Along the south coast of Tobago are three dives sites. From east to west, they are Cove Reef, Flying Reef and Stingray Alley. Coral reefs in this area are gently sloping and exposed to high currents. These are the haunts of large schools of reef fish including grunts and chub.
Located north of Charlotteville, this island is a bird sanctuary and home to a number of nesting species, including the Magnificent Frigatebird and the Brown Booby. Coral reefs surrounding St Giles are exposed to high currents that form reefs dominant in brain corals that cover the shallow areas.
Sanga Rock is located in north Charlotteville. The sheltered side of Sanga Rock is home to a unique coral reef dominant in boulder and brain corals. Divers swim around Sanga Rock and explore the walls that are encrusted with the beautiful non-native sun cup corals that resemble bunches of yellow flowers.
Just off Plymouth Point (adjacent to the Plymouth recreational grounds), this well-developed spur and groove reef is dominant in sea plumes and sea rods.
Pirates Bay reefs consist of two small patch reefs located on either side of Pirates Bay in Man-O-War Bay, Charlotteville. This shallow coral community grows over sunken rocks. The reef is home to encrusting fire coral and hard corals, numerous long-spined sea urchins and sea rods. Many reef fish and juvenile marine turtles visit these reefs.
Mt Irvine Bay is a popular spot for surfing and diving in southwest Tobago. Mt Irvine reef, also known as the Flying Dutchman, extends out to the eastern headland. This fringing reef transitions from soft coral to hard coral as you move out from the bay. The back end of Mt Irvine reef is Mt Irvine Wall, which has a few swim throughs and overhangs where schools of fish hang out.
Little Tobago is the larger island located in Speyside Bay. This island is home to marvels both above and below the water including one of the largest brain corals in the Western Hemisphere. Coral reefs encircle Little Tobago. The island is an important nesting site for marine birds, including the Red-billed Tropic Bird.
Landslide reef runs along the eastern margin of Man-O-War Bay from Pirates Bay out towards Breakfast Bay. This is a shallow fringing reef dominated by hard and soft corals growing along submerged rocks. It is home to rare branching Elkhorn coral.
Iguana Bay is located north of Charlotteville and can only be accessed by boat. Although there are coral communities, there is little structure, likely because of the exposed wave environment. It is home to some colonies of the incredible rare Acropora cervicornis.
Hermitage reef lies along the eastern side of Man-O-War Bay, Charlotteville, adjacent to Hermitage Bay. With no coastal development nearby, this coral reef is home to the endangered branching Elkhorn corals in the shallows. Farther down the reef slope, giant mountain star coral colonies extend from 7 m to 15 m in depth, creating underwater structures for numerous marine creatures.
Located off Speyside, Goat Island features a house nestled between two giant rocks. Coral reefs wrap right around the island. The most famous reef is called Angel Reef, which lies along the western bay; it is dominant in hard corals and is one of the more biodiverse reefs on the island. Japanese Gardens on the south side of the island is well-known for its colourful sponge communities.
This quaint bay lies along the Caribbean coast between Castara and Parlatuvier. The bay is lined with coral reef communities including small colonies of the very rare Staghorn coral that can be seen when snorkelling. The deeper coral reefs are dominant in sea plumeas and boulder corals.
Diver’s Dream consists of a series of shallow reef banks found 4 km off the south coast of Tobago between Trinidad and Tobago. The banks are covered by giant barrel sponges that thrive in the high currents. Encrusting coral and macroalgae are also prominent at this site. The banks are often visited by pelagic marine life, such as turtles, sharks and barracuda.
Culloden Bay is home to a unique spur and groove coral reef formed by water movement. The growth of corals over time has created these rocky underwater spurs that project out to sea like fingers. Each spur is separated by a sandy groove where one can find turtles, eels and lionfish lurking.
This remote bay is adjacent to Castara Bay. It is usually accessed for diving by boat. Cotton Bay consists of a series of submerged rocks for an amazing swim through for divers and hideout for marine life. Encrusting and boulder corals grow along these giant submerged rocks that descend to great depth.
Coral Gardens is a small patch reef located in the Bon Accord Lagoon in the Buccoo Reef Marine Protected Area. This is one of the better-known treasures of Buccoo Reef. It is visited daily by snorkelers and glass bottom boat tours. Coral Gardens in dominant in the reef building coral Orbicella annularis, also known as the potato coral, and hosts many reef fish.
The reef fringes the eastern margins of Castara Bay extending from Heavenly Bay out of the bay. Castara reef is a popular for snorkelling with the rare branching Elkhorn corals close to the rocks. For divers, the reef is dominant in soft coral plumes that make perfect hiding spots for juvenile turtles.
The only Marine Protected Area in Tobago, Buccoo Reef features a fringing reef system with a back reef and a lagoon that are connected to a mangrove ecosystem. The uniqueness of this reef attracted many during the 1950s and 1960s, but decades of mismanagement have allowed large portions of the reef system to be degraded. Some sections of Buccoo Reef are still productive. See Coral Gardens
On the eastern side of Man-O-War Bay, this reef is accessible only by boat. The rocky shoreline extends underwater to house branching and bouldering corals on submerged rocks and abundant fish life seeking refuge between the reef and the rocks.
Booby Island is located within the sheltered Man-O-War Bay at Charlotteville in northeast Tobago. It is named after the Brown Boobies that inhabit the rock. On one side a gently sloping reef dominant in sea plumes and corals connects the island to the mainland at Lover’s Bay; on the other side, divers can explore the submerged rock walls of the island.
Arnos Vale Bay on Tobago’s Caribbean coast is a popular snorkel and diving destination, including night diving in the bay. The Arnos Vale reef extends outward from the bay along the eastern and western fringes, where the reef grows on submerged rocks. Divers can swim through channels covered in corals, sea fans and sponges.