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Tobago. The Less Known Dive Vacation Island

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Articles' started by Maduro Dive, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    5,539
    3,084
    113
    IMG_6172.JPG

    Don't go there for the next few weeks. Cat 4 Irma is coming to town!

    I'm not even done with Harvey. Fire fighters just knocked at my door to ask for voluntary evacuation here in Lake Jackson, Texas.

    It looks like Tobago will be a bust for awhile. I'm glad I went there 4 years ago. I bought a roundtrip ticket to Indonesia for $680 for this November.
     
    islandboysrule likes this.
  2. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    9,066
    5,568
    113
    Now that's what I'm talking about. A LOT of hours on a plane (is that the one on Singapore Air via Moscow?) but the price is right and the destination has some of the best diving in the world. T&T, at more than $800 and still 10 hours of travel, just ranks way below that kind of trip on my list.
     
  3. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    5,539
    3,084
    113
    Yes, but they are done with Moscow (thank God) & now flying through Manchester (UK). I'm going to do a 12-day liveaboard from Ambon to Sorong, passing Banda Sea & Raja Ampat for half the price of the liveaboard to Galápagos/ Cocos to see this:

     
    Lorenzoid likes this.
  4. Crystal A.

    Crystal A. Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Bonaire
    29
    2
    3
    I wish I had that kind of luxury. We are in Idaho Falls. our trip to Bonaire will entail driving 5 hours to an airport, 3 flights, one redeye. $734 RT, one of tickets paid with miles. A 10 hour trip for $450 seems a significant savings over the $2,000 you mentioned. If your time is that valuable, well then by all means just charter yourself a jet!
     
  5. Diverspoint

    Diverspoint Nassau Grouper

    134
    34
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    I seriously hope there will be no more direct flights to Tobago. It would ruin the island.
     
  6. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,854
    5,030
    113
    Accessibility has an impact; my mother once said if you want to ruin something, make a road to it (basically that people will do the rest). That said, the degree of 'ruinage' varies.

    I'm not familiar with topside or undersea Tobago (aside from having read repeatedly it's currents/drift diving can be substantial). If indeed direct flight options open up (and with the human population expanding, and more people traveling, I'm guessing at some point that'll happen), what would make Tobago so compelling to the mainstream U.S.-based recreational divers as to descend upon it in large numbers & 'ruin' it?

    Particularly compared to other options. It's not just what a potential destination has; it's what it was relative to competitors.

    Richard.
     
  7. Scuba_tacoma

    Scuba_tacoma Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: South Eastern U.S.
    31
    10
    8
    Hello,
    I visited Tobago a couple of summers ago and was able to do some fantastic diving. Friends of my wife are from Tobago but live in the U.S. now. I feel like we got a very local experience due to the fact that we were with locals much of the trip.

    Let me start off by telling you this. Tobago is not "Americanized" thus things are different. Depending on how much you like different will determine if you like Tobago. If you are looking for plush 5 star accommodations then this is probably not the island for you.Unless, you are really interested in spending big money. Less money will get you much nicer, more "Americanized" accommodations in other Caribbean countries.If you are Caucasian you will stand out, less than 1% of the population is Caucasian. I am Caucasian and I enjoyed the Tobago culture and the people but I also went to the island to experience their culture not complain or change it.

    The people that vacation in Tobago are usually European, Indians and/or people from Trinidad. To me, Tobago was just more authentic, than other places. For example, the nature was less bothered, we found fresh mangos on our hotel property and were encouraged to eat them. The staff collected some and put them at the bar. On the beach, we had a few cows wonder by one morning. The cows did not bother anyone but it was my first time seeing cows on a beach. I feel like some travelers would see the cows as unsanitary but I did not see a glaring issue and thought it was funny. We had one vendor selling hand made sandals. He was not pushy and very nice older gentleman. My wife ended up with at least one pair. At times you can hear the curiko(sp) birds, they are loud but again, in a different country.

    Every Sunday brings what locals call "church" which is really just a festival with live music, dancing, food and drink. Lots of fun, especially if you enjoy live music.

    Most of the people we encountered were nice and genuine. They were helpful and did not seem bothered by tourists. Those that were not as welcoming did no harm, just wanted to keep to themselves.

    In short, Tobago is safer than Jamaica, not as Americanized as Aruba.

    Anybody have a different experience?
     
    drrich2 and tridacna like this.
  8. Scuba_tacoma

    Scuba_tacoma Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: South Eastern U.S.
    31
    10
    8
    Underwater, all of the Caribbean is fairly similar right? That has been my experience, diving in Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao, Tobago and I guess Mexico.

    I understand certain places may have something more of one specific animal than other places but the general species of fish are similar. Pollution and conservation efforts have kept some places with more fish and coral than others but not necessarily new fish species.

    Tobago will stand out because of the leatherback turtle nesting, brain coral, and its general less traveled/ dived location.
    The ability to spearfish would also target it as a tourist destination. Many Caribbean countries will not allow tourists to spearfish. The American spearfishing market is booming. If Tobago even markets spearing lionfish then it will catch some American attention thus increasing the travel to Tobago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
    drrich2 likes this.
  9. drrich2

    drrich2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    7,854
    5,030
    113
    Interesting stuff! Since ‘Americanized’ is the only frame of reference some folks have, I wonder what’d be different to them topside? Aside from Caucasians standing out as a small minority and luxury stays being too expensive.

    Put another way, if someone took a group of not-well-travelled Americans (divers or not) to Tobago for a week, I wonder what they’d complain about?

    Just trying to get a depiction of what it’s like so people can decide for themselves. What you described topside would appeal to a lot of people.

    Richard.
     
  10. Dan

    Dan Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lake Jackson, Texas
    5,539
    3,084
    113
    I can see plenty of loggerhead turtles here in Texas & Florida. So that’s not big deal to see it any where else. However, I haven’t seen the leatherback turtles anywhere in the world, except in Tobago.

    There is a protected leatherback nesting ground in Tobago. As I mentioned in my previous post that I saw one 800-lb mother leatherback turtle dropping its eggs into its nesting hole. Its head was about the size of basket ball. I had a chance to collect some of the lost baby leatherback turtles that went inland instead of the sea and gave them to the ranger.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018

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