Small but perfectly formed, the island of Tobago lies at the southerly edge of the Caribbean.
Less frequented than its bigger, livelier sister, Trinidad, this little Caribbean gem is often overlooked as a luxury holiday destination.
But there is so much to see and do in Tobago - you really shouldn't miss it.
Here at the Inspiring Travel Company, we pride ourselves on being Caribbean specialists; and with more than 40 years experience of sending discerning travellers to the region, we certainly know our stuff! So we've compiled our top 10 reasons that make Tobago well worth a visit...
When to visit?
Tobago is sunny all year round with average temperatures of 29 degrees celsius. It is wettest between June and November whilst the dry season is between December and May.
1. Quintessentially Caribbean
The Tobago tourist industry is mostly homegrown, with hotels here tending to be independent, low-rise properties that blend sensitively into their beautiful surroundings. This genuine vibe is one of the reasons our Travel Specialists recommend the island as a 'classic Caribbean' luxury holiday destination. Therefore, whenever you visit Tobago you know you are getting an authentic experience of the Caribbean.
SUMMARY: You won't miss out on an authentic experience of the Caribbean when visiting Tobago.
2. Creole cuisine
The cuisine here takes its cross-continental influences from all over Africa and India. There are some truly mouth-watering local specialities to be tried while on the island, chief among them being 'crab and dumpling', which is a 'must' for those wanting an authentic taste of Tobago. Other local delights you need to sample include:
- Doubles - curried chickpeas encased in fried bread
- Coconut water
- Chow - fresh fruit marinated with lime juice, salt, pepper and Mexican coriander (known as chadon beni)
A great place to sample such delights is Store Bay Beach; a sandy beach on the island's south coast where rows of huts offer everything from souvenirs to hot lunches!
Alternatively, you could visit the sandstone surrounds of Coco Reef for a casual meal at Bacchanals, whose wooden decks sit right on the pristine beach.
SUMMARY: Visit Store Bay Beach to experience the delights that the cuisine of Tobago has to offer.
Don't miss out on Doubles when visiting Tobago
3. Explore the natural beauty
Being less developed than some other Caribbean islands, a Tobago holiday gives visitors more space to roam in nature. The flora and fauna here are truly sublime, with many rare species to encounter.
Just off the north-eastern coast of Tobago is an island called Little Tobago. Also called The Bird of Paradise Island, this wildlife sanctuary houses an incredible array of birds and reptiles. You could visit Little Tobago on a day excursion to really immerse yourself. Unfortunately, however, chances are that you will not see Birds of Paradise.
Some hotels, such as Magdalena Grant Resort, offer complimentary bicycle hire so that you can make your own way down nature trails. With safe surroundings, the freedom to explore by bicycle is something older children love, making this a great option for luxury family holiday activities.
SUMMARY: Discover incredible wildlife on a day trip to Little Tobago.
Get a fix of nature on Little Tobago
4. Responsible turtle watching
Between March and September sea turtles, including the endangered leatherback species and the hawksbill turtle alight on Tobago's shores to lay their eggs. Young turtles hatching and making their way back to the sea really is a sight to behold. The best beaches to see turtles laying eggs in Tobago are:
- the aptly named Turtle Beach
- Grafton beach
- Stonehaven beach
Tobago takes the preservation of its natural diversity seriously, so a permit and registered guide are required to watch these prehistoric creatures. This is something our Concierge service will be happy to look into for you, and many hotels can also recommend experienced local guides.
SUMMARY: With sustainability in mind, you can watch turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Tobago.
Not to be confused with the whisky capital of Scotland, the south-west of the island is a popular base for tourists, due to short transfers from the airport and proximity to the charming capital of Scarborough.
However, it is widely agreed that you'll find the island's most untouched, rugged beauty to the north-east side, with the area around Speyside being a particular highlight. Here you'll find dense forests and enchanting waterfalls, as well as pristine coral reefs.
