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This article appears in SUITCASE Volume 20: Homelands.
Trinidad and Tobago is a Caribbean country made up of two islands. The former is the larger one, and it is where my father was born and raised. The latter is my favourite place in the world.
It has taken me five years of working at SUITCASE to write even these few words about Tobago. Part of the reason I’ve been keeping the island to myself is because I know that it’s an acquired taste – tourism isn’t high on the list of priorities here, which means that there are few good restaurants, even fewer hotels and no “scene” like you’d find in Barbados. If I’m being honest, though, the main reason that I’ve been reluctant to talk about Tobago is because I don’t want any part of it to change.
The island is rustic, wild and diverse, home to beaches that are still basically untouched. Eco-tourism is the only pull here, so steer clear of anything claiming to be a resort and opt for a treetop stay at Castara Retreats, or a villa in the town of Black Rock. (Try Licorish with Grafton beach on its doorstep.) Rent a car and explore the island – surf at Mount Irvine, scuba dive at Speyside or lime (hang out) at Pigeon Point. A local hero called Kester does a great fishing trip here. Spend a day in Charlottesville, a sleepy fishing village, or while away an afternoon at Little Bacolet beach. Eat fresh lobster at Jemma’s and garlic shrimp at Fish Pot. Drink Carib beer, ice-cold. Most importantly, keep it simple. Not that you’d have any other choice.
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