Tobago: The Postcard Perfect Island

I’ve got a bit of a long one for you today, so pour yourself a cup of tea or a glass of wine, kick back and dive in.

The first thing I noticed about Tobago was the heat. The sun felt hotter and the air thicker. After the hustle and bustle of Trinidad, coming back to a small and slow-paced island was a breath of fresh air and we melted into it easily. Tobago exudes a relaxed atmosphere of island living; time moved slower, smiles were more common and everyone that passed us by were extremely friendly, always wishing us a great stay.

In true islander fashion, we spent a lot of our time baking in the sun at Pigeon Point. A $20TT admission fee, Pigeon Point is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. I say this a lot, about everything. Every day is the best day ever when I’m traveling and every beach is the most beautiful beach I’ve seen, but this one truly takes the cake. Having given our fee we began the walk towards the main beach, walking through more palm trees than I have ever seen in one place.

Everywhere you look in Tobago you see a landscape that should be on a postcard. Or a painting. The beauty of it all hardly seems real — until you’re brought back to reality when the water hits your toes. The beaches are filled with palm trees and the sand is white and so soft, perfect to settle down on with your beach towel, good company and fresh local fruits.






Like any beach in the Caribbean, you’ll encounter the men hustling for jet ski rides, banana boats, glass bottom boat trips and excursions to buccoo reef, nylon pool and dolphin watching. If you’re interested, don’t settle for the first offer. Ask around and see where you can get the best price for your experience. When the sun became too hot to stand, we cooled off in the sea, lounging in the shallows.




IMG_1166   tobago
Amenities at Pigeon Point close at 5pm, but beach goers are more than welcome to stay as late as they want. If you’re a lover of sunsets be sure to stay until 6pm when the sun begins to slip behind the surface, turning the sky a brilliant shades of peach.



If you tire of the lazy beach bum life, there are a lot of activities being offered that should definitely not be missed. My only regret is not doing more tours of different parts of the island and not having an underwater camera for this entire Caribbean trip. Rookie mistake. We opted for just one tour, of buccoo reef and the nylon pool. Aboard a glass bottom boat with a roof for sun worshiping, our guides took us out to sea to buccoo reef, an easily accessible 7 square kilometer coral reef that is bursting with color.

On the glass bottom boat you have the option of admiring the various coral and fish from inside, peering through the glass beneath you, or you can strap on a snorkel and take the plunge — I don’t have to tell you which we chose. The only downside to this tour was that you were limited in where you can snorkel, having to stay within a certain range of the boat. As we think we’re mermaids as soon as our skin hits the water, we found our guides continuously calling us in closer when we strayed too far. Once everyone had seen their fill of the buccoo reef, we hopped aboard and continued on to the nylon pool.

In the middle of the sea is the nylon pool, an unusually shallow area made up of ground white coral where the vibrant water barely reaches past your knees. The ground coral bottom makes for an excellent natural exfoliant and rumour has it that the waters have healing and rejuvenating properties that will bless anyone who swims in it (and keep you ageless!) If you really want to test the myths of the nylon pool, be sure to kiss your loved one…beneath the water! They say that a kiss underwater in the nylon pool will guarantee a marriage that lasts forever. While I can’t guarantee either of these things publicly, go ahead and test it out for yourselves and let me know if you experience any of the magic.

Sadly the clouds rolled in just as we were having our photo taken.

And reappeared just before leaving to show us the true brilliance of the colors!




Pirate’s Bay, Tobago

We spent two days road-tripping around the island, getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road and slowly getting comfortable with the narrow and winding roads. From the south of the island we followed the road along the east coast with the Atlantic as our view. After stopping at Argyle Falls we headed on to Charlotteville, with a few more picture stops along the way.







Charlotteville is a small fishing village on the north coast of the island. Colorful homes perch upon the lush mountains that surround it and groups of locals lime over Carib near the beach. A charming village with friendly people, our main reason for stopping by was to make our way to Pirate’s Bay.




Be warned, do not try to drive there! It is much easier (and safer!) to park the car at the sign and make the walk down the narrow road. The road begins just fine but quickly transforms into a nightmare of an extremely narrow dirt road with rocks jutting out, barely enough room for once car and a terrifying drop off the cliff to the sea below.




We realized this too late and were left with no choice but to continue on until we found a bigger spot to turn around. After safely making our way off the road (minus the scratches to the car that happened from getting too close to the rock face), we headed back the way we came on foot. At the end of the narrow road and down about 155 steps lined with palm trees, you will come out to a secluded and beautiful bay.




Pirate’s Bay is a secluded beach nestled in the hills. While there is a rustic washroom available, there is little else in the way of amenities, so be sure to bring some water and snacks if you plan to spend the day. Because it can be difficult to reach (about 15-20 minutes walk from Charlotteville — there’s a great ice cream shop just before the road leading to the bay.. try the peanut!), we had the bay almost entirely to ourselves, with no more than a small handful of people.

