Tobago is actually twinned with its larger sister, Trinidad, to form one republic. It’s actually been the colony of various parties and changed hands some 33 times between the colonial powers of the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Swedish and French. That’s partly due to its strategic position – it’s the closest Caribbean island to South America.
Our ship docked in Scarborough, the cultural hub of the island where the 18th century Fort King George stands as a reminder of its pre-colonial past.
480 minutes on Tobago’s Pigeon Point Beach Club
I was quite certain before we even left for the Caribbean that I would have at least one day in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean sea. I got my wish when Tom and I visited Pigeon Point Beach Break, home to Tobago’s most picturesque beaches.
It’s a private beach club, which charges twenty Trinidadian dollars (GB £2.25) for a day’s access, and further $18 (£2.03) for a sunbed. It’s also a heritage park with 125 acres of nature reserve which protects nesting ground of native turtles. There were about sixty-odd people from our ship heading to Pigeon Point Beach, but we were definitely outnumbered by the number of local families and friends hanging out on the sandy shores.
It was busy, but that said, it wasn’t overwhelming – there was still space for us to pitch up our sunbeds underneath a shady palm. There wasn’t much information on the ship before we disembarked about whether you’d be able to use a credit card at the beach resort.
As a precaution, we nipped to the cashpoint just outside the cruise port terminal (on the city side) and withdrew $50 or so. In the end, most of the eating establishments on the beach take cards and there are even a few brightly huts selling souvenirs. We opted for lunch first, and after we’d thoroughly investigated all our eating options, opted for the bright pink Outback bar for two portions of fried chicken and chips, washed down with several Carib beers. In fact, quite a few beers, as we waited quite a while for lunch to arrive.
Eventually, we got in the sea and we eeked it out until they were literally hounding us back on the bus. It wasn’t until we got home and saw Ainsley Harriott boarding a boat on his latest programme, ‘Ainsley’s Caribbean Adventure’ from Pigeon Point, that we realised the wonderful waters of the ‘nylon pool’ were just a boat ride away. So named because when Princess Margaret visited she exclaimed that the pool was as clear as her nylon stockings!
Tobago Cocoa Estate
Whilst we had 480 minutes on Tobago’s Pigeon Point Beach, Luke, Mum and Dad visited Tobago Cocoa Estate, after a drive through Scarborough. The cocoa estate is on the fringes of a forest reserve and includes 43-acres with more than 20,000 cocoa trees.
Historically, cocoa was the major crop of the region and as part of the tour, the guide showed the different stages of growing, harvesting, and drying the cocoa beans. I was expecting at least a taster when I came back, but I was told that the chocolate cost a small fortune.
This is partially due to the fact the beans are shipped to Francois Pralus an artisan master chocolatier, in France where it’s turned into award-winning bars – it’s even won a Great Taste Award! The bars on sale at the farm have then been shipped back for sale!
I was sad to leave Tobago, it was one of the few places, where I felt we’d only just scratched the surface. I was somewhat appeased by the Calypso band that greeted us on the dockside and the champagne flute handed to me as we boarded. Easily pleased. Tobago is definitely an island we’d go back to.