Spend a long weekend in Tobago
Untamed rainforest, clear blue seas and a strong dose of authentic Caribbean culture define Tobago, a small island that offers a surprising array of sights and activities.
The jungle and ocean provide playgrounds for lovers of nature and watersports, while the soft sands forming a border between the two are frequented by nesting turtles as well as sunbathers. Smart, breeze-cooled restaurants vie for trade with shacks Hook up with a local naturalist for a foray into the rainforest. Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve covers almost 10,000 acres across the central spine of the island and there is barely a square inch without something growing from the fertile soil.
Hotels and the tourist office can provide a list of certified guides. They will pick you up in their minivan and take you to the lush, vertical scenery at the eastern end of the island. Twisting past ravines, you will arrive at the beginning of one of the wellmarked trails that disappear enticingly into the jungle. Slowly making your way along the trail – the three-mile (4.8km) Gilpin Trace is the most popular – you’ll quickly understand why this forest, legally protected since 1776, is listed by Unesco. Your guide will explain the ecosystem and point out the various plants – trees that soar up to 160ft overhead, thick bamboo, pretty bromeliads and tangled lianas. With luck, you’ll see bright flashes among the dense green foliage, as more than 100 types of bird inhabit the rainforest. You are unlikely to see the nocturnal armadillos, but look out for geckos and stream-dwelling crabs. Pop along to Speyside, a photogenic village on Tyrrell’s Bay, with views across to Goat and Little Tobago