An early morning departure (we met our guide and three other visitors at 5:30 a.m.) and hour long drive did nothing to dampen our spirits. Scheduling conflicts had forced us to choose between a rain forest tour and a day long sail and the time had arrived to find out if it was a good decision. We had even had to make an impromptu shopping trip to Scarborough to buy long pants for the excursion (we had only brought warm weather casual clothes with us to the island and long pants were necessary to visit the forest). We picked up borrowed rain boots courtesy of our tour company at a roadside spot on our way to the rain forest trail entrance.
Named Tovaco, meaning tobacco, by the original Amerindian inhabitants, Tobago is a tropical Caribbean island just below the hurricane belt. Described in tourism brochures as “clean, green and serene,” it is an attractive destination for ecoutourists and adventurous world travelers able to appreciate its many charms hidden just below the surface. It was formerly a British colony and retains many of the British traditions such as left side driving, a charming West Indian English, and a sense of punctuality. At 21 miles by 7 miles (41 x 14 kilometers) in size it is slightly smaller than the state of Delaware in the U.S.
Villa de Lena, like Tobago, was a journey of discovery. We began the journey as curious visitors and ended it as friends. The two story $1.2 million villa occupied 374 square meters. It was well situated in a residential district near the tourist areas on the western end of Tobago. This meant our street was quiet with little traffic. At the same time we were within a five to 10 minute drive to the airport, tourist attractions, the Store Bay market and food stalls, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops and tourist activities such as diving and water sports.
It was easy to forget work, stress and the everyday while gazing toward the blue and green hues of the Caribbean on an open terrace 180 feet above the coast. We were the sole occupants of Being, a $2 million private luxury villa in Tobago created by tourism industry executive Auliana Poon a Trinidadian herself. Perched on five acres of land on the edge of the rain forest, Being had a distinctive look, a mixture of Caribbean elegance and modern styling with a playful touch of European flair.
A large rectangular sign on the street corner in front of a Scarborough house confirmed we had found the Blue Crab Restaurant. Although first time guests might be fooled by the simple table settings and minimum fanfare, we soon discovered that inside a world of flavorful and perfectly prepared island treats awaited us. From the curry flying fish appetizer to the passion fruit ice cream we enjoyed every morsel.