The Tobago Cays are our favorite anchorage in the Grenadines. Do you enjoy the sound of the ocean and beautiful beaches? Likewise, few people around, and no buildings, then this is it. It is an idyllic yachting anchorage and a dream for scuba divers. As well as a paradise for beachcombers and a film location for Pirates of the Caribbean. The Tobago Cays, and the Tobago Cays Marine Park, are among the world’s most awe-inspiring island destinations. Your captain will anchor your yacht just off the beach. Then allowing you to swim back to shore or behind the reef, away from everyone else.
The Tobago Cays are an archipelago located in the Southern Grenadines. They are in fact compromised of five small uninhabited islands. Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradol, Petit Tabac, and Jamesby. Indeed the key element of the Tobago Cays Marine Park. A national park and wildlife preserve run by St.Vincent and the Grenadines government. The Tobago Cays Marine Park consists of a 1,400-acre (5.7 km2) sand-bottom lagoon. It specifically encompasses four uninhabited cays and the 4 km Horseshoe Reef. Three larger inhabited Islands, Union Island, Mayreau, and Canouan surround the uninhabited cays.
The most extensive and well-developed coral reef complexes in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. It occurs on shallow shelves around the windward sides of Mayreau, Union Islands, and the Cays themselves. In addition, principal vegetation types include beach vegetation and dry forest. There are no wetlands in the Cays, except a small mangrove in Petit Rameau and a salt pond in Mayreau.
The best time to visit the Grenadines is any time from November through May. The Grenadine’s climate is tropical, hot, and humid all year. While a relatively cool dry season would be from January to mid-April. Glorious weather, gentle breezes, and high temperatures around 88-90 F. And the temperature rarely dips below 75 F. The rainy season spans from May to September.
Places to See
- Catholic Rock Bird Sanctuary: Sea bird nesting and roosting colonies. Observe from a boat using a binocular/telescope.
- Purunia Wreck: Of course, explore this 140-foot WWI British gunship wreck that sunk in 1918 just off the western coast of Mayreau.
- Mayreau Gardens: SCUBA and Snorkel, this excellent Coral Reef site, is loaded with lots of fish and colorful sponges.
- Horse Shoe Reef: Snorkel the inshore side of this reef or SCUBA on the ocean side. Besides, the abundance of fish and coral will amaze you.
- Baradal Turtle Sanctuary: A protected area where green and hawksbill turtles can be observed foraging freely.
- Petit Tabac: Isolated beach perfect for a private picnic. Also, the location where the desert island scene in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” was filmed.
- Petit Bateau, James Bay, Petit Rameau: Hiking trails where you can observe an abundance of tropical flora. And fauna, including iguanas and birds. They also provide excellent panoramic views of the Grenadines.
Things to Do Tobago Cays
- Swim, Snorkel, Dive with green turtles – Imagine an intimate cluster of five uninhabited cays and heavenly lagoons full of green turtles. Lagoons beaming with coral reefs, colorful fishes, and crystal clear waters. By all means, explore this breathtaking chain of islands and sail into a turquoise blue bayou. Explore beautiful desert island beaches. Then swim, snorkel, and scuba dive with green turtles. The best place to observe them is in and around the turtle-watching reserve just off the southeastern shores of Baradal. From a boat, you will regularly see them surfacing for air. In addition, you can enjoy swimming alongside them in wonderfully clear and shallow waters.
- Snorkeling – within the protected area of the lagoon around all islands is so much fun while exciting and easy. Besides, the protected waters around Baradal are a great place to see green turtles.
- Scuba diving – in this world-renowned Marine Park is never disappointing. Shallow, more accessible dives are enjoyed inside Horseshoe Reef. Above all, the Tobago Cays showcase a variety of colorful hard and soft corals, fans, and whips. Not to mention the chance to see a green turtle swimming free in the calm turquoise seas. Sightings of nurse sharks and eagle rays are also common here.
- Further to the east, Sail Rock is a pinnacle site for advanced divers. Conditions can be challenging. But divers are rewarded with regular sightings of large pelagics. Between the Tobago Cays and Mayreau are the Mayreau Gardens. An expansive coral reef system that is very popular with scuba divers.
- Swim or picnic on the beach – Each of the five cays has one or more white-sand beaches. They are perfect for soaking up the sun, swimming, or enjoying a picnic.
- Ocean Kayaking – you may use your equipment or rent it from a trusted operator.
- Kite Surfing – Kite surfing enthusiasts, especially revere the area. You may watch them launch from Petit Rameau and sail upwind to the inner edge of Horseshoe Reef. The more adventurous either launch Petit Tabac or sail beyond the reef to World’s End.
Romeo Lobster Barbecue – Possibly the best lobster you have ever had. Served by such friendly people in a magical setting. You should try the lambi (conch) as well. And if somebody does not like lobster or lambi, try the chicken or ribs.
Marinas and Anchorages
There are two main anchorages in Tobago Cays. The first is on the north side of the reef. Such as mooring buoys and places to anchor between two tiny islands. Some 30 moorings have been laid here to deter yachts from dropping their anchors too close to the turtle nesting area and the coral reefs. Use of these moorings is optional, and the moorings are managed by the TCMP park rangers, who collect fees.