There are just a few places in the world where you can view this underwater light show put on by the single celled dinoflagellates living in the water. They can bloom in dense populations causing a wondrous light show when agitated by movement like waves or a stroke of your paddle. In fact, this light show is one of the things that drew me to Tobago for a vacation. I wanted to visit an island with a lot of culture, great food, friendly people and a great place to paddle. The island of Tobago did not disappoint.
My trip was planned around this particular tour, and I picked a time to visit when the sky would be the darkest. Plan on visiting during a New Moon. The tour was through Radical Sports outfitter. You can visit their website at standuppaddletobago.com. The tour left at dusk from Pigeon Point. Guide Brett was very knowledgeable and the experience was much more than paddling out to the bay where the glowing plankton were. We saw the mangrove trees and many other marine life like shrimp, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. The highlight though, was swimming in bio bay among the glowing plankton. I put the experience up there with seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska. Check out the video National Geographic did on Tobago below. Around the 1:36 mark you can see the footage for the bio tour. Keep scrolling for my tips on traveling to this beautiful island!
Train here, explore there,
Getting to Tobago and getting around:
-Be prepared for many flights and possibly boat rides!
- Left ATL for a direct flight to Trinidad.
- You can take a flight from Trinidad to Tobago or ride a ferry over there. The flight from Trinidad to Tobago is 20 minutes. Island Ferry is much longer and can be up to four hours.
- We booked rides from locals anytime we needed to get somewhere and had a great experience each ride. You can learn a lot about an area talking to those that live there.
Where to Stay:
- There are plenty of places to stay near Pidgeon Point and are near all the action.
- For a quieter stay consider Castara Retreats. Castara is a small fishing community with the most friendly welcoming people.
Traveling with a board:
- Make sure to pack your inflatable properly! Had damage to a board on this trip, but was easily fixed with a patch kit, so take your patch kit too.
- I like to pack snorkeling gear and a three piece paddle in my board bag. A waist pfd and leash are a must to pack as well.
- I brought a board because the resort I stayed at did not have paddle board rentals listed on the site. Once there though, I discovered they had two inflatable boards for rent by the day. There are lots of boards to rent at Pidgeon Point too. I do a lot of paddling though and it seemed like a better deal for me to bring my own gear.
Other places to paddle:
- Castara Bay is fun to paddle and snorkel at, especially around 4pm when the fishermen come back in from fishing and throw out fish for the sting rays. The rays know when it is about time and swarm the beach waiting for easy food.
- I enjoyed paddling past Castara Bay to other remote inlets. I took snorkeling gear and viewed the coral. It was peaceful and you can be absolutely alone in nature.
- There are tons of options in and around the main city center near Pidgeon Point!
- The food has a unique taste incorporating curries and spices.
- In Castara there are quaint restaurants and the best coffee shop. Check on hours of operation because the open hours are limited as it is a tiny town.