Tobago

Destination Overview

Tobago is a tiny island at only twenty-seven miles long and seven miles wide making it even smaller than the Isle of Wight! It is the baby of the two islands comprising of the nation of Trinidad and Tobago and must be one of the best kept secrets of the Caribbean when it comes to scuba diving. From here you can dive both the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, where this combination of ocean currents provides enough diversity to satisfy virtually every diver’s needs. Recently North-East Tobago was awarded the prestigious UNESCO Man and Biosphere designation.

The vibe in Tobago is authentic, relaxed, and laidback, and with most tourists choosing the Carnival Capital of Trinidad you will find this island to be unspoilt and uncrowded. The island lies north of Venezuela and south of Grenada and is outside the main hurricane belt so seldom feels the effect of the hurricane season, the tropical climate brings sunshine all year round, even in the wet season between June and November the rain only comes in short, sharp bursts.

When you visit Tobago you understand why it is often called ‘Robinson Crusoe’s Island’ with the palm tree scattered coastline, beautiful beaches and abundance of colourful birds and wildlife. This destination has over 200 species of birds so is an absolute haven for bird watchers, the 5km Gilpin Trace trail is a great starting point as it takes you through the Main Ridge Rain Forest Reserve. You can also take a trip to Little Tobago, a 2km long uninhabited, forested island just a short boat trip from Speyside where frigatebirds circle overhead, and a walk ashore may bring views of falcons and hawks.

There are also many beautiful waterfalls in Tobago, the highest being Argyle Waterfall which cascades 54 metres over a series of steeped areas with several pools for swimming at the bottom. If you prefer to stay dry then take a glass bottom boat tours where you can explore the depths in comfort, admire the lovely corals, sea fans and marine life of the extensive reef, and if you do decide to take the plunge then grab a mask and snorkel and go for a closer look. If you are a chocolate lover then a Cocoa Tour is a must, this includes a walkabout of Tobago Cocoa Estate W.I Ltd where you can learn about the history, participate in the fermentation and indulge in a rum and chocolate tasting session.

For an evening to remember take a paddleboard or kayak out for a Bioluminescence Tour at Pigeon Point, as you dip your paddle into the water it will sparkle with glowing plankton under the clear starry sky. Another evening experience not to be missed is Sunday School in the village of Buccoo, and don’t be fooled by the name as there is no religion involved, it is a free street party that begins with a steel band after which DJs bring on the reggae and calypso as revellers continue to enjoy the street food, rum and dancing!

Average temperatures in Summer (May-October): Air 28°c / Sea: 28-29°c

Average temperatures in Winter (November-April): Air 26°c / Sea 27°c

Diving Information

Much of the diving in Tobago is drift diving where the currents vary in strength from site to site with the Atlantic one side and the Caribbean Sea the other. The reefs of the South Coast (Pigeon Point) are calmer, therefore perhaps better for the beginner, whereas the North (Speyside) are known for much faster currents. Diving at this destination gives opportunities to see nurse sharks, black tip reef sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, manta rays, turtles, tarpon, angelfish, parrotfish, and damselfish, there is even a wreck!

The healthy reefs feature both hard and soft coral and you can see one of the largest recorded brain corals in the world at Kelleston Drain, this huge single brain colony is approximately 16ft by 10ft. Most dives are thrilling drift dives fuelled by the nutrient-rich Guyana Current and offer the opportunity to swim with pelagic, an exciting treat for even the most experienced diver. However, it is not just the reefs that drive divers to this location, the marine life is also varied and abundant, with macro photography being a favourite activity with visibility up to 30m.

You can dive all year round in Tobago however visibility can be lower during the rainy season. The dry season runs from January to May when sea turtles’ nest and hatch. There is a real variety of dive sites to suit all levels of diver, such as Angel Reef which is popular with beginners and photographers due to the good visibility and quiet current. The cleaning stations along the reef offer are picture perfect, zoom in on the honeycomb and plate corals. An exciting drift dive for advanced divers is Japanese Gardens which is situated on the fringes of Goat Island, here you descend along a steep slope covered in a bed of multi-coloured tube, rope and vase sponges that are said to resemble a miniature Japanese garden, the reef drops suddenly into Kamikaze Cut, a passage of coral that is home to large schools of nurse sharks and jacks. London Bridge is another popular site, it is easily identified from the surface with its ‘rock bridge’ appearance which is half visible and half submerged. Divers can swim through the middle of the ‘bridge’, current depending, where they will see huge boulders with impressive overhangs and crevices. Other sites to look out for are Blackjack Hole and Round Table.

Our partners in Tobago, Blue Water Inn, have an onsite PADI 5 Star facility where they are surrounded by some of the most spectacular dive sites in the region, just minutes from their private dock. They also offer a selection of courses in their state-of-the-art training facility.