Most of us, when we think of vacation, we think of sitting on a white-sand beach on an exotic island paradise with a cold beer in one hand watching the world go by. If you’re lucky enough to live on a twin-island republic like I do, then you know that vacation is never far away.
Trinidad and Tobago, the southern most islands of the Caribbean archipelago, offer the perfect blend of sun, sand and sea and is every eco-tourist’s dream. For us Trinis, (those of us born in Trinidad), Tobago is our go to holiday spot no matter the time of year. Whether it’s for a relaxing getaway, a glamorous wedding or a fantastic beach party, Tobago never fails to deliver on fun-filled, memorable moments that leave you coming back for more, which is why the United Nations has dubbed it “The Happiest Island in the Caribbean.”
Size Doesn’t Matter!
Just 33km long by 11km wide, Tobago is quite small and it is possible for you to drive around the entire island in just one day. But don’t let it’s size fool you! There is much to do and see and enough picturesque scenes along the way to take your breath away. If you do decide to embark on the adventure of driving around Tobago, one of the most famous scenes to look out for is that of Palatuvier Bay. On the north eastern coast of the island, the road winds upwards giving its audience a postcard view from above…and it literally is a postcard view as the iconic image can be found in almost every souvenir shop on the island. But even with this honour, it is ranked only as the third best beach on the island.
The title of the most beautiful beach in Tobago has been bestowed to Pigeon Point Beach. Located southwest of the island, the area around the beach has been developed into a 125 acre nature reserve with a TT$20.00 (US$2.98) entrance fee to enjoy its facilities. This is a small price to pay when you’re on the 98th ranked top beach in the world according to CNN and privy to one of the most photographed jetties in the world. And if you’re more of an adventure tourist, rentals of jet skis and other water sport equipment are available on the beach.
If you’re also up for a tour sometime between all the ‘lying around on the beach doing nothing,’ one of the most popular tours is that of the glass bottom boat that takes visitors out to the Buccoo Reef, Nylon Pool and sometimes even to No man’s land. Boats can be boarded from Store Bay, another very popular beach that is close to Pigeon Point and very popular with the locals, or from Pigeon Point Beach.
There are two tours that leave per day and each lasts for approximately 2.5 hours. The boat’s glass bottom allows a view of the coral reef without visitors having to go overboard, although the guides do stop to allow for snorkeling and all the necessary gear is provided. The boats also have an upper deck which grants visitors the option of traveling with an amazing 360 degree view of the island’s shorelines.
For those who do not venture out on the reef, the Nylon Pool may be more accommodating as it is only ankle deep and so is possibly more kid friendly. On a trip to the island in 1962, Princess Margaret while on her honeymoon, bestowed it with its name when she likened the appearance of the crystal waters to that of nylon. Some added benefits of swimming there is that it is said that it can reverse aging by ten years and as if that wasn’t enough, if couples kiss under its waters their love will last forever.
For those wishing to go to No Man’s Land, the usual tours may not include this, but boats can be chartered to get there since it is the only way to access this part of the island; hence the name.
But Tobago has more to offer than just its pristine beaches. The Main Ridge, covering 14,000 acres, is one of oldest legally protected rainforests in the region and hosts several hiking trails that lead to enchanting waterfalls. Among these are Argyle Falls which is one of the more popular as it can be enjoyed in both the wet and dry seasons, Greenhill Waterfall and King’s Bay Waterfall, all of which can be accessed with the help of tour guides.
And after an enjoyable day spent under the sun, the vibrant nightlife is not to be missed. Being the land of soca and calypso, Trinbagonians love to have a good time. Along Milford Road in Bon Accord, there are numerous bars and restaurants to choose from or you can hop along the stretch to explore them all. But if you’re looking for a night out of great music and dancing, Shade is one of the most renown places to go to. Also located in Bon Accord, Shade is the only open air night club on the island, drawing large crowds over the weekend and providing a scintillating mix of music that can be enjoyed by all.
Some of seasonal events on the island include the Great Fete Weekend which is a six night party that takes place in Pigeon Point and the Tobago Jazz Experience which usually takes place in April and features live entertainment from both local and international talent.
That Perfect Vacation
By now you should be convinced that Tobago has something for you. From its iconic beaches to its lush nature trails, Tobago has much to offer. And while what I have presented in this article is by no means an exhaustive list of all the activities to be enjoyed on the island, there is something there that can interest people from all walks of life. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, an escape from the chaos of everyday work and life or the search for adventure in an exotic island paradise with stunning sunsets that leave you speechless, Tobago is the place for you. I guarantee on the very first visit you will be left wanting more.