Once in a Lifetime: Tobago

By: Katie Manning

January 11, 2013

Just because it’s the smaller of the two main islands that make up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago it doesn’t mean it has any less to offer. The island of Tobago not only has some of the most breathtaking beaches we’ve been to in the Caribbean, but its colourful music and culture really draw us in. From the famous Tobago Jazz Festival to the fantastic windsurfing waters, we think these experiences are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the unique island of Tobago.

Goat Race, Buccoo Beach

Goat Race, Buccoo Beach | Tobago
Goat racing on Buccoo Beach © Bucco Goat Race

A chance to cheer on bleating Tobagonian livestock at this bizarre sporting extravaganza, where goats are urged to run like the wind by nimble, barefoot “jockeys” is an experience we’re never going to miss. Around for nearly 100 years, this crazy 100-metre dash has even attracted celebrity entrants. Tobago, Easter Tuesday (and other special holidays).


Tobago Jazz Experience

Once in a Lifetime Tobago | Jazz
Live jazz © Eva Rinaldi/Flickr

Thousands of music lovers flock to April’s annual jazz festival, one of our favourite events in Tobago, when a variety of exciting locations across the island provide ambient backdrops to big-name acts. Artists that have graced Tobago’s shores have included Grammy award-winning R&B diva Chaka Khan, as well as musical icons Stevie Wonder, Sir Elton John, Sting, Diana Ross and George Benson – so even the least of the jazz aficionados among can enjoy. We especially like the sideshows, which run from street theatre and cultural processions to huge Caribbean feasts and parties featuring local bands. +1 868 624 1403, Performances & concerts centre on Pigeon Point, Mount Irvine & Scarborough Esplanade. Annually, April.

Horse Riding in Tobago

Horse Riding | Tobago
Horse Riding at dusk © Friendship Stables

When it comes to horse riding in Tobago, Friendship Horses is the perfect place to go. For our money, there’s no better place to master equestrian skills than in a palm-scattered location. The easy terrain makes it a great place to learn if, like us, you’re a total beginner, or to perfect your art if you’re an advanced rider. Lessons with Friendship Horses involve trekking through the island’s old plantations with quiet trots down country lanes and gentle canters across sandy beaches. Friendship Horses, Friendship Estate, +1 868 660 8563,

Windsurfing in Tobago

Windsurfing in Tobago
Windsurfing at Pigeon Point © Peter Dutton/Flickr

The flat, shallow, gin-clear waters surrounding the white sand peninsula of Pigeon Point are the ultimate windsurfing location for those of us travelling with our families. From cautious novices on their first attempts, to advanced windsurfers keen to ramp it up on the beach’s sheltered leeward side, we think this is a place that pretty much everyone can try their hands at windsurfing. Pigeon Point Heritage Park, Tobago

Go to Sunday School

Once in a Lifetime Tobago | Carnival
Party pilgrims in Tobago © Izatrini/Flickr

There is nothing religious about this gathering, other than the devotion shown by the many party pilgrims who seek out this Sunday night street party every week. Sunday School is a loud, vibrant celebration of the Tobago nightlife. In recent years, this celebration has become a hotspot for locals and tourists and a meeting point for revellers of all races and ages. First, the Buccooneers Steel Band play for a couple of hours, then the sound system is cranked up to the max, flooding the main beach with pumping Jamaican dancehall, soca, hip-hop and R&B. We recommending bringing a few dollars for beer, rum and barbecued food – we can’t help but give in to this raucous party that grows wilder as daylight beckons. Buccoo, Tobago


Header image © Jason Pratt/Flickr


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places