See allSeven Affordable, Under-the-Radar Beach Destinations

by , SmarterTravel Staff - January 12, 2009
Tobago - Pirates Bay

Tobago

Unlike its metropolitan and party-hardy big brother Trinidad, little Tobago is content to be a laid-back and natural Caribbean beauty. With the western hemisphere's oldest protected rainforest, marine parks, and secluded white sand beaches, Tobago has been recognized by World Travel Awards as the World's Leading Green Destination, a status it was given in 2007. What's more, whether you come here for a quiet beach honeymoon or an active adventure vacation, you can generally do it pretty cheaply.

Whatever your style, it's worthwhile to experience both Tobago's beaches and its wild interior. Tobago was purportedly the inspiration for "Robinson Crusoe," and even though the deserted beaches described in the novel were based on observations made almost 300 years ago, you can still find such beaches on the island today. Try going to Pirate's Bay, which was used in the 1954 film version of the novel. You should also plan on a snorkeling trip (25$) to Buccoo Reef, where you can swim with tropical fish in crystal-clear waist-deep water.

To see the rainforest and its many colorful bird species, stay in an eco-lodge or go on a day tour with a local guide. The Cuffie River Nature Retreat, an eco-lodge located on the edge of the rainforest, offers a variety of nature tours including birding walks and visits to secluded waterfalls and natural pools. All inclusive rates for two people start at $185 per night, which includes all meals and a nature walk. If you'd prefer to stay near the beach, try the intimate Hummingbird Hotel, where room-only rates start at $50 a night.

(Photo: iStockPhoto/Andrew Carter)

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