Beach House - Reader Reports & Opinion
Anna & Daniel Raab from Germany visited in July 2009 and awarded
Five times I stayed in the Beachhouse so far... that actually speaks for itself – but I’ll try to describe the reasons. I’ve been to some of the most wonderful places in the world – including the Seychelles – but when I came to Tobago the first time I knew I found my paradise.
When I was looking for an accommodation in Tobago I found the Beachhouse in the Internet. Due to the description and the pictures I booked it – although I was aware that most of the times the reality differs very much from the internet-description. But not this time – it was even more magical than described.
The Beachhouse is absolutely lovely, the apartments are equipped with everything you need - and the location is idyllic – just perfect. Situated directly on the edge of the beach, with brilliant views (day and night), wildlife on the balcony, sunsets, got everything you need. The locals made us feel very welcome and showed us a good time. We couldn’t ask for a more beautiful, relaxing and friendly piece of nature.
The Boathouse (bar/restaurant) a few steps away is a great location – and never disturbed our sleep (they usually close long before midnight) – and on Wednesdays it a special delight to sit on the balcony and listen to their drums eve.
Everything you need for eating or cooking you can get in Castara – except pure butter (they only have margarine; the only market I got butter was at the Pennysaver on the Milford Rd. (road to the airport) – and I looked for it in quite a lot of markets on the island). Around the evening you can go and buy fresh fish straight off the fishing boat for less money. On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can get locally baked breads (including delicious pumpkin bread), cakes, sweetbread, and coconut drops that are baked by a group of senior citizens who have been baking with this method for decades. The oven is located just off the main road across a small stream and directly in front of the beach. Be sure to get there in the morning to place your order – otherwise they will probably be sold out.
Porridge is a great caretaker – always ensuring that you have everything you need – and in addition he is charming and friendly. He does everything he can do to make sure you’re having a good time – and if he’s not around you can always reach him on the phone.
The only bad news in most of the reviews are the mosquitos. But I experienced that when you buy the local mosquito coils and put “Off” on your skin (it feels and smells good – not like “Autan” that you usually use in Germany) (you get it in Scarborough and in a few markets on the island) you won’t get bitten (often). And if you stay longer than a week they don’t like you so much any more anyway.
So, I will go back soon – and this is the best recommendation I can give.
Tracey Cowderoy from U.K. visited in April 2009 and awarded
We stayed at The Beach House for 10 nights in April 2009.
We stayed in Palm Corner apt and felt it was quaint, rustic and extremely practical to live in. It is homely without frills, but with enough mod cons to manage.
The kitchen is fully equipped and this in itself is a great help, no need to feel you have to go out every night as you can prepare and cook as much or as little as you want.
The living area is medium size with a mosquito net over the fairly comfortable bed and bedding is changed regularly.It was felt that a small chest of drawers would be an asset as wardrobe space is good for hanging clothes but for smalls etc a small bedside cupboard would be helpful for more storage.
The bathroom is adequate but could do with some netting over the brick vents as we found this was an area the odd bug would come in.
The veranda is wonderful and a definite plus, complete with table and chairs and a hammock, this is where you will spend you time.
Apart from the two minor items mentioned we were very pleased with the accommodation.
Porridge the manager is always around should you need him and regularly pops up to see if all is ok.Porridge is also on hand for advice and planning trips or hiring a car.
Castara itself is very pretty and is green and lush. The locals are friendly and will chat to you willingly.
The Beach House is right on the beach and i mean right on the beach. It takes seconds to reach Little Bay and a few min walk to walk to Big Bay. Both beaches are lovely but we felt Little Bay could benefit from a slight tidy every now and then.
The Boat House bar/restaurant situated on little bay/ Heavenly Bay supplies sunbeds but there are not many and some need replacing.Not to worry though the sand is white and warm so as long as you have a towel to lay on and a snorkle you will be fine.
This bar has a great location and food and drinks are supplied by friendly staff. Also Wed eve they have a dinner and drums eve..well worth going.
The other restaurants in Castara serve good food, and there are a couple of supermarkets and the fisherman's co-op where you can buy fresh fish.
We went to Castara for a complete chill out in lovely surroundings with lovely sunshine and friendly people, and that is what we had.
All in all this is a wonderful place to stay and we will be returning for sure.
I will never tire from seeing such beautiful sunsets, swaying palm trees and blue skies, i have my photos and my memories and i will be back and once you have been to The Beach House so will you!
*Please bear in mind the local dogs and chickens do tend to bark and crow and this may disturb light sleepers but you do get used to the noise and you tend to listen to the waves lapping instead and this lulls you back to sleep*.