If you choose, you can spend your whole luxury Tobago holiday in this area. Blue Waters Inn is a boutique hotel, tucked away in its own idyllic cove and surrounded by 46 acres of lush tropical grounds. Some 38 guestrooms look out on the sea or beach and the hotel takes great pride in its stunning surrounds.
SUMMARY: You can quickly get off the plane and into nature in Tobago.
Staying at Blue Waters Inn means you can easily explore Speyside
6. Sensational scuba diving
If your interest was piqued at the mention of coral reefs, then you may be interested to know that both Trinidad and Tobago offer some of the Caribbean's finest dive sites. Experienced scuba divers are especially drawn to these shores, though there is something to suit every level, including some good snorkelling tours for non-divers. Taking a peek into the crystal blue waters is really worth it!
At Buccoo Reef there are a plethora of underwater sights to behold. These include:
- Manta Rays
- Reef Fishes
- Giant Manta Rays
Even if you aren't an accomplished diver and don't want to head into the water, there are many excursions and trips on glass-bottomed boats that allow you explore the breathtaking underwater scenes without having to get your feet wet.
SUMMARY: Go scuba diving in Buccoo Reef for incredible underwater wildlife.
7. Immerse yourself in history
Like many Caribbean islands, the history of Tobago is at once tumultuous, inspiring and enthralling. The island was originally named Bellaforma (meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘well-formed’) by Christopher Columbus, who arrived in Trinidad on his third voyage to the region.
If you'd like to learn more about the island's past, Fort King George is a great place to start. The complex was built by the British in the 1780s and is the best-preserved historical site on the island, featuring original cannons, preserved and restored rooms, and even a small and informative museum. The site also boasts some fantastic ocean views from the lookout posts and is a good spot to watch the sunset.
SUMMARY: Tobago is replete with interesting sights - so it's perfect for history buffs.
Whether you're a history buff or not, Fort King George is still a great place to visit in Tobago
8. Local passion
We highly recommend utilising the knowledge and passion of friendly local guides during your stay. Whether you'd like a historical tour, a waterfall trek or a horse ride on the beach, there'll likely be someone who was born and bred here to guide you through it. Full of stories to tell and brimming with pride in their home; there are some superb local guides on Tobago.
SUMMARY: Experience Tobago like the locals do with a knowledgeable guide.
9. Beachside relaxation
We can't talk about a luxury Caribbean holiday without mentioning the beaches! Tobago's off-the-beaten-track status makes this a fantastic choice for a laid-back holiday away from the crowds.
A few coastal highlights include Pigeon Point and Bacolet Bay, which was the location for Disney's Swiss Family Robinson in 1960. Appropriately, it's a very family-friendly beach with the sea deepening very gradually and golden sands to play on!
Stonehaven Bay is another great beach and ideally located to catch those famed Caribbean sunsets.
The Villas at Stonehaven present a fantastic option for a luxury family holiday in Tobago. These three and four-bedroom residences are fully serviced while providing you with the space and privacy many families and large groups desire. Views of the sunset are truly sensational from here too!
SUMMARY: It's hard not to, but make sure you soak up the sun's rays on one of Tobago's many beaches.
Pigeon Point is one of the many beaches that you can see in Tobago
10. Twin with Trinidad
Another great reason to stay at Trinidad is the option for a luxury Caribbean holiday that has 'a bit of everything'. Why not stay on Tobago's sister island Trinidad for a few nights during your stay? The bigger island is more cosmopolitan and known across the world as the home of the calypso beat, so it provides a lively contrast to laid-back Tobago. A stay at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad puts you right at the heart of the action in the Port of Spain and offers great sea views from the rooftop infinity pool!
SUMMARY: Tobago is perfect for a twin-centre escape.
If you'd like to talk about a bespoke holiday to Tobago today, get in touch with our team or request a call-back. Our experts are waiting to help you plan the luxury holiday of a lifetime!