Opened in May 2019, family-owned and operated Concordia Estate is Tobago’s newest eco-resort. Mark and I were very excited to be amongst the first visitors invited to spend the weekend on the estate. We stayed for two nights and sampled the food and activities on offer, as well as the accommodation. What follows is our full review of Concordia Estate, Tobago.
Name – Concordia Estate
Address – St.Cecilia Road, Concordia, Tobago
Phone – 1-868-394-1940
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
History of Concordia Estate, Tobago
The origins of Concordia Estate are believed to date back to around 1500 when Europeans first came to Tobago. Written records from these times do not exist, but there are cultivated trees on the estate today which are 400 years old, so this is probably proof enough that man has been involved at Concordia for at least that long.
One of the first mentions of Concordia Estate in the history books comes in 1781. At that time, the estate would have covered around 200 acres. Tobago was under British control, having changed hands many times before this. The French were determined to reclaim the island and sent a fleet of nine ships and 3100 men. Lt. Governor George Ferguson, the Scotsman in charge of Tobago on behalf of the British, amassed all the able-bodied men he could. They were just 427 in number, made up of planters, militia, sailors, and regular troops.
According to the Gerard A Besson of the Caribbean History Archives, this is what happened next:
Lt. Governor Ferguson regrouped his men at Concordia, on the heights above Scarborough, not far from Mason Hall, fighting a guerrilla action all the way.
The French general Philbert Blanchelande demanded their surrender, having set up a battery at French Fort, which was then a cotton plantation overlooking Concordia. A French attack on the English position failed in the night, as the French lost their way.
Ferguson and his small band refused to surrender, requesting the French general “not to trouble me again upon this point”. From the heights of Concordia, Ferguson was able to see more French troops landing in Plymouth and was forced to wait until the dead of the night to fall back to the base of the main ridge, Caledonia Estate. He did this so well that when the French stormed his position the next day, they found that he had gone.
Ferguson fell back through the forest and steep mountainsides and fortified a mountain top position so as to make a final stand. By this time, the French had landed some 400 men at Man-of-War Bay, intent to take Ferguson from the rear. Still, the British resisted. It was only when the French started to burn the plantations ten days later, that Ferguson’s force, many of them planters, short of ammunition and food, decided that the wisest course of action would be to surrender. The French congratulated the English on their gallant defence.
Concordia means peace, calmness and serenity, adjectives which could certainly be applied to the place today, though probably not back in the day when slaves were used in the production of sugar cane and, later, coffee and chocolate. The current owners have unearthed grim reminders of these times, in the form of shackles and branding irons, which are now on display in the on-site museum. The exhibits here give a fascinating insight into what life must have been like for the 149 slaves working at Concordia in 1819, by which time Tobago was back in British hands, and the estate had its own massive water wheel. This harnessed the power of the Providence River to extract sugar from the cane.
NOTE – Although the British slave trade officially ended in 1807, making the buying and selling of slaves from Africa illegal, slavery itself had not ended. It was not until 1 August 1834 that slavery ended in the British Caribbean, which included Tobago.
Concordia Estate remained a working plantation until the early 1970s.
Concordia Estate Today
Today, the 50-acre estate has been purchased by a Tobagonian family, headed by CEO, Beverley George-Jordan. They have a twenty-year plan to develop the site into Tobago’s premier eco-resort and nature park.
Taking inspiration from both the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Yerette in Trinidad, projects include a hummingbird sanctuary, a river beach, and a butterfly garden.
The estate occupies a lush, verdant valley with a river and waterfall at the bottom. It is home to countless bird species, insects and animals. It is a perfect place to relax in nature, waking up to bird song and falling asleep to the sounds of crickets and frogs. Spend the days hiking the trails through the forest or finding a spot to sit and enjoy your book.
For those who prefer more adrenaline-filled pastimes, you can ride ATVs or mountain bikes down to the river.This photo shows a guy riding a quad bike with a girl riding pillion
Having fun on ATVs
The aim is to provide an eco-adventure resort – a unique offering for tourists and locals alike. The family want Concordia to appeal to couples seeking a relaxing weekend away, families after an activity break, and corporate groups looking for team-building opportunities. They also hope to host conferences and weddings.