Mark Gibbens from U.S.A. visited in March 2009 and awarded
If you've settled on Castara for your vacation, or for that matter any of the small villages in the northeastern part of Tobago, I doubt you can do much better than the Beach House. A highlight of my stay (in one of the two small units)was just sitting on the porch enjoying the beautiful views of Castara Bay, and of course a wonderful small beach and swimming area is just a few feet away. This is a huge advantage, in my view, because most of the accomodation in Castara is well away from the water. Also, the porch is very sheltered and I used it during a couple of heavy rains and stayed completely dry. The inside portion of the apartment was very clean and basic, the bed comfortable, the kitchen well equipped. It's small, but you won't be spending much time indoors but for sleeping or maybe cooking anyway. The caretaker, Porridge, will take good care of you. I had a very good sense of privacy even though the other units were occupied when I was there. Since the House is slightly above the beach, and separated by a line of vegetation, the beach users also don't intrude on your privacy. I would have no hesitation recommending this place to my friends.
Garry & Julie Reeves from U.K. visited in March 2009 and awarded
What a wonderful place to stay for a relaxing away-from-it-all holiday.
We stopped for 11 nights 15-26 March 2009 in Coconut Heights and were blown away with the whole setting. The sunsets were to die for. A tip for those stopping here with regards to the waves breaking on the beach, just like sleeping with someone who snores, try to get your own breathing in synch with the waves/snores and you will soon drop off.
Thanks to Porridge who really looked after us well and knows just what you need/want by intuition. One of life's real genuine good people!
I recommend putting some titbits in the bird feeder 1st thing in the morning and just lie in the hammock (I've got one since returning) and watch the variety of size/colours etc of the birds that come to feed there.
The Boathouse next door was great - friendly and really good service. I recommend Hazel's above Max's store for lunch - a real taste of the local food at a great price.
Get snorkelling if you can and you will be well rewarded.
Diana Moss from U.K. visited in March 2009 and awarded
We spent a wonderful 10 days in Coconut Heights, upstairs at the Beach House, in early March last year. For the first time for us, we are returning to the same place in the new year, for a longer stay.
Castara is kind of unique - it feels like you've wandered into someone's village, and whilst they are quite pleased to see you, they won't put on a show - they're friendly as long as you fall into doing things their way and at their speed - and if you do, then after a few days you realise you've become part of the rhythm of the community - and it's great.
It's not the scene for eveyone but we loved its natural, quaint, unpretentious atmosphere. The highlights for us were:
-Bare foot escapism, carefree and non-judgemental - about as far from 'corporate' and 'all inclusive' as you can get - no glitter, no fashion statements, just real.
- Buying fish from the fisherman in Big Bay as they cleaned and gutted their catch for that day - cooked back in our well equipped little kitchen - delicious
-The ladies who bake wonderful bread in their clay oven in the centre of the village. Tea bread, pumpkin bread and coconut drops are highly recommended. Order double because they won't last and order early!
- Exploring the local stalls for the best fruit and veg (not cheap)and trying to find things to eat at the local supermarket(you can, with imagination). There's plenty more choice further afield.
-Visits from the local menagerie; chickens,dogs and cats (some mangy but all loveable). They don't encroach but they are ever present, on the beach and around the apartment.
- Snorkelling early in the morning, encountering massive rays, a little turtle and cuttle fish, all in Little Bay.
-The reassurance of Porridge - knowing you have someone quietly looking out for you and always there if you need him. He provides a good car hire and transfer service. We wanted a convertible jeep which Porridge didn't supply so we hired a rather old, smoky but reliable jeep from KCNN.
As others have said, in our view, the Beach House is the best place to stay in Castara - no better place in the world to enjoy a sundowner. The balcony, the bats and the bananquits, along with the highlights mentioned above have beckoned us back. Whilst there, a number of other hoilday makers approached us to ask about the Beach House as they were enchanted by it too.
The apartment has all the basics you will need including a great fridge with freezer dept. We would recommend you take an additional towell or two as the sand really does get everywhere and there are no laundry facilities. As a tip, ensure you use the floor brush provided and use the outside tap to wash sand off your feet otherwise you increase the sandfly population.
The apartment is substantially built - we didn't hear our neighbours downstairs. Everyone we met was like minded and had chosen Castara for the same reasons as us - mostly for the Robinson Crusoe effect.
Beach chairs are at a premium so you may want to take a lilo as a makeshift lounger. Not recommended for the water but when covered with a towel they don't look out of place.
BUT....don't choose the Beach House unless you can put up with:
Mosquitos and sand flies (just normal really)
The constant sound of the sea - it's very close
The crow of the cockerals at 3am (it's what cockerals do)
A frog and insect chorus with the occassional harmony from the local canine community
Visiting lizards (small ones), bats(many & harmless)
Weevils in the pasta (protein?)
Finally for the diver, there are some reasonalbe reefs for scuba diving. We recommend Richie from Wild Turtle Dive who will bring all the gear to Castara. If you go to Speyside, choose your dive operator carefully - we had an 'out of air' incident due to rented equipment failure, and no-one at Extra Divers seemed to take it seriously.
So that's our experience of the Beach House, one we would like to keep a secret but feel we have to share out of respect for it's generous owners. Thank you!