As I’ve mentioned umpteen times, I am from the beautiful twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Yes, I’m in love with my homeland! Can you tell?
Trinidad is the boisterous older sister. It is the larger island and world renowned for being the birthplace of the steel pan – reputably the only acoustic instrument created in the 20th century – and as the locus of one of the greatest shows on earth: Carnival!
The beautiful masquerade of Carnival!
For two days, usually in late February or early March, the air thrums with frivolity and the earth pulsates to the pressure of prancing feet. But when the dust settles and the last reveler gleefully limps home, an easterly wind sweetens the air and beckons to the smaller isle of Tobago.
Tobago is the more even-tempered sister – and my favourite. There are three things that you’d immediately notice when you arrive via catamaran to the capital of Scarborough, or by plane to the Crown Point airport:
- the climate is indisputably hotter than that of Trinidad
- time seems to slow to the blissful crawl of syrup out of a hot plastic bottle
- there is magic in the air
Yes, magic! For each time I visit Tobago, expecting the curse of familiarity to darken my experience, the splendour of the island only revives my appreciation for living! The genuine smiles of the locals, the slower pace and, most certainly, the heat create the perfect environment for a slow experiment in discovery — the ability to experience everyday things as if for the first time.
Here a few of my favourite ‘Bago highlights:
Argyle Falls –Argyle Falls has been described as the “stuff that dreams are made of.” The falls flow with a serene power from where the main vein of the Argyle River branches out into smaller streams and down a tiered rock outcropping to end in a deeply green and languid pool. The trail to the falls bursts at the seams with copious varieties of flora and fauna. One may just run into exotic birds such as the Cocricos while being shaded by a tapestry of poui, cocoa, and silk cotton trees. The river and falls are part of the Main Ridge Reserve, which is the oldest rainforest reserve in the western hemisphere.
The trees part and the falls first come into view.
The Nylon Pool – This shallow pool in the middle of the sea is a must-see! A glass bottom boat whisks you away to this site that is, essentially, a mountain created by bits of coral from the nearby Buccoo Reef. The waters are so pristine you can almost see the detail of each individual grain of sand and coral fragment at your feet. Hire a glass bottom boat from Store Bay, visit and leave years younger! Legend has it that the waters here can restore youth!
Take a dip in the Nylon Pool!
Store Bay – Store Bay is, undoubtedly, one of the more popular and striking beaches in Tobago. A 10-minute jaunt from the airport and easily accessible by car, there’s no excuse not to go! Once there, you will be waylaid by the aroma of cuisine cooked at the food stalls along the beach.
The curry crab and dumpling are calling! 🙂
Be sure to introduce your pallete to the curry crab and dumpling dish and the pineapple chow from the lady who sells at the base of the steps where the beach begins. Then rent an umbrella and lounge chair for the day. Whether you enter the water or not, you’ll be thoroughly entertained by the sweet soca and reggae wafting from the bar overlooking the shoreline, shopping from local artisans, and the calls of fisherman as they haul the catch of the day at dusk.
Trying on locally made leather sandals.
Umbrella and lounge chairs readily available!
Waiting for the dusk.
“Black Rock” – Black Rock is one of my all time favourite places on Earth! It is the perfect marriage of serenity and vigour. To get to the beach one must exit Shirvan Main Road and, following the boom of the Atlantic Ocean, walk to the back of a quiet country neighbourhood. There, Grand Courland Bay greets you with an open palm – a bay so private that I’ve only ever seen two other people walking its vast expanse of 4 miles! Most notable, are the two twin peaks of black rock at one end that give the bay its unique trademark.
The upper deck looking east of Grand Courland Bay.
Looking west of Grand Courland Bay.
Upper deck and Infiniti pool below.
One of the black rock twin peaks at the end of the beach.
Watching the sunset from the upper deck at the Birdie’s Nest Guest House.
Finally, the best part of Black Rock is the property that sits closest to those twin peaks on the east end of Grand Courland Bay: Birdie’s Nest Guest House. It is a delightful establishment that feels, at once, like an enchanted mansion and grandma’s living room. In other words, it feels like HOME, but with all the creature comforts you could ever desire! Prince Robinson, owner of Birdie’s Nest, is also part of the charm; quick to smile and offer impromptu tours of the entire island, you leave feeling absolutely spoilt and thoroughly educated after your stay! If you will, languish in the impeccably maintained infinity pool on the lower deck, fall asleep at midday to the pleasant pounding of the waves, or bask in a sunset from the upper deck. Allow yourself to be pulled into the unbelievable perfection of this corner of the Universe!
Have you visited? Would you like to visit? I’m here if you have questions! 🙂