Getting around Tobago and where to stay
Known for its miles of sweeping sandy beaches and lush rainforest, Tobago is situated north east of Trinidad and smaller than its tropical neighbour. At only 25 miles long and just over 6 miles wide, Tobago is an easy island to get around so don’t miss out on all the delights that this Caribbean paradise has to offer.
The airport is located in the southwest; just a few minutes drive away is Chic, a boutique hotel with only 35 rooms. Relax by the pool, unwind at the spa or stroll around the local area. Chic is perfectly placed for exploring Tobago, nearby is Crown Point and Pigeon Point Beach. This could possibly be one of the best beaches in Tobago; it has plenty of character, soapy blue waters, white sand and a wooden walkway jutting out to sea. Small huts line the road opposite and local bars and restaurants are the perfect pit stop to take in the beautiful views. There is a small entrance fee but it is definitely worth it. On windy days windsurf or kite surf around the headland here. Also in the southwest is the small village of Buccoo stop by here to witness the 80 year old tradition of goat racing. The official day for the Goat Race Festival in Buccoo is Easter Tuesday, but it can also be seen island wide during festivals and events.
Coco Reef Resort on the west coast is a short 10 minute drive from the airport, start the holiday off in style with a champagne cocktail at the resorts very own champagne bar, watch the sunset in private from an ocean view room, be pampered at the spa and visit the gym. The crowning glory of Coco Reef is the private beach. Find your very own piece of paradise on this secluded stretch of sand. If you can leave this heavenly retreat, kick back and relax on the shore at nearby Canoe Bay, lay back and listen to the soothing sounds of the calm shallow waters lapping on the shoreline. A small bar to purchase drinks and snacks, toilets and showers plus picnic tables make this beach a great place for a family day out.
Turtle Beach Tobago by Rex Resorts is further up the west coast and only 25 minutes from the airport. Situated on a dreamy beach of the same name it has everything to enjoy a blissful Caribbean escape. A spacious pool with swim up bar, tennis courts, volleyball, windsurfing and kayaking and glorious ocean views from the rooms. What’s more from March to July witness leatherback turtles nesting on the beach right in front of the resort.
On the other side of the island, a 15-minute drive from the airport will bring you to Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort. In the southeast on the Atlantic coast this little gem is a luxurious retreat like no other. Three pools, an 18-hole golf course and a dive centre along with two and a half miles of stunning shoreline will really make you feel like you are in paradise.
Bacolet Beach Club on the east coast is a great choice for relaxing by the pool or on the beach. Being nearby to Scarborough, the capital, it is also fantastic for seeing the sights. This secluded boutique hotel has only 20 rooms, a dreamy infinity pool overlooking the ocean, lush tropical gardens and a bar right on the beach; it’s hard not to relax and unwind in such heavenly surroundings. Bacolet Bay is indeed a treat for the eyes, used as the location for Swiss Family Robinson this small half moon shaped bay is just right for cooling off in the crystal clear waters or reading a book under a shady palm. If you are not staying at the beach club there are toilet and shower facilities along with a children’s play area, making it easy to spend a whole day here.
Blue Waters Inn to the north of the island is near Speyside and around one hour and thirty minutes from the airport. This gorgeous boutique resort certainly has the wow factor from the infinity pool overlooking the shimmering ocean, to the elegant rooms with panoramic Caribbean views. Watch the sunset on the beach from the hotel’s private jetty and experience Tobago’s underwater world with the help of the onsite dive centre. The Mot Mot Deck is a must for a cocktail or a cool beer, jutting out onto the beach and shaded by trees it is a blissful spot for relaxing. Pirates Bay, near Blue Waters has 157 steps to get to the waters edge, it is well worth the steep descent as calm waters and pink sand await. The beach was the setting for Robinson Crusoe; backed by lush green rainforest it’s not hard to see why as its Caribbean charm sparkles through with every wave lapping on the shore.
