Guide to Tobago
Tobago is rumoured to be Robinson Crusoe’s island and whether this is fact or legend one thing is certain – Crusoe would have been very much at home here. The island is one of beauty and contrasts and despite the growth of tourism in the last thirty years it remains unspoilt and indeed in many areas still undiscovered by visitors. The traditional Tobago of golden sandy beaches and friendly local fisherman still remains. There is still a huge variety of smaller character hotels and quiet villas all over the island for visitors to enjoy.
Tobago’s interior is rich in nature and wildlife and the mountainous Tobago Forest Reserve with its main ridge reaching nearly 2000 feet contains a dazzling variety of tropical flowers and vegetation. We can recommend experienced knowledgeable guides to lead your trek through this amazing terrain with its wildlife and waterfalls.
Villages & Islands
The North East of Tobago offers endless opportunities to explore the undiscovered features of the island. Take the glass-bottomed boat from SPEYSIDE to explore the 250 acre island of LITTLE TOBAGO. Just 20 minutes by boat from the shore this bird sanctuary is home to nearly 60 species of tropical bird, some extremely rare and guides will escort you as you explore this haven. The nearby GOAT ISLAND is surrounded by reefs and the glass bottom boats will give you a spectacular view of marine life and living coral of incredible variety. Take a trip to CASTARA to see one of the most natural of fishing villages and “lime” with the locals.
Tobago has its famous beaches – Pigeon Point, Store Bay, Stonehaven Bay – with watersports and all sorts of facilities. However, just a short drive up the coast from Plymouth takes you to an array of peaceful, golden sandy beaches where the waters of the Caribbean seas lap into beautiful coves. Wonderful names like Man O’War Bay, Parlatuvier Bay, Bloody Bay, Englishman’s Bay, Heavenly Bay and Pirate’s Bay to name just a few. Some have little shacks selling snacks and local crafts. The traditional fishing village of Castara is set within a wonderful horseshoe bay split into two lovely sandy beaches. You will find a good selection of places to eat and drink around both beaches and within the village itself.
Art & History
Fort King George, built by the English in 1779 has stunning views especially at sunset. The Officer’s Barracks is now the Tobago Historical Museum which houses archaeological relics from all eras of the island’s history, including artifacts from the earliest Amerindian settlers and African culture, as well as a collection of historic military items and maps. The Kimme Museum is home to the magnificent collection of huge wooden sculptures by the late Luise Kimme.
There are bars and restaurants but not a great deal of organised nightlife. Many hotels have regular entertainment and some bars and restaurants will have calypso singers and local dancers. The small village of Buccoo comes alive on Sunday night for the weekly Sunday School. No bible readings or gospel singing involved, just eating, drinking, music, dancing and liming at this lively street party which lasts till the early hours. All are welcome.
Tobago is one of the best diving destinations in the Caribbean with an impressive array of pristine coral reefs, volcanic formations and marine wrecks. The warm currents that feed the waters around Tobago come from the great Orinoco in South America and the diversity of marine life is amazing. Rare multicoloured fish mix with dolphins and giant sponges, but Tobago is best known for the huge manta rays that are found all around the island. Sucken galleons from the days of the pirates as well as World War II supply ships litter the sea floor. There are numerous diving centres in Tobago and we can help you with arrangements for scuba diving as part of your holiday.
There are plenty of places to snorkel off Tobago’s beautiful beaches and there is plenty of information available about the most interesting sites. Serious snorkellers may want to visit the spectacular sights of the deeper reefs and boats run regular trips from places like Store Bay and Pigeon Point take you to Buccoo Reef or from Blue Waters Inn to visit the amazing reefs surrounding Goat Island. Again we will be pleased to give detailed information about the best places to snorkel.
Plenty of places to windsurf – Mount Irvine Bay is a favourite spot with the locals and Pigeon Point has a tuition as well as a good selection of equipment for hire and lessons are available. We can advise you about other good windsurfing areas and there are many watersports operators who will take you to the best beaches.
Many companies will take you on a full or half day cruise taking in some of the most beautiful sights off the shores of Tobago and giving you the chance to snorkel and swim in some of the best possible locations. Full day cruises include a beach barbecue in real Robinson Crusoe locations.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
In Tobago, stand-up paddling in the Bon Accord Lagoon is a special treat as the evening rolls in with a magical lightining show courtesy of the bioluminescent plankton that live in the lagoon.
The leatherback turtle can weigh up to 700kgs! These massive creatures swim thousands of miles to return to the place of their birth to lay their eggs. In the egg-laying season and later when the baby turtles hatch and return to the sea, it is possible to join an organised group to watch this incredible and very moving process. The turtle is a protected species and all their egg-laying areas are strictly controlled during the laying and hatching season, generally March to September.
Tobago is beautiful and to fully appreciate the true wonder of what this amazing island has to offer you need to go to places that can only be visited by kayak. Every trip is its own adventure and each one is different. You can paddle out to a deserted island, see a diverse array of the beautiful flora and fauna found in Tobago and, if you’re feeling up for it, swim in the warm, blue sea. As you glide amongst the coral reefs and mangroves you will soon forget what time it is and you’ll begin to feel at one with nature.