Filed under Adventure, Beaches, Body and Mind, Eco Travel, general, Trinidad and Tobago
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Anyone who has traveled to the Caribbean island of Tobago knows that convenience is not one of its primary attractions. Roads here tend to be windy and narrow; blackouts and electrical surges are far from uncommon; and the weather can change from blue skies to monsoon-like rains in minutes. Even the process of getting here can be a major chore, since the island’s receives few international flights that don’t arrive from London or New York City—meaning that most winter travelers must haul their heavy coats and extra sweaters through at least one airport connection before arriving.

For those seeking ease and comfort above all else, this lack of expedience might seem to be a cause for worry. After all, shopping, cooking and driving are activities they most of us hope to get away from while on holiday. Yet, despite being one of the more rugged destinations on its block, Tobago does have enough infrastructure to satisfy the demands of the all-inclusive crowd. It’s southern half, which includes Crown Point International Airport and Scarborough, the capital, has more than its share of resorts, upscale restaurants, air-conditioning, luxury beach facilities and Internet cafes.

But this is beside the point. Because anyone who comes to this tropical paradise simply to be near the dessert buffet or first in line for the fitness center will miss what the place has to offer, and what it can bring out of them. Unlike its larger, more frenetic sister island Trinidad, which sits a short 25-minute flight away, the pace of life in Tobago rarely exceeds the norms of what can best be described as “Island Time.” Yes, it can be difficult to find yogurt or espresso, and yes, stores tend to open late and close early. But the upside is that having to wait for conveniences that ordinarily drop into our laps affects us in positive ways.

First, it helps us to take our time, thereby demonstrating how all the schedules we keep for ourselves make little different in the end. Island Time teaches us that not getting to the beach until 1 p.m. is perfectly acceptable, or that eating fish for both lunch and dinner is not “gauche” (or maybe it is, and we just stop caring). And for whatever reason, the laid-back pace of island life seems to be quite damaging to the concept of multitasking. Instead of weaving down the sidewalk, juggling an IPod, iced latte and Blackberry in between occasional glances up, people in island mode tend to talk when they’re talking, walk when they’re walking and enjoy themselves all the while.

Pigeon Point

In places like Tobago, which has miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches, offshore coral reefs and an inland tropical forest reserve, this is undoubtedly a good thing. Hikers, snorkelers, equestrian enthusiasts, bird watchers, surfers and SCUBA divers are among the many groups that will be enchanted by its beauty. However, since these things are unlikely to come find you on your hotel room’s private terrace, it pays to tap into your adventurous, can-do spirit and go exploring for yourself.

The best place to head is north, to Speyside and Charlotteville, two rustic fishing villages that are home to two of the island’s most colorful characters: the “Fruit King” and Rush, the madman of Pirate’s Bay.

My friend, Rush

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sebastian Heinzel, SocialOrbits. SocialOrbits said: (TripWolf) On ‘Island Time’ in Tobago […]

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