You’ve heard of Jamaica, Barbados, maybe even St. Lucia but Tobago?
Where is that?
Tobago is one half the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Trinidad & Tobago are the southernmost islands of the Caribbean archipelago.
Tobago sits (a 15-minute flight) northeast of Trinidad.
So what does this 116 square mile landmass have to make it a legendary Caribbean vacation destination for families?
For the parents.
You’re looking for somewhere:
Rich in culture, with great food and warm people.
Tobago culture is unique.
It’s the only island in the Caribbean that changed hands over 30 times.
The Dutch, French, Spanish and the British all fought over her.
They all left their mark on the island in one visible (or edible) way or another.
Speaking of Food…
You can eat bread from a dirt oven.
Curried crab and dumplings (a Tobago delicacy).
Or go for modern Italian, Chinese or Indian cuisine.
Whatever you hope to try, Tobago can feed your fancy.
In Tobago, everybody knows everybody.
There are only 65,000 of us.
Like Lord Nelson said in this song:
That includes your family too.
No name hotels
Tobago does small well.
Looking for a private guest house?
We got you.
Villa with a pool?
Coming right up.
Need something more resort style?
We have those as well.
But if you’re looking for big box franchise hotels, you won’t find that here.
Not yet anyway.
Empty gorgeous beaches.
We have about 60 of those.
Your family can explore most of them without a guide.
A few would be better encountered with a local.
But all with varying colours of sand (and water) to keep you and the fam relaxed and occupied.
And… Reliable Internet
Reliable internet is usually not a problem on the island.
But if you’re looking for free wifi, Hello Tobago provides high-speed internet at two locations on the island:
D’Colosseum at Crown Point.
The Edge of the Reef Restaurant at Pleasant Prospect.
What about the kids?
Enough about you.
Tobago is perfect for kids.
They’re looking for somewhere:
Different from home, where they can encounter something new, and eat some ice cream.
Different from home
Tobago is radically different from your kid’s home.
From the moment the airplane door opens the freedom will hit them in their little faces.
The pace may be slower than home but there is still lots for them to see, do and touch.
Most of it within walking distance.
No matter where you decide to stay.
And whatever adventure is not close by it is usually one car ride (or boat ride) away.
Encounter Something New
Have your kids ever wanted to acquire a new skill like paddleboarding?
Or try climbing a canon at a fort?
Or perhaps see animals in their natural habitat?
From water activities to histories mysteries.
Your kids can see the nesting activities of large leatherbacks in the wild (the season runs from mid-March – July).
Hear (and see the evidence) of scary folklore tales (the Mystery Tombstone in Plymouth).
And even swim in the middle of the ocean in waist deep water (it’s called Nylon Pool).
There are a number of things your kids have never done before that they can do right here in Tobago.
Which Kid Doesn’t Like Ice Cream?
If you’ve never eaten homemade ice cream on a tropical Caribbean island you’ve done yourself a disservice.
Tobago’s fruits are an ice cream maker’s (and eater’s) dream.
From authentic coconut, creamy mango and savory soursop you will be in heaven on the first scoop.
And if you don’t do dairy there’s always nice-cream.
Nice-cream is a raw vegan version of ice cream.
Frozen ripe bananas are used as the base.
You can then add whatever fruit or seeds (a little water) to the blend to create the taste you want.
Nice-cream is delicious and more healthful than ice cream.
Again, Tobago fruits are the star here.
Take the kids to the local market or village fruit stall to pick the fruits for their Nice-cream.
Ice cream or Nice-cream, whichever you decide Tobago can provide the ingredients.
Your family can create the memories.
The best way for your kids to appreciate Tobago life?
Encourage them to play with the local kids.
It may be worth it to bring a deflated football (soccer ball) in your suitcase.
Part of your children’s adventure could be working with the kids of the village to get the ball inflated.
Many a friendship has been formed over the beautiful game.
Walk. Walk. Walk.
Each village has its own cadence.
Some are fishing villages with one beach forming the center of village activities like Castara.
Others are historical villages.
Ones where tradition, culture and sport are the main features of village life like Roxborough.
But the best way to experience any of this is to drive to these villages, get out and walk around.
Walking helps kids engage with the island in a more special way.
Devonne Adanna Tip: Explore villages by foot, not by car.
And if none of these reasons are compelling enough, here are just a few more.
Tobago makes a good Caribbean destination because:
1. Getting to Tobago is half the fun.
Tobago is not close (to anywhere but Trinidad).
Nor is it easy to get to.
It’s the furthest down the Caribbean archipelago.
And because of administrative decisions made centuries ago, we are annexed to Trinidad.
This means that your family may have to go to Trinidad first and then get to Tobago (depending on where in the world you are coming from).
But it’s all part of the family fun.
2. It is not on the Caribbean hurricane belt.
The last time Tobago experienced a hurricane was in 1963.
Tobago’s geographical location is your benefit.
When storms turn into hurricanes they are usually much farther up the Caribbean.
So if you’re planning a Caribbean family vacation during the hurricane months consider this too.
Your family’s likelihood of experiencing a hurricane while in Tobago?
3. Tobago has a laid-back vibe without the hustle and bustle of a city.
In Tobago your family can do it all.
Explore a mangrove swamp.
Go bird watching for exotic and brightly hued birds.
Meet diverse and interesting people.
But its also a place to have no plan at all.
Last year, I met a family of 3 (toddler in tow) from Texas.
They booked a vacation in a completely different country.
When they got to the airport in Houston they were told their flight to that destination was overbooked.
Fortunately for them, the next available flight out of Texas was to Trinidad & Tobago.
Had they ever been before? No
Did they decide to go anyway? YES!
They came to Tobago without so much as a place to stay.
When I first bumped into them at the supermarket they had just arrived.
They were trying to decide where they should stay.
When I next saw them a couple days later.
They had already been to the reef.
Several other beaches.
Tried a few local dishes.
And were scheduled to rent a car to take a (self) tour of the island the following day.
Thank you kindly for your attention.
If you want to learn more about the Caribbean destination of Tobago, my blog can help.