Naturalist Beach Resort - Reader Reports & Opinion
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.
Mrs Hilde Schoenberg from Norway visited in May 2005 and awarded
A very nice, calm place to stay. Clean, cozy and a nice Castara atmosphere.. It is ON the beach with mango threes as closest neighbour, and the local fish market few steps away.. Nothing to do, just reading books and magazines from the hotel's library.
Definitive a good choice, whether you are a couple, or staying with small children. We stayed in the blue marlin room: This main "suite" is very cosy, but not big. So to stay for a few days for us with two small children, it was nice, but we couldn.t have been any longer than a week...
Naturalist Beach Resort 24 Dec 2003
Paul Tallet from Yorkshire
Hi myTobago punters.
My name is Paul, the leader of the Tallets.
The Tallets have frequented the beautiful island of Tobago for the last 3 years and are about to do another frequent in February 2004 !! In other words we are HOOKED.
We are a family of 5 including 3 kids aged from 10 to 16 ... a 'hardy' family that likes basic accomodation, no frills, a bit of fun, snorkelling, hot sun and lots of food and, erm, RUM.
Anyway, why waste money on luxury accomodation when in Tobago?
The Naturalist Beach Resort is where we have stayed for the last 2 years and we are going back again in Feb 2004 ... we rent out two rooms ... very basic (Sea View Room recommended if available) but adequate and my dear friend, Ancle, is cool and looks after you well.
Plus ... you just walk out of the door and you are ON THE BEACH !!!
What more could you need?
Naturalist 9th October... 25 Oct 2004
Paul Williams from Hamble,Southampton,England
From the moment Ancle George the owner of Naturalist Beach Resort in Castara picked us up from the airport I knew I had met someone who fully understood my requirements for a weeks valued holiday and relaxation.
We travelled during the evening via Pennysavers where we bought the basics to keep us going for the week, we arrived at about 9.00 and after a couple of cold beers went to bed early.
We awoke at first light to look around and could not believe what a beautiful place we had found ourselves in, we were staying in a room called Kingfish which was basic but very comfortable and had a lovely covered terrace with 2 sunbeds and a table and chairs and was a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
It was only about 25 paces from our front door to the stunning beach which was good for my wife Leita as it meant she did not have far to walk with a cold beer while I was fishing.
Ancle has just finished his new building which is right on the edge of the beach and has a coffee shop on the lower level (serves great cappucino so Steve will be happy when he visits Castara next year) and a new apartment called Blue Marlin upstairs which is extremely well appointed and must have one of the best views in Tobago from its balcony.
We ate there on 2 evenings when the staff arranged barbecues which were extremely good with a choice of lamb, chicken, pork and different types of fish and were good value for money.
All of the staff were very helpful during the week and helped to make our stay so enjoyable but I must say that the rapport is set by Ancle who is a great guy to sit with and have a few beers with and discuss many world issues, he really understands what is required in Castara both by the residents and also the visitors.
Overall I believe that if you are looking for comfortable accomodation at good cost in a beautiful location you will have to go a long way to beat the Naturalist.
Naturalist - Where's Mr.ancle??!!
First time I sent an email to Naturalist Beach Resort, at Castara, Mr.Ancle gave me a prompt answer, on the some day! On the other day, I wrote some note, and once again, he replied very quickly!
Now, since I decided the final dates to stay at his appartments, I wrote him an email... no answer yet, since 20th December!!
Does any one knows if he spend Christmas an New years vacations out of Castara?!
I'm trying to phone him, but have no sinal!! is the Tobago indicative +868, isn't it?