Our Stay at Concordia Estate, Tobago
We felt very special as soon as we stepped out of our taxi. Members of staff were there to greet us and they showed us into the welcome centre. This new building also doubles as a conference space and it would be where the karaoke would happen later on that evening!
They served us delicious organic passion fruit juice and a selection of sandwiches before taking us to our room.
The accommodation at Concordia Estate is located in the historic cocoa house where the crop was processed after harvesting. Many of the original features have been incorporated into the guest rooms.
There are three rooms available to book:
Room 1 – a double room for two people with a queen-sized bed and ensuite bathroom
Room 2 – a family room for up to four adults and a child with 2 queen-sized beds, a cot and ensuite bathroom
Room 3 – a dormitory-style room for up to 8 people with 2 queen-sized and four single beds, a well-equipped kitchen, and two bathrooms
All of the rooms are finished to a very high standard. We stayed in room 1. It was very clean and comfortable. There was a mosquito net over the bed and plenty of electrical sockets for charging devices. The ensuite bathroom was spacious and the complimentary toiletries were a lovely touch. There are plans to replace conventional products with eco-friendly versions soon.
The Cocoa House
Watch this video for a tour of our room:
Free wi-fi is available. We found that it didn’t work in our room, but it wasn’t a problem as it worked well in the conference space and in the seating area at the front of the property. We also had our wi-fi hotspot with us which worked a treat!
Guests at Concordia Estate can cater for themselves if they wish, or they can opt to have their meals cooked for them.
We were lucky enough to have all our meals included and, I have to say, they were a highlight of our stay!
On Friday night, we had barbecue chicken with typical Tobagonian vegetable dishes served to us as we sat around the bonfire.
Our first breakfast the next morning was a warm salad of salt fish, fitweed and tomatoes with fresh bakes. Our ‘light lunch’ was a delicious selection of salads served on a banana leaf, with homemade coconut tarts for dessert, all washed down with fresh coconut water. For dinner, our hosts prepared chicken with roast potato slices and salad followed by cassava pone, a tasty not-too-sweet cake with the dense consistency of bread pudding.
Breakfast on our final morning was scrambled eggs with fresh salads and wholemeal rolls. For lunch, we had chicken with Chinese-style noodles and green beans.
I would certainly recommend that guests at Concordia Estate take the meal option!
Concordia Estate already offers a range of activities, with more planned.
Friday nights are going to be bonfire, barbecue and karaoke evenings. We were there for the first one. It was so entertaining – especially when the family’s children did a turn!
It was too wet for us to go on the quad bikes. Some locals came up on the Sunday to do it. It looked like great fun – we’ll have to pay a return visit!
We enjoyed a guided nature walk down to the water wheel. It was really interesting to learn all about the native birds, especially the national bird of Tobago, the cocorico (scientific name – rufous-vented chachalaca) and the medicinal properties of local trees and plants. We discovered, for example, that Tobagonians swear by the leaves of the Bacano tree as a cure for the common cold.
Our guide, Leroy, also brought to life the history of the estate with his descriptions of how the water wheel was built and used. At 10 metres in diameter, it’s the second-largest on Tobago. Whilst it isn’t complete, enough of the wheel survives to give the visitor a clear idea of its original stature.
Leroy talking to us about trees
It is possible for larger groups of visitors to have a hay wagon ride down to the river. There are also plans afoot to have horses on site.
Room 1 – US$99 per night for two people.
Room 2 – US$199 per night for four people.
Room 3 – US$50 per night each for the first four people, US$30 each for the other four.
All room prices include a free walking trail, a museum visit and Friday night entertainment.
Guests get a 15% discount on all other activities.
Breakfast – US$8
Lunch – US$12
Dinner – US$15
There are plans to offer package deals for couples retreats, friends and family retreats, and company team-building retreats.
What did we think of Concordia Estate, Tobago?
We loved it! We had a thoroughly enjoyable, relaxing, informative weekend with comfortable accommodation, delicious food, and interesting activities.
This eco-resort is a new venture and the owners have huge plans. We are excited to see how the business develops. We will revisit and update this post in the future.
In the meantime, if you’re planning to come to Tobago, or if you’re here already, I recommend that you visit Concordia and experience it for yourselves.