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Home > Destinations > Trinidad & Tobago > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Trinidad & Tobago - Trip Reports

Tobago Hotels & Diving

Summary :

Prior to visiting Tobago, we read several articles claiming it to be a secret that Americans do not know about. Just returned and we understand why Americans don't go there: It is difficult to get too, Local food is expensive, and the diving is O.K. You spend over a day getting there, Mediocre local food with minimum selection cost $15 a plate, the diving is Advanced and requires work, we did not see a manta. (As a matter of fact Manta have been seen for 3 months, may be in August).

We stayed both at Crown point and Speyside. If you do go to Tobago go to Speyside and stay at Blue waters Inn. Speyside is hilly and beautiful and unique compare to over Caribbean islands. Speyside reminded me of the Island in survivors. Crown Point is flat, boring and the beach and water is not a nice as other destinations (Cayman, Bahamas, Etc).


Getting to Speyside : Two airlines provide service to Trinidad: BWIA and American. With BWIA you can get to Tobago with the last plain at 9;00 PM. American requires a flight you need to over night in Port of Spain. As the trip to Speyside takes about an hour We stayed over night in Port Of Spain in the Bell air hotel near the airport ($72). Got up at 5:00 am caught the 5:40 AM BWIA to Tobago. By 6 we were in Tobago, by 6:15 in a Taxi on our way to Speyside. The trip is 26 miles of a narrow two lane , through hills it took about an hour and 30 minutes. Cost per taxi $40. Th trip is very pretty but a little tiring. For those who get to Tobago late at night we suggest staying at Crown Point and make the trip to Speyside during the day. Jimmy's and Arthur by the Sea are two good choices.

Money : the Trinidad dollar is 6.3 for 1 US. change money at the bank (airport) the hotel give s you 5.5, shops taxi give 6. We arrived early in the morning and used our credit card where possible.

Blue water Inn/ Speyside: Speyside has three places to stay: Speyside Inn, Manta Lodge and Blue Waters Inn. In addition to restaurants at the hotels, Speyside has three restaurants: Jama's, Redmans and Birdwatchers. Manta Lodge and Speyside Inn and the restaurants and clumped together in one bay. Blue Waters Inn is a miles walk over a hill and located in the next bay north of Speyside.

Blue Waters Inn is a great choice : it is secluded, on the beach and the restaurants and rooms are on the beach. Manta and Speyside are on the road to Charlotsville. The rooms in Blue Waters Inn are nice, no TV or Telephone. Blue Waters Inn is unique and pretty and if you are going to Tobago stay there. On the way back we stayed one night in Coco Reef in Crown point for twice the price. Coco Reef Is a resort like many others in the Caribbean's. At Coco reef you were required to ware long pants for dinner. From 4PM to 7 Pm every one was getting dressed for dinner. We went to Miss Jeans in Store bay. Blue Waters Inn is unique. Not much night life in Speyside. Two nights Blue Water had live entertainment and the folks from Manta Lodge came to Blue Water Inn. By 10:00 every one was asleep. It is breezy in Speyside and was not your typical warm Caribbean weather, Crown Point on the other side was hot and sticky.

We did not rent a car as driving on windy roads is not for us.

Food : Blue Waters Inn offers a food plan, we did not get the food plan. We brought some "power bars" and snacks for breakfast. Blue Waters Inn serves free coffee and we used to grab a cup and sit in the bar. Some days we went a la cart : Eggs are $7.00, a fruit plate $2.50. They do not have a break fast buffet. We ate lunch at the bar. Sandwiches and food were about $7-8, The garden salads were $4 , soft drinks $1. Dinner we ate at each of the restaurants prices were from $15 to $25 not including alcohol. The food is local, no menu or price list. Three choices : Fish, Chicken, Shrimp. Food comes with rice, vegetables and a small salad. Jamas and Redmans serve empty plates, and then food and side orders are placed in the middle of the table. Bird watchers and Sharon and Phebs (in Charlotvislle) server a plate. Jamas served a lot of food but was a little pricey. I did not like the food (had the fish) others liked it. We ordered for six and left half the food on the table. Jamas is a full meal with soup and desert. July 4 had a buffet at the hotel $25 pp. The next night at Redmens we ordered 4 servings for six (two fish two meat) I enjoyed the meat. WE took a day off from walking to Speyside, took a taxi ($6 on way) to Charlotsville. Charlotsville is located on the Caribbean . The only restaurant in Charlotville is Sharon and Phebes. Had the Fish a and Shrimp criole and enjoyed it while watching the sun set. The bar at Blue Waters Inn (Shipwreck) serves the lich menu until 8 ,so we ate there once. The worst food was at Bird watchers.

