Tripping in Tobago
We have just come back from a glorious holiday in Tobago, the smaller island of the Trinidad and Tobago Republic. With only 55,000 people living on the island, Lady Gaga’s recent concert in London saw more people through the gates. I hadn’t heard much about Tobago before going and I had never been to the Caribbean so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, I am happy to say it did not let me down.
Getting to the island was fairly straight forward, we caught a British Airways (BA) flight from Gatwick which took us to Antigua, here we touched down for an hour to pick up and drop off passengers. An hour or so later we were in Tobago. In total the trip took about 10hrs, it seemed to go fairly quickly and wasn’t an exhausting haul, so we arrived fairly refreshed. Although refreshed we were famished, in my opinion there wasn’t enough food served on the flight. We hopped on at about 10.30am London time, we were served with a hot meal, choice of chicken or sausage with mash, before touching in Antigua we were served a sandwich. There were no snacks available when I asked and only an orange juice served from Antigua to Tobago. Needless to say on the way back I came prepared.
We had an easy drive from the airport to the hotel in a pre-arranged transfer car. We were greeted with a fabulous view out to the ocean on arrival at the hotel and shown to our simple but more than adequate room. We had chosen a bed and breakfast option in a 4 star ’boutique’ hotel with only 20 rooms called Bacolet Beach Club.
After raiding the mini bar, for anything we could get our hands on, we went for an explore, then readied for dinner. What we experienced on the first night at the hotel was pretty much what we would experience for the rest of the 7 days. There was really only 1 option within close proximity to the hotel, the hotel restaurant. The food was expensive but luckily delicious. Breakfast was included in our room rate and the buffet they laid on every morning did not disappoint. The fresh fruit was delicious, bananas how bananas should taste, the hot selection offered some different local options every day and the quality was very good. My typical breakfast was fruit followed by their version of baked beans, bacon and whatever local dishes were on offer. Below served with pumpkin okra and plantains.
We chilled for the first 2 days, varying our sun baking location between the private bay at the hotel and the sun loungers. The water in the bay was a little choppy but the warmest I have felt, a pleasure to swim in. On the 3rd and 5th day we hired a jeep from the hotel and went off around the island. The island offered some amazing treats that would delight any traveller. Many different coloured sandy beaches, ranging from dark to the purest white, a ‘rainforest’ with waterfalls, some good snorkelling and some fantastic birds that I had never seen before. One of our favourite places around the island was Englishman’s Bay, pictured below.
When out about we had local lunches, at a beautiful white beach, Pigeon Point, we had a scrumptious serving of baked chicken served with your choice of sides, I had red beans, rice, crumbed eggplant and macaroni pie. I know it is hardly low carb or gluten free, but holidays…
The common theme with all the local food we ate was sweetness. There was always an element of sweetness, either the main protein or the sides. Amazingly yummy none the less, but we found ourselves craving sweet treats in the afternoons after having such sweet lunches. I also fear we both became addicted to the sugary meals and we have found it hard to resist sweet things since being back.
One local restaurant we were urged to go to in Speyside is called Jemma’s. Every local person we spoke to raved about the restaurant and told us we would have the best meal of our lives. The setting was magical, built around an old almond tree on the water edge, no windows just the breeze and the sea. We both ordered the shrimp, I had creole, Lee had fried, the sides were breadfruit pie (what this restaurant is most famous for), Tanya’s fritters (not sure who Tanya is but they were delish) salad and veges. To be honest we were both very disappointed with the shrimp, but the sides were fantastic. The breadfruit pie reminded me of potato daupinoise, the breadfruit was starchy like potato and tasted like a cross between potato and cassava, it was topped with a creamy cheesy topping, mmmmmmm. The breadfruit pie is in the forefront of this picture.
Other notable mentions for food; the curried shrimp with plantains from the hotel, I ate this on 3 separate occasions, the Stew Chicken we had on a lovely day out on a catamaran, the Red Snapper that was catch of the day at the hotel restaurant, served with a lovely spicy and sweet sauce and the jalapeño cheesy sunshine snacks (chips) that I ate pretty much every day!
All in all a difficult place to go if you are trying to avoid those carbs…You could definitely eat gluten free, the sides are generally rice and beans with local food, apart from my slip up with the macaroni pie I stuck to wheat free. A beautiful island with plenty to offer for a short stay, ie 1 week, but I think any longer you may start to feel the island itch.