Tobago is known worldwide as a premier vacation spot. Aside from beaches and resorts, the island also brags lush forests, world-class dive sites, and other avenues for a good time. In this article from Essortment, you can check out the 10 things you must do or experience to make your trip to Tobago more than worth it.
A traveler’s guide to experiencing the ultimate Tobago vacation. What to eat, where to play, and how to find the best equipment for your adventure.
The tiny island of Tobago, West Indies shows travelers that paradise comes in small packages. Only 116 square miles, the island’s abundance of offerings keeps you wondering why it isn’t saturated with high-rise hotels and surf shops. Tobago is home to empty beaches, exotic wildlife, lush landscape, mouth-watering cuisine and wonderful local people. Discovering Tobago is like hearing a juicy secret.
Sometimes called “Robinson Crusoe’s Isaland”, Tobago is a year-round paradise. There are only two seasons, dry and wet. The island lies south of the hurricane belt, and with its sister Trinidad, makes up the southernmost islands in the Caribbean. There is truly something special about Tobago. A vacation here will steal your heart and rejuvenate your soul. Try these top ten ideas for your stay on the beautiful island:
1. RENT A JEEP
There’s no need to be tied to your bungalow in Tobago. There are exciting adventures waiting outside””you just have to find them. The best way to express your independent spirit here is to forget about organized tours and get out on your own. Jeeps are the island’s ideal mode of escape. Take your time winding around the island. Chances are you’ll discover a private paradise. There are several companies that rent Jeeps to visitors and they recommended booking in advance. Careful, though””they drive on the left in Tobago!
2. EAT WELL
Lying on the beach can work up an appetite, so it’s only natural that eating is a favorite pastime in Tobago. Although it’s a small island, a wide variety of cuisines and dining experiences are available. Fresh fish, steak and native vegetables serve as the centerpiece for delectable dishes. The flavors of Creole, Caribbean, Asian and European cuisines infuse the culinary style and you can choose from a casual or formal dining experience””there is something for everyone to feast on.
The international offerings are first-class, but you must experience the local cuisine by sampling some of Tobago’s specialty dishes. Crab and Dumplin is a local favorite and a must-eat! Blue crabs are cooked whole in their shells, soaked in curry sauce and served with flour dumplings. For those looking for a casual meal on a budget, Roti is an excellent choice. Roti is an Indian pancake wrapped around potato and chick pea curry with chicken, shrimp, beef or goat. For dessert or a sweet snack, you must have a Benne Ball. A Benne Ball is a tasty confection of sesame seeds bound with corn syrup and brown sugar. Yum! There’s nothing like tasting a local dish in the place it was born””it will never taste better. Some are spicy and some are sweet. They are all delicious and will keep you biding your time until the next meal.
3. TRAVERSE THE RAINFOREST
The island of Tobago is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The adventurous traveler will delight at the sights and sounds of lush vegetation, exotic species of animals and pure natural beauty. Do your homework before making the trek and hook up with a reputable guide. Bring your camera, water, bug spray and hiking shoes. This is not a trip for the out-of-shape.
4. SUNDAY NIGHT LIFE
Tobago nights are liveliest on Sundays, when an open air music fest dubbed “Sunday School” takes place next to Buccoo beach. Tourists and locals party here””drinking rum and dancing to steelpan, reggae and calypso until dawn. It’s the weekend’s hottest event! There is no entrance fee and the drinks are cheap. It’s the perfect place to make new friends and celebrate your adventures in Tobago.
5. HIKE TO ARGYLE WATERFALL
A tranquil paradise is waiting for you in Tobago. You haven’t experienced the island until you’ve seen the striking natural beauty of its waterfalls. Take a hike to the Argyle Waterfall, hailed as the most beautiful on the island. Be sure to bring your swimsuit and camera. To reach the falls, accept the guidance of a government guide to take you safely up the slippery path. Go for a swim, snap dramatic photos and soak in the sun for an unforgettable experience.
6. PIGEON POINT/BUCCOO REEF/NYLON POOL
Shining with white sand, Pigeon Point is a popular beach located on private property. For a modest entrance fee, you can explore the area and enjoy full use of beach facilities. Pigeon Point has attracted increasing numbers of tourists in recent years, so it’s here where you’ll find the usual beach offerings of water sports and souvenir boutiques. The beach is still beautiful, and should not be missed. The palm trees hugging the white sand have been a popular visual subject of many Caribbean travel magazines.
At Pigeon Point, locals will approach you offering glass bottom boat rides. Take them up on it. While enjoying the view through the boat, you will travel through a protected marine park to gorgeous Buccoo Reef, a snorkeling playground. The tour operator will provide the equipment you need for your adventure. From the boat, take a swim in the lagoon, snorkel in the reef and jump in the Nylon Pool. The Nylon Pool is a sand split far into the sea where you can wade up to your waist. Local folklore has dubbed it as Tobago’s fountain of youth””it’s a fantastic experience!
7. PICNIC ON ENGLISHMAN’S BAY
Englishman’s Bay is one of the most stunning and secluded beaches in Tobago. Located at the edge of the rainforest, the beach is accessible from a small path marked by a faded wooden sign. When you reach the beach, you’ll be amazed just how empty and peaceful it is. Plan to go for a half day. Bring your camera and stroll along the white sand. Listen for the sounds of nature echoing from the nearby Rainforest. Spread out a blanket and have a romantic picnic. This will surely be a highlight of your trip.
8. ADVENTURE FARM/NATURE RESERVE
If your island fantasies envision pure tranquility and connection with nature, you will fall in love with the Adventure Farm/Nature Reserve. The green-hearted nature enthusiast inside us all will truly feel at home in this island paradise.
Two acres of vegetation have been reserved as a place for exotic birds to flock, eat and sing. The area is also home to a butterfly garden, iguana population and endangered species. In addition to serving as a wildlife sanctuary, the estate is also home to a working organic farm. Farmers grow a wide variety of tropical fruit and make fresh fruit products for commercial sale. You can observe and learn about organic agriculture methods and even pick your own fruit from the orchards, paying market price for what you take away.
If you prefer secluded accommodations away from the popular beaches, Eco Villas are private and luxurious apartments available inside the reserve. The Adventure Farm/Nature Reserve is located on the Arnos Vale road. There is a small entrance fee.
9. SUNSET ON FLAGSTAFF HILL
At the northern tip of Tobago lies Charlotteville, a tiny fishing village rich in scenery nestled on one of the highest points on the island. Because of its high elevation, Charlotteville is secluded from traffic and tourism. There is only one windy road to take you there. Using the road, climb above Charlotteville to the top of Flagstaff Hill, the highest point in the area at 350 meters. From here, you have a clear view of the village, lush greenery, Man O’ War Bay and a breathtaking view into the sea. The St. Giles Islands are in the distance, the point where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. For the perfect romantic setting, stand on the hill and watch a sunset that will bring tears to your eyes.
10. SCUBA DIVING
Scuba diving in Tobago is a brilliant experience. Framed by the Orinoco River, southern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Tobago’s waters contain a striking abundance of sea life. You can dive in a shallow reef or deep water, witnessing small and large sea creatures in their natural habitat. Home to the world’s largest brain coral, manta rays, sea turtles and exotic tropical fish, Tobago’s underwater paradise is a must-see for diving enthusiasts.
Scuba diving in Tobago is growing in popularity, attracting increasing numbers of adventurers from Europe and North America each year. Be sure to choose a reputable diving company for your lessons and trip. A company belonging to Tobago’s Association of Dive Operators will outfit your adventure and teach you the ropes to make your experience unforgettable.