Tobago, of volcanic origins with coral limestone in the south, lies 11°15'N, 60°40'W, slightly north of Trinidad and covers 116mi²/300km². The highest point in Tobago is Pigeon Peak at 1,804ft/550m. Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Columbus first sighted Tobago in 1498, but did not stop. He named it Bella Forma (Beautiful Shape). Its present name is corrupted from the word Tobacco which the then native Carib Indians grew.
Fun things to do: request a government appointed guide to explore the rainforests and protected species of birds, check out nesting leatherback turtles (April – July), enjoy diving, follow the story of the location of Walt Disney’s highest engrossing film of 1959 – Swiss Family Robinson. The script required imported animals - including eight dogs, two giant tortoises, forty monkeys, two elephants, six ostriches, four zebras, one hundred flamingos, six hyenas, two anacondas, and a tiger! The small neighbouring islands of Little Tobago and St. Giles Island support some of the best remaining dry forests which are important seabird nesting colonies.
Visiting Tobago and wondering where to stay, what to do, where to eat and how to get around? We’ve got you covered with our list of hotels, restaurants, activities, car hire, shopping & more. Browse through for more details.
Choose from hotels, real estate, villas & cottages
Cottages & Small Inns
Hotels & Resorts
Try watersports, golf, scuba diving, tours & more
Sightseeing & Excursions
Lime at the bars, dine in the restaurants, take in the entertainment
- Birdwatchers Restaurant & Bar, Speyside
- Bollicine Cafe
- Cafe Havana
- Ciao Cafe/Ciao Pizza
- D's Tropical Vibes
- Jemma's Seaview Kitchen Treehouse
- Kali'na Fine Dining Restaurant
- Kariwak Village
- Patino's Restaurant & Bar
- Pembois Buffet & Restaurant
- Robinson Crusoe Pub
- The Pasta Gallery
- The Pavilion Restaurant at The Villas at Stonehaven
- The Seahorse Inn Restaurant & Bar
- The Steak & Lobster Grill at Sandy Point Village
Get information on the island, medical facilities & other services
Financial & Banking
Shop for souvenirs, local crafts, art, jewellery, clothes & more
Events in October
Blue Food Festival (Tobago)
Blue Food Festival, all of the dasheen plant is used to prepare a range of items — bread, cookies and sweets, ice-cream, and even lasagne! A culinary competition and cultural shows are also highlights of the festival.
Events in Feburary
The Tobago Carnival pre-season kicks off early, before Christmas, with a launch featuring a street parade in Scarborough of traditional mas characters (including speech bands — a cast of costumed characters who speechify in rhyme)
Events in January
Carnival Regatta (Tobago)
Held at Pigeon Point Heritage Park near to Carnival (typically February), it’s also known as the “festival of wind”. It is a combination of four sailing categories: Optimists and Bum Boat sailing, as well as the more dynamic Windsurf and Kite Surfing classes.
Events in April
Jazz Artists On the Greens (Tobago)
A truly pan-Caribbean Jazz event with artists from Haiti, US Virgin Islands, Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, this 15th Anniversary of the biggest Caribbean Jazz event in Trinidad and Tobago aims to be one to remember.
Culinary Festival (Tobago)
The island’s best chefs, cooks, and bartenders demonstrate their skills in culinary and mixology contests. You are invited to sample all!
Goat & Crab Racing Festival (Tobago)
The animals hurtle down a special 110m (160ft) track to the finish line, hustled on by barefoot “jockeys” who sprint behind their charges, holding the colourfully attired goats on long ropes, and the crabs on short strings. The showdown happens each Easter Monday and Tuesday at Mt Pleasant, as well as Buccoo (the main location)
Jazz Experience (Tobago)
Showcasing some of the best in local and regional jazz, soca and world music talents, alongside pop, R&B, hip-hop, soca, and soul stars from around the world, the Jazz Experience is normally held during the last week of April.
Events in June
Dragon Boat Festival (Tobago)
Each year on a weekend in mid-June at Pigeon Point, senior and junior teams from both islands compete for dragon-boating supremacy.
Fisherman’s Festivals (Tobago)
Like the harvest festivals, they begin with church services in the morning and end with eating, drinking, and partying into the night. The biggest celebration takes place at Charlotteville’s Man-o’-War Bay, with smaller festivities taking place up and down the coast.
Great Fete (Tobago)
Great Fete Weekend is a five-day beach party at Store Bay, Pigeon Point, and Mt Irvine that attracts Trinidadians to Tobago in droves.
Great Race (Tobago)
Speed-boat race of about 185km (115 miles) starts at the Port of Spain waterfront early in the morning and ends in Scarborough, Tobago two to three hours later. Naturally, a rollicking beach party ensues — and is yet another excuse for Trinidadians to flock to Tobago.
Events in May
Harvest Festivals (Tobago)
One Sunday each month, one or more villages in Tobago host a Harvest Festival. Once an annual thanksgiving for the year’s harvest, in many ways these vibrant celebrations are the core of community life. Days begin with church services, followed by preparing and feasting on delicious local dishes.
Events in July
Heritage Festival (Tobago)
The festival takes you from village to village each evening, with communities showcasing dance, drama, music, and culinary traditions. Drag yuh bow, Mista Fiddla!
History and Culture
Tobago was settled over 2,500 years ago by Amerindians. Tobago was soon seen as a valuable strategic harbour with excellent agricultural assets by its recent European arrivals. Walt Disney’s scouts found Tobago exciting for another reason – the best location for the film The Swiss Family Robinson (a book written by Johann David Wyss). This is a story of a marooned family and their adventures. Their film tree house was destroyed in a hurricane but the proud 200 foot saman tree in the Goldsborough Bay area still remains standing.
A new era
Not surprisingly, as was customary during this period by nations seeking to cash in, Tobago was “discovered” by the English in 1508 and was then fought over by the Dutch, Spanish, English, French and was also settled by Latvians and buccaneers (and some others too) well into the 18th Century. To be precise, the island changed hands 33 times! The place names bear witness to its bellicose and politically colourful past. It was ceded to the English in 1814 in the Treaty of Paris. In 1888 it was officially amalgamated with its larger island neighbour, Trinidad, in order to achieve greater financial stability for the island. In 1962 both Trinidad and Tobago gained independence from Britain and finally became a republic in 1976.
Tobago is now almost wholly dependent on tourism. The straightforward, genuine, unaffected friendliness of its people, its unique unspoiled beauty, rain forests, diverse & exotic birdlife has gained the reputation for being the archetypal tropical island as portrayed in Daniel Dafoe’s 1791 novel, ‘Robinson Crusoe’.