So when it comes to the Caribbean island of Tobago, you can say I’m a bit of an Island Connoisseur. Having spent 60 days exploring everything there is to see and do here I thought I would put together a list of my top picks. So here they are listed in no particular order.
1. Visit Pigeon Point Heritage Park.
The VERY famous Pigeon Point Heritage Park is one of the most recognizable places to visit here in Tobago. I am sure you can see why, with its pristine beaches (some of the best in Tobago) and the famous thatched roof jetty.
2. No Man’s Land.
No Man’s Land, a split of white coral-sand stretching out in front of the Bon Accord Lagoon. The name is as you’ve guess, owned by no man.
It is a beautiful little slice of paradise many people like to visit on an afternoon to enjoy a swim or make a BBQ and watch Pigeon Point over in the distance.
Now there are a couple ways to get out to No Man’s Land; there is the most common way by boat, which many tour operators will take you out to, and then there is by vehicle.
3. Go for a Horse ride in the ocean.
Healing with Horses is a non-profit organization that does therapeutic-riding, leadership-training, riding lessons and more, for differently abled children.
Firstly you learn a bit about each of the horses, and then you are selected by a horse to ride. (A process of sticking your hand out with crackers and seeing which one comes to you.)
Then onto the horse ride which was natural riding, bit-less and with no stirrups.
We were lucky to see a giant Eagle Ray pop out and swim right in between us.
4. Do a catamaran snorkel tour.
Welcome aboard the Island Girl, a lovely sailing catamaran that cruises up the Caribbean coast of Tobago. Boarding at Mt. Irvine Bay and stopping along the way at Cotton Bay, then towards Castara.
Only accessible by boat or trail, Cotton Bay is like being in your own slice of paradise. Here you anchor up for some snorkelling in the bay, amidst the rocks. Followed by a BBQ buffet lunch on the boat, which was definitely needed after all that snorkelling. Then it’s deck time with beers and chilling on the catamaran canopy.
5. Go hiking in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
Right smack in the middle of Tobago is the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, which is the oldest legally protected forest reserve in the western hemisphere geared specifically towards a conservation purpose.
Goodbye to the tropical fruits as there is no farming or crops allowed to be planted here. Also, goodbye to the warm temperatures, as you can most definitely notice a climate change, so much so that the lower temperatures and winds actually make it an Evergreen Forest (go figure).
6. Go bird watching with Newton George.
For the bird lovers out there, go deep into the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve with the legendary Newton George, a premier birding guide in Tobago.
Seriously everyone on the island knows about him, with over 32 years of experience he is literally the Bird Whisperer. While on our walk he could spot birds over 50, 70, 80 feet away!! Tiny, tucked away in the trees. Good thing I had binoculars so that he could point them out to me. Seriously, I am convinced that he has superhuman eye sight.
7. Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding.
To those who might be intimidated with water sports, I introduce to you standup paddle or SUP for short.
This fun water sport can be done by almost any age group and most fitness levels. But, don’t let its calm demeanour fool you, SUP can be a pretty intensive workout depending on how fast and long you paddle for.
I took a couple different trips with Stand Up Paddle Tobago: From Pigeon Point down along the coast to Coco Reef and back.
Another trip was along the fishing village of Charlotteville where we paddled out into the ocean. First towards Pirates Bay, a lovely swimming area just to the right of town. From there we zig zagged through the many anchored sailboats and paddled over to the opposite side of Man O War Bay to the small secluded private Lovers Beach: named for the romantic atmosphere, the lovely speckles of pink sand , and the numerous carvings of couple hearts on the rocks.
8. Do a Stand-up-Paddle Bioluminescence Tour.
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. On our Stand Up Paddle Bioluminescence Tour it was by minuet marine plankton called Dinoflagellates. So at night when you stir the water, they illuminate while agitated and give off a blue-green light.
