Carpe Diem - Reader Reports & Opinion
These reports are a combination of questions and comment posted in our Carpe Diem forum and visitor reports added via the 'Add Report' tab above. The votes awarded are weighted by volume and date to give a truer representation of reader satisfaction [more details].
Reader Satisfaction Ranking: Weighted ranking based on 61 votes = 5 (max 5)
Tom West from Germany visited in March 2017 and awarded
All in all my 3 weeks in Tobago / Castara was the best vacation so far! The 2 different appartments I stayed in, have been a huge factor, as I wanted a nice view and troublefree accomodation. The balcony has just a stunning view at the coast, ocean and sunset! The room has everything needed and is big and clean. Mosquitos have not been an issue and the internet-speed, if needed, is due to a fiberoptics-connection just beautiful (approx. 25mbit/s down / 20mbit/s up). Yvonne and Chris have been very kind and helpful. If you need some insights what is happening in Castara or Tobago the "Professor" is your guy =)
The walk to the beach takes abt. 5 minutes. There are a couple of small shops for daily stuff within just 2-5 min as well (fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat, bread & beer...). You have a huge variety of birds just in front of your balcony, which can be happily fed. Chickens are hopping around as well. From time to time they could wake you up in the middle of the night, like some dogs down the street. But I had ear-plugs and could sleep very well in the big comfortable bed. Waking up to the ocean sound (and view) is included in the price as well! Loved it.
If you decide to go, you are guaranteed to have a good time in Castara! Have fun and a good travel!
Lauren Andrew from U.K. visited in March 2017 and awarded
Hosts Chris and Yvonne are genuine, friendly and helpful. Accommodated my partner and I on short notice. We're always around but never intrusive.
The studio is well equipped for a self-catering Holiday. Itís super clean and tidy with a very stylish mosquito net they picked up in Germany which kept us bite free.
location is perfect for an evening sunset and nature watching.
Beautiful Birds always stopping by to say hello (and the occasional colony of Bats)
It's a very short walk to parking, Castara village shops, restaurants and beaches.
Gets quite warm at night without Air-con but there are plenty of fans provided to help with that. I'd happily stay there again.
Julie Bourne from Australia visited in February 2017 and awarded
A little hike up the hill is definitely worth it. Carpe Diem is virtually mosquito free with cool breezes and a beautiful view of the bay. A short walk down the hill brings you to the centre of the village where you can dine at a different restaurant every night.of the week. Alternatively the kitchen is well kitted out if you want to cook. The beaches are just another short walk away, and even closer is Mr Wallace's bottle shop so there's a ready supply of beers to drink while watching the beautiful sunsets from the bay on your verandah. Yvonne and Chris put sugar syrup in a dish on the upper verandah which attracts humming birds by day and bats by night. The bedrooms are cool and comfortable with mosquito nets and fans which ensure a comfortable nights sleep with the doors to the verandah open. We took our fifteen year old son along and he was very content in the Green room. Yvonne set up a study for him in the Garden room where he was able to do his half term homework in the afternoons (excellent wifi).
Yvonne and Chris are very knowledgeable about Castara. They are on good terms with the local restaurants and if you say that you are staying in the "Professor's House" you can be sure of a warm welcome. It is worth taking their advice on when and where to go for supper etc.
We enjoyed Breakfasts of locally baked bread on the verandah. Then would head down to the little beach for a swim and lunch at the Boathouse bar. Later we watched the sun go down on the verandah before heading out for supper. We didn't venture out of Castara because everything we could wish for was just there. It's a difficult place to leave and we will be back soon!
Kirsty Warren from U.K. visited in February 2017 and awarded
Itís a tough question Ė you find somewhere thatís a real gem. Do you keep shtum so next time your chances of being able to book the place are fair, or do you share your secret? But I canít deny Ė this is it. If youíre staying in Castara, Iíd need real convincing that there was a single contender that could be a match for Carpe Diem. Perched up on the hill, it overlooks the wonderfully rugged, jungle-covered coastline and the sparkling sea with its impossibly pretty sunsets, fabulous birds by day and the twinkling glow of fireflies by night Ė itís just magic. At times Iíd just sit on the veranda feeling giddy with content Ė at least Iím pretty sure it was the surroundings and not just the rum.
