TOBAGO - as a Tourists/Scuba Diving Destination
Tobago is located in the extreme south eastern corner of the Caribbean, just about 70 miles from Venezuela. Separated from its popular cosmopolitan neighbor island Trinidad, by only 20 miles, as a tourists/dive destination Tobago has remained relatively undiscovered.
Tobago is 116 sq. miles mountainous, lush and unspoiled with a population of 47,000. This small population is scattered across Tobago mainly in small villages form Scarborough (the Center) to Charlotteville (the northernmost tip). Speyside is one such village on the northern coast.
The southernmost island of the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago (blessed islands of La Trinite) were discovered by Christopher Columbus on his quest for new lands. Trinidad is known as the land of calypso and steel pan, renowned for its' two days of spectacular carnival every year. Famed for its oil and the La Brea pitch lake, one of the seven wonder of the world. Trinidad attracts thousands of visitors to its shores every year.
Tobago is one of the premier vacation destinations for unspoiled beaches, incomparable rain forests and friendly people. The diving is yet another asset which is largely unnoticed by the outside world. Tobago has coral reefs and marine life which are unique and are the cornerstone of great diving.
Every diving encounter will bring you a new and exciting experience - a school of barracuda, one of the five species of turtles, a giant Manta Ray, grouper, snapper, or even a school of porpoises.
If Tobago is famous for any one thing in its own right it is the Scuba Diving. The Diving is unquestionably spectacular, especially in Speyside, rivaling some the the best in the world. Manta Ray (Manta Birostris) are found with unprecedented regularity in Speyside due to the richness of the waters.
The waters are very rich in nutrients which attracts hundreds of species of fish in a rainbow of colors from small butterfly fish to groups of Queen Angels, French Angels, Parrot fish, Tarpons, Grunts and the large majestic Manta Rays, which are famous for their interaction with divers. One of the dive sites has a Black Coral tree 8ft tall and Tobago also boasts one of the largest Brain Coral Heads, measuring over 12ft high and 16ft across. Many of the dive sites are affected by strong surge and surf, and some areas have heavy drifts. This however does not mean it is only suitable for experienced divers and there are many sites that offer gentle drift dives for beginners.
Diving off Tobago is done from an unusual craft called a pirogue which is designed especially to handle the unusual water conditions. Entries into the water are performed as backrolls. As most of the diving is drift, the divers usually stay together with the dive master who trails the surface boat. (Currents on the Atlantic can range from 0-3 knots in strength)
There is also a rainbow of colours from our smaller fish - from the dainty butterfly fish to groups of Queen Angels, French Angels, Damsels, Parrotfish, Grunts and many more. While there are few places in the Caribbean where a diver can see really large tarpon, they show up nearly every third or fourth dive in Tobago. Queen and ocean Trigger fish, normally scarce around Caribbean islands, are commonplace in Tobago. Our Black Forest, a 120 foot dive, boasts Black Coral trees in excess of 8 feet. You may also visit one of the world's largest brain coral heads, measuring over 12 feet high and 16 feet across.
The visibility underwater ranges from 70 feet to 150 feet and the best months for diving are from December to June.
Some of the best diving sites include Japanese Gardens - situated on the Western tip of Goat Island - one of Tobago's irregular coral bottom beds decorated with bouquets of soft corals, pastel vase sponges, orange-encrusted sponges and yellow tube sponges.
Excellent diving exists from one end of the island to the other. The northwestern coast is the most protected and calm area and on the rough days diving is done in the sheltered bays. Water conditions vary greatly. During the rainy season (July through September) the visibility of the water is affected (especially at the surface) due to overflow from the Orinoco River in Venezuela. At this time it is between 50-90ft. During the winter months visibility can easily reach as much as 125-150ft. Temperatures are very comfortable (78f in the winter and 81F in summer), a dive skin or light wet suit usually being sufficient.
Tobago has many attractions - from palm fringed beaches to clear tropical waters, displaying an abundance of marine life, wildlife and culture. For the naturalist, Tobago has some of the best bird watching, butterfly seeking and hiking the Caribbean has to offer.
Historic Scenic Tobago
Visit the capital, Scarborough, including the shopping mall the spectacular view at Fort King George. Continue to Plymouth on the West Coast to Fort James and the Mystery Tomb. Lunch will be taken in paradise at the Arnos Vale Waterwheel Nature Park, a sugar factory set amidst an award winning restaurant.
Scaborough, Tobago's Picturesque Capital...
Discover our version of 'Downtown'! Fruit and vegetable vendors are everywhere. All to be found right in the heart of Downtown Scarborough, a bustling little town with lots of action. Here on a Saturday? Wake early and take a drive to the market, you'll be surprised to see how much variety of fruit you can get (and at really great deals!)
