We booked our holiday through Tropical Sky as it looked a cheap & cheerful (£700pp for a week) trip to the Caribbean. I thought we had excellent value for money as the hotel was well run, clean & the food was brilliant. Don't be put off by the fact that is only 10mins from the airport (we never heard a plane) or that it doesn't look like much from the outside. It is a very small hotel (only 20 odd rooms) and actually we quite liked this as after a few days we got to know everyone (all English holiday makers) and it felt really friendly and had a great vibe. We stayed on an all inclusive basis and although the menu is very limited in fact with the daily specials we found plenty of choice in the end. The breakfasts are very, very good and you can have a proper English breakfast but I fell for the thick pancakes with bananas & syrup which were heavenly. I would definitely recommend taking the all inclusive as there are not many proper restaurants around the area, in fact there are no restaurants at all. There are a few food stalls down by Store Point mainly serving fast food and a pizza place down the road and that's about it. Although we don't normally like an all inclusive (we like going out each night and sampling other local places) this is not the place to do that and you will be disappointed trying to find places to eat each night.
I would also stay in the garden rooms (instead of the pool rooms) as they are larger and look out onto beautiful gardens where you will see the lots of birds (including hummingbirds). If you save your fruit from breakfast and put it on your outside table/plants you will get the most amazing birds coming down. The rooms are all air conditioned, very clean but have no TV's, so take a few books. There is free wifi available but the reception is best at the restaurant. The pool is small and there are no loungers or many chairs, which was very disappointing and something that I know the owners want to change. I would suggest taking/buying a lilo with you as that is something you could lie on.
Mr B is the hotel's resident guide/taxi driver that you will find at the bar. He is a very interesting old chap (at times hard to understand with such a broad Caribbean accent) but will take you anywhere and give you running commentary on the island's history. We asked him to take us on an island tour as easy to drive round the island in a day and it is probably worth it, although there is not a lot to see. Tobago in recent years has had a huge decline in tourism and the sugar/coco plantations are long gone so it is a very rural island with lots of deserted beautiful beaches, thick rain forest and small very poor villages scattered around. It is not worth going into the capital (Scarsbourgh) as there is nothing really to see as it is very run down & poor. On the whole the island is more like an African island then a Caribbean one and we were a bit disappointed that were was not more to see & do. As a result of that I would only recommend a week, as we had enough to occupy us but 2 weeks would have been boring (unless you like lying on the beach each day).
Things I would recommend doing are:
1. If you have a day to spare, get Mr B to drive you around the island, he will take you to deserted beaches to swim and to see waterfalls.
2. Walk (15 min) or get Mr B to drop you off at Pigeon Point (£7 return), it is the most beautiful beach on the island (you have to pay a small fee to go into the beach but worth it) and one of the few places with white sand (once there you hire chairs/umbrellas). Rather go here than the closer (free) Store Beach which is a 7 min walk. I didn't like Store Beach as we were too hassled by people selling stuff.
3. Go on Mr B's Sunday School trip on Sunday Evening to enjoy the local steel bands playing whilst drinking Mr B's rum punch.
4. Get Mr B to take you to the Hummingbird Sanctuary at Black Rock. It belongs to an ageing hippy and is just basically his house in the mountains, where you sit on his veranda and watch the many types of hummingbird feed from the nectar feeders. I just loved it as have never seen so many hummingbirds in one place before! I would recommend doing this late afternoon/early evening as just lovely to sit there and watch them at the end of a day.
5. Take a day's boat trip out for snorkeling with Daryl or any of the local chaps as it is a great day out. They take you snorkeling and you see the most amazing fish & if you are lucky dolphins & turtles, you eat lunch on a deserted island (called No Man's Island) and then you swim in Nylon Pool. It is a must.
6. The two other tours you can do is take a jeep tour into the rain forest (good if you like bird watching) and jump onto a glass bottom boat which go out daily to the coral reefs. We didn't do either of these.
7. Walk to Coco Reef Hotel (probably the best hotel on the island) and lie on their beach (you can get day passes for about £10 pp which allows you to lie on their beach, order drinks and swim in their lagoon). Most days they didn't ask us to pay and it is a really beautiful hotel and worth just going to walk around and have a drink.
My only other tip is to take lots of mosquito spray and sun block and be prepared for very hot, sticky weather. It felt safe, although we didn't walk around at night. You can use US Dollars (that seemed to be the preferred currency). The hotel is quaint with no real frills but the food is rustic, fresh & hearty. If you are used to very high end places you would be best staying at the Coco Reef which is very beautiful but I should imagine at least double the price we paid. If you are happy with a small but friendly place than I think you will enjoy this hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Shepherd's Innis a small and friendly 20 room hotel with teakwood caribbean style decor set amidst am oasis of lush tropical gardens with a relaxed ambiance that keep guests coming back for more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Toucan Hotel Crown Point
- Toucan Inn Tobago
- Shepherd's Inn Tobago/Crown Point