TOBAGO DIVING HOLIDAYS
Diving Holidays In Tobago
Tobago Diving is found on both Caribbean and Atlantic coasts. Diving on the Caribbean coast tends to be the easier diving Tobago has to offer though sites like Sisters Reef offer many attractions including a chance to view the elusive hammerhead sharks. On the Atlantic coast Speyside draws divers for the chance of pelagic species such as Tarpon and Mantas as well as strong drift dives, which add to the excitement of diving here.
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Diving In Tobago
The thrill and excitement of diving in Tobago is that diving on many Tobago dive sites is drift diving. Listen to your dive briefing and go with the flow. In the south there are sites for drift diving but easier going diving aswell. It's here that those wishing to Learn to Dive will stay as well as those newly qualified divers wishing to progress their dive training.
A little farther north on the Caribbean side is the wreck of the M/V Maverick while up on the northwestern end of the island has less dived sites. Around the top of Tobago, on the Atlantic coast, is Speyside. Diving Speyside is largly drift diving best suited to divers with a bit of dive experience. Drifts run along the sloping reefs around the two offshore islands, Little Tobago (aka Bird of Paradise Island) and Goat Island.
Diving Seasons In Tobago
The Tobago dive season is year round. During the rainy season, July to December, nutrient rich outflow from the Orinoco River, in South America, enters the Guyanna Current. This reduces visability but feeds the reefs and marine life generally. During the dry season, January to June, visability can increase to 36 metres with an average of 12-21 metres. Water temperature ranges between 26 and 28 C while currents can be mild to strong, particularly on sites around Speyside.
Dive Sites In Tobago
There is such a diverse range of dive spots that are easily acessible from the island. A pick of our favourites are...
Kariwak Reef, Store Bay (Beginner Level)
Kariwak Reef serves as a great site for beginners or for refresher sessions due to the abundance of marine life in manageable conditions. Here there is no current and has a shallow deepest point of only 55 feet. These conditions make this spot a favourite for night dives as it is easy to navigate and also for budding photographers who want to photograph a reef that has not been spoilt by strong tides. The reef is located just 120 feet off Store Bay which means that a breathtaking dive with regular sightings of parrotfish, trumpet fish and banded coral shrimp is only a short swim from the shore.
Flying Reef, Columbus Passage (Beginner Level)
Flying Reef is located in the Atlantic side of the island in an area where the current can vary from between 1 and 3 knots. Although Flying Reef is rated as a beginner's level dive, the site can be enjoyable for divers at all levels as it is a long reef with an abundance of marine life. The length of this reef means that it must be done as two separate dives. The Planet Dive team were impressed with what we found here as we spotted two nurse sharks and a huge green moray eel as we past over the colourful reef.
Coral Gardens, Speyside (Intermediate Level)
On the southwestern tip of Little Tobago, a small island located a short boat ride from Speyside just past Goat Island where it is reported that Ian Fleming wrote some of the Bond novels lies the Coral Garden dive site. This dive's highlight is that it is home to one of the largest, if not the largest, brain corals in the Caribbean. Expect to find an array of marine life such as beautiful parrotfish and queen angelfish as well as elegant hawksbill turtles, large green morays and even large nurse sharks in the shadows of the overhangs.
Cove, Columbus Passage (Intermediate Level)
Cove can be found just South of Columbus Point and is actually an extension of the Flying Reef site. The Planet Dive team found this to be one of our favourite dives as we were lucky enough to spot six nurse sharks, a hawksbill turtle and an octopus. Here you can expect to find a variety of different types of coral such as venus sea fans, gorgonians and star corals with stunning stoplight parrotfish and queen angelfish weaving their way in and out.
Maverick, Mount Irvine Bay (Advanced Level)
Maverick is the name of the purposesunk wreck that sits upright on the sandy seabed in the Caribbean Sea outside Mt. Irvine Bay. In 1997, the Association of Tobago Dive Operators scuttled the former passenger ferry Scarlet Ibis at this site for more advanced divers to enjoy. Since then, the marine life has flourished as encrusting sponges, white telesto and an abundance of oysters have found a home on the ship's surface. Many types of fish have also been attracted to the site. Schools of mackerel, snappers and grunts are just some of the varieties that you will almost certainly see as you explore through the ship's cargo deck, cabins and pilothouse. There are many other popular dive sites off the shores of Tobago including The Sisters, Diver's Dream, Japanese Gardens and more.