Arnos Vale Waterwheel Restaurant and Bird Watching
Arnos Vale Waterwheel Theatre Restaurant and Nature Park was but one of than 100 sugar estates on the island and represents one of the best preserved examples of eighteenth and nineteenth century sugar production technology. As you sit down to enjoy culinary delights such as Salad of Crayfish and Caviar with a fresh Herb Raspberry Vinaigrette or Parcel Baked Mahi-Mahi with Lemon and Ginger Sauce, let your imagination go as the throbbing rhythms of African drums reverberate through the surrounding jungle.
The Gardens Of Buccoo Reef
Start at the sandy shores of Pigeon Point and board a glass bottom boat to travel gracefully to the Buccoo Reef. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the nylon pool, snorkel amongst the beautiful fish and view the enchanting coral gardens.
Black Jack Hole - Little Tobago Tour
Travel along the scenic east coast to the picturesque village of Speyside, onto a boat across to Little Tobago/ Bird of Paradise Island. On the way, snorkel amongst the beautiful tropical fishes and view the coral gardens. Black Jack Hole of Little Tobago is a sloping reef punctuated with cascading scarlet corals, orange-encrusted sponges, and spiral wire corals. The bottom of the reef moves with schools of angels, snappers, grunts and a huge nurse shark could lead you on a merry chase.
Mt. Irvine Beach...
This beach with about 800 m of sand is ideal for swimming and bathing. Lifeguards, change rooms, washroom facilities and huts are provided for visitors. This beach is frequented by surfers during the winter months when the waves are at their biggest and best. Visit:
London Bridge - St. Giles Island:
This dive site is a memorable sojourn through an undersea canyon marked by rocky pinnacles penetrated in the centre by a large hole: the key-hole continues under the sea. The walls in the rocks are laminated with colourful sponges and corals, midnight parrot fish, Queen Angels and schools of damsels mixed with rainbow rubbens, bar jacks and a huge tarpon in an impressive marine display.
Forest and Waterfall
Enjoy beautiful ocean views as you travel gently along the Atlantic Coast to the Rain Forest Reserve. Enjoy nature at its most beautiful whilst taking a guided walk through the tropical forest. Move on to the site of the Argyle Waterfall where you can walk, climb and swim and enjoy a countryside picnic.
Tobago's Main Ridge...
of the Main Ridge is the oldest forest reserve in the western hemisphere (protected since 1764!). With a dense canopy, many epiphytes, and more palms than one can imagine, this is Tobago Nature at its best! Another important sanctuary is Little Tobago Island, which lies just offshore from the fishing-village of Speyside. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, let's see how many words you can count with these stunning pictures of our beautiful island in the sun!
Beaches Beaches Beaches...
Further up the Caribbean coast from Pigeon Point, Mount Irvine Bay, followed by Stonehaven Bay and Courland Bay on either side of Black Rock village, are overlooked by hotels and popular with both visitors and locals (and turtles). Back Bay, just beyond Plymouth (and not sign-posted), is quiet and secluded. Among the best of many quiet beaches further along the coast are King Peter's Bay near Runnemede, Castara Bay, Englishman's Bay (a favourite tour stop, with great snorkelling), Parlatuvier Bay and Bloody Bay.
Hangin' out in Tobago...
Tobago is a great place for watersports! Deep-sea fishing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking as well as diving and snorkelling. Mount Irvine Bay is a favourite spot for surfers, while windsurfers favour the lagoon off Pigeon Point, protected by Buccoo Reef. Deep-sea fishing charters can be arranged from Pigeon Point and Store Bay. Glass-bottomed boats offer reef tours from Pigeon Point, Buccoo and Store Bay, and some also cater for party cruises; catamaran cruises are available too.
Manta City - Little Tobago - Manta Bowl - Manta Acceleration:
You stand a very good chance of seeing, touching or even riding one of the most graceful of all sea creatures.
Other sites include:
- Angel Reef - Goat Island - Reef Fish
- Arnos Vale Reef - Arnos Vale
- South Point - Goat Island - Black coral
- Wasp Shoal - Crown Point Area
- The Notch - Goat Island - small marine life
- Book Ends/Coral Gardens Speyside
- Little Tobago Bay - Black Forest
- Kellinston Drain - Little Tobago
- Culloden Reef - Culloden Bay
- More Details:
For those who enjoy water sports, but prefer to be on the surface, then Tobago is definitely your one stop shop, wind surfing, kite surfing, wake boarding, Para sailing, jet skiing just to name a few can be done on the island. Adventurous “Land lovers” can also partake in trail bike riding, off road ATV. Riding as well as, off road 4 x 4 wheel experiences, or even visit the Little Tobago Bird Sanctuary where a host of marine birds can be seen from the lookout, these can all be arranged for you on request.