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Dear Cheesy Tourist, Everyone’s heard of Tobago, but do you actually know anyone who has been there?

Can you point to it on the map?

It really wouldn’t suit you for a holiday. Trust me, it wouldn’t! Let me tell you why.

  1. Tobago is a long way away. The flight is nine hours from Gatwick – and that’s if it leaves on time! Luckily I live quite near Gatwick, but imagine if you’ve already been travelling for several hours with your family!Tobago 034 (Small)
  2. Tobago roads aren’t dangerous, but they’ve seen better days (before Trinidad and Tobago became independent) and they are all twisty and twirly, constantly curving from right to left and back again. Half a mile as the crow flies is about three miles by road. The local drivers know these roads like the back of their hands, but if you’ve been consuming as many free drinks as you could get the Air Stewards to bring you, Dear Cheesy Tourist, (after all, you’re on holiday and you’ve paid for it) you might find it an uncomfortable journey!Tobagobig 772 (Small)
  3. Tobago isn’t a touristy island. You’d find your fellow hotel guests are probably from Trinidad. There are hourly flights between the two islands and Trinidadians often pop over for a couple of days’ break. So you may not find any fellow Brits to moan loudly with about the UK, Brexit, the weather, etc. There’s not even likely to be any Germans there, who you could nod to in desperation. There could be a group of keen divers there, (I met a lovely group from Florida) but as your knowledge of diving is likely to be limited to diving into a pint and a curry, your conversation would be limited. (They’ve probably never heard of Brexit.)Tobago 023 (Small)
  4. You might wake up to heavy rain, or dark clouds overhead, but this is why the island is so lush and green, and by the time you’ve muttered, ‘I should have stayed at home and saved my bloody money,’ Dear Cheesy Tourist, it will have cleared and become very hot. It will have put you in a bad mood though, and you’ll go out armed with a raincoat and an umbrella, which you’ll have to carry around with you all day.Tobago 224 (Small)
  5. If a man with a small beard and dreadlocks down to the back of his knees marches up to you and holds out his hand, what would you do, Dear Cheesy Tourist? You’d feel more in your comfort zone if he was holding out an armful of cheap jewellery and non-working watches, but a naked hand? You’d probably stick your arm behind your back, step backwards and say something rude. But the poor guy only wanted to shake hands with you and inquire where you were from, as Tobago still isn’t an artificial, tourist-manufactured island!Tobago 078 (Small)
  6. Tobagans love street food. The aromas of griddling ribs, chicken and freshly-caught fish waft in the air, but you probably wouldn’t go near any of it, Dear Cheesy Tourist. You’d have to queue up with the locals, who would no doubt politely speak to you, and you’d be forced to reply, even though you’re vastly superior to them because a) they’re foreigners and you’re British, and b) most of them are descended from slaves, whereas you’re descended from, um, what exactly ARE you descended from? Do you know? – Oh yes, I know. It was Prehistoric swamp life! And of course, you’ve been warned about eating food from the roadside, haven’t you?
  7. Tobago is a religious island. They have many different religions, but they all inter-mingle and don’t have any prejudices at all. But what would you do, Dear Cheesy Tourist, if you visited a recommended restaurant, like Jemma’s Tree House (more about that in a later article) and sat down to order some of their delicious traditional food, only to be told that they don’t serve alcohol because they’re Adventist? Could you bear to have a meal without a couple of beers, just a fruit punch or lemon and lime with Bitters, Dear Cheesy Tourist? Would you sit and moan, or get up and walk out, because alcohol is more important to you on your holiday than delicious food?Tobago 124 (Small)
  8. What will you do in the daytime, Dear Cheesy Tourist? There are miles of silver sandy beaches with clear blue water and palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. But there are no rows of Cheesy shops full of local souvenirs from the Far East, no Kiss Me Quick hats, and no seafront bars with loud music blaring out. So you wouldn’t be able to go for a swim, then pop into a nearby bar where you could mingle with other Cheesy Tourists, swig rum cocktails and moan about the UK! Pigeon Point Beach is buzzing with life, with craft stalls, bars and food booths, but it’s full of Trinidadians and Tobagans enjoying themselves. I didn’t spot one tourist there.Tobago 030 (Small)
  9. Tobagans go to bed quite early, so what will you do at night, after you’ve had your afternoon nap and your dinner, Dear Cheesy Tourist? You can go for a walk and admire the scenery, or you can have a couple of drinks at the bar, but is that enough for you? Crown Point was very active along the main road, with lots of bars and food wagons. But again, they were all locals out enjoying themselves.Tobagobig 593 (Small)
  10. You’d have to plan your own holiday in Tobago. Do you really want to spend half a day in the Rainforest Reserve and Bird Sanctuary, listening out for the sound of the island’s 220 species of birds, or trekking to the Argyle Waterfall, which is 450 ft above sea level? No, of course you don’t!Tobago 111 (Small)

The Elite of the world have exclusive holiday places like Mustique, Necker, parts of Majorca, etc. They also have extremely high prices to keep out all the Cheesy Tourists. Tobago isn’t exclusive and its prices are quite low as the average wage is low. But I’m still convinced that you’d hate it, Dear Cheesy Tourist. I’m sure you’d much rather go to an All-Inclusive resort, with poolside music blaring all day. You could send the kids to Kiddies’ Club while you consume the free drinks, then leave your towel on your sunbed while you play silly games in the pool with the Entertainment Rep bellowing out encouragement over the mike, or watch the football on the huge TV screen.

No, please don’t go to Tobago, Dear Cheesy Tourist. You go somewhere else and leave Tobago unique, unspoilt and untouched for me to enjoy!Tobagobig 599 (Small)

See also;

Tourist Board websites are:

Twitter: tnt_steelypan

Facebook: Adventures of Steely Pan


British Airways:

Flights from £567 return
They can put together great value packages including accommodation and
flights to Tropikist and Blue Waters


Tropikist Beach Hotel and Resort

Crown Point, Tobago

Phone: +1 868-639-8512

Prices from: £ 84

Tropikist is  a three-star, no frills property, ideal for
cost conscience holidaymakers who want to experience the Caribbean on a
limited budget.


Blue Waters Inn:

Speyside, Tobago

Phone+1 868-660-4341

Prices from £128



Rainforest tour was with Newton George:
Jemma’s Seaview Kitchen
Tobago WI.
Tel 868 660 4066