Here we look at which island to head for on your first trip to these Caribbean siblings.
Further along the Caribbean coast, Turtle Beach owes its name to the leatherback turtles that nest here; it also the scene for romantic horseback rides through the surf.
If you don’t mind brown sand, and the odd oil rig hoving into view, Trinidad offers uncrowded beaches where you won’t be bothered by touts (or anyone else for that matter). Head to Manzanilla on the east coast or Moruga in the far south.
Here vendors set up nightly around Queen’s Park Savannah, which also has the odd distinction of being the world’s largest roundabout. For a fine-dining version of Trini cuisine try the fabulous tasting menu at Chaud.
Over on Tobago, Jemma’s, near Speyside, serves up delicious macaroni pie, fried shrimp and melt-in-the mouth plantains in a “treehouse” restaurant.
To get to grips with the island’s deep-rooted Indian heritage head to Carapichaima, where you’ll find an impressive statue of monkey god Hanuman, as well as a striking Hindu temple built on the seabed.
Things are much more low-key on Tobago aside from the Bacchanalian “Sunday School”, a wryly named night of limin (partying) and winin (dancing), that takes over the small village of Bucco every weekend.
Once you’ve mastered the art of staying upright, it’s worth taking a nighttime paddle to see luminous plankton glitter beneath your board.
For divers, Speyside, on the far western tip of Tobago, offers the finest range of underwater sites, all of which are accessible from the Blue Waters Inn.
The most emblematic bird (literally given it features on the nation’s coat of arms) is the beautiful Scarlet ibis, best seen at Caroni Swamp decorating the mangrove forest like crimson baubles.
Over on Tobago you’ll find sabre-winged hummingbirds and the impressive blue-crowned mot mot flitting between the foliage of the Tobago Forest Reserve. Don’t forget your binoculars!
On Tobago you’ll find the gorgeous, eco-resort Castara Retreats, arguably the best place to stay on either island, and the tranquil Kariwak Village, resembling a Balinese yoga retreat transplanted to the Antilles.
Over on Trini, the pretty L’Orchidee hotel provides a peaceful location backing onto Port of Spain’s Botanic Gardens, while The Gingerbread House offers the chance to stay in one of the capital’s most elegant buildings, its intricate eaves and fretwork evoking both Hansel and Gretel and Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
For those itching to get under the skin of T&T, though, a trip to the big brother island of Trinidad is a must, especially for its cultural and musical clout and world-beating birdlife.
British Airways flies to both Trinidad and Tobago via Antigua or St Lucia. For more information visit www.gotrinidadandtobago.com. Explore more of Trinidad & Tobago with the Rough Guide to Trinidad & Tobago.
Top image: Batteaux Bay, Tobago © Richard Semik/Shutterstock