safety and rubbish grafton beach and elsewhere

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Pbpamela
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safety and rubbish grafton beach and elsewhere

Post by Pbpamela » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:09 am

We are planning a trip to tobago next february to windsurf and get to know the island. We were about to book a place in black rock (birdies nest) and then we read some posts about crime being worse in black rock and on grafton beach. Is this enough of an issue that we should consider looking at a different location? :(

We are an active couple and had planned on exploring the island. We read that certain beaches should be avoided and thought that if we were careful about those beaches with warnings on this site we'd be ok? What are things like there now?

We also read a post on rubbish piled in the streets at black rock and plymouth. It was from 2016. Is this still an issue? Is it all over the island?

We'd sure appreciate some input on these issues. We are excited about coming but are dismayed to read these posts.

Thank you for your help,
Pamela and Steve

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Steve Wooler
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Re: safety and rubbish grafton beach and elsewhere

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:13 am

Hi Pamela

Yes, I wouldn't deny that there have been a small handful of incidents in the Black Rock area over the year. However, I need to explain that Black Rock is the only material village between Buccoo and Plymouth and due to stunning Grafton Beach is home to more hotels, guest houses and vacation rental properties than anywhere else on the island except the urban sprawl of Crown Point.

How does one quantify these things? All I can tell you is that personally, our top two favourite areas in Tobago are Castara and Black Rock. Looking back over our visit itineraries from the last 5-6 years, I see that we never spent less than 3 weeks of each of our annual visit in what would be loosely described as the "Black Rock area". I have NEVER experienced any issues in or around the area. I have absolutely no reservation about thoroughly recommending the area to you. In fact, if you into windsurfing, you couldn't pick a better place.

And, just to prove that I'm prepared to put my money where my mouth is - we shall be staying at Birdie's Nest on our next trip to Tobago, early next year.

Rubbish disposal tends to be a Caribbean curse, rather than specifically a Tobagonian one. I find it such an anomaly that most locals are so passionately proud of their beautiful island and yet have no qualms about dumping rubbish anywhere. I don't know which report you were reading, but you need to understand that refuse is not collected house-by-house, as in some countries. Instead, metal bin containers are installed at various points along the main roads and it is the duty of each householder to take their refuse to these containers. The bins are collected daily - normally in the very early (5-6am) morning. Sometimes the bins can be overfilled and refuse left beside them. First-time visitors not used to this method can be forgiven for thinking that this is 'dumping' - but it is not.

Having said that, one thing I despair of in Tobago is the way that old cars will be dumped beside the road. The government occasionally have purges and clear the roads. I sadly notice wrecks creeping back in now, which is such a shame. Mind you, the beauty of the island FAR outweighs these minor infringements. I suppose that is what makes them all the more noticeable.

Finally, do not expect the swept sands of an American resort. The real attraction and beauty of Tobago is that it is exactly the opposite - totally natural. Yes, halfhearted attempts to clean the beaches are made in some areas (such as Grafton beach), but once you get away from the main beaches you will often find the beaches somewhat littered with palm leaves and seaborne flotsam, etc. Visitors are often the worst offenders here.

In summary, yes, these are minor irritations - but in no way do they spoil the overall experience.
Steve Wooler
myTobago.info - the definitive Visitor Guide to Tobago

Pbpamela
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Re: safety and rubbish grafton beach and elsewhere

Post by Pbpamela » Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:25 pm

Thank you so much for those reassuring words. 😊 We have travelled to costa rica many times and seen the trash collections bins that you describe, so we know about them. Also, I was in the peace corps in Zaire for 3 years, and we are definitely are not expecting swept sands. So thank you again for your help. This website has been invaluable to us in planning our trip.

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Re: safety and rubbish grafton beach and elsewhere

Post by PaulMakin » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:36 am

nothing much to add to Steve's comprehensive reply other than to say that, when i head to the beach for myself, it's the various bays around black rock i head for. stonehaven is my personal favourite on that side of the island.

the only managed beach facility in the area is mt. irvine bay so carry essentials with you if heading elsewhere. stonehaven has a cafe/bar belonging to the hotel but nothing at courland bay etc. the starfish/turtle beach hotel seems quite ok with non-residents popping in for refreshments - easily accessed from the beach and i had some very fine coffee, and very reasonably priced, when i was there recently.

just a word of caution though; from around midday, the sun really does blast these beaches and some have little shade - can be painful walking on turtle beach after it's had a couple of hours sun on it !

rubbish collection can seem random but, almost unbelievably, there is a "system" - i can confirm that most collections are very early in the day so it does build again. some places may get a second pick-up and some establishments have private contractors on the job (at 04.30 in the street by me).

i rationalise the partly stripped cars by remembering that it is recycling, albeit in a very visual manner (car A dies and is parked up. driver goes out and buys a carbon copy, car B. car A is then slowly cannibalised to provide spares which keep car B on the road). guilty of this one myself i'm afraid (although vehicle A is off the road and mostly out of sight.

paul

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