The land of hummingbirds, or why you should visit the island of Tobago
Tropical climate, incredible beaches, and quality seafood are what attract tourists to the island of Tobago. However, what should you be prepared for when you arrive here? Make yourself comfortable, as no travel agency will tell you this!
What to do if you meet an alligator on the golf course? What is worth seeing in Tobago? Harry Mount, a British journalist for Mail Online, shares his impressions of the trip.
Golf and Bird Watching
Harry was vacationing at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort on the Atlantic coast of Tobago. He says that while playing golf, his ball landed near a caiman.
"It's a close relative of the alligator. It was basking in the sun. I was assured that caimans don't like the taste of British golfers, so I approached it cautiously as I wanted to get a closer look at the southern larks that were feeding near the reptile pond."
Birdwatching is a purely Caribbean style. You can easily see rare creatures - along with the usual beauties - while doing other normal activities, such as playing golf.
"As I lazily floated on my back in Castara Bay on Tobago's Caribbean coast (the waves are bigger towards the Atlantic), I looked at brown pelicans surrounded by magnificent frigates - black spindleback pterodactyls that steal fish from other birds," Mount says.
With about 260 species, Tobago is the best island for birding in the entire Caribbean. It is here that you can see colorful hummingbirds flying right between the residents.
If you want to get closer to nature, seeing unique birds is one of the reasons why you should visit Tobago.
Nature Reserves and Rainforests
The main reason to visit is the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, an 18-mile (29-kilometer) long ridge with an elevation of 1900 feet (579 meters). This belt was never cultivated thanks to an educated English MP, Som Janins. In 1776, he convinced Parliament that Tobago, which belonged to Britain, should retain its lush forest rather than become a plantation to maintain rainfall.
Harry Mount said:
"It felt like traveling to a country that time had forgotten. The palm trees soared 60 feet (18 meters) into the air. Huge elephant ear leaves were dragging along the path."
The best time to visit the rainforest - and the island in general - is from January to April. December is the dry season and the nesting season, meaning the birds are usually found in one place. Even then, they can be challenging to find, so visit places where they are feeding. At Shurland Nature Park, Shirley Shurland has attracted dozens of hummingbirds to her garden, where you can feed them yourself and feel the air whistle as they take off from your hand.
If you enjoy birdwatching while sunbathing, there are plenty of options. Pigeon Point Beach offers a lovely bar where, if you can, you might find yourself holding a cocktail in one hand and a hummingbird in the other.
One of the best places for bird watching is the island of Little Tobago.
"This tiny piece of land is a ten-minute boat ride away. You pass by Goat Island with its lonely abandoned mansion once owned by the writer and author of 007, Ian Fleming," the journalist says.