If you like to snorkel there is some good underwater activity happening at the rocky area on the left hand side of the beach with lots of fishies to be seen. If you’re looking for some beach fun, there’s a tire swing hanging from a tree that we couldn’t resist! A beautiful bay with soft sand, calm water and a great landscape, it also makes for a great sunset spot.






Leatherback Turtle Experience

When night falls upon Turtle Beach it is transformed into a home for endangered leatherback turtles. A popular nesting site for these animals, they choose the hours of darkness to pull themselves from the sea and drag their massive bodies across the sand to settle in a spot of their choosing. We made our way to Turtle Beach around 10pm.

As we walked along the shore, flip flops in hand, we saw her. A leatherback turtle, larger that I ever could have imagined, had nestled herself into the sand and was in the process of laying her eggs in the hole she had just finished digging. Shortly after, we came across the second. At 162 cm in length, she is considered a small leatherback. We watched, mesmerized, as she moved her flippers to dig a deep hole in the sand. It was clear that this took a lot of effort on her part, confirmed by the prehistoric sounding groans she made as she continued to dig until the hole was deep enough to protect the eggs.


Watching the whole process of digging the hole, laying the eggs, burying them with sand and pushing her way through the sand to get back to the sea was an incredible experience. We all sat in silent awe, feeling extremely grateful to be a part of that moment of new life.


If you choose to visit a turtle nesting site for yourself, please be respectful of them. They are wild animals that need space and a sense of security and safety to feel comfortable nesting. Keep your distance, don’t stand near the head of the turtle, and don’t use any flash photography.

The Mermaid Lagoon (… or Argyle Falls)

Our rental car was dropped off Thursday morning and like eager beavers, we hopped in ready to hit the road. Tobago can be difficult to get around within a car of your own and so for a modest fee of $300 TT per day, or roughly $60 Canadian, we opted to go on a road trip of the entire island. Narrow, windy roads featuring excessive honking, a few gasps of terror, and stunning coastal views took us from the south of the island all the way around it’s perimeter. Along the way we stopped at countless bays and beaches, walking barefoot through the sand and dipping our toes into the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

While it was all a joyous adventure, what I really wanted to share with you today was our visit to Argyle Falls. There’s something about a waterfall that reminds me of fairytales. They have a magical quality about them that I can’t explain and the second I reach one, all my worries instantly fade away. Friends and I carefully made our way down a steep and rocky path hidden in the bamboo, led by our encouraging guide for the day, to the bottom of the falls. Being sure of our footing, we took a step back and looked up at the fresh water pouring down.


Like anyone would be, I was instantly transported to being in the mermaid lagoon from Peter Pan. With the big pool of water to swim in, the boulders to sunbathe on, and the waterfall flowing in the background, the three of us became mermaids of the falls. Balancing on bamboo, floating in the calm pools, and getting our massages from the waterfall spraying onto our backs, we lounged in this little bit of paradise.


The falls are 54m in height, starting from the very top and going down a few different cascades to reach the bottom, where we chose to spend our time. It’s easy to access, just outside of Roxborough with signs that you can’t miss. When we went, a small group of people were there who soon left, leaving us to our very own private lagoon. The water is very cool but welcomed and refreshing on a hot day of 33 degrees and humidity! You could probably get away with going there on your own, but we enjoyed having a guide to help us get down to the bottom of the falls. He also made an excellent photographer while we splashed in the water.

Once we’d had our fill of the waterfall, we scrambled back up the path and hit the road towards Charlotteville… but that’s a story for another day!

Maracas Falls and Bay

If you’re in Trinidad for any amount of time, spend a morning exploring Maracas Falls and then make your way to Maracas Bay. The falls are a nice little hike up a somewhat well-maintained nature trail that shouldn’t take you more than twenty-five minutes at a slow pace. At the start of the trail is a fountain of fresh spring water that you can safely fill up your water bottle with for the journey.



As you wind your way up through the woods, be careful where you step as rocks may be loose and if it has recently rained or is raining, the path can be slippery. Bring out your inner nature child and continue on your way and you’ll come to be awarded with the beautiful views of the waterfall pouring down a 298 foot cliff. As we visited in the dry season, the falls weren’t as spectacular as they are known to be during the rainy season, but even so it was a nice trip for an afternoon.






Once you’ve had your fill of the falls, you can spend the rest of your day baking in the sunshine at Maracas Beach. The drive to the beach alone is a beautiful one filled with winding, narrow roads that make their way up and down the mountainous landscape. Maracas Beach is a utopia of palm trees, turquoise sea water and soft, white sand all nestled in a bay surrounded by picturesque mountains. The beach has washroom facilities and a number of bake and shark stands, each one claiming to be the best. Locals and visitors flock to Maracas and are given options of rental equipment, sunbeds, umbrellas, etc. Or you can take one from the book of a backpacker and opt to settle onto your towel on the sand.