The Tobago Cays are our favorite anchorage in the Grenadines. If you enjoy the sound of the ocean, beautiful beaches, few people around and no buildings then this is it. An idyllic yachting anchorage, a dream for scuba divers, a paradise for beachcombers, and a film location for Pirates of the Caribbean – the Tobago Cays, and the Tobago Cays Marine Park, is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring island destinations.
Your captain can anchor your yacht just off the beach so you can swim to shore or behind the reef away from everyone else.
The Tobago Cays are an archipelago comprising five small uninhabited islands – Petit Rameau, Petit Bateau, Baradol, Petit Tobac and Jamesby – located in the Southern Grenadines. They are now the key element of the Tobago Cays Marine Park, a national park and wildlife preserve run by the St.Vincent and the Grenadines government. The Tobago Cays Marine Park consists of a 1,400-acre (5.7 km2) sand-bottom lagoon which encompasses four uninhabited cays and the 4 km Horseshoe Reef. While the cays are uninhabited, they are surrounded by the three larger inhabited islands of Union Island, Mayreau, and Canouan.
The most extensive and well-developed coral reef complexes in St. Vincent & the Grenadines occur on shallow shelves around the windward sides of Mayreau and Union Islands and the Cays themselves. In addition, principal vegetation types include beach vegetation and dry forest. With the exception of a small mangrove in Petit Rameau and salt pond in Mayreau, there are no wetlands in the Cays.
Things To Do in The Tobago Cays
Imagine an intimate cluster of five uninhabited cays, heavenly lagoons full of green turtles, coral reefs, colourful fishes and crystal clear waters. Explore this breath-taking chain of islands and sail into a blue lagoon, explore beautiful desert island beaches, swim, snorkel and scuba dive with green turtles. Or, catch a breeze and kite surf to World’s End.
Whether snorkeling, swimming, or sitting on-aboard your luxury yacht charter with a cocktail, it is always possible to see the green turtles of the Tobago Cays. The best place to observe them is in and around the turtle watching reserve just off the south eastern shores of Baradal. From a boat you will regularly see them surfacing for air and, from beneath the waves, you can enjoy swimming alongside them in wonderfully clear and shallow waters.
Diving & Snorkeling in the Tobago Cays
Snorkeling within the protected area of the lagoon around all islands is fun, interesting and easy, and the protected waters around Baradal are a great place to see green turtles.
Scuba diving in this world-reknown Marine Park is never disappointing. From shallow, easier dives inside Horseshoe Reef, to the deeper and more dramatic sites outside the reef, the Tobago Cays showcase a variety of colourful 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 though 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.
Tobago Cays Beaches
Each of the five cays has one or more white sand beaches, perfect for soaking up the sun, having a swim, or enjoying a picnic.
Watersports in the Tobago Cays
Whether you bring your own equipment or rent it from an operator, ocean kayaking, windsurfing and kite surfing are all very popular and exciting activities here in the Tobago Cays.
The area is especially revered by kite surfing enthusiasts who usually launch from Petit Rameau and sail upwind to the inner edge of Horseshoe Reef.
The more adventurous either launch from Petit Tabac or sail beyond the reef to World’s End.
Tobago Cays Attractions
- Catholic Rock Bird Sanctuary: Sea bird nesting and roosting colonies (Observe from a boat using a binoculars/telescope)
- Purunia Wreck: Explore this 140 foot WWI British gunship wreck which sunk in 1918 just off the western coast of Mayreau.
- Mayreau Gardens: SCUBA and Snorkel this excellent Coral Reef site loaded with lots of fish and colourful sponges.
- Horse Shoe Reef: Snorkel the inshore-side of this reef, or SCUBA the ocean-side, and be amazed at the abundance of fish and coral
- 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 and 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: boast 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.