from stagnant "water" in the gutter. There were quite a few guys smoking weed just yards from the elevated police pod (!) at the downtown end of the square. Some of them had obviously done this a great deal over the years. There were more people asleep on the street during the day than you would imagine. They don't find a sheltered bit away from pedestrian feet - they just bed down in the middle of the footpath and you have to walk in the gutter round them. This is quite upsetting - they were obviously in a very bad way and no-one seemed to give a fig about them.

The most amazing thing I saw though (remember the drinking water from the gutter and the people asleep on the pavement) - was that a reasonably dressed woman broke her stride, squatted down, picked up her long skirt and urinated in a shop doorway. It was a busy walkway and I caught the eye of a local young woman who was absolutely mortified!

I'm sorry if this causes offence but it seems some of Port of Spain's residents had gone a little further down the path of erosion of dignity and self respect and compassion than is good for the place. Be careful. Do not stay out after sunset. It seemed quite a unique place but not in an way that would make me want to return - but I am glad I went. Try Maracas bay - that is a real beach. The road through the mountains was beautiful. Don't hire a car though - hire a driver and get a commentary too.

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