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Just north of the Equator, Tobago and Trinidad are the two most southern Caribbean islands, lying just off the coast of Venezuela, South America. Have a look at a map - including Google Earth
Trinidad and Tobago are completely different islands. Trinidad is large, industrial and sweaty, - imagine Walsall with palm trees - and Tobago is tiny, postcard pretty, quiet, warm and breezy. To put it in perspective, Trinidadians holiday in Tobago.
Tobago is only 26 miles by 7 miles wide, and has a population of only about 54,000.
Tobago is just south of the hurricane belt so is usually outside the path of hurricanes. Hurricane Ivan in 2004 did touch the island and caused some damage. Prior to that, the only hurricane to have really affected Tobago was Flora in 1963.
Trinidad and Tobago used to be part of South America and is home to wildlife usually only found on the geographical mainland. The central part of the island is covered with the oldest rain forest in the western hemisphere.
The wildlife in Tobago won’t kill you. There are no poisonous snakes, no man eating sharks, box jelly fish or pole jumping, bird eating spiders. There are mosquitoes, so you should make sure you take along some relevant protection.
There have been isolated instances of Dengue Fever from mosquito bites in the past, so do consult your GP before travelling. Learn more about Tobago flora and fauna.
Warm and sunny with fresh trade winds.
Average temperature: 30C (86F)
The sea can be as warm as your bath, and is warmest in the rainy season. Jumping into the sea during a quick tropical rainburst on the beach is great fun.
And the re-emerging sun will dry your towel in no time. Here's the very latest Tobago weather forecast from the BBC.
Peak Season - January - May.
This is the ‘dry season’. It’s cooler (just 80F!) and rains little. This is the most expensive time to visit.
Low Season - June- December. The so called ‘wet season’ - and not to be confused with ‘monsoons’. It’s more humid, the sea is warmer, and warm, tropical rain usually comes in short, sharp bursts and freshens the greenery.
The island is at its most beautiful in this season as everything is full of colour. The seasons’ boundaries are becoming blurred - perhaps as a result of global warming.
Tobago is between an 8 - 10 hour flight from the UK (depending on who you fly with). Some flights make refuelling stops to other islands on the way there or home. Links to Tobago flight details are available on this website. Check out flight details to Tobago.
English is the official language.
The local currency is the Trinidad & Tobago dollar.
The import of local currency is unlimited, as long as you declare it, and the export of local currency is limited to TT$200.. Use a currency converter to compare prices.
Tobago is 4/5 hours behind the UK.
British Summer : GMT - 5 hours
British Winter: GMT - 4 hours
You’ll need an adaptor for your hairdryer. Electricity: 110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. Plugs are the 2 flat pin type, as in the USA.
Most accommodation has air conditioning - if not, there are usually fans.
A lot of hotels and guesthouses are in the Crown Point area and near to the airport. Normally, being near an airport would be a worry. But there are no night flights to Tobago, and only one or two jets a day land - usually when you’re out at the beach.
|Unwind on a quiet beach|
Casual. If you’re staying in one of the top hotels then you may want to pack a few posh frocks or shirt and tie but generally shorts and T shirts are the norm.
Getting around the island is relatively easy. You can hire a jeep or a car. Petrol is very, very cheap, but there are few petrol stations so don’t get caught out - refuel regularly.
You’ll need a valid, full driving licence. Drive on the left; there is a 30 mph (50 kph) speed limit throughout Tobago.
There are buses - you have to purchase a ticket in advance from local stores.
The best way of getting around if you don’t need a jeep for the day, is to pick up an ‘unofficial taxi’, or a maxi taxi.
Tobago has a regulated taxi service that charges about the same as you’d pay back at home, but there is a network of unofficial taxis that seem to operate under a ‘blind eye’ system and it’s a bit like thumbing a lift.
A short ‘hop’ will cost you no more than a couple of TT dollars and you’ll be entertained on the way aswell.
This is a fabulous way of meeting and talking to the local people, who have the best information about where to go and what to do.
Official taxis can be spotted with a registration letter ‘H’. You can hire a car for reasonable rates.
For any traveller leaving these Islands, there is a mandatory TT$100 per person, airport departure tax to be paid; so keep that amount put aside. Children aged 5 years or less are exempt. Some airlines include the departure tax into the airfare.
Tourists to Tobago find it’s a relatively safe island to visit. Tobago has had some bad PR regarding crime lately, but in 2010 there were 12 murders on the island - 12 too many of course - but compare that to the average of 5 per day in Jamaica, and 31 recorded in the UK city of Manchester in the same year. We still feel safe when we travel to Tobago.
Most crimes reported about Tobago are in fact about Trinidad - Tobago just gets tarred with the same brush unfortunately. .
Tobagonians are a warm and respectful people - but whatever country you holiday in there’s always an element of crime.
Exercise the same caution you would in your own hometown. Keep your money and valuables safe. Don’t leave your bag and camera on an empty beach while you go for a swim. Be sensible. Generally, you can walk around Tobago, day or night, and not be looking over you shoulder.
It is possible to hire a mobile while you are out there - contact TSTT Cellnet (tel: 800 CELL; fax: 001 868 625 5807).
There are payphones around the island which use pre-paid cards available from most shops and supermarkets.
Faxes are available in most hotels.
Tobago is really switched on to modern communications - the Internet and e-mail is available in lots of inexpensive cybercafes around the island, and most hotels have access and will charge you a small fee for use.
From Trinidad to Tobago. A regular ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough, including two fast ferries, T&T Express and T&T Spirit which take about 2½ hours. These two high-speed catamarans carry between 740-840 passengers and 200 vehicles. Facilities include onboard movies, bars and cafés. The economy fare is TT$100 return, with children under 12yrs of age half price and under 3yrs free.
The crossing on the conventional cargo ferry, Warrior Spirit takes around 5½ hours and it can get a little rough. The Warrior Spirit has a restaurant, loung and 48 cabins and takes 133 passengers. The economy fare is TT$75 return and a cabin (double occupancy) TT$160. Children under 12 years half price and under 3 years free.
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