Tobago
Arrival Briefing
Part 2

Lots of good nature guides but
book them in advance.

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Ferry Service: Also links Tobago with Trinidad. It carries not only people but vehicles and cargo. The 5.5-hour crossing costs TT$60 roundtrip. The ferry offers dining and bars. Ticket sales close two hours before departure. Sailing times, Monday through Friday: Leave Port-of-Spain at 2 p.m., depart Scarborough at 11 p.m. On Sunday, the ferry leaves Trinidad at 11 a.m., returning from Tobago at 11 p.m. For information, in Trinidad call 868/625-4906; in Tobago , 868/639-2417. Tickets are valid for 90 days from date of purchase.

Getting Around: Rental cars are available. Driving is on the left. However, make sure the rental company's insurance is current. The police sometimes stop everyone checking for this. If the insurance is out of date, you lose your car—immediately. It happened to me. Stick with the larger companies.

Where to Stay: Most of the tourist hotels are near the southern coast by the airport and the capital city of Scarborough . However, Little Tobago and the Main Ridge Reserve, the two main hiking areas, are at the opposite end. The Blue Waters Inn on Batteaux Bay, Speyside, is located directly opposite Little Tobago and tours depart here regularly. In addition, it is also conveniently located to the Main Ridge hiking trails. Tel. 868/660-4341; fax 868/660-5195. The tourist board also has a list of guesthouses. The four-room Rainbow Nature Resort at Lure Estate, Goldsborough is a 25-acre nature reserve with trails and waterfalls. It has a full restaurant and bar. Call 868/660-4755 or fax 868/660-4755; email sharilee@tstt.net.tt . On the edge of the rain forest in Runnemede Valley is the 10-room Cuffie River Eco-lodge and Nature Retreat . Web site: www.cuffie-river.com .

In Plymouth on the Arnos Vale Road is the 12-acre Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve. It has air-conditioned villas with fully equipped kitchen, living room and sun deck. Call 868/639-2839; fax 868/639-4157. Email adventur@tstt.net.tt.

Footprints Eco Resort has 9 rooms, suites and two-bedroom villas thatched and perched on stilts like treehouses. Contact info@footprintseco-resort.com.

Hiking/Walking Services: To fully appreciate Little Tobago or the Main Ridge rain forest, you genuinely need a guide, and Tobago has several excellent resident ones. In addition, there is Walker ' s World , an international outfitter that in addition to walking tours of Tuscany , Sicily and other European regions also offers one week walking tours of Tobago for about US$1,100. Web site: www.walkersworld.com .

Personally, I highly recommend one of the forest service officers, William Trim at 868/660-5529 in Goldsborough. Trim has tremendous enthusiasm for his subject. His friends nicknamed him "teacher" because of the incredible amount of information he is able to convey. His mother originally hoped he would become a teacher, but William couldn't stand the idea of being cooped up inside. As it turns out, Trim has become a teacher, holding his classes outdoors.   

Perhaps Tobago 's best-known guide service is David Rooks Nature Tours which are personally guided by Rooks, who four times has been elected president of the Trinidad & Tobago Field Naturalist Club. He has two tours scheduled weekly. On Thursday it's Little Tobago, including boat trip and local lunch, $75 per person. On Saturday Rooks lead bird watching and eco-tours into the rain forest, US$55 per person. A 6 person minimum for both tours. To contact Rooks on Trinidad: 868/622-8826, email rooks@pariasprings.com . In Tobago, call 868/639-4276 or email rookstobago@trinidad.net .

Other guides to try: Jeb McEachnie for hiking and birding at Nature's Touch; call 868/660-6464 or email maitlto:jeb@naturees-touch.net. Newton George , whose specialty is birds; 868/660-5463. Renson Jack, whose specialty is plants; 868/660-5175.

Snakes & Other Venomous Creatures: There are snakes but none is poisonous.

For More Information: Web site, www.visittnt.com.

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