Chaguanas Trinidad is not only the largest municipality in Trinidad and Tobago,
but also the fastest-growing, so it’s only going to get bigger. Only some 67,000
people live in Chaguanas, however, so it’s certainly not large by international
standards. You can find Chaguanas near the central west coast of the island
of Trinidad, and it’s only eleven miles south of the capital city of Port
of Spain. The shopping
in Chaguanas is what brings in most tourists, and the city is also notable for
its heavy East Indian influence. You’ll almost feel as if you’ve headed to India
when enjoying Chaguanas vacations. Interestingly enough, the city was the place
of birth for novelist V.S. Naipaul, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in
2001. Naipaul is of Indo-Trinidadian descent, which is true of a significant
number of Chaguanas residents.
Chaguanas Trinidad, unlike many other towns and settlements in Trinidad and Tobago, was widely ignored by the Spanish. It really never came into importance until British settlers arrived looking for places to develop the country’s sugar industry. Many of the indentured laborers that came to work in Chaguanas in the mid-1800s were of East Indian descent, which is why there is such a heavy East Indian influence in Chaguanas to this day. Like the other main towns and cities on the island of Trinidad, Chaguanas really began to grow after the building of the Trinidad Government Railway. This railway was in operation between the years of 1876 and 1968, and though it was originally built to serve as a connection between Port of Spain and Arima, Chaguanas and San Fernando could eventually be reached when extensions were completed in 1882.
It wasn’t until the latter half of the twentieth century when shopping in Chaguanas started to become a main attraction. It was during this time that the town really developed into a bazaar, more-or-less, and it is still noted for its large open market. For those looking to shop for some local produce during their Chaguanas trip, the market is one of the Chaguanas attractions that you will not want to miss. If bargain shopping in Chaguanas is your focus, there are a few newer malls in town where the bargain shops are plentiful, and the Indian shops on Main Road and around town have plenty of affordable goods to peruse. While shopping in Chaguanas, the Indian clothing and jewelry shops are of particular interest, as are the pottery shops.
If shopping in Chaguanas isn’t all that you are looking to do, there are other Chaguanas attractions that are worth looking into. Literary buffs can interest themselves in the Lion House, which is the birthplace of the aforementioned author, V.S. Naipaul. The Lion House supposedly served as the inspiration for the novel A House for Mr. Biswas, which is generally hailed as Naipaul’s finest work. For nature lovers, the Caroni Swamp is one of the featured Chaguanas attractions for enjoying the great outdoors. A mangrove wetland, it is a wonderful place to do some birdwatching, especially for the Scarlet Ibises that roost here. The Scarlet Ibis is Trinidad and Tobago’s national bird and is displayed on the country’s coat of arms.
For insight into the East Indian culture of Chaguanas, a visit to the Divali
Nagar site will be in order when looking for things
to do in Chaguanas Trinidad. This site is not a main year-round attraction
, however, and only becomes popular in the week leading up to Divali. Divali,
which is known in English as the Festival of Lights, is a major Indian Festival
that takes place in either October or November, depending on the year. The Waterloo
Temple is another one of the Chaguanas attractions that reflects the city’s
Indian culture, and it can be visited any month of the year. The Waterloo Temple
was built by a man whose determination to erect a temple of worship would become
the focus of his life. It’s really an amazing story. Unless you have the use
of a rental car in Chaguanas, taking a taxi out towards the coast to visit the
Waterloo Temple is the recommended way to go.