Naturalist Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Emily Carville from U.S.A. visited in February 2013 and awarded
The Naturalist is the best spot going, not just in Castara, but I'd venture a guess, anywhere on Tobago. The vibe here is easygoing, friendly, and accommodating, at once. You will feel instantly relaxed upon arrival and recharged upon departure.
My husband and I spent five nights here with his mom, in the 2-bedroom Snapper unit, on the upper floor of the newest building of the three owner and lifetime resident Ancle George has built (this one was completed in December 2012). The view from the balcony is second to none, and the unit itself was downright luxurious - much more than we needed, and yet all that we wanted!
Ancle and his excellent and friendly team have thought of it all. With fresh linens every other day and free laundry service plus daily cleaning, these are the most well serviced self-catering units around! The a/c and water pressure for showers were more than adequate, and yet we didn't even use the a/c given the consistent breeze and ceiling fans in all rooms. The kitchen had everything we needed, and we did cook a couple meals despite the fantastic local options in abundance in Castara.
Breakfast was set out each morning in the communal area below our unit, with delicious watermelon, cereal, toast, and more, plus bottomless brewed coffee, cold or hot water, and juice. Guests tended to use the free wifi down in the cafe area before venturing out for a morning swim or a read on the lounge chairs provided on the beach, and all were friendly and relaxed.
There are plenty of places to stock up on staples en route from the ferry or airport, as well as right in Castara - plus a local ATM in the village. Ancle can arrange high speed ferry tickets and airport transfers, as well as tours. He made everything incredibly easy for us, and he was proactive and highly responsive via email before our arrival as we firmed up our travel plans. Ancle is simply a pleasure to deal with, as well as a very interesting, intelligent, and spirited individual.
Castara is centrally located on the island, with wonderful areas to explore in every direction. Alibaba tours, and several others, offer incredibly beautiful and fun boat trips right off Castara beach, and any number of friendly, highly knowledgeable, and excellent tour guides will pick up guests for island tours by car. We loved exploring the reserve forest with Darlington Chance, through LB Tours, and Brian and Duck from Alibaba were excellent hosts and guides.
We all plan to return to the Naturalist, several times. Book early to secure your spot, and don't miss the great videos of every unit on the website. Ancle also has a Facebook page for the Naturalist, where you can ask questions as needed, too. Enjoy Castara!
Joanne Cassidy from Canada visited in February 2013 and awarded
This property has probably the best location in Castara directly on the beach within easy walking distance of everything the village has to offer. The rooms are simple, well maintained and obviously designed with the guests comfort in mind. These are modest, clean accommodations and offer great value for the amount paid. Everything you need for a simple beach holiday is there. I don't return to places I've already been but if I was to return to Castara, I would definitely choose this property for my next stay. In my experience, there are few places that make you feel as welcome as the charming host Ancle does.
If I had to provide a downside, the breakfast has room for improvement as does the friendliness of the girls at the front desk/breakfast counter, but this was a minor detail and easily overcome by stocking up in the village.
The hero of this wonderful place is Ancle. He takes the time to meet each and every guest and goes out of his way to ensure you enjoy your stay. He genuinely cares about your happiness and with his easy going way creates a perfect atmosphere to enjoy a relaxed and easy beach holiday. Our stay at Ancles was one of the highlights of our entire trip.
Philip Gould from U.K. visited in January 2013 and awarded
We spent the majority of our time on Tobago staying in Speyside on the eastern side of the island. This gave us easy access to our excellent birding guide, Newton George, who lives over there and allowed for a quick and easy trip to Little Tobago.
However, we had left our last few nights unbooked and, thankfully, we decided to spend them in Castara. On the recommendation of our landlady in Speyside, we contacted Ancle and were lucky enough to find that he had room for us.
We arrived before the room had been cleaned after its previous occupants had moved out. No problem - we sat and chatted with Ancle who, although he had only just met us, was generous in sharing useful information ... and some of his favourite whiskey!
The very reasonably priced room was basic but clean. We had one of the downstairs rooms in the original building and, to be fair, it had probably seen better days. However, with the beach only a few metres away and lots of other things to see and do, all we were going to use it for was sleeping, so it was perfect! There are also newer rooms and small apartments at the Naturalist, so there should be something for everyone.
The beach is beautiful and the sea warm and clear, with some excellent snorkelling to be had. There is an easy and enjoyable walk to a small waterfall, and other small beaches can be reached on foot. There are several small shops in Castara where supplies can be bought, and various restaurants provide a mixture of tasty dishes ... definitely check out Hazel's rotis and fresh bread at Bingi the Fruit King!
We shall certainly return to Castara one day and, if there's room for us, we will be sure to partake of Ancle's hospitality and friendliness again!
Thanks again for a great stay, Phil & Becky
Neil And Linda Roberts from U.K. visited in January 2013 and awarded
This was the last week of our recent holiday and proved to be most enjoyable. We stayed in Dolphin and were well looked after by Ancle and his excellent staff.
Neil and Linda Roberts.
Mats Svensson from Sweden visited in December 2012 and awarded
We stayed at the Naturalist between Dec 20-31. Since it was our first visit to Tobago we asked to be picked up at the airport when arriving. Everything worked perfect. The Naturalist is located practically on the beach with some 30 meters to the water. Our appartment or it was actually more a room with cooking facillities had all practicallities you needed. Our familly(my wife and two daughters, age 12,15) shared one room with two king size beds in one room. It worked better then anticipated since you could use the veranda as an extra living room. What also saved us parents was that wifi was free of charge and worked well. This helped us a lot especially during the first couple of days when the rain was pooring down(not what anyone wanted)
The staff and Ancle(who owns the place), his familly was very helpfull and created a nice atmosphere.
At the very end of our stay they also finished some newly built appartments(2 and 3 bedrooms) which looked realy nice.
Overall we had a great stay in a very nice village and we hope to come back there again