Just imagine Avatar and glowing lakes, it’s seriously a magic experience. You jump into the tucked away corners of a coastal lagoon and every movement you make leaves a glowing trail of blue-green sparks and hues. If magic truly does exist in this world like it does in the movies, this is it.
Words truly cannot describe this experience, it is simply something you HAVE to try when you’re in Tobago. Just make sure you plan according, since the Dinoflagellates are most brilliant the week before and following a new moon.
9. Go Windsurfing.
Windsurfing is the perfect high adrenaline activity for those who love water sports. Here is me giving it a try as taught by Brett Kenny of Radical Sports Limited Tobago .
10. Visit the Argyle Waterfall.
The most famous waterfall in Tobago; only a 15 minute walk to the falls, and along the way you’ll see plenty of huge bamboo bushes like these! Crazy!
11. Go Diving in Kariwak or Speyside.
Tobago has a variety of spectacular diving site all around the island.
On the Caribbean side, there is the Kariwak Reef and Flying Reef.
On the Atlantic side near Speyside are several dive sites. Accessible with Blue Waters Diven.
12. Go offshore Sport Fishing.
Fishing is an interesting sport as so much of it is just waiting; waiting for something to bite. I guess you can say it’s quite a casual sport, until something bites, and then it’s adrenaline mode! Here we had multiple rods up, all attached to the boat, with large weights on the line to sink the baits. All this, as we casually motored through the middle of the ocean.
One great thing about Hard Play is that they practise “catch and release” fishing, and have been a pioneer in the Caribbean for supporting this. As well as their ships are captained by Captain Gerard “Frothy” de Silva, an IGFA certified captain.
13. Visit the Nylon Pool.
The Nylon Pool is a shallow white ground coral pool that is literally out in the middle of the ocean. You can walk out less than waist high on the soft sand in the warm Caribbean waters.
It’s only a 10 minute boat ride from Pigeon Point, and we went with Tobago Waterholics via a glass bottom boat which also gave us a chance to see Buccoo Reef through the floor!
14. Take a glass bottom boat to Buccoo Reef.
For those less able to snorkel or scuba, glass bottom boats are a great option to see the reef. Plenty of boats leave from Store Bay Beach and just before Pigeon Point to take you out.
15. Do an Island Tour.
Tobago is small, only 10km wide by 41km long, so taking a island tour with Hans Tours around the whole island is quite possible, and a great way to orientate yourself around the island.
16. Buy bread from a tradition clay oven.
One really unique part of Castara is that they have a working Clay Oven. On Thursdays and Saturdays you can go down and place your order for pumpkin bread, whole wheat bread, rolls, cakes or tarts, all to be baked in the oven.
Once the orders are in they roll the dough and place them in banana leafs, this is so they don’t dry out while baking.
They then fill the clay oven with bamboo leaves and burn them using the smoke to heat up the oven. Once hot enough, they push out the cinders and place the wrapped bread into the oven to bake for approx. 1 hour.
17. Watch the seine nets being pulled in.
I got to witness the pulling in of the seine (a large fishing net which hangs vertically from the surface of the water, and is held down by weights.) Now this is something that happens in the fishing villages around Tobago, and happened the morning I left Castara Retreats.
First off, the seine is huge and it basically covers a large portion of the bay. Also, it’s all pulled in by hand. Plenty of people come down to help out and those that do get to have some of the fish! Pretty good deal.
18. Visit the Castara Waterfall.
Hidden in the forest, it’s only a small hike to the Castara Waterfall. Lovely and refreshing, and I was guided by the wonderful Porridge from Castara Retreats.
19. Take a tour of the Tobago Cocoa Estate.
Are you a lover of chocolate? Check out the Tobago Cocoa Estate for a tour of their cocoa lands.
Now for those that don’t know, cocoa is the dried and fermented fatty seeds used to make chocolate, which comes from the cocoa pods, which come from the cocoa tress.
