Tobago… Clean, Green and Serene

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Tobago is a small island – only 26 miles long and 7 miles wide – but it offers so much. It has a warm tropical marine climate, varying from 25 degrees Celsius to 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year, meaning the water temperature is always at least a nice swimming pool temperature. Its 54,000 residents rely heavily on the service sector to tick over its economy; 60-70% of the locals are employed by the local Government, and when you take into account the decent sized private sector, there is very little unemployment in Tobago. This means there is very little poverty, so you have an island perfect for travellers to enjoy a relaxed, well run, peaceful inviting island.

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Tobagonians are a beautiful people; relaxed, warm and hospitable. They are friendly and have a good sense of humour. The island is hassle free and fun. It has a vibrant culture, unique cuisine and breath-taking beauty. There are no crowded beaches (there are only 2,500 rooms on Tobago for those lucky enough to get them). It has good weather all year round; as one of the most Southerly of the Caribbean islands, Tobago is level with the Northern tip of South America, which means it lies South of the hurricane belt which gives it a major advantage when choosing off season holidays in the Caribbean.

tobago 9It is a must for the adventurous traveller, with kayaking, glass bottomed boats, kite boarding, wind surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming in secluded waterfalls on offer. Golfing, mountain biking and sailing are also available. The main ridge forest has been voted the world’s leading eco tourism destination in the past by the world travel awards. It is the oldest protected rainforest in the world. It is a bird watchers paradise and has 210 species of birds. Giant Leatherback turtles nest and hatch on the beaches at Stone Haven Bay.  It is a smorgasbord of culinary wonders, an island that needs to be smelt, touched, seen, tasted and heard to understand what an amazing place it is. It is all about culture and heritage and it has an amazing legacy to protect. It is also an ideal destination for romantic trips, honeymoons and weddings.

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tobago 4tobago 8It is an island of many festivals – there’s something happening every month. There are unique activities too, like goat and crab racing at Buccoo race track for example. Pigeon Point is worth a visit. It is said to be the island’s most beautiful beach, although many of the beaches are amazing! You shouldn’t miss the  steel pan entertainment on offer there and visit its iconic thatched roof jetty where many weddings have been filmed.  Fort King George is another place worth visiting. This was one of the last colonial forts to be built on Tobago, and offers an amazing viewpoint over the island. The lighthouse built there is still in commission.

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tobago 10tobago 11The diving is varied, but all good. I would describe this as a perfect destination to travel to if diving wasn’t your main focus, as there is so much to do on the island. The diving is similar to the reef diving and reef drift diving in the unspoilt parts of the Red Sea. Tobago’s dive sites are unrivalled anywhere in the Caribbean. The best diving is from 10 metres deep, to maybe around 30 metres deep, so suits the recreational diver rather than the technical diver. You can dive at various sites to see more than 300 species of coral, turtles, nurse sharks and manta rays, especially at Speyside which is the island’s diving Mecca. It meets the Caribbean on one side, and the Atlantic on the other. It has some boisterous water movement which makes for some fun drift diving at certain dive sites at certain times of the day.

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A full dive review is to follow, but for now I’ve put together a short video of a day on Tobago including some off-season diving footage:

How to get there

Flights from Gatwick in the UK, or connecting flights via North America. Trinidad, its larger sister island is 2.5 hours by ferry, or a short 20 minute flight.

Information

Tobago is a friendly island. Make sure you pack sun tan lotion, mosquito repellent and that you hydrate regularly (whether you are feeling thirsty or not).

Dive Centres

Eco and tourism

Restaurants

Hotels

Steve Millard

Steve Millard

Steve Millard is a UK based AIDA Instructor Trainer who is the owner of Apneists UK freediving group. www.learn2freedive.com . Currently Chair of the British Freediving Association and the UKs leading competition organiser.

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