The words “active” and “Caribbean vacation” may seem like contradictions, but if you want to sunbathe on a palm-tree draped beach
, there are plenty of other tropical islands where you can do that. Tobago is the Caribbean beyond the beaches – a place designed to do, to see, to meet and to learn – though fortunately it still boasts many superb bays of its own where you can flop with a cocktail at the end of a hot day of island exploration.
The wonderful thing about Tobago is that there is so much overlap between activities – you never do one thing in isolation
. Boat tours
double up as snorkelling
and – if you’re lucky – turtle or dolphin
watching trips. Waterfall treks
are the perfect time to count as many species of native birds
as you can. You can cycle
the coastal road, pausing at each beautiful bay along the way around. And every music and dance
event is a chance to chat with the locals
and sample some superb street food
– as well as the local cocktails, made with TnT Angostura bitters or coconut rum.
Funnily enough, Tobago’s treasure trove of activities
may well come from the fact that is has never really had its own tourism makeover in the style of Barbados or the Bahamas. It’s raw and real, with forts and fetes, coral and cascades, which have not been scrubbed away to make way for infinity pools, swim-up bars or manicured lawns
. What’s more, you’ll have a local guide who likely grew up in the region where you’re taking the tour, meaning you won’t just be told about the birds and culture – but about how it was to spend a childhood getting washed in the waterfall, or harvesting cocoa, or hauling in nets full of fish. Tobago is a weighty storybook of untold tales – and it’s well worth taking the time to flick through its pages.