Other fine beaches include Englishman’s Bay, surrounded by a green backdrop; quiet and secluded this crescent shaped bay will take your breath away. Crystal clear waters just right for snorkelling and palms offering some much needed shade from the afternoon heat are all that is required here. For something a bit different King Peter’s Bay on the west has slightly rougher waters, as a result you can often have this beach all to yourself, the dark sand also adds an unusual touch to the usual golden sand beach one might be used to in the Caribbean. The drive along the three mile track to see this gorgeous wild landscape is not for the faint hearted but worth the trek even if it’s just to take a photo.
Tobago is a popular island for divers having some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. On the Caribbean coast the wreck of the Maverick Ferry is home to all sorts of marine life including a 4 foot jewfish. Buccoo Reef in the southwest is the largest coral reef in Tobago and was granted Marine Park status in 1973. Fish found in the tropical waters around the reef include tuna, barracuda and wahoo along with turtles, rays and reef sharks. Other dive sites on this coast include the impressive Sister’s Rocks, huge rock pinnacles drop 140 foot underwater. Speyside in the north is a divers heaven, coral reefs galore with all sorts of colourful marine life, angelfish, parrotfish and sea fans to name just a few. Look out for the boulder brain coral measuring more than six metres wide. For the advanced, Japanese Gardens and Blackjack Hole have strong currents and plenty of interesting sights. Columbus passage to the south is popular for drift diving it has gigantic barrel sponges and strong currents which make for an exhilarating experience.
Golf is a popular pastime in Tobago and what better way to enjoy the Caribbean weather and admire the beautiful scenery than with a round or two of golf. Mount Irvine Golf Course in the southwest is an 18-hole course with palm tree lined fairways and breathtaking views of the ocean from every hole. Look out for beautiful views of Buccoo Reef from the 9th tee. There is a clubhouse and restaurant for that all-important end of round drink and golf carts for hire. Tobago Plantations Golf Course has 18 holes and is located on the grounds of an old coconut plantation at the Magdalena Grand Resort to the southeast. Each hole offers glorious views of coastline, an impressive vista of Scarborough from the third hole, lakes and tropical woodland. The course is perfect for those of all golfing abilities and also has a putting green and driving range. Stop off at the Clubhouse for refreshments and a browse in the pro shop.
April welcomes the arrival of the Tobago Jazz Experience, a nine-day Jazz festival featuring local and international artists. Celebrating jazz and Tobagan music, events are held all around the island. Pigeon Point, Heritage Park, Scarborough and Mount Irvine Bay are some of the locations to head to. Tickets can be purchased online; there are also some free events to look out for. Not just about music, there’s also food, art and workshops going on during the event.
Sightseeing is a must on this dreamy island, hire a car or jump in a taxi to explore. Argyle waterfall located to the north east of the island is an unmissable experience, the falls cascade from 175 feet over three different levels making it the highest waterfall on Tobago. A 20 minute rainforest trail leads to the base of the waterfall, for the adventurous there is a short hike up to the next level of the falls where you can sit in small, shallow pools carved out by the water. Slightly further up there is another deeper pool, fantastic for swimming and splashing around in. Take a rainforest tour through Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve; in the north of the island it encompasses a huge 9,780 acres of the island. Look out for hummingbirds, land crabs and hidden waterfalls as you hike along tropical trails. Fort King George in Scarborough built by the British in 1777 has cannons lining the walls and officer's quarters, which are now home to the Tobago Museum. It’s a great place to learn a little about the history of the island admire the views of Scarborough and the ocean from here too, they are mesmerising.
So that’s how to get around the island, but how about getting there? British Airways offer an easy and comfortable 11 hour flight to Tobago, providing excellent complimentary food and drink and the latest in-flight entertainment along the way. The World Traveller economy class is perfect for a restful flight, with their ergonomically designed seats, full bar service and easy check-in. Families are well catered too, with the early boarding and kid’s activity packs ensuring every family member enjoys their flight.
As soon as you touchdown on Tobago you will be blown away by its charm, stylish accommodation with infinity pools overlooking the ocean and plenty of exploring to be had. From goat racing to jazz and tropical rainforest to beautiful sandy beaches there is something for everyone to enjoy.