5 Reasons tropical Tobago tops my post-COVID travel list
Posted Feb 01, 2021
It was just over a year ago that I took my second trip to the tiny island of Tobago. Located only 35 kilometers from it’s larger sister island Trinidad, but in reality it might as well be a world away. And that’s a big part of Tobago’s enduring appeal.
I first visited this lush island, one of the southernmost in the Caribbean, on business. And just a few days in, I was concocting plans to return over the Christmas break with my family, avid beach enthusiasts of the highest order. As expected, they too quickly fell under the spell of the natural rhythms and relaxed pace this serene piece of paradise exudes.
Not long after our return home, the world swiftly went into lockdown and soon previously planned trips turned into future travel credits. Since then, we’ve invested some serious travel-dreaming-time considering where to visit when travel resumes. After much thought, Tobago is once again topping our list. Here’s why:
Reason #1: Untouched
The island’s tagline is unspoilt, untouched, and undiscovered. And, it really is. Free from mass-tourism, Tobago feels more like a charming boutique hotel than a Caribbean mega-resort. But what’s most appealing today is how the island remained largely untouched by COVID-19. The government moved quickly to close borders to protect its population and keep coronavirus at bay. Suffering only a handful of cases, the lure of a largely COVID-free destination is very appealing to this Ontarian.
Reason #2: Physical Distance Is A Way of Life
At some crowded Caribbean destinations you can spend more time plotting to secure a lounge chair at a bustling resort than actually basking on the beach. In Tobago, there’s as much (or as little) space as desired. One typically clear-skied afternoon we enjoyed Englishman’s Bay, regarded as one of the Caribbean’s best strands of sand, entirely to ourselves. Talk about paradise found. After the year we’ve had, I’m not ready to dive into big crowds. When travel resumes, I’ll be seeking space to relax and recharge, and Tobago offers that in spades.
Reason #3: The Food!
Elsewhere, island eating can be an unsavoury mix of boring buffet-lines or expensive restaurants serving-up mediocre fare, but not in Tobago. The island’s many restaurateurs offer diverse menus of local and international delights. Over the course of our seven day stay, we didn’t have a bad meal once. We enjoyed fresh-caught seafood, authentic Italian, and local delicacies like my favourites, callaloo soup and macaroni pie. With options ranging from fine-dining at affordable prices to seriously cheap, and super-satisfying, street eats, you won’t suffer from a lack of options. Best of all, there’s no need to plan far ahead as most restaurants offer a warm welcome to walk-ins.
Reason #4: Reconnect With Nature
Ever since the start of the pandemic, I, like so many others, have been craving the great outdoors. This sense of disconnection from the natural world is not surprising. Even prior to coronavirus lockdowns, studies show most of us were spending 90 percent of our time indoors. Living in Toronto with the virus looming large, immersing into the natural world feels like a safe haven. And, Tobago is truly a naturalist's delight. Beyond its instagrammable beaches, which are in abundance, the island’s interior boasts one of the oldest protected forest reserves in the world. With more than 230 species of birds, you’re never far from the sweet call of nature. Along the coast, the island’s vibrant coral community rewards visitors with some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean.
Reason #5: Beyond Ordinary
Tobago is not like other Caribbean destinations crowded with tourists, it’s pleasantly off-the-radar, and that’s what draws me back. The sense of adventure is real and you can reveal it at your own pace. There’s no pressure to see dozens of sights and certainly no long lines when you get there. Across the island broad smiles welcome you wherever your travels take you. To top it off, the island offers a lot of value. It’s affordable and truly has something for everyone - from solo travellers to multi-generational families seeking some carefree fun in the sun.
For now the borders remain closed as Tobago continues to shield itself from coronavirus. But as soon as we get the all-clear, my return trip is as good as booked. To learn more about the latest travel advisory updates, click here.
Post by Tim Gallant