How to get there:
It is no longer necessary to hide in the wheel well of a private jet or jump on the back of a sea turtle to get to Tobago from Trinidad as Caribbean Airlines now runs an amazingly efficient air bridge between the two islands. On the down side, airport security checks are still annoying but are in place for our safety and inconvenience. If you have a good camera bag the x-ray machine will only serve to confuse the security officers more. It appears that through the eyes of an x-ray machine a zoom lens looks like a bazooka and a four-pack of AA batteries is the splitting image of four sticks of dynamite.
Where to stay:
Crown Point Hotel is my favorite place to stay in Tobago because it overlooks Store Bay and girls in bikinis. According to pictures on the wall in the reception area, in 1966 Queen Elizabeth II stayed at Crown Point Hotel with a married man. The man was her husband and she was on her honeymoon. I doubt she wore a bikini back then since the royal g-string wasn’t invented until the 90s. Maybe she would return one day and grace us with that sight.
What to eat:
Crab and dumpling, the trademark Tobago dish, is still holding at $45TT or about $7.25US but the current crabs have thinner legs and the dumplings are on a diet. Still, there is nothing like Tobago crabs.
If you are the type of person who is into boneless lamb, and money I recommend Bonkers located just down de road from Churches Chicken, Sheppy’s Car Rental and The Iguana pub in Crown Point. Last year I tried the seafood restaurant, Pelican Reef (sounds strangely like Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Sam Shepard) but their prices are not as attractive as their waitresses.
There is a genuine Italian pizzeria, La Cantina, in Crown Point with dozens of different thin-crust pizzas made in a brick oven made from bricks. To put it bluntly, you will never taste better pizza in Trinidad and Tobago, or most parts of the US. One pizza can cost around $75TT but taste like $95TT. There is even a pizza with raw beef.
Where to go:
I was again disappointed that Pigeon Point, the best beach in the world after Englishman’s Bay, had no topless bathing except for a few old men. On this trip to Tobago I went to Castara and Englishman’s Bay for the first time but didn’t sample the water since drinking saltwater and driving should never be mixed. Englishman’s Bay is smaller, more rounded and easier to pronounce than Castara making it better liked and cozier. On my visit, the bikini content on both beaches was miniscule, but can change drastically with the arrival of one tour bus or two rented cars.
Tobagonians are suspicious of long-lens camera people because of past experiences. Most, if not all, Tobagonians welcome the photographer but want to make sure he or she gets the name of their boat and island right. A photograph of Pigeon Point once ended up in an ad for Jamaica, I was told. The locals become suspicious if the photographer looks professional but acts like a point-and-shooter.
Nude bathing is only allowed in an enclosed, non-transparent bathroom.