Buccoo Reef, Tobago
...where jeweled fish dance in coral gardens
Gently floating just off the gentle ripples at Store Bay, sat our Buccoo Reef chariot. Our glass-bottom-boat was loading and we were filled with eager anticipation at the prospect of being just a short 15-minute boat ride away from one of Trinidad and Tobago's national treasures.
The Best Tour Guides
Finding the right tour guide is critical, for not all glass-bottom-boats, nor all tour operators, are created equal.
Ask around, some tour operators are environmentally responsible, some are not. If you select a tour operator who follows the Buccoo Reef Trust guidelines for sustainable reef tourism, you'll know you're getting the best.
Panoramic Views of Another Tobago Icon
On your journey to the reef, you'll be introduced to Pigeon Point - one of the Caribbean's most photographed beaches. If you haven't yet had the pleasure, set aside a day to enjoy this Tobago icon, you'll be glad you did, and you'll come away with some incredible memories.
Beautiful Coral Garden
Soon enough, we are at the reef's edge and in the water, communing with nature in a very personal way. You'll be supplied with mask and snorkel but you can bring your own if you prefer.
Coral reefs are extremely sensitive environments, and the damage left by previous visitors is noticeable. I could hear my Grandmother's voice in my head; "leave it as you found it", she'd often say as she encouraged us to be responsible. And that's what we did: we came; we saw the wonders of Buccoo Reef, and we left it as we found it. Granny would be proud.
World of Wonder
Below the waves, jeweled fish dance between the coral, swaying in time with ocean swells. A marine ballet, played out in miniature. The talented cast seemingly oblivious to the clumsy audience.
While the coral gardens of Buccoo Reef have seen better times, they remain a great introduction to snorkeling, and a wonderful way for little Dick and Jane to meet their favorite characters from the "Little Mermaid". No autographs, please.
Tobago's Nylon Pool
Next stop, the Nylon Pool, a sparkling, aqua-blue basin of clear waist-high water that makes every hotel pool envious. Yep, you read that correctly, "pool envy".
Our sojourn at the Nylon Pool was spent liming - hanging out Trini style; the discarded bones of the reef - pure white coral sand - between out toes. It was time to compare notes on who saw what, where at the reef, and, because we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool, when we plan to return on our next Trinidad and Tobago vacation.
By the way, you'll never guess how the Nylon Pool got it's name. It was none other than Princess Margaret on her honeymoon, who announced, "it's so crazy-blue, it looks like nylon". I guess it could have done worse than to be named by a royal, wouldn't you say?
Marine Explorers Return
On your return journey, the boat may stop at Pigeon Point. Don't get off. If you do, you'll have a 30-minute hike back to Store Bay - if that's where your car is parked.
Then again, if you have the energy, you might enjoy a little hike, and it's not every day you have the opportunity to enjoy a walk along a picturesque strip of quiet, coconut-tree-fringed, coral sand. We are usually far too lazy to exercise while on vacation. More often than not we are looking for ways to cool off with another Trinidad rum punch. But then, we're sure you'll agree, a cool drink can be even more enjoyable after a beautiful walk, just look at these stunning Tobago beach photos.
Fame and Fortune
Beauty and accessibility has led to Buccoo Reef's acclaim. A popularity that has taken it's toll over the last 50 years.
The reef is much more than a breathtaking natural wonder that provides visitors with a relaxing distraction. It is the backbone of Tobago's 2 main industries, fishing and tourism, providing both crucial jobs and food. Responsible conservation and sustainable tourism are vital to the ongoing health of this national treasure.
You Can Help: Here are a few suggestions...Never walk on, or touch living coral, doing so kills the coral polyps and prevents regeneration. Even minor damage can take untold years to repair. Note: Scratches from coral can develop into extremely painful infections that can ruin vacations. Remove nothing; even if a shell or piece of coral looks dead, they are an integral part of the Buccoo Reef's finely balanced eco-system.
- Select a responsible tour operator, one who follows the Buccoo Reef Trust's Guidelines, and will ensure minimal damage occurs to the reef during your visit.
Don't buy shells and coral. Support local craftsmen whenever possible, but remember that purchasing coral and shells encourages the suppliers to plunder Buccoo Reef, causing further damage. Instead, purchase items that promote sustainable tourism.
Tobago diving can be great fun for those seeking a little more adventure. There are numerous excellent dive locations particularly on Tobago's North Coast for anyone with a little scuba experience. Related Topics... Visit Pigeon Point, another Tobago icon End your day trip to the reef at Store Bay Our Tobago villaCrown Point Hotel in Tobago Suggested Topics... Spend the day at Maracas Beach in Trinidad GO TO Options... TOP of Buccoo Reef, TobagoBack to Tour TrinidadHOME PAGE