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mistybleu Crown Point - A travel report by Amanda
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Crown Point,  Trinidad and Tobago - flag Trinidad and Tobago -  Tobago
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mistybleu's travel reports

Oh Island In The Sun

  24 votes
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The Caribbean is often seen as only a honeymoon destination, but there’s a lot more to do and see than just beaches for couples, each islands has its own characteristics that can be fun exploring.


Pigeon Point Beach
Pigeon Point Beach
Tobago is part of the twin island state of Trinidad & Tobago (TNT) which is located just off the coast of Venezuela. It is part of the British Commonwealth and received Independence in 1962, then became a Republic shortly afterwards; (so the Crown is no longer Head of State). When oil was discovered in Trinidad, the countries’ destiny changed; they were marketed as an industrial nation and it is only in recent years that tourism has become a major part of their GDP.

To be fair Tobago is not the hot spot for ‘what’s happening’ and you won’t find any travel icons here, but this little island, can help to rejuvenate the soul after being a part of the rat-race. There are no contracts to sign, no deadlines, no meetings, no conference calls, the pace is slowed and you can take time-out to enjoy the things that matter in life.

The best time to go is during the European winter months however from January to June has the best weather, where temperatures range from 29o to 32oc and little chance of rain. As an island, there is a constant cooling sea-breeze which makes the days bearable.

This is a great location for the independent travel, as there are no all-inclusive hotels; the best way to understand the island is being among the locals.

Some of the more interesting things to do are:

1. Scuba diving in the coral reef
2. Hiking through the rainforests
3. Bird watching in Speyside
4. Water sports (inc. jet-skiing, kite/windsurfing and surfing)
5. Game-fishing for Marlins
6. Mountain biking
7. Horse riding
8. Beaches

For some useful info on accommodation, restaurants and things to do, check out www.visittnt.com or www.tobagovaction.net; [turn down the sound on your pc, as it launches playing calypso music]. Also the Rough Guide also has an edition on TNT and describes it as “the most exciting, under-explored and un-contrived of Caribbean islands, rich in indigenous culture”.

Favourite spots:
Pirate's Bay, Charlotteville
Pirate's Bay, Charlotteville
On any day, it depends on my mood which beach to visit:

STORE BAY is my favourite; it’s always busy which enhances the enjoyment. There are local crafts available as well as a variety of eateries. From here I can take a glass bottom boat to the coral reef or Nylon pool, where I can swim in the clear blue sea that is only 4ft deep.
PIGEON POINT is the island’s only private beach and is a popular with tourists owing to the extensive facilities and water sports available; it’s a great beach to spend the entire day.
MOUNT IRVINE is my local beach; at one end there is surfing and at the other end a white sand beach. There’s also a restaurant/bar that has an informal atmosphere. On evenings, when the fishermen return, you can also purchase fresh fish.
PIRATE’S BAY is my hideaway; usually me and five others. It has crystal clear water and a white sandy beach front, but no facilities; but that’s the beauty of being off the beaten track.
BACOLET BAY, has rich black sand and great surfing.


What's really great:
Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve
Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve
When I’m feeling lazy, sometimes I get in the car and drive, with no destination in mind, then park-up and just go for a swim and enjoy my surroundings. Life could be better than that. Coupled with the beach life, is the new found eco-tourism. Hiking through the forest can be fun. The MAIN RIDGE FOREST RESERVE is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere and was established in 1700s. Back in those days when sugar cane cultivation was prominent, woodlands was being cut down at immense rates; a law was passed to stop the deforestation. It is approximately14,000 acres; with over 123 species of butterflies, 210 birds, 16 lizards and 17 bats, plus mammals like armadillo. There are various paths you can take, but it’s really useful to get a guide, who can point out some of the trees, vegetation and animals indigenous to the area. As it is a rainforest, when it rains the paths can become impassable and climbing through shin deep mud tracks is not uncommon.

Sights:
The Botanical Gardens, Scarborough
The Botanical Gardens, Scarborough
RICHMOND GREAT HOUSE is the oldest surviving plantation house and is now run as an inn. It is a wonderful example of a colonial building and sits on 6 acres of mountainous land.

FORT KING GEORGE has wonderful views of the windward coast and Scarborough. Still located on the site is the old gaol, the mess hall (which is now a museum), the lighthouse etc. Built in 1770 by the British, it was captured by the French and then recaptured by the British in 1793.

The HILLSBOROUGH RESERVOIR is an excellent site for bird watching; set in a richly forested area in Mount St George. A permit is needed to enter this area.

ARGYLE FALLS ARE lovely falls, not stunning but pretty. The falls are hidden from the road and there is a 15 minute walk inside. The entrance fee is TT$20 and for the hidden pools get guide.

LITTLE TOBAGO, is a small island off the coast of Speyside and is the home to numerous species of birds.

Accommodations:
La Belle Caraibe Guesthouse, Carnbee
La Belle Caraibe Guesthouse, Carnbee
I usually stay in LA BELLE CARAIBE GUESTHOUSE, its family run, which is consistent to most places, and the hosts are really friendly, here you can mix with the locals.

