Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

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Steve Fifield
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Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Steve Fifield » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:17 pm

Hi all.

I'm about to return to holiday in Tobago in early March for a couple of weeks, after around 12 years since the last time I visited, so long ago that neither I nor my PC could remember my MyTobago login so unfortunately I had to create a new account - Sorry Steve!

I'll be staying in Castara, which I've visited a few times before but have never been based there. I've had a little search around the forums and can see some very familiar faces that I used to chat with all those years ago, and hope you will let me know if there's anything in particular that I need to be aware of this time around. As far as I can see (and perhaps not that surprising) many landmarks such as the Arnos Vale Hotel appear to have closed down. I have fond memories of the reef and especially swimming with a turtle there once.

So I'm hoping that if there's anything that you would recommend for a once seasoned visitor not to miss this time around, you might let me know please, lest I don't find out until I'm back home in the UK.

Best wishes, Steve F.

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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Hugh S » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:36 am

Enjoy your visit!

Hugh 8)
Last edited by Hugh S on Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Steve Wooler
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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:08 pm

Hi Steve

Welcome back on board! I'm delighted that you are set to return. Sorry for the delay in responding, but I am in Tobago right now. I read your initial post on my phone, but needed to wait until my laptop would connect to the Internet before making a reply. I don't know about coming to Tobago for a holiday - this last week (my first of this trip) has been non-stop chores and visits. I'm only now starting to catch up on things.

Anyway, you will notice a LOT of changes from your last visit. However, the essential Tobago remains. I must confess I can't think of anything specific to mention to you to be aware of or to take note of. Just have a great trip. :D
Steve Wooler
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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Mark Entz » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:01 pm

Hello Steve F
My wife and I are also headed back to Tobago in mid March and also staying in Castara. Last visit was 3 yrs ago. Looking forward to the responses from the regulars.

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Paul Tallet
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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Paul Tallet » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:05 pm

Hello Steve and welcome back ...

12 Years ... hmmm.

Ok, when you first arrive the Arrivals 'lounge' hasn't changed much but when you go collect your bags you will see the new toy ... an x-ray machine for your baggage, just to check that you have not maliciously smuggled any fruit from the UK.

You will notice increased traffic on the roads ... much more congestion these days.

I can't quite remember where all the potholes were 12 years ago but they will be there somewhere, I assure you.

Pigeon Pointless ... coastal erosion ... large boulders set up to protect the area from flooding ... the Ice Cream parlour has disappeared (due to sea). But PP-less is much cleaner and better managed but watch out for exposed electric cables here and there (a shocking incident is waiting to happen).

The new North Side Road between L'Anse Formi and Charlotteville has opened ... great for rainforest adventures, bird, snake,iguana spotting.

One-way system around Scarborough.

New place to eat in Charlotteville ... Suckhole.

Mount Irvine Hotel Beach facilities upgraded.

Blue Waters Inn dining area extended.

Unsightly Government Buildings being erected in Charlotteville and on Castara Beach.

Big improvements to Buccoo (although this is under threat of further development).

The TTPD (Tobago Tourist Prevention Department) has built really nice new Beach facilities at Bloody Bay, one of the remotest beaches in Tobago.

The Late Night Parlour in Parlatuvier has closed.

A new Sanctuary for threatened Tobago Species (I forget) near Orange hill ... see snakes, Manicoo, Agouti, Cayman, Wild Boar, Iguana, Armadillo (plus about 40 species of Mosquito!).

A new Hospital which is brilliant ... you can be ill for free.

In Castara I think you will find Chenos (breakfasts and dinners) to be new, Shirma does BBQ's on Friday nights and Soup on Saturday (Ria does breakfasts at Shirma's). The Riverside, next to Marguerites also does Friday BBQs and Soup on Saturday and Rotis every day except Sunday.

On Wednesday nights there is a BBQ in the Boathouse in Heavenly Bay with African Drummers ... I think the Cascreole also do this, maybe Thursdays, can't recall.

Big new shopping centre and Cinema complex off the main highway.

Less tourists ... Tobago is struggling ... Tobago needs you ... feel welcome.

That's about it, can't think of anything else.

Enjoy your holiday.

Regards
Paul Tallet
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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Steve Fifield » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:22 pm

Hi Paul.

Thanks so much for such a detailed reply, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that :)

I've been keeping a good eye on the weather and your report is very helpful. There has been rain lately but hope the sun is about to win the battle at last. I really hope it can't be worse than my last visit when we had rain every day but one, and landslides had virtually taken out even some of the main roads :shock:

Steve.

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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by Ronald » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:43 pm

About fruits all over West Indies, you can not take something from one island to another, as they might have "unwanted" passengers. I remember once when I arrived to an Island, there I saw fruits in a big box. Someone did tell me the owners could come back after some days and pick it up! I really do not think anyone want that.

Hope ypou will have a nice stay, the weather should be better compared with UK and northen Europe. This year all countries seems to get a hard winter.

Myself live in Crete now and the weather here did change a lot from Mars 1. It is now about +14C in the morning but when the sun comes it rise to something between +20C to +23C. I just love it! At home where I lived they have 50cm of snow and -10C!

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Re: Twelve years on ... Anything I should know?

Post by PaulMakin » Wed Mar 07, 2018 2:56 pm

i'd say construction will be what you'll most notice - the crown point area, shirvan road, buccoo have all developed quickly recently. retail, townhouses, gated developments etc.

traffic management is now a "thing" with a couple more sets of traffic lights and some roundabouts , revised traffic flows in town, orange hill road etc

weather has been a bit odd - seems wetter than usual most of the year but it's cyclical so who knows?

prices have increased both in general and secondary to the inter-island transport difficulties. but also price rises relating to oil/gas revenues falling and income being clawed back through reduced subsidy to the consumer. vehicle fuels are now significantly higher than a year ago, utilities slowly but surely rising also.

some internet has improved where digicell have fibre-optic plumbed in

most cable TV is now via Direct using the south american feed. i honestly preferred trico but direct is PAYG and everyone swapped. for someone who has a degree of enforced idleness, TV is a useful distraction but i appreciate most people won't be affected by this !!

far fewer visitors both internal and overseas. i was in a medium sized hotel bar for the usual "after work" drinks just recently. there were 2 people in there. popped to another well-known watering hole next door and i was the only customer. at 20.30 on a friday evening, a week before carnival. staff being laid off and harder to "stretch yuh dollar"

i need to be in the south-west and to be honest haven't been north of hope bay for weeks so not qualified to comment on other areas where things may be different

regards
paul

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