Have you ever wondered why Tobago came to be called Robinson Crusoe’s Island? A visit is all you need to answer that question.
Tobago’s natural beauty, relaxed atmosphere and easy-going people make it the perfect place for a holiday. The Island is tiny (approx 30 miles by 10 miles), but offers a diverse palette – lush rainforested mountains, winding country roads, sleepy villages, pristine white sandy beaches, some of the world’s most spectacular undersea life, exotic flora and fauna and a particularly stunning array of birds
Myth has it that Robinson Crusoe arrived at Englishman’s Bay, on the North Coast of Tobago, when he was stranded out at sea.
This particular beach has in fact been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world. It is a secluded beach which though considered one of the most beautiful, does not attract too many people.
The beach itself is a classic crescent shape, capped by two heavily forested headlands descending from Tobago’s Main Ridge. The sand starts immediately after the forest ends. The water, an emerald green colour, is calm all year round and boasts magnificent swimming and snorkeling.
There is also a small restaurant on the beach for those wanting to spend the day in Robinson Crusoe’s paradise.
Tobago is prized with having some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. It is a destination for both advanced and amateur divers.
Diving can be enjoyed in virtually any area of the island. Tobago has a relatively untouched underworld; its waters teems with marine life – manta rays, stingrays, angelfish, sharks, barracuda, turtles, triggerfish, and hundreds more. The waters abound with nutrients, an underwater world of thriving barrel sponges, sea fans and some of the largest brain coral. Wrecks are another attraction on the island.
Drift diving is popular in Tobago, and several sites are well known for the intense currents which allow this challenging type of dive.
The seas are at their roughest from December to April and the temperature is highest from July to September – reaching around 80°F. Manta rays are best seen in the winter months when the waters are cooler.
Tobago offers a huge selection of water activities at different points on the island.
For the surfers, Mount Irvine Beach is the place to be. The waves coming in have a great curve and they are regular and of different sizes permitting all levels to partake in the fun.
For those wanting to learn how to surf, feel free to get in touch with Jason Apparicio (tel: +1 (868) 367 1744 email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pigeon Point offers a wide variety of activities such as kayaking, a small trip in a Glass Bottom Boat out to Buccoo Reef to partake in exquisite snorkeling activities, wind and kite surfing on the point, as well as casual swimming.
Note: entrance to Pigeon Point’s facilities costs TTD 20 (approx. USD 3.14) per person.
Boating around the island is a common attraction. Many offer day trips which tour around the different beaches getting to the best places for snorkeling and provide lunch which can include the day’s catch of fresh fish cooked on a BBQ. A few of our favourites include Frankie’s Tours (a powerboat) and Island Girl (a catamaran).
Frankie’s Tours offers a range of fishing trips (deep sea fishing, shark fishing, bottom/wreck fishing and fly fishing) and a discount of 10% is available to all Villa Petrus residents.
Others offering the thrill of big game fishing with exciting charters include Dillons and Dreamcatcher.
Golf in the Caribbean is famous for being a wonderful experience and Tobago is certainly no exception.
Tobago boasts two courses with international reputations; they have very different characters and provide different golfing experiences. Between them, they offer variety and the ability to choose anything from a comprehensive dedicated golfing holiday to just the odd round on a ‘holiday with golf’.
The modern Plantations championship course has been built in the old sugar plantation of Lgoldowlands Estate. It is sited alongside the Atlantic Ocean and was planned around the mature trees and landscape features, including an old sugar mill. The landscape varies greatly throughout the course with lakes, wetlands, woodland copses, beaches, mangrove and wild grasses providing each hole with a distinctive character.
The course was only established a few years ago and was designed by Bob Hunt and Marcus Blackburn of PGA Golf Management Ltd. It will again be hosting the Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic (PGA European Tour) in 2004. The comments book records Brian Huggett as saying ‘Magnificent’ and Nick Job ‘A great course, one I would like to play again’
The 72-par course has a distinct links feel. It measures 7,009 yards (6,380 metres) from the back tees, with four Par 5’s, ten Par 4’s and four Par 3’s. Water comes into play on eleven of the holes. The course is very well maintained. The greens are Tif dwarf Bermuda Grass and the fairways and tees are Tifton 419 Bermuda Grass. Buggy tracks run through the course and these have to be followed. The course has been designed as a good test of the game for golfers of all levels, but will require the golfer to have some experience.
