About Tobago: The Tobagonians
I am regularly asked “would I like Tobago?” Without meaning to be offensive, I am always tempted to reply “would Tobago like you?”
No destination in the world is right for everyone and Tobago is no exception. Many visitors will fall in love with the island. On the other hand, a holiday there could be purgatory to others. Fifteen minutes of research on this website will determine which category you’re likely to be in.
So, let’s start with the downside…
- If you want the best beaches in the Caribbean, forget Tobago
- If you want guaranteed calm seas without a ripple on the surface, forget Tobago
- If you want glitzy multi-star hotels to rival Dubai, forget Tobago
- If you want Michelan-starred restaurants and extensive menus, forget Tobago
- If you want a wide choice of non-stop action and activity, forget Tobago
- If you want all-night entertainment, forget Tobago
- If you want retail therapy, forget Tobago
- If you want Far-Eastern levels of service, forget Tobago
So, given these apparent negatives, how does this island manage to create Tobago-junkies like Jill and myself and the many readers who contribute to our forum and visit the island time after time?
Before I expand on this vital point, please allow me to qualify my earlier comments.
Beaches: Tobago has many beautiful beaches. They are very natural and often consist of dark volcanic sand. However, you will find white coral sand beaches and others with every shade of yellow in between.
Hotels: The island has a small but excellent range of good hotels to suit all budgets and preferences.
Restaurants: Menu choices are limited because most restaurants prefer to offer fresh local produce rather than frozen imported.
Activities: Nobody would be daft enough to compare Tobago with Disneyland, but there are more than enough sporting activities and excursions to keep active youngsters (and oldsters) happy.
Entertainment: OK, I surrender. Mind you, visitors don’t seem to want to much entertainment; something about the vibe of the island means that even the teenagers are falling asleep by 10pm.
Retail Therapy: Once again I admit defeat. You could always buy a carved coconut shell for that dreaded aunt who always buys you naff socks for Christmas.
Service: The ‘wrong’ sort of visitor is going to return home saying that Tobagonians are unfriendly and provide terrible service. Others will instantly, and without realising how, turn the magic key and unleash the spectacular warmth of the islanders (although even these visitors will admit that ‘service’ is somewhat more relaxed than they are used to).
What is so special about the Tobagonian people and how and why do they differ from other Caribbeans? Can I answer this in two ways. Firstly, through an article (Article 1) written for us by a born and bred Tobagonian, Carlos Dillon, Director and General Manager of the excellent Mount Irvine Bay Hotel & Golf Club. My own take on the subject follows (Article 2).
Hopefully the two articles will provide first-timers with a better understanding of Tobago’s secret charm and help them to get the very best out of this beautiful island and its warm and welcoming endemic population.