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Discover one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets…

Tobago may not be the first place that springs to mind when picking your Caribbean destination, but only because it’s often mentioned in relation to its larger sister island of Trinidad. Hidden gems are often the richest treasures, though, and Tobago has a whole world of its own for you to discover.

Be prepared for this small and humble island to take you by surprise. Tobago will carve out a special little place in your heart with its idyllic beach scenes and unique traditions. Whether you cruise among a collection of Caribbean Islands or spend your days and nights relaxing in the luxury of one of our all-inclusive resorts, Tobago will stand out as one of your lifetime holiday highlights.

 

Culture and history

When it comes to religion, Tobago is quite evenly split into four quarters. Made up of Christians, Roman Catholics, Hindus, and a mixture of Muslims and Spiritual Baptists, the island has a varied blend of faiths. Religious differences are embraced in Tobago – no matter what your beliefs, everyone celebrates religious festivals together! People celebrate Christmas, Diwali, Eid, and Spiritual Baptist Liberation Day with gusto, regardless of their personal beliefs.

In the Caribbean, Tobago is known as the home of the quiet life, and that’s never clearer than when you’re chatting with the locals. The island’s people are laid-back and welcoming to all, so expect to return home with more friends than you left with.

Tobago’s most popular dish is curried crab and dumplings, a local delicacy that is loved all over the island. Crab is served whole in a curry sauce and accompanied by flat dumplings. Islanders absolutely love this dish. When crabs appear from their roadside hideaways during a shower, you’ll see children taking them home for their mums to cook for dinner!

While neighbouring Trinidad may be famous for its yearly carnival, Tobago’s own celebration of culture and tradition at the annual Tobago Heritage Festival is equally impressive. Tobago’s African heritage has had a big part to play in the development of the island’s traditions, and the Tobago Heritage Festival exists to remember the island’s history and preserve its unique traditions.

Food, oral storytelling, and dance are at the heart of the fun-filled celebrations. The two week-long festival is a big draw for locals, visitors, and Tobagonians who live abroad. 

Flight time

Flying from London to Tobago directly takes around 9 hours unless your plane makes stops, which will add to the flight time. You will have plenty of time to take an in-flight snooze and make the most of complimentary on-board meals.

Currency

Dollar -

Tobago uses the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, also known as the Trinidadian dollar, which is divided into 100 cents.

Passports and visas

British citizens travelling to Tobago need a valid passport and a return ticket, but a travel visa isn’t required for holidays.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

Listen out for some of these Tobagonian Creole words and phrases during your holiday:

Bess – amazing or attractive

Hoss (horse) – a really good friend

Wuz di scene? – what are you doing?

Lime – to gather or get together

Doh hot yuh head – don’t worry about it

Wine – to dance using your hips and waist

Wares – dishes, pots, and pans

Chip – a type of dance

Timezone

Tobago is 4 hours behind GMT, or 5 during British Summer Time (BST). 

Electricity

Tobago uses American-style three-pin sockets (Type B in US terms), and their standard power supply is 110 volts, so you’ll need to bring a universal adapter or two. Some hotels may offer 240 volts, so it’s best to check which power supply your accommodation uses in advance. Don’t forget to check that your adapter will take a two-pin plug, or you won’t be able to use an electronic razor.

Language

English -

Like a large number of other Caribbean Islands, Tobago’s national language is English. Tobagonians are known for their lilting, sing-song style of speaking. Every sentence you hear the locals speak will be a joy. Many residents are bilingual and also speak a local dialect.

Tobagonian Creole developed naturally through slang and combines different elements of English, French and African languages. Everyone speaks and understands English, so you won’t have any problems if you find yourself needing to ask for directions.

Tipping

Tobago’s tipping customs are largely similar to the UK’s. Most chain restaurants will add a service charge to your bill, but this may not go to the staff directly. A 10% cash tip for your server is a good idea if you’re happy with the service received. If hotel staff have been particularly helpful, and you’d like to tip them, a good rule of thumb is TT$5 per night.

Climate

Tobago has a typically tropical climate, with average yearly temperatures of a pleasant 27 degrees Celsius and cooling trade winds that blow in from the sea. The weather is split into two seasons – wet and dry – wet season occurs between June and November.

A typical day during wet season will start off warm and dry, before rain in the afternoon, and a drier evening with occasional rain during the night. Time late lunches to overlap with the rain and you may not get wet.

December to May marks the dry season and March is the island’s driest month. The island stays temperate all year, so there’s never a bad time to visit. Additionally, Tobago avoids the worst of Caribbean storms and is considered to be outside the ‘Hurricane Belt’. 

Health

Health information can change at any time, so we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

Tobago has a population of around 70,000 – about the same as the town of Guildford. At only 300 square kilometres, it would take nearly 32,000 Tobago islands to make up the size of China!

Smoking

Smoking inside is prohibited, so indoor public areas such as bars, restaurants, and shopping centres are all smoke free. But, with Tobago’s warm weather, you won’t even need to put a coat on if you want to pop outside for a cigarette.