Outdoor enthusiasts flock year round to the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Despite the islands' small size, they offer a wide range of activities both on land and in the water. An abundance of animal life, both marine and land, makes it a superb location for encountering wildlife in its natural habitat. Geologically, Tobago is different from Trinidad: Tobago is of volcanic origin and part of the Caribbean islands, while Trinidad used to be a part of the South American continental plate. This gives each island a distinctive geography, offering a wealth of outdoor exploration opportunities and sports activities.
Tobago is the more popular island for diving, although Trinidad has several dive shops as well. The region is blessed with spectacular coral reef due to the nutrients in the water. The Guyana Current brings nutrients from the Orinoco River in South America. This allows the corals to grow to incredible height and size. There are both soft coral and hard coral reefs to explore. Currents off Tobago can be strong, making drift dives available for experienced divers. Beginners' dives are available as well. Divers can expect to see nurse sharks, hammerheads, octopus, turtles, and tarpon. Kellerston Drain near Tobago is reputed to be the home of the largest brain coral in the Caribbean.
Many fishermen flock to Trinidad and Tobago for the deep-sea fishing. Tobago is host to the International Game Fishing Tournament each year. Deep-sea fishers can expect to hook blue and white marlin, sword fish, mahi-mahi, shark, barracuda and tuna. Chartered fishing boats are available from both islands, or you can also go out with a local fisherman for a fraction of the cost. Shore fishing is possible just about everywhere. Toss out a line and you can catch snapper, tarpon, mackerel, and snook.
Pigeon Point in Tobago is a world-renowned wind-surfing destination. The offshore Buccoo Reef has created a large lagoon that allows you to wind surf for miles across the water. The steady 10 to 15 knot winds that blow daily make it great for wind surfing all year long. However, December to July is the peak season, since the winds can pick up to over 25 knots. Regular surfing is popular on the islands as well. Trinidad´s north and northeast beaches and Mount Irvine Beach in Tobago regularly see good waves for surfers.
Nature lovers will love the miles of hiking trails on the islands. Trinidad and Tobago is home to 469 known species of birds, many of them unique or extremely rare. Guided tours are available through several tour operators, but you can also choose to hike out by yourself. Waterfalls, rivers, caves, and other historical points of interest dot both islands. Trinidad is home to several mud volcanoes, geothermal vents where methane gas bubbles to the surface through clay. They look like bubbling mud. Visiting one of these mini-volcanoes makes a fascinating hike.
Article Written By Andrea Julian
A native of Austin, Texas, Andrea Julian graduated with a degree in biology from Texas State University. Her career as a freelance writer began two years ago, and allows her to combine her background as a biologist with her passion for writing. Julian writes for various online magazines, including eHow, Helo - The Crisis Magazine, and The Savvy Traveler.