Hidden Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion
Gill Macnamee from U.K. visited in May 2006 and awarded
Myself, my two children, my mother, father, brother and his wife all stayed at Hidden cottage for two weeks in May and had the most idyllic holiday. The house is in a wonderful peaceful location on the edge of the rainforest yet only five minutes from the beach. The accomodation is incredibly spacious, both inside and out with a wrap around balcony and jacuzzi-what more could we need! It is very well appointed with full air conditioning, comfortable beds, hot showers and a very well equipped kitchen. The wildlife was amazing and we were visited every day by a fabulous selection of colourful birds. Inside, the bedrooms were huge and the kitchen/sitting room was large enough to feed and entertain ourselves and many a passing local!
This was my first visit to Tobago and I was completely won over by both the landscape, the beaches and especially with the people who were really friendly and great fun! In my humble opinion Castara seemed the nicest place on the island, with one of the best beaches, a real village feel to it-somewhere I will definitely be returning to. Hidden Cottage is a gem of a house, in a gem of a location.
Phil & Caroline Evans from U.K. visited in November 2005 and awarded
Castara is about 12 miles from Pigeon Point if you drive too fast you can do it in under an hour, but you wont want to. I had to pinch myself to believe I was really here!
Hidden Cottage is half way up a really steep track and we always used low ratio and 4x4 for the track, the house is great and I won’t bore you with the same great things others have said.
Some nights sat on the veranda we jumped out of our skins to some loud explosions coming from the village....... Cracking bamboo! To see this is frightening, the local kids get some bamboo and drill a hole in it, pour in some kerosene heat it up until it vaporises then ignite it with a loud explosion, quite a few loose eyebrows’!
Whilst Tobago IS paradise and if you can you must visit, do not visit for the cuisine alone as you could be disappointed (first night large prawns in a butter sauce with steamed rice and steamed vegetables... delicious but after a night or two you realise that the same stuff is the mainstay of all menus and cannot be served without the sauce as it comes frozen together and is to Tobago what the steak and ale pie is to pub grub, not local and like the beef in the pie from some other country) , especially during the rainy season when the weather is a bit more humid. even the most expensive places on the island the Seahorse, where the menu is a little more London than Tobago, battered things go soggy immediately, but the surroundings are bliss and service fantastic. If you get your Roti from the right place there is nothing like it and it is perfect for lunch. We had a fantastic Chinese on the way to Crown Point in a lay-by on the right next to a Chinese store, it was one of the best we have had the world over.
After our great Chinese we headed back to Castara and Hidden Cottage, as the journey is a long one, especially at night, we both wanted a wee when we got back to the cottage, Caroline said "me first" as we went through the door, she went through to the bedroom and to the bathroom, from the bedroom came a blood curdling scream? I ran to the bedroom shouting “I’m coming” as I passed Caroline in the doorway she cried out there’s a man in the bathroom, as I entered the bedroom the man was bursting out through the French windows, I chased but when he jumped about 15 feet to the floor I decided my new knee would not enjoy the flight. I shouted things like ‘stop thief’ and other stupid things. Within two minutes the first neighbour turned up complete with machete, within five minutes there were upwards of 15 very tall young men all with a machete, they set about looking for footprints and went off to find the poor crook, police turned up and so did most of the older men women and children from the village, as there now seemed to be a quorum for a party I asked if anybody would like a drink? They looked mildly interested so I said RUM and they all started to look down at their feet and mumble, then I said Whiskey!!! Talk about opening the flood gates! They sank two litre’s and then demolished the rum and all the wine, the party went on for a while and we eventually went to sleep with a small gang of locals sitting up under the house encase “he turned up again”, no chance of that poor sod is probably still running.
Whilst it was a bit un-nerving the experience on the whole was not a bad one and it could have happened in any house on any island and probably less likely on Tobago and especialy Hidden Cottage than on any island in the Caribbean.
The rain forest is unbelievably beautiful and we drove over many times one day I gave an old lady a lift up to the ranger station at the top, where she was going to sell Christmas cake to the tourists, the waterfalls are spectacular and there are a lot of them. Nightlife is mainly situated in the main towns, but local restaurants (a clean shed with a few plastic chairs and a table or two) are wonderful but do try and stick to the local food which whilst a little boring, is fresh and good.