Here some moderately priced guesthouses:

ADE'S DOMICIL - ades@tstt.net.tt
ARNOS VALE APTS - arnosvaleaprs@hotmail.com
LA BELLE CARAIBE – Jenny, jenny@labellecaraibe.co.uk
LESVILLE - orv@tstt.net.tt
SCARBOROUGH HOUSE - scarboroughjs@hotmail.com
SIMPLI SERENE APTS – simpli_serene@hotmail.com

Of the hotels my favourites:

COCO REEF HOTEL is a 5* accommodation and was voted the second best hotel in Caribbean. I’ve stayed there a couple of times and it is a really nice hotel, with extremely friendly staff.

HILTON TOBAGO 5*, also a nice place to stay; all rooms are seaward facing, and a lot with Jacuzzis on the balcony. My only critizism is that if your in room 100 its about a 15min walk to reception. I did have drinks in the bar and I have confessed the Champagne cocktails were to die for.

Nightlife:
Sunset, Carnbee
Sunset, Carnbee
Tobago is not known for its nightlife, but there are some nice spots available; in no particular order:

SUNDAY SCHOOL, this is a block party held in Buccoo every Sunday night. It’s very popular with locals and visitors; the music is loud, there are lots to eat and drink, and the company can be friendly.

LUSH, personally has a seedier feel, but it can be quite fun, if some antics are ignored, but if you like being out extremely late; this is the club for you.

GREEN LIGHT on the Milford Road is a favourite with the locals and plays a lot of R&B/Reggae music.

GOLDEN STAR located on the junction of Milford and Pigeon Point Road. This has a nice atmosphere and they try to vary their entertainment. For example on Wednesdays they have a talent contest, Friday is red lobster night etc.

Finally, there DIVER’S DEN, a really cool bar and on Tuesday nights you can sing along to karaoke.

Hangouts:
Coco Reef Seaview
Coco Reef Seaview
It’s just the natural past time on an evening after swimming to go to a bar. I’ve found the best bars are the ones attached to hotels. Number one on my list would be BONKERS, it is adjacent to the TOUCAN INN, it has a really lively feel; sometimes there is live music, and that can be quite entertaining. Also the PELICAN BAR, this pub is adjacent to the restaurant and is decorated with the nautical feel, complete with a prisoner in the riggings. Whilst it is a great setting, it’s more used for pre-dinner drinks.

Restaurants:
Store Bay, best lunchtime meal
Store Bay, best lunchtime meal
In a country where a beer is a ‘Carib’, and the favourite dish is curry crab and dumplings, surprisingly there are a lot of lovely restaurants,

Normally, I eat most of my meals in the guesthouse, but as eating out is quite cheap, I do try to experience some of the local cuisine some of my favourites are

For lunch: MISS JEAN’S on Store Bay, EDDIES ROTI SHOP in Scarborough and JEMMA’S in Speyside. Then for dinner: BONKERS on Store Bay Local Road, SHIRVAN WATERMILL in Bon Accord (swmill@tstt.net), ROUSELLE'S Restaurant in Bacolet (639 4738), MESHELL'S in Mount Pleasant (meshel@ttst.net.tt), LA BEAU RIVAGE in Mt Irvine Hotel (mtirvine@tstt.net); and my personal favourite PELICAN REEF in Crown Point (jazar@ttst.net) - where the atmosphere is really buzzing.

Other recommendations:
Carnival Costume, Trinidad
Carnival Costume, Trinidad
In March (to September) the giant leatherback turtles nest and lay their eggs many beaches (including Turtle or Grafton); this is controlled by SOS (Save Our Sea-turtles 639 9669), but it can be a fantastic sight to witness.

For Easter weekend, in Buccoo, there are GOAT and CRAB RACES; strangely enough it can be quite fun.

Whilst TRINIDAD is considered the more industrial of the two islands, it’s still pretty and worth a visit, with great beaches, bird watching, the wetlands of the Carioni swamp, natural phenomenon of the pitch lakes, it’s another island to explore, rich in heritage.

And not to be missed the greatest show on earth; the two days preceding Ash Wednesday, to country explodes in a cornucopia of colour, music and dance that is the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.

Published on Thursday February 3th, 2005


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Fri, Feb 25 2005 - 10:30 AM rating by jenny2

Nice!!!

Jenny

Sun, Feb 06 2005 - 06:20 PM rating by spaceout

Bonjour Amanda. This is an awesome report, it will be a great guide when we do head for TNT in the future. I especially love the coco reef view.

Sat, Feb 05 2005 - 03:15 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent pictures and nicely written

Fri, Feb 04 2005 - 06:41 AM rating by gloriajames

a beautiful report and very enticing! 5*

Fri, Feb 04 2005 - 01:28 AM rating by rangutan

Beautiful islands, very well described...

Thu, Feb 03 2005 - 09:18 PM rating by bear495

Amanda,

You continue the excellent writing. Thanks for all of the information.

Russ

Thu, Feb 03 2005 - 09:10 PM rating by britman

Amanda...this is brilliant writing peppered with super pictures. It is an excellent report and woth 10 out 5 stars any day....5 do not do it justice! I so enjoyed reading this informative article....well done

Thu, Feb 03 2005 - 07:00 PM rating by christianj.

Hi Amanda,

while reading this report, I got a relaxed feeling... ! And now I also know, where to catch a glimpse of you without your diving goggles :-)

Congrats to this great report and atmospheric pictures.

Christian

Thu, Feb 03 2005 - 06:37 PM rating by bootlegga

Excellent report, especially the pictures!

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