Many believe that Daniel Defoe’s wonderful story, Robinson Crusoe, was based on the island of Tobago. Whether true or not, most agree that Tobago is one of the most exotic and least-commercialised islands in the Caribbean.
Tobago is a veritable picture book paradise of palm trees laden with coconuts bowing as the waves lap on the shore. Beautiful colourful tiny hummingbirds flit everywhere, both in the gardens in the more populated areas of the island as well as in the protected tropical rainforest that covers most of the interior of the island. Wonderful tropical fish and marine life inhabit the aquamarine waters and stunning reefs around the coast. Time runs at a different speed here. The pace of life in the small fishing villages and sleepy capital is calm and slow.
The twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago could not be more different – geographically, economically, ethnically and culturally. Trinidad is a bustling commercial island with an active industry sector based upon substantial oil and gas reserves. In comparison, tiny Tobago is a sleepy relaxed backwater. No wonder then that so many Trinidadians make Tobago their destination of choice to chill-out and relax.
The climate is generally warm and generally dry between January and May, with higher rainfall between June and December. The temperature is fairly consistent throughout the year, with temperatures of between 77 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit (25-33 degrees Celsius).
Passports must be valid for a minimum of 3 months from the end of the proposed visit. Visas are not required by holiday visitors from the EEC, USA, Commonwealth or various other countries. For full details, see www.immigration.gov.tt.
There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for entry to Trinidad & Tobago. However, normal protection, such as tetanus and hepatitis, is always recommended when travelling. The local authorities undertake regular mosquito control, but visitors are strongly advised to spray themselves with an insect repellent on a regular basis and to use an antihistamine cream for treatment of pesky sand-fly bites, which are far more of a problem to many people.
There are a number of good doctors on Tobago and the new local hospital can offer excellent care. However, health resources are limited and serious cases will need to travel to Trinidad, where there are excellent private health care facilities. Travellers are strongly recommended to ensure that they have adequate travel health and repatriation insurance in case of serious illness.
The currency in Trinidad and Tobago is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT dollar). The exchange rate is roughly 6 TT dollars to 1 US dollar, or very roughly around 10 TT dollars to 1 British Pound. U.S. dollars are widely accepted. VISA and MasterCard credit cards are increasingly widely accepted. However, cash should be relied upon when travelling outside the more populated south-west of the island. ATM cash machines are available in various locations.
Although there is a very limited number of supermarkets on Tobago, visitors will find that although choice is limited, most things they buy at home are now available on Tobago. The cost of living is comparable to the prices in the UK, Europe and North America. Shopping outside the main urban areas in the south-west of Tobago is very limited.