Porridge's Place - Reader Reports & Opinion
Maria And John from U.K. visited in April 2014 and awarded
We love Tobago and have returned 5 times. Castara is such laid back village where you can walk down the road and people say hello to you. You can go round the world and stay in fancy hotels but come away with no feeling of being away. I guess that's the best contrast I can say staying at Porridge's place. You get to meet real people just how they are. Porridge and Jeanell make you feel so welcome and will help you with any trips you want to organize or simply leave you to relax. One of my favourite memories was being invited to a family day for their daughters birthday. We all hopped in the van singing songs all the way to pigeon point. Jeanell is an amazing cook and I filled my belly!!! (rabbit stew, mango, chicken, fish and Roti).
The apartment is immaculate and has a good range of kitchen utensils, large fridge for crates of beer, microwave, pots, pans etc. There is aircon and a fan which is great to keep the bites away. There is an outside garden which they are happy for you to use and a porch to sit outside and watch life go by. I used to watch the parrots fly across each evening sipping a rum and coke. You can usually hear some great local tunes playing from someones house
Some trips you can organise:
Boat trip (a must) run by Porridges son Shaq and colleague Seon
Great snorkelling stops with Picnic on the beach (cooking by Jeanell and rum punch). The boat runs trips for Castara retreats on Sunarise so a chance to meet other visitors. You can also book the boat on an hourly basis if you want your own trip.
Jeanell took us to the Argyle falls, Cocoa Plantation and luvely drive through Speyside. We stopped and had a Roti on a quiet beach (dont' forget the pepper sauce). She is a perfect host and has a good knowledge of the island and birds. Watch out if you go out for walk with her as you may be chased by a local donkey he haw!!
Castara beach is perfect for me as I luv to swim and snorkel. You can swim across from Big bay to little bay. At little bay there is a reef where you can see a nice range of fish. The sting rays sometimes join you on a swim. If you are like my partner you can chill by the beach with a Stag (the local beer or mans beer). You can hire chairs at either end of the bay for 25 to 30tt. There are several small local bars where you can stop and chat.
Porridges Place is about a 10min walk down to the beach, bars and restaurants. Some restaurants don't have a licence so you bring your own drink. Chenos great for breakfast (saltfish and bake) Margarites, D Almond Tree are my favourites but if you looking for a great view and some cocktails pop up to Castara Retreats (check out the pasta and steak). Porridge and Jeanell look after the apartments there too and you can always get a lift. On Wednesday nights the Beach Bar on little Bay has a drumming night.
On the way back the walk up the hill is longer (about 15mins) but we enjoy it. And there is a ice cream parlour on the way back for homemade ice cream try rum and raisin or pistachio. There is a couple of little bars on the way up for a boost up the hill, Shirmas with great music and Robinsons for a nice quiet stop.
I must stop writing as I will end up writing a novel
BOOK IT YOU WONT REGRET IT, I say with a tear in my eye.
Miss you all and already planning the next trip
Maria and John
Udo Hochreuter from Germany visited in January 2014 and awarded
I stayed 4 weeks (13.January-10.February) at Porridge's Place and it was a wonderful time. Porridge pick me up on the airport and drove me to a cashpoint (for the first money) and a supermarket. As a german guy I bought the most important things, a crate of carib (good beer!), coffee and other odds ans ends. During the drive do Castara you get the first impression, how wonderful this little island is, the vegetation is phantastic, green and more green, wherever you look...
At Porridge's Place you have everything you need: a nice little patio with desk, 2 chairs, a hammock, birdfeeders (very good to make close-up views to all the different birds and bats) and a good roof that protect you against the wonderful, but strong sun. AND you have the possibility to use the great garden of the Lopez family. With a little luck you can see a agouti, too. And of course geckos, lizards and so on, if you are quiet and look a little...
