SIX days after the US State Department put Trinidad and Tobago on its Level III tier – which means travel here should be reconsidered – a popular US travel guide listed Trinidad as one of the top 50 places in the world to visit in 2023.
The US uses four levels to advise its citizens on visiting or working in a specific country – Level I: exercise normal precautions; Level II: exercise increased caution; Level III: reconsider travel; and Level IV: do not travel.
TT was previously on a Level II tier until last Wednesday, with the State Department saying the reason for upgrading it was crime.
The advisory said US government personnel are prohibited from travelling to Beetham Gardens, Laventille, Sea Lots, Cocorite and the interior of the Queen's Park Savannah, and after dark, downtown Port of Spain, Fort George overlook and all beaches.
It said terrorism, kidnapping, murder, robbery, assault, sexual assault and home invasions are common in TT and urged those who still choose to visit to be cautious.
Despite this, US travel guide Travel Lemming placed Trinidad – omitting Tobago – at spot 43 on its 50 Best Places to Travel in 2023 list.
"Trinidad is full of gorgeous spots. And the best part? No one else is there!" it said.
It said the best time to visit is January-May and suggested activities like watching turtles nest at Grande Riviere, touring the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, visiting the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Maracas Bay, Bamboo Cathedral, and Mermaid Pools of Matura.
It said Trinidad is a "lesser-travelled island" with a "vibrant landscape and lifestyle...swathed in the tropical jungle" and home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, hidden waterfalls, wild rivers and diverse wetlands.
"Its unique cuisine blends Caribbean, Chinese, and Indian flavours to create delicious dishes. When visiting, try locals’ street food favourite – doubles – a curried chickpea sandwich topped with spicy mango chutney.
"From incredible food to fun festivals and the rhythm of Calypso music, Trinidadians’ warm, welcoming culture will be the highlight of your experience."
The travel guide has over sixmillion readers annually.
The top ten destinations on the list are: Lafayette, Louisiana; Bhutan; Utila, Honduras; Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar; Kosovo; Salento, Colombia; Vanuatu; Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia; Uzbekistan; Detroit, Michigan.
The only other Caribbean destinations on the list of 50 are Caye Caulker, Belize and St Croix, US Virgin Islands.