Trinidad taxis are unmetered, and they're identified by their license plates, which begin with the letter H. There are also "pirate taxis" as well: private cars that cruise around like regular taxis and pick up passengers. Whether you take an official taxi or a pirate taxi, make sure you agree on the fare beforehand; otherwise, you're likely to get ripped off. Maxi Taxis, or vans, can also be hailed on the street. A fare from Piarco Airport into Port-of-Spain generally costs $20 during the day, $35 at night. Call Phone-A-Taxi (tel. 868/628-TAXI) for taxi information or to order a cab.
To avoid the anxiety of driving, you can hire a local driver for your sightseeing jaunts. Although it costs more than doing it yourself, it alleviates the hassles of badly marked (or unmarked) roads and the sometimes-bizarre local driving patterns. Most drivers will serve as guides. Their rates, however, are based on route distances, so get an overall quotation and agree on the actual fare before setting off.
If you're brave enough to set out via rental car, arm yourself with a good map and never forget to drive on the left. Visitors with a valid international driver's license or a license from the United States, Canada, France, or the United Kingdom may drive without extra documentation for up to 3 months.
Since the island is one of the world's largest exporters of asphalt, Trinidad's 7,245km (4,502 miles) of roads are well paved. However, outback roads should be avoided during the rainy season, as they're often narrow, twisting, and prone to washouts. Inquire about conditions, particularly if you're headed for the north coast. The fierce traffic jams of Port-of-Spain are legendary, and night driving anywhere on the island is rather hazardous.
The major U.S.-based car rental firms currently have no franchises on the island, so you'll have to make arrangements with a local firm (go over the terms and insurance agreements carefully). Count on spending about $50 to $100 per day or more, with unlimited mileage included. Your best bet is one of the firms maintaining offices at Piarco Airport. These include Southern Sales Car Rentals (tel. 868/675-2424), Thrifty (tel. 800/847-4389 in the U.S. and Canada, or 868/669-0602; www.thrifty.com), and the simply named Auto Rentals (tel. 868/669-2277). Warning: Although these local car rental firms technically accept reservations, a car may not be waiting for you even if you reserve ahead of time.
All the towns of Trinidad are linked by regular bus service from Port-of-Spain. Fares are low (about 30¢-$1.90 for runs within the capital). However, the old buses are likely to be very overcrowded. Try to avoid them at rush hours and beware of pickpockets.