Caribbean Snapshots: Tobago Cays

Scenic islands set in a Technicolor coral reef


In the middle of the Grenadines archipelago lies a cluster of five small islands that are uninhabited, but far from unknown. The Tobago Cays sit within a clear water lagoon, surrounded by a maze of coral reefs. Once private and off limits, they now form the centerpiece of their namesake marine park, and attract thousands of visitors each year. Yachtsmen come to anchor in the bay, while excursion boats bring day trippers, who come to swim with the resident sea turtles, explore the coral gardens and spend an afternoon on white sand beaches.

The islands are actually the last visible evidence of an ancient volcano that slipped below the waves long ago, leaving just these eroded peaks above the waves. There are no dwellings or beach bars within the park, but local fishermen from nearby Union Island often come ashore on the island of Petit Bateau to stage beach barbecues and serve up tempting dinners of grilled fish and lobster under the shade of waving palm trees.