solo female traveller

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Aga
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solo female traveller

Post by Aga » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:07 pm

Hello everyone,
I will be coming to Trinidad on a work trip in November and have decided to extend my stay by adding a few days in Tobago. My idea is to choose one hotel as the base and explore the island from there.
Is Tobago safe for solo female travellers? On the beaches and elsewhere? Will I be fine renting a car and driving around on my own, or is it wiser to take a driver? (money is not an issue when it comes to safety)
I am an experienced traveller, know what general precautions to take and how to avoid hustlers/scams but travelling alone in a place that's slightly off the beaten track ;) may be another matter. I would appreciate your advice.
Cheers,
Aga

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Steve Wooler
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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Steve Wooler » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:20 am

Hello Aga

Welcome to the myTobago forum. :)

I am not superstitious, but I hate answering questions like yours. Please also understand that my reply ONLY relates to Tobago, not Trinidad, where frankly I would be hesitant to even walk outside a hotel on my own. I exaggerate, of course, but only to stress the point.

Your question is difficult to answer fully, because of the risk of causing offence. So, please understand that I am simply being frank and honest. Yes, you are likely to encounter some degree of attention, on the beach and elsewhere. Tobago has always been a very popular destination for single ladies, many of whom come to Tobago hoping to commune with the local community, shall we say. I'm not suggesting for a minute that this applies in your case, but it is important that you understand this situation as it will help you to understand the amount and nature of the attention you receive. Most of these young (and not so young) men can make charming and amusing companions. However, the local culture is extremely macho and it is critical that you bow to that whilst in their country and under no circumstances show them disrespect, particularly in front of other locals. In short: you will be perfectly safe on any of the popular beaches, but always sit with sight of other beach users, local or overseas. As anywhere in the world, leaving the beach area with someone you don't know is highly risky.

Other than that, my personal feeling is that you are should have no trouble driving around the island and going wherever you like. However, you will find such trips very much more rewarding in the company of a guide, if for no other reason than the fact that a decent guide will be able to point out features and sights that you would otherwise miss. Quite frankly, one stretch of rainforest or beach is much the same as another, but the entire situation can be transformed with a knowledgeable guide to tell you the historical background.

I hope the above helps. :)
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Aga
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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Aga » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:32 pm

Dear Steve,

Thanks so much for such an exhaustive answer! No offence taken, I have been to some countries where this kind of business is the order of the day, and have heard of others... didn’t know Tobago was one of them. Generally the mention of a “husband back at the hotel” does the trick but, of course, one never knows.
I admit I am a bit torn. On the one hand, I like the freedom of driving around on my own, on the other, I see your point about taking a guide. If I go for the first, I understand that the advice of the Foreign Office about beaches like Englishman’s Bay, King Peter’s Bay and Bacolet beach is outdated/exaggerated?
In the latter case, where do I find good, reliable guides? I understand that you may not want to advertise anyone in particular here (although as far as I am concerned, you are more than welcome to :wink: ) but is there another credible source, other than Tripadvisor?
I would appreciate some (more) guidance :D

Best,
Aga

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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Ronald » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:33 am

Hi Steve,

I hope you do not mind that i step in. As I am a long time traveler to Tobago, I would like to give Aga some info. You can of course delete my reply if you feel so, you are the boss! But than you maybe can write directly to her instead.

Dear Aga, what Steve write is very true, there are men in Tobago how at first can be very nice and helpful against a lonely woman, but all are not trusted, never mind how friendly they seems to be.

If I would give you a name for a guide who can take you around the island and always be safe, than always one name come up in my head. By that I do not say that others are bad or not trusted, but as I know this men since mid 90´s and know that he can do what and how he do it, I always chose him first. He is also a former life guard, so if accidents happens, he know very well what to do.

His name is Harris McDouglas, a former Life Guard at Store Bay Beach, he live in Canaan, south part of Tobago. He an own guest house, and I know that many of his guests come back more than once. He should also be able to find on this website unless he is taken away.
e-mail: harris_junglehotmail.com
phone: 001 868 630-0513
phone: 001 868 759-0170

Have a nice stay
Ronald
(from Sweden)

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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:19 pm

I think that you have to work on the term 'accountability'.

The first step is to find a reputable Guesthouse/Accommodation and to ask them for a recommendation for a Guide or Escort to accompany you on trips.

Like Ronald's suggestion, if you start there then you should expect to be introduced to a network of reputable businesses or people that will all share in their mutual responsibility of keeping you safe, happy and giving you great Tobago experiences.

If one steps out of line then there is accountability to the others.

I would start by looking up the best rated Accommodations on this site (or Trip Adviser if you prefer) and put your welfare and interests into the hands of your host who should come up with all the right solutions to give you an enjoyable stay.

Outside of the more expensive Resorts you should still meet other tourists either at the place you stay or on trips and you may end up tagging along.

I have been visiting Tobago for many years and I am now more cautious than I was in the early years ... I don't care about causing offence where common sense should prevail ... I would not recommend that you travel around Tobago on your own until you really know the place.

Hope this helps.

Regards
Paul Tallet
Public Relations Consultant for Mother Nature

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Steve Wooler
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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Steve Wooler » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:59 am

No problem, Ronald. This is a discussion forum, so everyone's views are welcome and we all have different perspectives on matters, so will not always agree. In practise, I agree with you totally and Harris McDonald (not McDouglas :oops: ) was someone that sprung to mind for me.

Yes, Paul is right that your chosen hotel/guesthouse will probably have ties with guides and be able to recommend someone.

Have a look at our list of guide in menu: Out & About > Tour Guide & Tour Operators. There are even some lady guides mentioned, so that could be a good option for you Aga.
Steve Wooler
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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Aga » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:14 pm

Dear Gentlemen,
First of all, thank you very much for your advice (tack, Ronald, så trevligt att höra av någon från Sverige!). I will have a look at the guide list, which for some inexplicable reason has so far escaped my attention, and contact Mr McDonald in the first place. I wouldn’t focus on lady guides in particular unless it is for the good cause of local women empowerment (should that be the case, please let me know).
I know, of course, that I could ask the hotel to arrange things for me but that often means being shown around my a cousin of the manager, which is not necessarily a guarantee of quality ;)
Anyway, the prospect of driving around carefree, however appealing, is becoming more and more distant...
Thanks again!
Aga

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Re: solo female traveller

Post by Ronald » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:09 am

Hi Aga,

I think you will like Harris and his place, he is very friendly and if you want to have an barbecue during a trip, he use to go to an area by the sea, dive in and catch a fish for lunch!
He often have tours with others too, so you might get company.

Trevlig semester önskar jag dig, själv bor jag på Kreta numera.
Här är det höst men temp på soliga dagar är i alla fall +20!
//Ronald

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