Some words of warning. We tried to leave Ė we failed. We packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and off we went to Charlotteville. As lovely a place as it is, being away from Castara was unbearable and we craved the friendly vibes and wonderful views again. It didnít take long - we came crawling back after 48 long hours. We had tried to make it work, but eventually, we caved in to Castaraís charm. Lucky Yvonne and Chris let us come back Ė it felt like coming home. But a very superior home of course. This is a difficult place to tear yourself away from.
Chris and Yvonne were wonderful hosts. We were probably dud visitors forgetting a whole heap of essentials that we should have packed. But they were so accommodating, and if we needed things, theyíd happily share what they had with us Ėchargers, snorkels, etc. Itís the sort of kindness that really makes you feel like youíre in good hands.
In general, I wholeheartedly felt that they take everything quite seriously in terms of making sure everyoneís happy. Carpe Diem didnít really start out as a money-making business venture as such, but Castara had drawn them in and so they built their own place. The studios sounded like an afterthought almost, so it really is a product of love and you absolutely get the personal touch and we felt more like guests than customers.
For us, we loved Castara. Itís refreshing in that its relationship with tourism is a bit different to some other beachy places Iíve been to. Castara offers little in the way of commitment to tourism Ė itís treated more as a fling, or a bit on the side if you will. Few in the village are reliant on you for the money that youíre going to bring in and spend (if you can get money out of the ATM that is Ė Iíll come onto that later). No one followed us around trying to flog us boat trips, no one pushed us to come and look inside their shop, and no one even offered us any Ďherbsí. Even the bar on the beach Ė some places will do all they can to entice you in, with two-for-one offers, happy hours or even just a welcoming smile and a greeting. Here, oh no. Expect a reversal of the situation - youíll have to go and find a barman, lure him to the bar and ask nicely for him to fetch you a drink instead Ė and try and be a considerate punter and order two drinks at once to cause minimum disruption to their schedule of drinking beer in the shade. I liked that though.
What I didnít like as much, was the ATM who also had a similar laid back attitude and a distain for work. If I could warn anyone of one thing, it would be this blasted, pi**ing ATM that takes it upon itself to give you either tiny amount of pocket money, or no money at all. Hey, it might even get hungry and gobble up your card! We could only get teeny amounts out at a time, and even that was unpredictable. It says 24 hour, but it doesnít work weekends (itís usually empty by then), and if someone does have any luck with it, for about five minutes afterwards it wonít work as itíll need to calm down from all the overexcitement of handing out some dosh. Chris and Yvonne seem to have the bank managerís number on speed dial, so do let them know. I think this leads to my only thing Iíd tweak about Carpe Diem Ė I had no idea that finding cash could be such a faff, so if I had my way, Iíd really like to be given the option of paying upfront via bank transfer to avoid this unexpected stress in case the ATM doesnít want to play ball.
So, if youíre going to Castara, Iíd 100% recommend Carpe Diem - cut out the middle-man and book directly through them for the best rates. Youíll leave with postcard perfect photos of a gorgeous vista, a load of excellent twitches (including most of the hummingbirds found in Tobago), a catalogue of memories to cherish and a severe case of holiday blues.
Gwynne Dyer from U.K. visited in January 2017 and awarded
Three of us stayed at Carpe Diem in Castara for a week at New Yearís, and enjoyed it immensely. The rooms were big and clean, the view from the balcony was a delight, and at night the bats would do a sky ballet for us if we remembered to put sugar water in the feeder. Chris and Yvonne werenít there, but their friend Adrian took care of anything we couldnít manage for ourselves Ė which was very little, because Castara is sort of a self-service town. Itís very laid-back, used to having lots of foreigners around but still very friendly and with all the services.
We were mostly diving and there is some diving available at Castara, but the best diving is on the another side of the island at the north end. However, thereís a fast road across the mountains and itís less than an hour door-to-door for the dive ops at Speyside, a bit more to Charlotteville. (We went with Blue Waters Dive'n in Speyside, and were very happy with them.) Despite the driving, we were happy to be staying in Castara, which is just a nicer place. But do remember that there is no petrol available within a half-hourís drive of Castara, so fill up elsewhere.
Would we go there again? Yes, certainly.