Naturalist Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
Duncan Wells from U.K. visited in June 2007 and awarded
I found the accomodation at the Naturalist Beach Resort simple and clean with all the facilties for self contained accomodation including en-suite shower/toilet, double bed, kitchen and Air conditioner for $40/night per room. Excellent price.
Ancil George, the owner is ready to sort out any problems you have and also has cars for hire.
Its location was right on the beach with access to a Cafe, as well as three resturants and bar within 5 mintues walking distance. I recommend the Almond Tree.
Castara is a quiet "working" fishing village in the central part of Tobago. Is within 30 minutes from the airport and no more 30/40 minutes to the north of the island and Central Ridge for birdwatchers. It is definitely a place to relax and chill.
But you can get access to a variety of tours/activities in Castara including trips to Trinidad.
It would be adviseable to change some travellers cheques/dollars at the airport. Although, you can usually change dollars at the beach resort and/or one of the resturants at a fair rate. My advice is to take US dollars as opposed to TC's.
Crime in Tobago is little or non-existent. I felt safe walking both around Castara and beyond loaded with camera equipment.
And the people are extremely friendly and usually ready for a good chat.
Tony Tarleton from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
Our stay at the naturalist resort was superb. Notably this was thanks to the generous hospitality afforded by Ancle and the easy going approach to life there. We stayed in the "jacks", a simple double room with bathroom and included aircon and fridge, all that was required when only using it as a base. Having the fridge was extremely handy as was the 10 second walk to the beach!
The room was cleaned everyday, and was basic but more than suitable if your reason to visit Tobago is to explore and get to know the local way of life rather than have a 5* facilities. What the Naturalist did provide was 5* hospitality and that was worth its weight in gold, highly recommended.
Patrick Rennison from U.K. visited in February 2007 and awarded
The standard rooms were fairly basic and some of the furniture was looking fairly worn. However, the manager and family were freindly and helpful and the setting, right in the village and on the beach, couldn't be bettered. My In-laws, who are used to somewhat posher accomodation, insisted in moving to the Hilton! Well away from 'real Tobago'. We stayed put and had a lovely time. It is also worth noting that it wasn't too far to the Island's Nature Reserve plus there was a nice walk to a waterfall with pool below to swim in near the village.
All in all, if you don't need sophistication and if you do want Genuine Tobago, then I would heartily recommend it!
Paul Williams from U.K. visited in April 2006 and awarded
I have given the Naturalist 5 stars on my rating as from a personal point of view stars are not only about facilities but in my opinion how you are treated and also the attitude of staff.
We spent a 2 centre holiday which meant we had 9 days in the Kingfish room and 5 days in the Blue Marlin suite.
King fish is the room we stayed in last year as well and suits us ideally in that you have a double and single bed and a small kitchenette which allows you to make basic meals and very efficient air con if required although we only used it to cool the room and then used the fan.
The room has a lovely little porch and terrace where you can sit and watch the world go by.
Blue Marlin suite is located on the beach edge above the Cafe Delight (which is closed most evenings) and is a wonderful place to relax and look at the ocean views either from the large terrace or even whilst laying in bed.
The kitchen area is very well appointed and an efficient fridge keeps the beer and wine cool.
All of the staff at the Naturalist are very helpful and ensure that the rooms are kept very clean.
We will be back again as soon as possible
D Powell from Canada visited in February 2006 and awarded
Our first visit to The Naturalist was a spur-of-the-moment decision in June, 2005. After two weeks in Trinidad on business, my husband and I decided to take a short trip over to Tobago, on the recommendation of Trinidadian colleagues. We found The Naturalist on the Internet, and as Castara seemed to be exactly "our" type of place, we contacted Ancle George and arranged to stay at his little hotel for three days.
It is difficult to describe our reaction to Castara, and to Ancle and his people who received us so hospitably at The Naturalist. The closest I can come is to say that it was like discovering a tiny piece of the Caribbean I had always dreamed of visiting but thought had long disappeared.
The Naturalist is perfect for us. It is small, the rooms are a good size and kept spotlessly clean. They are equipped with a small fridge and cookstove and basic utensils and dishes. There is a huge patio area overlooking the beach and a charcoal bbq if you want to grill your own supper.
The best thing about The Naturalist is the staff, beginning with Ancle himself, who is charming, helpful, and so relaxed that it is impossible to stay stressed if he is around.
The village is a working fishing village. People go about their lives, friendly and courteous to the visitors, but their lives and their community do not revolve around tourists. Shopping is confined to little stalls that sell the basics: fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, tinned goods, spices and hot sauce. You can pick up the catch of the day at the fishermen's stand on the beach, and of course, rum and Caribbean beer, soft drinks and bottled water. There is usually chicken, and always eggs -- the village is overrun with chickens and cockerels, which crow at all hours of the day and night.
There are several small restaurants on or close to the beach, where we ate most evenings, and also picked up roti for lunch. The food is simple but excellent fare -- disregard the menu on the chalkboard, just ask what they are serving that day! And there is no night life. So if you want fancy shops and restaurants, and bars with live music, Castara is not for you. If, however, you love walking along the beach looking at the stars to the music of the surf, then Castara IS for you. And the sunsets are amazing.
The setting is idyllic, with a crescent shaped sandy beach in front and the rain forest rising up the hills behind. The water is crystal clear and warm, and there are no dangerous currents or undertows to worry about. We spent hours in the water every day, watching the fish beneath us and the frigate birds above.
We were there for only three days in June 2005, but our experience was so incredible that we booked a return visit for ten days in February 2006. And that visit was even more amazing. We spent one day on a fishing boat excursion up the wild and beautiful coast with Duck, one of the local fishermen, and his nephew Dolla. It was an incredible experience, going up the coast in a small boat with an old 50hp Evinrude outboard motor, Duck and his nephew trolling for fish with fishing line wrapped around their hands. We ended up at a lovely sandy cove where Duck grilled the fish over live coals, and we spent the rest of the day swimming and walking on the beach. Lovely.
Suffice it to say, we had such a wonderful time that we are going back in February 2007 for fifteen days. Castara and The Naturalist feel like a second home now.