We had a little 4x4 from Sheppy and it was the easiest car hire I have ever done, he met us at the Airport and took us back to his yard as the car had been cleaned and sent to fill up, the car was in perfect condition and quite new,Sheppy told us that he had been to England and "it was 18 degrees C.i couldnt breath it was so cold" we took the car back and Sheppy took us back to the Airport, no fuss no mess.
Look out for Kenneth who will find you on the beach and show you how to play the steel drums, we drove down to King Peters bay, a long steep rough road, thinking that we would be the only ones down there, after moving cows out of the way to get there. We were wrong there was Kenneth sitting with his machete smoking and watching the seahe he got out his drums and plaed chritmas carols for us as the sun went down.
If you get to the view point overlooking Castara, and the little dog is still living there he really enjoys anything you give him, and loves people, that’s how he survives.
Sorry this has been so long but I have left out so much, it IS paradise, Hidden Cottage is wonderful and I’m going back someday.
Paula C from U.K. visited in June 2005 and awarded
Hidden cottage is such a find. Having just finished our final exams we decided to head to the Caribbean in search of a holiday with a difference. We came across Hidden Cottage in Castara and were not to be disappointed with what we found. Originally we booked the studio apartment for two, but when a third friend came on board we negotiated with the owners who very kindly allowed us to hire the family room (two double beds) in the lower villa – which came with the run of the entire house. The house is incredibly spacious, so despite sharing a room we felt we had loads of space to chill out. Large living room, jacuzzi, outside balcony with hammocks, really lovely interior design, great kitchen, big open windows, air con in the bedroom, even access to a mobile phone. And with the beautiful rainforest serving as our back garden we were onto a winner. Excellent and fitted our budget! The house is maintained immaculately by the family of the owners, who were always on hand with any questions we may have had, nothing was too much hassle for them. The satellite tv also made as very popular as we were able to cheer on Tobago in the world cup with other tourists and locals who we invited to watch the Soca Warriers in action. On the day of the Trinidad and Tobago vs Sweden game we had a full house of people, locals and tourists, all routing for the Soca warriors. As the team did their country proud in Germany holding Sweden to a draw, the whole day turned into one big party with dancing on the streets, tonnes of amazing food and of course plenty of rum and carib !! It gave us an insight into the friendly community spirit that exists in Castara, something which was to make our holiday an unforgettable, unique experience.
The beach in Castara itself was a big attraction and the house was just a short walk away on a hillside. There were also plenty of little bars around in the village which we visited often and became well known to the owners, in particularly, Debbie who runs Cascreole, situated perfectly right on the beach, who could not do enough for us – cooking us amazing meals and keeping the bar open for as long as we required!! This is something we found to be very typical of the people of Castara and Tobago as a whole- very friendly, warm and accommodating. On occasion we also made the journey down south to visit larger bars such as The Shade and Sunday school which were well worth the visit. In particularly the talent contest at the Golden Star was a very entertaining night. However we found that the local company was such great fun that we settled down well and regularly found ourselves holding BBQ’s and late night ‘limes’ in Castara.
By day, Castara also has plenty to offer. The boat tours are especially worth while and we actually took two we enjoyed them that much. These are full day trips which included a tour of the island, snorkelling, fishing and a bbq on one of the many gorgeous beaches. The trips we took were made all the better by the excellent guides who took us out (Load and Marvin who we would really recommend)
We felt the house is the type of place you could really relax in privacy, as you’re not living on top of other guests. As it’s off the beaten track it is ideal if you are looking for a peaceful holiday to unwind. However, as mentioned, if you are looking for nightlife and entertainment, the people will ensure that you are not disappointed. I feel that on our visit we got both type, with relaxing on the beach with a drink or in the hammock taking in the sounds of the rainforest by day and dancing on the streets at night!!
From start to finish we were taken care of exceptionally well at Hidden Cottage. We could not have asked for more( except maybe another 2weeks!). We cannot wait to return and take over the whole house next time! We would strongly recommend the accomodation to anyone- it truly is paradise.
Very Friendly At Hidden Cottage
Phil & Caroline Evans
We are going to Hidden Cottage in a few weeks time and have had a great two way setup with Linda who owns the cottage with great help from start to finnish! we will report at the end of our stay but so far easy and fantastic and looking forward to the trip!
Phil & Caroline