Top Ten on Tobago
Recently driving through the tiny fishing villages of Tobago, I was struck by how much there is to see on this friendly little island which epitomises Caribbean warmth and tropical verve. Here is my top ten:
1 Beach: Tobago has any number of great beaches, but I love Pidgeon Point with white coral sand and shallow waters. Snuggle up with a good book in one of the little cabanas
2. Dive: The underwater world here is a paradise for divers. You can spot turtles, sharks, barracuda and stingrays. The best spots include Speyside and Charlotteville in the north and popular dives include the Sisters rocks and London Bridge. In the south there is a wreck, The Maverick, sunk in 1997.
3 Eat: There are plenty of fine dining options in the top hotels and in prime locations around the island, many of which reflect Trinidad & Tobago’s ethnic mix of Asian and European cuisines. But for a real taste of island food stop at a roadside eaterie .Try crab and dumpling, roti or oil down.
4 Hike: The Tobago Forest reserve (Main Ridge Reserve) claims to be the oldest protected rainforest in the world dating from 1776. Or take a three hour trail to Argyle waterfall, Tobago’s’ highest cascade at 175 feet
5 Party: The strains of calypso and steel pan are hard to avoid on the island. On Sundays the famous Sunday School Street Party is held at Buccoo from about 9 pm, with a DJ, craft and food stalls.
6 Bird watch: Little Tobago Island (also called Bird Of Paradise Island) is just 1.2 square miles but packed with natural wonder. It is now a bird sanctuary and a glass-bottom boat departs from Speyside twice a day
7 Drink: This is the Caribbean, so you can’t leave without sampling at least one rum cocktail. Each hotel has its signature drink, but a traditional Rum Punch is my favourite. Local beers include Stag and Carib. Sugar is still produced here, and is used to make Angostura rum which is now produced by the company making the eponymous bitters.
8 Shop: There are several malls on Tobago, but a trip to the market in the capital Scarborough will give you the most authentic experience with lots of noise, colour and bargaining! Buy crafts such as leather, wood carvings and jewellery. Local rums, chocolate and jams travel well.
9 Festivals: Reflecting the exciting mix of cultures and diversity here, there are celebrations and festivals all year round. All religions celebrate public holidays - whether it is Divali or Christmas. Watch out for the Buccoo goat & crab racing festivals for an idiosyncratic peek into Tobago life
10 History: Visit Fort King George and the Tobago Museum, formerly a strategic defence site, it now offers a great view of the harbour and the coast line from 460 feet above sea level.
In the winter season, there are 4 flights from London (LGW) to Tobago (TAB) weekly on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic