Top River Pearl - Reader Reports & Opinion
Paul Hildreth from U.K. visited in July 2008 and awarded
The transfer from Crown Point to TRP arranged through Rainer was efficient and effective. The 1st Floor double room was spacious and clean and the self-catering facilities were good. Unfortunately, like several other reviewers, the noise was at times unbearable. There seemed to be a competition between cockerels, dogs and the neighbour across the road to see who could disturb us most - the neighbour won, playing reggae until 2.30am on our first night (after a 10 hour flight) and regularly starting up again at 6.30 am. He did change his CD halfway through the week when we were treated to fervent religious, lectern-thumping sermons and 'Jesus-loves-you' reggae.
Added to this, the tropical depressions that hit this part of the world in July/August treated us to several power cuts (one of which we think put the ATM in C'ville out of action for the whole week we were there) and to cap it all, TRP had no water for 2-3 days because of a broken pump. We almost left early!
There are places to eat in C'ville out of season but you have to ask around. One place on the beach (Jane's I think) was very accommodating when we asked at 2pm if he was open later; he said that if we wanted to eat he'd start cooking at 6.30pm. It was our best meal out in C'ville.
Despite all the 'faults' and noise, C'ville has a certain raw charm. I became known as 'Professor' during our stay and everyone knows your comings and goings - just like village life. Pirate's Bay is beautiful with good snorkelling (parrot fish, wrasse and moray eels as well as several varieties of coral). Paul, Brigg, England
Richard Wall from U.K. visited in March 2008 and awarded
We had booked to stay at TRP for 8 nights based on reviews on this site, but managed only three!
We accepted that we were arriving during the fishing tournament and expected some party noises etc. The noise from the fishing tournament was not actually a problem - the primary issue arose from the stadium quality sound system installed in the house across the road (well, on his porch!). Being woken up by several hundreds watts of christian reggae at 6am yes, 6AM, sends you insane very quickly! Added to this the, what seemed like all night cacophany from the cockerels, dogs and cats was not the peaceful rest we were looking for! We also had the joy of the reggae bombardment for a couple of hours in the evening making conversation in the appartment difficult and on the balcony impossible. Even after being personally asked by my wife to turn the music down we were ignored. When Lisa (Site Manager) approached the owner of the house he explained that it was his son making the noise and if it happened again we should call the police. Even though Lisa was keen to help, by this point we had had enough and made arrangements to move elsewhere.
That said, the accomodation was exactly as expected, simple clean and pleasant. Views were OK and the proximity to the beaches etc fine. There's not much we would add to other reviews which are pretty accurate about the accommodation. The transfer arranged by Rainer was unfortunately nowhere to be found when we landed and we had to share a taxi up to TRP, not a great issue but a bit of a pain after a long flight to have to sort something out.
You should be aware that eating out is extremely limited at Charlotteville - there are a couple of local restaurants but you won't get any choice other than chicken or fish served with veg and rice at anywhere other than Sharon and Phebes. If you plan to self cater be sure to buy provisions at Crown Point before heading to Charlotteville. We arrived on Saturday evening and the coffee bar at TRP was not open until Monday and didn't seem to open until at least 10am - if you can wait until then they do a reasonable breakfast.
Overall our experience in Charlotteville was not what we had in mind but the major issues were out of the control of TRP. Assuming that the music problem is resolved and you are happy to put up with the general village noise (cockerels, dogs, cats and rubbish collection outside the hotel at 5am most mornings)and basic food options available then it's a laid back place to be for a few days.
Valerie Wye from Canada visited in February 2008 and awarded
TRP was as expected based on reviews on this site. We quite enjoyed the cafe, as eating out in C-Ville is quite limited. The young women working in the cafe were delightful. The only problem with TRP was the cockerels. Being awakened at 4 a.m. while on holidays is not fun. However, noise from creatures is part of the way of life in C-Ville and we more or less adapted. Being close to the church and the school really added to our cultural experience. My best photos are of the school children from C-Ville.
We enjoyed figuring out the rhythms of C-Ville, although we preferred Castara. One of the reasons was the litter which was simply ignored. We found that problem in Pleasant Prospect, as well, although the beaches were clean. Castara was pretty much spotless.
Gavin Parsons from Canada visited in November 2007 and awarded
When we arrived there was some confusion with our booking but the lady next door (wonderful women) sorted everything out and we ended up with a nice room on the top floor.
The room was clean and looked after and the kitchen was well supplied with utensils. We were off season, so the staff were hard to find, but that was never an issue.
We enjoyed the village and found the people very approachable. Some of the store owners are a bit aloof but that seems to be normal in T&T. We enjoyed our hikes over to Pirates Bay and our afternoons laying on the beach and snorkling. My wife even made friends with the beach dogs.
The local beach entrepeneur, whose name escapes me, was very informative and let us use the chairs for free the day he wasn't coming.
We drove to Speyside to watch a very spirited football match between the two rival cities. We sat in the stands and cheered with the fans for Charlotteville.
The only downside is the roosters and the loud rap music, but I think that goes with being in any community in T&T. Bring your earplugs if you want to have a good sleep.
We were awakened one night about 5:30 A.M by a large school bell being rung just outside on the street. It seems some women had just had a religious epifheney and decided to share it with the world. It makes for great travel stories.
I would go back again, we enjoyed Charlotteville and highly reccomend "Top River Pearl"
Richard Banks from U.K. visited in October 2007 and awarded
Difficult to explain why we were dissapointed. Probably because we had just come from Essex cottage and this was a very hard act to follow!
Room was smaller than we expected and being off season everything had a rather shut down feeling. Manager did her best to make us welcome but in the end we moved on earlier than planned.