Inside the room was EVERYTHING I need (o.k., I didn't need everything, but it was there): a gas cooker with 4 flames, microwave, toaster, kettle, big fridge and freezer combination, for coffee a machine and a frenchpress, lots of cups, tumblers, plates, pots, any type of cutlery you need for eating and cooking and so on. Okay, the most time I went to a restaurant for eating, but if you want to cook by yourself, there is everything in the kitchen you need. The bed is big enough for a couple, with mosquito net and you have an air con and a ventilator. I liked to sleep without these 3 things, so the mosquitos bite me a little... Next time I'll take some biological repellent with me (-:
There is a shower with hot and cold water, a toilet (unlike some other visitor I don't think, it is too high... my legs are not the longest, but it was o.k.), basin, mirrors, enough space for my clothes (and I took EVERYTHING out of my suitcase...), a player for CD and radio and a safe, big enough for money, documents and so on. AND: everything was intact and works !
The members of the Lopez family are great hosts, EVERY time friendly and helpfully, in every thing or question. If you have a wish, Derrick and Jeanelle make it possible: island tours, boat and rainforest trips, they answered every question about land & people and more. And it's true: you feel like a member of the family.
Okay, you have a little walk down the hill to come to the beach, but I liked it. You meet different people of Castara on your way, can talk to them or only say hello, hear or read some news on your way and on the way there are some shops. Castara is a little village, and not every shop has any day everything. But on the way back home I found nearly every day the things I want (and more...).
Castara has some other nice places to stay, surely. But after this 4 weeks (and a little look to other accomodations) I must say, Porridge's Place was the best decision and I don't regret it, not one single minute.
Thank you Lopez family, you 4 are wonderful, confidential and friendly people and one is for sure: I'll come back to Castara, as soon as possible. And I'll book Porridge's Place again, missed it the first minute of leaving. And hey, Jeanelle: you are a fantastic cook, wonderful...
Duncan from U.K. visited in November 2013 and awarded
I was picked up at the Airport promptly and on the way to the accommodation stopped at Penny Savers to stock up provisions.
From the moment I arrived Jeanell, Porridge and Family made me welcome always made sure I comfortable and happy with the accommodation. And was willing to organise any tours, etc
The Studio Flat was simple, clean and had all that you would need to make your stay enjoyable. You have your little balcony that was strewn with bird feeders that were a hive of activity, which was perfect for me as a birdwatcher/photographer. Hummingbirds (3 species), Tangers, Parrots, a Great Black Hawk, etc. I got some great photographs.
The village is an easy 10min stroll down to the village(3 cafes, small shops and beach). The walk back up to the flat is a much more strenuous walk of 15-20 mins.
A truly relaxing stay.
Angela Burro from Germany visited in July 2013 and awarded
Hey I am Angi,
I stay in July some days in the appartment Porridges Place with my friend Sonja.
All the time before she has always been very raved for this nice and quiet place
When I come there i love it also from the first time. It was a really nice apartment outside from the village very quiet and nice plants and flowers. Specially i like how friendly Jeanell and porridge and their family was. I feel home from the first moment i was there.
I only stay one week at tobago but i come back this was sure and i will visit Jeanells apartment again.
Sorry for my bad english.
Thanks Jeanell to beeing there. Thanks Sonja to show me this nice place.
Chloe And Sam from U.K. visited in June 2013 and awarded
When arriving at Porridge's Place we were greeted by the family straight away and made to feel very welcome. Jeanelle and Porridge have a great knowledge of the area and without them we wouldn't have had such a great experience. The apartment itself fits every need, with an effective air con for those who aren't accustomed to the hot weather! The outside seating area overlooks a beautiful tropical valley featuring a diverse wildlife of birds(we spotted several types of Hummingbird who hover over a plant right next to the patio), agouti's and amazing flowers.
Over our stay there was plenty to do close by, with snorkeling at the beach where you'll see some very vibrant fish and turtles, boat rides to the Nylon pool and No Man's Land, walks in the rainforest that is on your door step and jumping off the local waterfall. The food of Castara is amazing with Roti's from the beach, and Jeanelle's cooking is delicious. The local people are very friendly and happy to help with any query. We had the best time and hope to come back!
Chloe and Sam