Cricketing legend Brian Lara on his travels

Record-breaking batsman Brian Lara shares his travel experiences, from partying in Las Vegas to eating Iguana, and tells us why he can’t wait to visit Iraq.

You were born and bred in Trinidad and Tobago. Why are the islands so special?

Let me put it this way. If I was from Jamaica or Barbados and as a West Indian cricketer travelling through the Caribbean and experiencing different cultures, I would still be going back to Trinidad and Tobago because it's a wonderful country. We’ve got the best carnival in the world and our people are very affable and friendly. We’ve got great ecotourism as well, a great north coast and hundreds of species of birds and flowers. It’s a wonderful place to be.

Brian Lara interview - Profile pictureBrian Lara was born and bred in Trinidad and Tobago
Brian Lara
Where are your favourite places to spend time?

I was born in Santa Cruz so I spent a lot of time hiking over the hills of Santa Cruz and into Maracas Bay, which is on the north coast. Me and my six brothers and four sisters, we used to climb those mountains; spend a couple of hours to get to Maracas Beach and then spend the entire day there. I still do that now, maybe more for fitness and taking friends and showing them, but today I’d rather drive my Mercedes round than walk but it’s still a lot of fun and I can take my daughter too.

What should guests make sure they don’t miss when they visit?

The ‘bake and shark’ has to be eaten to be believed. It’s a baby shark, with some fried dough, which is the bake part, and then you have a lot of condiments inside with seasoning and cucumber and tomatoes and hot sauce and it’s delicious.

Where’s best for a good night out?

The main street of Trinidad’s capital Port of Spain has developed into the social hub of the country over the last 10 years. It’s got all the restaurants and bars, and on a Friday and Saturday you’ve got to park maybe two streets away because it’s flooded with people walking through the streets. Personally, I would choose a restaurant called Buzo, which is a beautiful Italian restaurant. It’s wonderful.

Brian Lara interview - BeachPigeon Point Beach in Tobago
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And for a day at the beach?

First of all I would say if you visit Trinidad, you’ll need a vacation afterwards! So you could go to Tobago, where the most beautiful beach is Pigeon Point. Getting back to Trinidad, the hike or the drive over the north coast is beautiful. I would compare it very closely to the Amalfi Coast in Italy in terms of looking down into the water from the precipice.

Away from the Caribbean where have you enjoyed visiting?

I loved my time in Australia and South Africa but London is definitely one of my favourite cities and the nightlife there is fantastic. Back in my day, we’d go to Tramp nightclub and China Whites and all those places. And there are some great restaurants too like Zuma and Nobu.

So tell us about your recent trip to Las Vegas…

I was there for my friend Dwight Yorke’s 40th birthday.

And did you make the most of the Vegas nightlife?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Let me tell you though we were hurting on a few occasions.

Did any of you strike it lucky in the casinos?

I don’t know, I don’t know. It was a trip to celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday and no one really talked about their losses afterwards but I’m sure that if anybody won they sponsored the night so it was good.

Did you stay in one of the more interesting hotels?

Yes we stayed at the Winn Hotel, which is beautiful.

Brian Lara interview - IndiaIndia's majestic hotels have left a mark on Brian
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Of all the other luxurious hotels you’ve stayed in, which is your favourite?

There are lovely hotels all around the world but the ones that left a mark on me are I believe the beautiful hotels in India. You’d walk off a street full of poverty and you’d go into a fully marble and mahogany hotel. These structures and their locations are amazing; you look out of your window on the 40th floor and you just see total poverty around you, and that is really weird.

How do you like to spend time on holiday?

I love golf so if I’m on holiday in London I play a lot of golf during the day, unless my daughter is with me and then I want to do what she wants to do. But normally, if I’m in London or Australia, I’d spend my days playing golf, away from the shops. I tend to lose less money playing golf than I do when I go shopping.

Do you ever do adrenaline sports?

No, no, no. No bungee jumping or sky diving for me. I’m not fearful; it’s just my heartbeat. I’ve done a few things in Disneyworld with my daughter and I’m uncomfortable with it. When you have guys bowling at 95 miles per hour for the last 15 years you tend to stick to the simpler things.

Where have you really enjoyed the food on your travels?

I’ve become a huge sushi fan over the last five years or so, so I tend to visit a lot of sushi bars wherever I travel. I’ve not been to Japan yet but I have been to Hong Kong, which was great.

Brian Lara interview - HKHong Kong is a great destination for foodies
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Have you ever sampled any unusual local delicacies?

In Trinidad and Tobago, I eat quite a few things that a lot of people wouldn’t eat.

Tell us more..



It’s not bad. It’s not far off chicken.

Does it look like iguana on the plate?

It depends on whether you get the legs chopped off or not. You should try it. Iguana and dumplings is a local favourite, with red kidney beans. When you come and visit I’ll get one off a tree and show you exactly what happens.

Have you ever had any negative experiences on holiday?

I was very ill in Sri Lanka once. I had terrible food poisoning but the worst incident that happened was when someone bought a car with my credit card in South Africa once.

What happened?

Barclays bank called me, this was back in the 1990s, and they said ‘Did you purchase a car a couple of weeks ago in South Africa?’ and I said, ‘No’. So they had to write it off. They forgot about it. It was only a small car. It was about £10,000 which I know is a lot of money in South Africa.

What has travel taught you?

How important it is to meet and interact with different people and cultures, and to appreciate what happens in each and every single country and bringing those ideas back home.

Brian Lara interview - IraqBrian would like to visit Iraq for a day or two
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Where would you still love to visit?

A lot of people would be surprised but I would like to touch down in Iraq. Even for just a day or two. Because it’s a country that nobody wants to go to and I’ve been almost everywhere. Obviously I’d want to come back alive and I’d want someone to guarantee that I’d come back alive. But I think it would be something different and I’d like to see what it would be like.

Brian Lara is a cultural ambassador for Trinidad & Tobago. For more details, visit, and check out our Trinidad and Tobago travel guide.

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