You must eat at these restaurants as the local food stands close at 5:00. In Crown Point we ate at Store Bay at the food stands. The same food as Speyside and paid half the price (miss Jeans is the best). Tasted a local food called Roti's ($3) was not very tasty.

Diving: We got the dive 10 pack from Aquamarine. Price for tank is $33. They have a 10:30 and 1:30 dive. They have two dive boats that can handle 11 divers each. The first few dives were a little disappointing. Boats were crowded and visibility was poor. A group of 11 divers from Detroit had one boat and the rest of the resort (11 divers) the other. July is the rainy season and it rained the entire week before we got there, some river washed into the water and visibility was 20-30 feet. We were diving in green and muddy water (known on the east coast as Ocean City conditions). The next day things cleared up, but I was a little upset about the crowded boat.

The dives here are advanced and require work. The dives are drift and at some points you literally fly, some point you fight against the current. The dives are 40 minutes long at 60 to 90 feet. We usually stretched the dives to 50 + minutes. Some dives (with current) I came up with 1200 PSI, against the current with 500. A dive master in the front and a guy with a marker in the back. At the count of three the entire boat backward rolls into the water. Getting back on the boat in the end is tough as the current carries you away (especially with 11 divers waiting.). After the first three tanks, things got better I was assigned to the advanced group with no more than 7 divers per boat and had some good dives. We did out best to find Mantas, but none were to be found. The coral is in excellent condition, most of the coral is the soft kind. The shape of the purple barrel sponges is not round due to currents. Visibility was 50+, and water temperature was 81 We dived : Manats, Cathedrals, Blackjack, Spinney elbow, Coral gardens, Japanese gardens, special and picker. All sites are less than 15 minute boat ride. The view returning from the dives is spectacular, as you see the mountains and the bay.

Two of the sites had a swim through (Manta and Japanese gardens) were you took off with the current. Some of the dives had thermo clines On three dives we saw Nurse sharks( mostly in the sand but one was free swimming), two turtles (one was bigger than me), several green Moral eel (the one in London Bridge was half way out and was enormous ,spotted eels and chestnut eel ( tiny eels ). Lots of big Angle fish and blue tangs. Lots of band shrimp, fire worms. In Cathedrals and Manta had many big Ocean trigger fish.

We went to London Bridge and Marble Island ($5 extra per tank) this is 25 minute boat ride.

Best dive in Speyside was Picker: Currents, Nice coral and big stuff. The dive started with a coral head with a turtle on one side, and eel on the other, and towards the end on the sand we saw seven nurse sharks (one on safety stop). London Bridge and Marble Island were worth the trip. Diving there is in rocks. The water was a little murky . Marble Island was a great "small stuff" dive. We were surrounded by fish, schools of big Angle fish. As a bonus we saw several spotted drum, Chestnut Eel, Octopus, school of Squid and two big lobster at the safety stop.

Snorkel and shore dives - From Blue Waters Inn (Beautox bay) you have a shore dive. Brain, fan, rope and shingle coral from 9 to i 60 feet. I did this site twice. You can also snorkel this which I did daily. While snorkeling I had my Green Moray Eel in 2 feet of water, several angle fish, tang Etc. A resident family of 25 Squid were there daily. The squid were aligned like soldiers from small to big. I used ½ a tank of air to watch two squid matting. While diving we saw many band shrimp , big drum fish, and two lobster. In Crown Point I snorkeled and saw my first sharp tail eel (looks like a water snake).

The Manta Hunter - desperate for Mantas, we scheduled a dive with Redman. Redman is the oldest dive master in Speyside ( yes his wife is Redman restaurant). If any one can find a Manta Redman can. We waited for Redman for over an hour , and then he canceled on us.

Bird watchers: the week of July 4 was over, the Group from Detroit gone, and each day another American couple left. By July 10 we turned the place over to the British. The table of the divers from Detroit was replaced by a group of Bird watchers from England. You can find there report on rec.birwatchers newsgroup (just kidding).

Thanks to Jonathan for this trip report ...
July 2000

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