The Clubhouse provides full bar and restaurant facilities, catering for breakfast, bar snacks and a more substantial a la carte menu.
All green fee prices are inclusive of a shared golf buggy. There are very good practice facilities and the Golf Academy at Tobago Plantations features a variety of golf progammes, with state-of-the-art teaching facilities.
Further information can be found at www.golftobagoplantations.com
Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago is an annual event, which occurs on the Monday & Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It’s well known for the local’s colourful costumes and exuberant celebrations.
Tobago has Carnival festivities of its own which takes place is Scarborough. It is much smaller and a more community-based affair than the main event in the Port-of-Spain.
This tradition has been held through the years since the 18th century with the slaves in the sugar cane plantations, and the festival is an important emblem of pride for their national heritage.
Tobago offers a large variety of different cuisines all around the island. A few of our personal favourites are:
La Tartaruga in Buccoo; an Italian restaurant offering a choice of al fresco dining on their covered terrace or in their indoor restaurant. They have a wide selection of fine Italian cuisine: homemade pasta, pizza, fish and rock lobsters, in-house desserts and Gelato. A full vegetarian menu is available.
The restaurant owner, Gabriele, also holds an award winning wine cellar bringing the glory of Italy’s famed wine regions to the tranquil shores of Tobago.
The Fish Pot down in “the village” in Black Rock: with a daily menu that changes according to the catch of the day, it specializes in fresh fish and seafood, paired with outstanding sides. For the serious carnivores, The Fish Pot menu includes beef entrees including a steak sandwich, steak and fries, and a homemade hamburger with cheese.
Out at Speyside there’s the famous Jemma’s treehouse restaurant. A restaurant built as part of a large tree with a magnificent view over the sea front and on Goat Island.
The Kariwak Hotel at Crown Point also does a great Sunday breakfast buffet with fruit, cereals, yoghurts, omelettes and fresh local fish, with coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
Goat Racing is a local festivity which is both fun and interesting. A tradition which has ben upheld since 1925 when it first started as the poor man’s equivalent of horse racing, it tends to occur on Easter Tuesday. A new facility has been built in Buccoo for the event, a festival which cries out with national pride.
Also part of the festival is the less popular, though perhaps more unusual, crab racing.
The Buccoo Goat Racing festival is Tobago’s most internationally acclaimed festival.
One very special feature of Tobago is turtle watching, as the Giant Leatherback Turtle nests on the Stonehaven and Courland beaches between March and August.
Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest is home to a number of flora and fauna; it is estimated that the rainforest provides habitats for twelve to sixteen species of mammals out of the nearly ninety mammal species in the Caribbean region, twenty-four non-poisonous snakes, sixteen lizards and two hundred and ten species of birds, the most outstanding being the bird species Campylopterus ensipennis – the White-tailed Sabrewing Hummingbird – that is both rare and endemic to Tobago.
In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, the Main Ridge Forest Reserve was voted the “World’s Leading Eco-Tourism destination” by the World Travel Awards.
Nearby lies Argyle Waterfalls. It is not a crowded place but when you climb up a few falls you will be all by yourself, feeling just like the first explorers probably felt when they discovered this tranquil spectacular place. We recommend to see at least the first three or four of the cascades to enjoy it fully.
The admission includes a guide to the falls and cost about $5 US. Your guided hike to the falls will go through the jungle and is easy, short and interesting. You can spot tropical birds and see many tropical plants and trees like cocoa, mango, avocado, bamboo, breadfruit and many more. Once you reach the waterfalls the guide will leave you there. The first of cascade falls is nice but not as spectacular as the others waiting for you at the top. You can climb up or take a side hiking trail to see the upper Argyle Waterfalls. The further up you go the more beautiful they become. Each waterfall has a deep pool for swimming.
Horse riding is another popular activity in Tobago. There are two great horse riding places we recommend.
First of all Friendship Riding Stables, in Canaan, is located in the heart of a 500 acre, old coconut plantation in Tobago offering trail rides through the property and along the beach. To get in touch their phone number is +1 (868) 308 7201.
Secondly, Being with Horses, down in Buccoo offers the opportunity to ride and swim with horses down by the beach. It is a great experience well worth your time!
If in need of a massage, get in touch with Anthony (+1 (868) 754 7337). He is an experienced and qualified Massage Therapist who offers Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Sport Massage and Reflexology. He will make your stay that much more enjoyable if you give him that chance.