When its cold and wet here in the U.K. I
always pine for warmer climates, so after a surf around the web
I decided we should visit Tobago in the British West Indies for
a well deserved half term break in the tropics!
is the place where the Giant Leatherback Turtles come to lay
their eggs, but this wasn't until May so we wouldn't see any.
Here are some babies hatching out anyway. These soft
shelled turtles are an endangered species and can weigh as much
as 2000 pounds. That's about as much as a Citroen 2CV!
The Tropiko apartments
where we stayed were on the 'windy side' of the island
which was right opposite Tobago's newest development owned by
the Hilton chain. Very impressive, very spacious but very
expensive and not finished yet. Our apartment, on the other
hand, which was also very impressive and very spacious was
reasonably cheap and very clean! We were looked after by a
lovely lady called Sita. The Ocean
Point Hotel was just along the street and this is where we
usually had breakfast..........until the twins found The Pancake
House that is!
The view from the apartment was similar to those
we have experienced in the Middle East when arriving at 'border
patrol' stations, except in this case these were the gates to
the new Hilton development which obviously did not want any
However, we found a very friendly guard called
Patrick who let us in to use the restaurant on occasion and then
afterwards to use their lovely pool area.They didn't seem to
have many tourists on Tobago at all even though this was their
peak season so we felt quite at peace here and managed to hire a
jeep and book some tours and restaurants with ease.
Although Tobago is still very under-developed the
tourist industry is growing and there is plenty to see and
do on a one week break. On Sunday nights it seems that many of
the locals visit a place called 'Sunday School' for a spot of
'liming' which is the local word for 'partying until the small
There you can hear steel bands, sample some of the
islands local delicacies, drink beer & 'White Magic' (a
lethal local rum) or browse the small shops; but mainly its
where people meet and have fun. We went there by taxi with a
nice man called George who we used a lot during our stay. He was
very informative and good company as well as being extremely
friendly as were all the local people we met.
Eating out in Tobago is fine but can be rather
expensive depending on where you go. The menu's are not
extensive but do offer lots of local seafood dishes as well as
chicken and other meat dishes. There did not seem to be any fast
food restaurants or 'pizza huts' there, or maybe we did not find
them! Robyn would have certainly welcomed one or two as she does
not eat fish and only eats chicken in the meat department! It
was challenging you might say. Two restaurants that are worth
mentioning which were within our family budget were firstly 'The
Best of Thymes Restaurant' at the Crown
Point Hotel. The whole complex was
owned by a lovely man called Jiwan who was very friendly, polite
and helpful. The restaurant has been given awards for its
cuisine which was very nice. They had a 'managers party' on
Thursday night which allowed Dan to buy me some beautiful
silver jewellery made by a couple who use natural stones found
on the beach to enhance the silver. See how happy that made
Another restaurant which greatly impressed all of
us was the Shirvan Watermill. This has a beautiful setting
not seen from the road, great ambiance, a great menu (lobster to
die for) and a large fish pond teeming with fish that the twins
were allowed to feed after their meal.
The staff there were so
polite it made you feel very special. I guess it was a very
romantic place to take your other half but as we had the twins
as chaperones we were safe from any of that smoochy stuff!
The beaches on both sides of the island are very
different. On the leeward side the beaches are windswept with
darker sand and high rollers. On the Caribbean side the
beaches are fine white sand with gentle waves lapping at your
As the island is only around 8 miles across it isn't a
problem choosing which beach you want to visit. We took a day
out to tour around the island going up the east coast towards
Roxborough in the North, then through the Rain Forest and back
down the western side to look at all the pretty coves and bays.
One such bay was Parlatuvier where we saw local fisherman
bringing in the catch and local school children looking very
neat in their uniforms............its then that you remember
that Tobago is in the 'British' part of the Caribbean and these
poor souls also have to wear a uniform to school!
The most photographed of all the areas in Tobago
is Pigeon Point.
This is where we all caught the glass bottom
boat which takes you out to snorkel and watch the marine life on
You can also swim at Nylon Pool where the water is
very warm. A swim in this pool is supposed to take 10 years off
you...........I'm still hopeful!
Pigeon Point is also where Dan
caught the scuba dive boat a few days later.
The beach and
gardens here are very picturesque and yes.......there is a fast
food burger bar! However, we only bought cokes and a few souvenirs.
Ben purchased a great Caribbean shirt which was worn on the same
evening and I bought a beautiful handmade butterfly wind chime
which travelled back to the U.K. without breaking! Dan's scuba
certificate was cool too..........this little guys hairstyle
looks familiar to the island!
Our trip to the rain forest was made with a
really nice man called Hewlett who also happened to own the
glass bottom boat on which his son works and who had caught me
the previous day when I 'fell' while getting of in the shallows!
The rain forest is to the North of the island and so we all
lathered up with 'mozzie' repellant before we left the
apartment. When we arrived we were also given a guide as it is
safer to go into the forest with someone who knows the terrain
and who can tell you about the flora & fauna, which sounds
pretty sensible to me. There is a waterfall called 'Argyle
Falls' which Ben and Dan climbed and waved to us from the
summit. Robyn and I preferred to stay down below as she had
already taken a tumble on the slippery rocks and my knees being
what they are...........
For lunch that day Hewlett took us to the Tree
Top Restaurant in Speyside which faces Little Tobago. This
restaurant is quite famous and the food was good local fare. We
were due to go across the Little Tobago to do a spot of
bird--watching but Robyn was not really feeling up to it so
after lunch we headed back. It had been a nice day although
somewhat overcast, just the right weather to go touring.
Ben awoke the next day to find a rather large mosquito bite on
his leg which he called "you beauty" for the rest of
The place we spent most of our time when not
touring was the Coco Reef Resort down at Crown Point. This is a
lovely if somewhat expensive hotel which has a very secluded
beach area with a small lagoon which was just right for the
twins to swim and snorkel.
only problem was that after the storm (yes we had a tropical
rainstorm) a great many jellyfish got washed up into this lagoon
and then it wasn't so cool to snorkel or swim for that matter
which was a great shame as we had had some fun cooling off in
this particular spot. The guards on the gates were ok as long as
you waved to them and said hello they let you in. We had lunch
here a few times and it was very 'European' and very expensive
as far as lunch goes, but good nevertheless.
They also have Internet access on Tobago but in
the strangest places. The self-service laundry next to the Coco
Reef was one such place. Robyn and Dan could be found there most
As far as holidays go, Tobago was a nice break,
but the weather was stormy at times which we did not expect in
February, and some of the hotel complexes regard you as
unwelcome intruders unless you are staying there which is
probably about right for big hotel complexes in general. The
saving grace is that the people are so friendly and once you get
over the fact that most of the young guys want to date your
daughter (or even yourself if you are not too ancient) then
Tobago is a great one-week destination.
Come back soon
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Material Copyright © 2001 Dan & Jacquetta Holle