Tobago is not your traditional Caribbean island. Close to the coast of Venezuela, the beaches are rugged and the service is far from five star but in my (very biased) opinion it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. What it lacks in trendy hotels it makes up for in great music, rainforest and delicious local food. A cold carib beer will be easy to come by on most of the beaches but Tobago is best enjoyed on island time- don’t show up anywhere too hungry and be happy to have a swim before your food arrives. When it comes to packing, just don't forget your bikini. It's all you'll really need and when it comes to Tobago we really are telling the truth.
Here is a guide to all my favourite spots on the island that inspired the first Ayla collection:
Best for: Watching (or surfing) a world renowned reef break
Drink: A very cold carib that goes down a treat after all that paddling
Wear: Savannah Frill Swimsuit
Our tip: Alvin runs Surf Tobago and is a great instructor and one of the best people to know on the island.
@surftobago (Alvin: +868-799-0261)
Best for: A cooler party
Drink: LLB (with rum or on its own). Take a cooler with snacks, drinks and water. There is no food for sale here. If you want to learn a new skill, find a Trinidadian.. they take the art of packing a cooler to the next level.
Wear: Lots of suncream. Icognito's Second Skin Suncream is eco-friendly and will keep the mossies away at the same time.
Our tip: Avoid the weekend when the reef boats tend to take over. Instead of opting for a package trip find Gibson’s Getty and call DeSean to take you over on his fishing boat. (DeSean: +868-474-8145)
Best for: Picture perfect Caribbean shores
Eat: Shark and Bake (actually flying fish) from the stand next to the ice-cream store
Wear: Castara Bandeau in Ochre with matching bottoms
Our tip: Check out Radical Sports for kitesurfing at the far end of the beach. If shopping is more your thing, Hannah at Planet Ceramics hand-makes some gorgeous pieces.
Best for: Lunch with a view so good we named a bikini after it!
Eat: Aubergine and Tomato Choka with fried bake
Wear: Susan Alexandra Watermelon Dream bag
Our tip: Castara is an easy day trip if your staying around Mount Irvine but if you can we recommend staying here for a couple of nights. Built into the treetops, Castara Retreats is one of the best hotels on the island.
Best for: Swimming until lunch is served
Eat: Catch of the Day
Wear: Castara Bandeau in Coral with your favourite sarong
Our tip: They throw a beach-party on a Wednesday night if you are staying in Castara.
Best for: A piece of paradise, without the crowds
Eat: Veg or chicken Roti
Wear: Arima Frill in Papaya with Skimpy bottoms in Mango Yellow
Our tip: Try the unusual ice-cream for sale in the car park. You’ll either love it or hate it!
Best for: The most low-key bar you’ve ever been to
Drink: One of the coldest caribs on the island and an outstanding rum punch
Wear: High-waisted Trousers in Ochre with Valet's Anais earrings
Our tip: Otherwise known as 'Ocean View Bar.'
Best for: Food anytime of day on our favourite beach in Tobago
Eat: Fish Tacos and Plantain chips
Wear: Mr. Boho's Hayes sunglasses
Our tip: You can easily spend all day swimming and hanging out here but the beach (and you) look at their best during golden hour.
Best for: Delicious fish
Eat: Crab Cakes
Wear: Sea Green High Waisted trousers and Reliquia Forever hoops
Our tip: Book ahead in peak season, this is probably the best restaurant in Tobago so it is very popular.
Best for: A good local vibe for an after dinner drink
Drink: Rum and coke
Wear: High Waisted Trousers in Cool Grey with a Suryo Bermuda clutch
Our tip: Put your coin on the table for a turn playing pool but be warned the rules they play by are a bit unusual.