Tobago, The Hidden Gem of the Caribbean

Katrina Smith on 06 June 2023
Welcome to Tobago, the hidden gem of the Caribbean that captivates every traveller with its breath taking beauty and rich biodiversity. This small island, located just off the north eastern coast of Venezuela, is a true tropical paradise that boasts pristine rainforests, diverse birdlife, and a mesmerizing natural phenomenon - bioluminescence. In this blog, I will take you on a journey through the wonders of Tobago, from its lush rainforests and vibrant bird species to the magical glow of its bioluminescent waters which I undertook in June 2023.

The Enchanting Rainforests of Tobago: Tobago is home to some of the oldest protected rainforests in the Western Hemisphere. The Main Ridge Forest Reserve, established in 1776, covers over 10,000 acres and harbours an incredible array of plant and animal species. As you venture deep into the heart of this emerald wonderland, you'll be greeted by a symphony of sounds - the rustling of leaves, the chirping of birds, and the distant rush of cascading waterfalls. The lush foliage provides shelter to various wildlife, including howler monkeys, agoutis, ocelots, and an array of colourful bird species. Trekking through the winding trails of Tobago's rainforests is a truly magical experience that allows you to connect with nature in its purest form. It is something I will not forget

Birdwatchers' Paradise: For avid birdwatchers, Tobago is a dream come true. With over 200 bird species residing on the island, it has earned a reputation as a premier birding destination in the Caribbean. Among the many avian delights, the Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers. Here, you might encounter the fascinating blue-crowned motmot, the striking white-tailed sabrewing hummingbird, and the vibrantly coloured turquoise tanagers. As you tread quietly through the forest, you'll have the chance to spot the rare and elusive Trinidad and Tobago endemic species like the Tobago house wren and the critically endangered Trinidad piping-guan (unfortunately I did not spy one of these). Make sure to bring your binoculars and camera along as you never know when you'll be capturing the perfect shot of a feathered beauty. My absolute favourite has to be the different species of hummingbird - these little creatures are so beautiful and so quick!

The Mystical Bioluminescence: As the sun sets over Tobago, another natural wonder awaits you - the enchanting bioluminescence. Head to one of Tobago's bioluminescent bays, such as Bon Accord Lagoon or Man O' War Bay, and prepare to be amazed. Bioluminescence is a phenomenon caused by tiny organisms called dinoflagellates that emit light when agitated. As you dip your hand or paddle into the water, it leaves a sparkling trail of blue-green light, reminiscent of a starry night sky underwater. Swimming in these bioluminescent waters is an otherworldly experience, as every movement sets off a stunning light display around you. It's like swimming in a magical sea of stars, and it's a memory you'll cherish for a lifetime. Its was definitely an amazing experience, although my arms sure did ache after all that kayaking.

Tobago is an island of wonders, where lush rainforests, diverse birdlife, and bioluminescent waters converge to create an unforgettable experience for every nature lover. Whether you're an adventurer seeking the thrill of trekking through untamed rainforests, a birdwatcher yearning to spot rare and exotic species, or simply a traveller looking to be immersed in the magic of nature, Tobago has something extraordinary to offer. This Caribbean paradise is a reminder of the preciousness of our natural world, and we must protect and cherish it for generations to come. So, pack your bags, and let Tobago's natural splendour leave you awe-inspired and rejuvenated.