Nutrient-rich waters draw in manta rays, pelagic fish, sharks and dolphins and a profusion of hard and soft corals
Tobago, which lies 22 miles northeast of sister island Trinidad, probably separated from the mainland of South America. It has sheer cliffs and volcanic mountains covered in rain forests. White-sand beaches scallop the West Coast.
Speyside, on the southwest coast, has become the center of diving here. Drift diving is the order of the day here thanks to the Guyana Current, which blasts up from South America and hits the island broadside. The nutrient-rich waters draw in manta rays, pelagic fish, sharks and dolphins and a profusion of hard and soft corals here, including one of the world's largest brain corals.
Buccoo Reef is a protected marine park with something for everyone. Japanese Gardens, off Goat Island, is a good beginner's drift over sea fans and colorful tube sponges. Bookends, Sleeper and Blackjack Hole are a bit more challenging.
Inland, Tobago is far more laid back. (In fact, Trinidadians go to Tobago to vacation and get away from it all.) There are plenty of activities on Tobago's verdant hills, including a visit to the first protected area in the Northern Hemisphere - the Main Ridge Forest, a reserve since 1776. Over 430 species of birds, and over 600 species of butterflies have been recorded in Trinidad and Tobago.
American, BWIA and Air Canada provide air service.
English is the official language.
Money is the Trinidad & Tobago dollar; US$1 = TT$6.24.
Departure tax: of TT$100 must be paid in local currency.