With just 116 square miles to cover, Tobago’s diverse terrain lends itself to a quick, hassle-free, day-long #roadtrip. Dramatic vistas will coax Insta-addicts and avid photographers off the road every few minutes to capture idyllic scenes. Untouched stretches of coastline will compel even the most lukewarm of beach enthusiasts to venture off the beaten path and take a dip in cool, clear perfection. And quite a few unassuming restaurants serving up delicious local fare will offer drinks and meals that hit just the right spot. As small as the island is however, its impossible to cover every single ‘must-see’ stop in just one day. If one day is all you’ve got though, then this Island Girl strongly recommends you hit up these these 6 north coast spots to make the most of your next Tobago Road Trip.
This particular route begins in the west and cut across the island to the northern coast, via the Northside Road, takes you up to Bloody Bay and then brings you right back down.
NB: If you begin at 9 am and proceed at a leisurely pace, you should be all wrapped up and back in the west by 6:30 pm.
1. Take in The Most Beautiful View in the World
If nothing else grabs your attention before you get to this point (like maybe cows sitting idly in the middle of the road, diverting the traffic flow) your first stop on the North Coast Road will undoubtedly be the unofficial lookout point above Castara Bay. No Tobago road trip is complete without it. A charming, hand painted wooden sign alerts you to the fact that you’re taking in one ‘The Most Beautiful Views in the world’ (as if you couldn’t figure that out on your own) and asks you ever so sweetly not to trash it. A request you will of course comply with. From this vantage point you get an almost uninterrupted view of Castara Bay that serves as a picturesque subject for landscape photographers…or the ideal backdrop for selfies.
Drive Time: Approximately 1 hour
Estimated Time at location: 10 minutes
2. Get Some Water Therapy at Castara Waterfall
Not a big hiker? No worries. The trek to get to Castara Waterfall is not at all tedious. In fact, it’s a quick 8 to 10 minute stroll that you can do in flip flops so there’s no reason for you to deprive yourself of the experience. The brief walk through the lush rain forest offers enough gorgeous scenery to make the detour worth it. But the real prize comes after you’ve followed the faint sound of rushing water to the clearing and the falls appear before you. Be careful when scaling the rocks around the water’s edge as they tend to be slippery, but definitely don’t leave before taking a dip. If you’re up for it, swim up under the falls and treat yourself to one of the best massages of your life from Mother Nature herself.
Drive Time: Approximately 5 minutes
Estimated Time at location: 1 hour
3. Soak Up a Bird’s-Eye View of Englishman’s Bay
If you’re driving along the island’s North Coast Road, its impossible to miss this view. Even the most focused drivers and distracted passengers will be drawn to the vibrant sea of green that greets you as you approach the sharp corner overlooking Englishman’s Bay. A strip of caramel colored sand flanked on one side by the rain forest that seems to creep almost all the way into the ocean, and on the other, by the emerald green water…this beach makes a dramatic picture that is absolutely worth taking (and sharing, using #visittobago, of course).
Drive Time: Approximately 10 minutes
Estimated Time at Location: 10 minutes
4. Drink up on Deck at Glasgow’s Bar
There is no bar cooler than Glasgow’s on the entire island. In my opinion. Located right on the bend before you descend into the village of Parlatuvier, Glasgow’s has one of those million dollar views you can take in for the bargain price of a single beer. Although I’m pretty sure you’ll be inclined to indulge in more than just one before you bid this watering hole farewell. Pull up a chair between two chattering parrots on the first floor or set up shop on the second floor deck. Either way you’re going to have a front row seat to one of the best scenes in Tobago. Few sights can top the brilliant green water of Parlatuvier Bay, dotted with fishing boats and framed by white sand and thriving vegetation.
Drive Time: Approximately 15 minutes
Cost: $15 minimum
Estimated Time at Location: 30 mins to an hour, depending on how hypnotized you are by the view
5. ‘Full Yuh Belly’ at Sunshine Food Delights
No Tobago road trip is complete without a hearty, home cooked Tobagonian meal. And if you’re on the north coast, Sunshine Food Delights is the culinary heaven you’re looking for. There is both indoor and open air dining, but once you step onto the deck surrounded by tall trees and a view that stretches for miles, the choice is obvious. Get comfortable though, because the freshly prepared meals take a bit of time. The wait however, is absolutely worth it, considering the mouthwatering results. The varied menu usually includes rice, pie, peas, vegetables, and a selection of bar-be-cued and curried meats. All for a very reasonable price. If you think TT $150 for curried lobster or curried prawns is reasonable. Which you should. Because it is. Especially when it tastes sooooo good!
Drive Time: Approximately 10 minutes
Cost: Approximately TT $150
Estimated Time at Location: 1.5 – 2 hours
6. Cool Down at Englishman’s Bay
After all that driving and good food, the only rational way to wrap up your Tobago road trip is to veg out on the beach. The most obvious place to do? Englishman’s Bay, of course! Despite the fact that this beach is Tobago’s worst kept secret, it still manages to remain uncrowded and untouched on any day of the week. Once you cut through the border of trees and set foot on the powder soft sand you’re likely to find yourself virtually alone. Even on its ‘busiest’ day, you’re likely to find no more than a handful of people scattered about this stretch of coastline. With the rain forest coming right up onto the sand, most people are content to keep to themselves, tucked beneath the branches of one tree or the other. So it always feels as if you have a significant portion of the beach to yourself.
Drive Time: Approximately 20 mins
Estimated Time at Location: This is your last stop, so as long as you wish!
This list by no means covers even a quarter of the things worth seeing and doing on a Tobago road trip. It does, however, highlight the can’t-miss stops that make for a fun, relaxing slow-paced excursion. Have you ever road tripped Tobago? Know of any other must-see gems along the island’s north coast? Share them in the comments. I’d love to check them out!