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DESTINATIONS CARIBBEAN | TOBAGO


3


OF THE BEST


FESTIVALS


Tobago Carnival: this festival of dancing and drinking takes place in mid-February each year, but travel and accommodation must be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.


top tip


Get trade resources, itineraries and access to Tobago’s agent training course at tobagobeyond.com


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: White-tailed sabrewing; giant moray eel on the reef; Pigeon Point PICTURES: Tobago Tourism Agency; RoamTT; Faraaz Abdool; Alex Treadway


Tobago Jazz Experience: an island-wide celebration of Tobago’s music scene with local and international musicians, in late April.


itching to be let loose on these curves of golden sand, a wish granted at the secluded spot of Englishman’s Bay. Tiptoeing barefoot across the small car park, we


Buccoo Goat & Crab Racing Festival: this typically Tobagonian event, which involves goat and crab racing, is a proud island tradition that is held the Tuesday after Easter Monday each year.


emerged through a clearing in the palms to this near- empty beach, the only sound the slow, rolling waves of the blue-green Caribbean Sea. There are no facilities here, just a shack selling snacks and a few souvenirs. We drove on to dry out at our treetop lodge, and if ever a place was designed in harmony with its surroundings, it’s Castara Retreats. Less traditional hotel, more laid-back luxury dwelling for beach, nature and yoga lovers (classes are held each morning along with dedicated workshops throughout the year), there are 16 self-catering bungalows of varying sizes, featuring balconies that peek through the trees above Castara Beach. The affable owner, Porridge, seemed to know


everyone in the village, if not all of Tobago. Dinner, a tasty affair of fishcakes and curried shrimp, was largely spent contriving scenarios that would give me an excuse to pack up and move there.


SEA TRIALS On our final day, we scooted out to sea on a boat trip with Alex Nedd, the cheery founder of Waterholics. From his base at Pigeon Point, he runs a variety of private trips including glass-bottom boat tours, stand-up paddleboarding and watersports, but we were there for the coastal tour ($120, 10am-4pm). Stepping aboard his motorboat, we were soon


50 5 MARCH 2020


33Tobago stands in almost splendid isolation in the Caribbean for its lack of an overdeveloped tourist industry, allowing its unspoilt nature and exotic wildlife to thrive


bouncing our way up the west coast, with the warm, salty sea air whipping my face. This trip gives a good sense of perspective: from the water, we were able to look back at the island, and appreciate the gradual ascent of its mountainous core. The tour includes snorkelling stops; a leisurely dip


at Nylon Pools, where we waded waist-deep half a mile off shore; and lunch in a glam set-up on the sandy peninsula of No Man’s Land Beach that wouldn’t look out of place on Love Island – bean bags and home- made rum cocktails included. It’s one of the few ‘touristy’ experiences you’ll find


here, and even this feels enjoyable and authentic. Tobago stands in almost splendid isolation in the Caribbean for its lack of an overdeveloped tourist industry, something that truly sets it apart and allows its real selling points – unspoilt nature, exotic wildlife and the warmth of its people – to continue to thrive. TW


travelweekly.co.uk


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