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Monday, 20 August 2018
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Tobago is the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located in the southern Caribbean, northeast of the island of Trinidad and southeast of Grenada. The island lies outside the hurricane belt.

Tobago has a land area of 300 km² (115 square miles) and is approximately 40 km (25 miles) long and 10 km (6 miles) wide. It is located slightly north of Trinidad. The populaion was 62,219 at the 2011 census and the capital, Scarborough, has a population of about 25,550. Tobago's population is primarily of African descent, although with a growing proportion of Trinidadians of East Indian descent and Europeans.

Tobago is primarily hilly and of volcanic origin. The southwest of the island is flat and consists largely of coralline limestone. The hilly spine of the island is called the Main Ridge. The highest point in Tobago is the 550-metre (1804 ft) Pigeon Peak near Speyside. Tobago is divided into seven parishes – three in the Western Region and four in the Eastern The climate is tropical, and the island lies just south of the Atlantic hurricane belt. There are two seasons: a wet season between July and November, and a dry season between December and June

Tobago's main economy is based on tourism, fishing, and government spending and Tourism is still a fledgling industry and needs to be developed. The local governing body The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) employs 62% of the labor force. Tobago's economy is tightly linked with Trinidad, which is based on liquefied natural gas (LNG), petrochemicals, and steel. The principal economic forces specific to Tobago are tourism and government spending. Conventional beach and water-sports tourism is largely in the southwest around the airport and the coastal strip. Meanwhile, ecotourism is growing in significance, much of it focused on the large area of protected forest in the centre and north of the main island and on Little Tobago, a small island off the main island's northeast tip.

The southwestern tourist area around Crown Point, Store Bay, Buccoo Reef, and Pigeon Point has large expanses of sand and is dominated by resort-type developments. Tobago has many idyllic beaches along its coastline, especially those at Castara, Bloody Bay, and Englishman's Bay. Tobago is linked to the world through the Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson International Airport (formerly Crown Point Airport) and Scarborough harbour. Domestic flights connect Tobago with Trinidad, and international flights connect with the Caribbean and Europe. There is a daily fast ferry service between Port of Spain and Scarborough

Tobago is also a popular diving location, since it is the southernmost of the Caribbean islands that have coral communities and tends to be centred at Speyside, almost diametrically across the island from the airport The island has some of the best diving sites in the Caribbean. There are three wrecks located around its shores, but the one usually considered the best is the Maverick Ferry, which used to travel between Trinidad and Tobago. The ferry is 350 feet long and has been sunk in 30 metres/100 feet just off Rocky Point, Mt. Irvine. The top of the wreck is at 15 metres/50 feet. The wreck has an abundance of marine life, including a 4-foot jewfish, a member of the grouper family. The wreck was purposely sunk for divers, and so all the doors and windows were removed. The waters around the island are home to many species of tropical fish, rays, sharks, and turtles Tobago is home to two golf courses, both of which are open to visitors. The older of the two is Mount Irvine Hotel Golf Course, built in 1968.

Red-billed tropicbird on Little Tobago.
The Tobago Forest Reserve (Main Ridge Reserve) is the oldest protected forest in the Western hemisphere and is biodiverse. It was designated a protected Crown reserve on 17 April 1776 after representations by Soame Jenyns, a Member of Parliament in Britain responsible for Tobago's development. It has remained a protected area since This forested area has great biodiversity, including many species of birds (such as the dancing blue-backed manakin), mammals, frogs, (nonpoisonous) snakes, butterflies and other invertebrates. It is one of the most approachable areas of rainforest, since it is relatively small and there are government-appointed guides who provide an authoritative guiding service through the forest at a reasonable cost. The guides are knowledgeable about the plants and the animals, and can call down rare and exotic birds from the canopy by imitating their calls. Tobago also has nesting beaches for the leatherback turtle, which come to shore between April and July

Little Tobago, the small neighbouring island, supports some of the best dry forest remaining in Tobago. Little Tobago and St. Giles Island are important seabird nesting colonies, with red-billed tropicbirds, magnificent frigate birds and Audubon's shearwaters, among others

The pace of life is much slower than Trinidad and spending a little time on each island gives two very different perspectives to the visitor.

 

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