Drink And Dine In Tobago
A pick of our favourites...
Blue Crab Restaurant, Scarborough
No one is more deserving of the title 'Hostess with the Mostest' as Mrs Sardinha at the Blue Crab Restaurant. At seventythree years young, Mrs S is brimming with hilarious anecdotes, opinions and words of advice that ensure there is never a dull moment when she is about. Mr Sardinha's food matches the high standards that his wife sets in her hostessing, serving succulent chicken and fish alongside Caribbean favourites such as plantain, coconut ice cream and of course, rum punch. Authentically Tobagonian in its high spirits and cuisine, dining at the Blue Crab restaurant is an essential part of a trip to Tobago.
The Fish Pot, Black Rock
The Fish Pot lives up to it's name serving a wide variety of locally sourced fish of all shapes and sizes including barracuda, wahoo, mahimahi and crayfish. Pick a table out on the veranda if you want to take in the atmosphere, music and chatter from the surrounding establishments in the vibrant Black Rock area. Be sure to save room for dessert and go for the coconut cheesecake it's known to be the best on the island.
The Suckhole, Charlotteville
A stones throw from the ocean in the beautiful Charlottesville bay sits the Suckhole restaurant. If you want an excuse to relax on the beach then make this your spot. It's a small establishment with just a few staff so expect to wait a while if you are with a large group or the restaurant is busy. If you're not in a hurry, their delicious, sizeable portions are well worth the wait.
Jemma's Sea View Kitchen, Speyside
Another delicious, oceanfront restaurant is Jemma's Sea View Kitchen in the Speyside Bay. In true Caribbean style the restaurant does indeed run on Caribbean time but do not let the waiting put you off! The look and taste of Jemma's menu is just what you'd expect to find on an authentic Caribbean family's kitchen table.
La Tartaruga, Buccoo
If you fancy a change from the traditional Caribbean cuisine Tobago has to offer make sure to book yourselves a table at italian restaurant La Tartaruga. La Tartaruga's fine menu, passionate host and al fresco dining create an atmosphere that takes you back to Europe and into Italy for the evening. Gabriele, the restaurant's host is refreshingly enthusiastic about his menu which is made up of the very finest selection of italian cuisine including homemade pasta and delicious desserts. The wine selection is equally as impressive with the wine cellar holding over 200 italian selections.
Things To Do In Tobago
Trek Through The Main Ridge Forest Reserve
Naturally, Tobago is proud to be home of the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, the oldest legally protected rainforest in the Western World. Having been protected for so many years, the rainforest boasts an exceptionally diverse and thriving array of wildlife. Most notably, this conservation has helped to ensure the protection of Tobago's bird population with 220 bird species living on the island today. In fact, there are more species of bird per square mile in Tobago than anywhere else in the world. To get the most out of your trek make sure to book a tour with Hans Phillips of local tour operator Hans Tours. Hans provides an indepth and wellorganised tour with a refreshing amount of Caribbean humour. We at Planet Travel found Hans' observation that 'the male hummingbird is more attractive than the female – just like in the human kingdom' our favourite fact of the day.
The chilled water of Castara Waterfall is a great place to relax and cool off in the heat of the day. It's one of the most easily accessible waterfalls on the island just a short 1015 minute walk along the river through the forest. The village the waterfall is situated, Castara, is also where the well-respected late president of Trinidad and Tobago A.N.R. Robinson grew up.
Pigeon Point Heritage Park
The idillic coastline that surrounds Pigeon Point Heritage Park makes for a perfect Caribbean snapshot. With its pristine beaches, bright turquoise waters and, of course, the iconic jetty it is not surprising that the park is often rented out as a wedding venue. For a small fee of $18 (T&T) visitors can enjoy the facilities that Pigeon Point has to offer including washrooms, changing rooms, beach huts, land to explore and occasionally live music. Renmars restaurant can also be found in the ground if you're looking to buy food, soft drinks or alcoholic beverages.