Each cocoa tree produces approx. 25-50 pods each year, after birds and squirrels have taken their cut. And on this estate there are approx. 23,000 trees. Just think of all that chocolate!
20. Take part in the Heritage Festival activities.
The Tobago Heritage Festival is an annual event created to preserve the unique cultural traditions of Tobago. Over the course of two weeks a variety of fun, cultural activities and shows takes place in all the various villages around Tobago.
There is the Moriah Ole Time Wedding, one of THE trade-mark events of the Tobago Heritage Festival. Designed to highlight the European influence on Tobagonians, the Moriah Ole Time Wedding is a reenactment of how an actual wedding used to be in Tobago back in the day.
Now the ceremony starts off in the old Moravian Church, which is literally just large enough to fit the wedding party itself. And after the ceremony the whole wedding party exits the church and dances down the streets of town heading out towards the cake and wine tent and then the reception.
There is also the Miss Heritage Personality: THE biggest beauty pageant of Tobago.
Natural Treasures Day: Including the Village Trek, which is a trek down the mountain side to the accompaniment of the rhythms of a “taboo bamboo band”. Now when I say trek , it was more like a dance through the village streets, where we would stop at various points along the way to observe the re-enactment of several rituals and customs of Tobagonian ancestors.
Now there are plenty more events and things happening all throughout the year so check them out at Tobago Heritage Festival.
21. Play a round of golf.
The Tobago Plantations Golf and Country Club is a par-72 18-hole championship course among the old coconut plantations, located near the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort.
22. Take a yoga class at Kariwak Village.
Kariwak Village is a Holistic Heaven, retreat, restaurant and accommodation in Crown Point. They also offer yoga classes every morning in their outdoor open air Ajoupa.
23. Go to the beach.
So many options to choose from:
24. Go ATV riding.
Now for those skeptical of ATV rides, this trip is genuinely not all that frightening. Our hour long ride with NJM Fun Park consisted of a fairly easy trail at a pretty casual pace, so no need to be an experienced rider of any sorts.(Although I do believe you need to be able to drive a vehicle.)
25. Try locals foods at Store Bay.
Just up from Store Bay, one of the most popular beaches in Tobago, is a row of food stands all serving up local favourites.
Try some Crab n’ Dumplings,
or Shark n’ Bake.
26. Go for a Jet Ski.
Jet Ski around Bon Accord Lagoon with Tobago Waterholics.
27. Watch for sea turtles.
Many of the beaches on the Atlantic side of Tobago are sea turtle nesting grounds. Like for example…Turtle Beach.
Here I spotted baby leatherback turtles making their way to the sea.
(Forgive the photos, the red light was the only light allowed to be shown on the turtles as not to blind and confused them from the moonlight.)
28. Watch the Carib Great Race.
An epic high speed boat race from Trinidad to Tobago ending in Scarbourgh harbour. The winner, the first person to Tobago, which this year was the boat “Total Monster” in a time of 1 hour and 20 minutes.
29. Count hummingbirds.
At the Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve there are hundreds of hummingbirds, fed through feeders on a observation deck. No need to go hiking into the woods for this adventure!
30. Go to Sunday School.
Sunday School is a street party that takes place in Buccoo every Sunday night down by the harbour, where you drink, dance, eat, mingle and lime.
There are a variety of food vendors who offer many local dishes.
And steel drum bands plays till around 10-11pm. Then the lights go down and the dance music and party starts.
In terms of drinking, don’t be put off. While there is plenty of rum punch and local beers being drunk during Sunday school, there is also many minors and non drinkers attending as well, just to lime, and listen to the music. Overall a fun evening out here in Tobago!!
If all else fails… Lime.
Liming is a term used often in Tobago which means to relax, socialize, and hanging out. Literally, they have created a word that is the epitome of what life should and is like here in the Caribbean. So if all 30 of those activities don’t peak your interest don’t feel to bad, liming counts as well.