Alibaba's Sea Breeze - Reader Reports & Opinion
Guest Report 25 Feb 2009
Glen O from Osler, Saskatchewan, Cana visited in January 2009 and awarded
We have just returned after spending 15 wonderful days in Castara staying at Alibaba's Sea Breeze. We found the small beach apartments ideal for our needs. The accommodation had adequate space and was well laid out. Along with adequate cooking facilities it had the best fridge you could want. Kept the Stag very cold. We loved the balcony and spent most of our time in the apartment out there. Although there are dividers between the balconies of the various apartments there is a spot at the railing where you could chat with the neighbours. This was great as you had your privacy but were also able to interact with others. We were very grateful for the ceiling fans and also the stand fan for sleeping. The apartment is so sheltered that we did not receive any of the ocean breezes that are so often talked about on this forum. Location, location, location. That's what our travelling companions, Brian and Eileen, convinced us of when we booked at Alibaba's. The beach is right there! It was very easy to go from apartment to beach and back again. Given the amount of up and down in Castara we were very happy to be close to the beach and not have to make any arduous treks up and down just to get to the beach and back. Terrific location. The rooms are clean with maid service (sweeping and mopping, change of beddings and towels, etc) every third day. Appreciated the water hose at the top of the stairs to rinse off our snorkeling equipment and feet. The only hot water available was for the shower (once one learned to flip the switch to turn the heat on) but did not find this to be any problem 'cause we'd have a kettle of water heating on the gas stove while we were eating.
We did not see much of Stephanie as she and the baby were quite sick for most of our stay. Although we did not have the need very often, when we did need to talk to Brian he was most accommodating. He even drove us a couple to times to places around the island and we had the most informative and enlightening discussions with him.
We'd like to thank Brian and Stephanie for providing the accommodation in such a fantastic location and will surely stay there should we return to Castara again in the future.
Simone Kist from Canada visited in January 2009 and awarded
My new husband and I decided to get married in Tobago. After a lot of research we picked Castara as the perfect setting for our dream beach wedding. We also came across Alibaba’s Sea Breeze Apartments, located right on Heavenly Bay beach in Castara. After contacting the hotel we decided to reserve all four apartments for a week, for ourselves and some family and friends.
When we arrived in Castara we found it to be even more beautiful than we had imagined, it was so lush and natural. When we got to the apartments we were equally impressed. We were greeted by the very approachable co-owner, Stephanie (Mrs. Alibaba) and shown to our apartments. Each unit is a studio apartment with the bathroom at the rear, then a bedroom section with a large bed and mosquito net, then finally the kitchen/dining room which opens up onto a private balcony about twenty feet above the end of the beach.
We found all the units to be clean and well-supplied with everything we needed to feel comfortable. What are really outstanding about the apartments are the balconies. Situated right on the end of the beach, the balconies have the best view of Castara and also enjoy visits from many tropical birds including bananaquits, tanagers and mot mots (providing you leave them some treats in the birdfeeders). The beach below is only a two minute walk down the driveway and a small flight of steps.
Throughout our visit we found our hosts to be very friendly and resourceful. For example, my parents had accidentally left some groceries in a store in Scarborough (a 45 minute drive away) and Alibaba (aka Brian) went and retrieved them for us! Also, our close friends took a rainforest tour with Alibaba’s Tours and were very satisfied, finding the guide particularly knowledgeable and environmentally sensitive.
Overall Alibaba’s Sea Breeze Apartments was the perfect home-base for our destination wedding, we would thoroughly recommend the apartments other travelers.
John Ker from Canada visited in December 2008 and awarded
Alibaba's is located in an unbelievably picturesque village in a bay at the base of very steep rainforest hills which my wife compares to the scenery in the movie 'Jurassic Park'. Enough said . The setting is georgous.
We stayed in late November and early December. The weather was quite warm when we arrived but became easier for us from the north as time went on. We acclimatised and it became less humid.
Our trip with Brian from the airport was exciting. The roads run along cirques and what is a 15 K by the crow trip takes around 40 minutes but very scenic. The village of Castara is at the base of a big incline where the beach was originally a landing place before decent roads. Because of the trade winds blowing by, there is big surf so no docks. The Castarans are excellant surf boatmen and the fisherman have to bring most things in by carrying them through the surf. We witnessed them unloading tuna through the surf one day which we had for dinner that night. Inexpensive and delicious!
We suppose you want to know about Ali Baba's. All great. To complain about the surf waking you up at night is something, isn't it? We live in an area of great natural beauty but this is more than the tropical equivalent. Your balcony is right above the beach (10 metres). From the balcony we noted 22 birds of the 41 birds that are listed in the Tobago guide. Down at the beach, if you are slow, two minutes away, the surf may be a little daunting. Once through the surf, the snorkelling begins maybe 100 feet out . If the surf is high it will be a little cloudy and you will have to go further out. We saw all the basic reef fish that one usually sees as well as turtles and a moray eel.GO TO BUCOO REEF WITH ALI BABA (BRIAN) I am using up too much space but this trip is a social history lesson as well as visiting the reef (some of the best snorkelling I've done in the Caribbean). Great hosts, good food, good beer and punch! I could go on forever.
Brian and Steph were wonderful hosts. We felt welcomed while enjoying our privacy. The kitchen was well equipped and there was lots of hot water which certain people need. At our time of year, you will appreciate the overhead fans. It is a must to go on the rain forest tour through Brian. Our guide was so informative and showed an obvious love and respect for the forest. When we go back, I'm taking another hike up there to find out more of the history of the area.
In conclusion, this is not an all inclusive type setting BUT, if you have the smallest adventurous bone in your body, you will enjoy the hospitality of your hosts and the Castarans. Have an ice cold Carib at Rev Codrington Wallace's bar at the top of the hill. My wife, yes, she's the one, got to dance with Santa at the outdoor Christmas pageant. Get involved when you can in the community activities. What fun ! Great holiday ! Did I mention the outdoor clay oven bakery and the local music (exciting) !
Andreas Boeckh from Germany visited in November 2008 and awarded
The location is priceless. One lives directly above the sea, the beach (very clean) being just a few steps away. It is very quiet. The only noise which could bother you are the waves and the birds (there is a bird paradise right next to your balcony).
One should not expect the Ritz (the owners certainly do not try to sell it as such), but you find everything in the appartment you need. The kitchen is well equipped. The owners are very friendly people willing to help whenever a problem should arise. Those three weeks were very restful.
Margy Cockburn from U.K. visited in July 2008 and awarded
Couldn't find a better location for a holiday home - you are in the sea and amongst a really great coral reef with loads of floral and fauna to explore, within seconds.
The sunsets from the balcony are great as well and the hosts very congenial (though had just had a new baby so were not around, perhaps as much as they usually are!0.
Accommodation pretty basic but all clean except for a slightly smelly bathroom.