Tobago for every kind of traveller

With its own unique ecosystem, uncrowded white-sand beaches and plentiful opportunities for adventure, Tobago is the kind of classic Caribbean paradise that has holidaymakers swooning. Writer Olivia McLearon reveals why everyone from old school romantics to eco-warriors will love a slice of this undiscovered island


The adventurers

Beyond its endless unspoilt beaches, Tobago rewards visitors with tantalising glimpses of its natural wildlife. Birders are well-served, with an incredible 230 species on the island, including the white-tailed sabrewing hummingbird (above), with its shimmering greens and vibrant blues. Listen out for the chachalaca, aka ‘the cocrico’, Tobago’s national bird, so named because of the raucous sound it makes during its dawn and dusk chorus. Over at Turtle Beach, you can see leatherback turtles nesting – while laying eggs they go into a trance-like state and can be viewed up close – before sliding down into the sea (March to August). Take a night-time kayaking or paddleboarding trip at Bon Accord Lagoon, to catch a dazzling lightshow of glowing bioluminescent marine plankton. Top it all off with a visit to Tobago’s highest waterfall, the 54-metre-high Argyle Falls, which cascades down into a trio of pools. Don’t forget your swimsuit – you can swim in all three.


The cultured foodies

Food-lovers visiting Tobago are rewarded with a plethora of hearty island food. Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen in Speyside is the go-to for local specialities, while The Caribbean Kitchen offers rum, reggae and spectacular sunset views. Or, how about alfresco fun on the beach at Suckhole Restaurant and Bar – the grilled red snapper is a must. For those after a shot of culture, visit one of the island’s many colonial forts, such as Fort James. Originally a Latvian stronghold in the 17th century, the views from the fort are epic. If you’re visiting over Easter, don’t miss the Buccoo Goat and Crab Race Festival; this joyous event (pictured above) started in 1925, when Tobagonians decreed that they needed an alternative to horse racing. However, if you simply want to chill out, that’s encouraged, too. Relaxation is a local pastime and it even has its own word – ‘liming’. The term refers to any activities that involve sharing food, exchanging long stories, jokes and anecdotes. Preferably with rum in hand.


The beach lovers

It’s the Caribbean so you’re guaranteed beautiful beaches and azure-blue waters, but visitors to Tobago really are in for a treat. For dazzling white sands and the most tranquil waters, make a beeline for Pigeon Point. The beach’s location on the southwest tip of the island makes it ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Or if swimming in the sea is top of your list, take yourself down to Store Bay’s golden beach, a ten-minute drive from Pigeon Point. Head to Mount Irvine Bay for snorkelling – or to Buccoo Reef and its 30 square miles of coral reef: take a glass-bottom boat tour from Store Bay or Pigeon Point. Venturing further north, scuba divers looking for underwater adventure should go to Speyside and Charlotteville, where the best sites are to be found. On the northern Caribbean coast, Englishman’s Bay is known by locals as Tobago’s jewel – virtually crowd-free, it’s perfect if you want to lie back under the sun’s rays and lose yourself in a good book.


The romantics

What could be more romantic than making a lifetime commitment against a dreamy Caribbean backdrop? And while you and your intended can push the boat out if you so wish, a Tobagonian wedding can also be done on more of a budget – with just the two of you, the minister, the witnesses and the sunset. There are lots of wedding planning packages available on the island that take the stress out of marrying abroad. Whether you’re getting married, honeymooning or just enjoying a romantic escape, there are dozens of hotels to choose from, such as adults-only Le Grand Courlan above Stonehaven Bay. Tobago really is made for two!


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