Cuffie River Nature Retreat - Reader Reports & Opinion
Ann Ball from U.K. visited in April 2007 and awarded
We have just returned from 2 weeks on Tobago, the middle 4 days were spent at Cuffie River Nature Retreat. We had an excellent time here and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys nature, bird watching and peace and quiet.
We stayed in the Executive Suite which features the largest king size bed I have ever seen. This room is worth the extra cost if you are a keen bird watcher. It has huge opening windows on 3 sides with tremendous views down over the trees. Chairs are provided so you can just sit with your binoculars at a chosen viewing spot and enjoy yourself. Red legged Honeycreepers were often at the top of one of the trees just outside one window and Gray Kingbirds were nesting in a tree on another side.
The other rooms are very generously sized each with two double beds, but only overlooking the front of the property. There are however many quiet shady spots in the rest of the retreat provided with chairs for you to enjoy the views on the other sides.
We explored one trail by ourselves one day, and managed to see very little,(our inexperience rather than absence of birds!) but the next day Desmond took us out and we saw a lot! He is very talented at spotting and knows all the calls so knows what he is looking for. He showed us the Common Potoo, which obligingly sits all day in the middle of local some bamboo, but you stand little chance finding it without Desmond to show you where it is! We would have liked to have gone out with him again but this was not possible as we had pre booked another tour out.
The food and sevice were excellent, the staff very friendly and cheerful which is not always the case on the island. Regina's evening meals tended to be a selection of dishes, which was lovely as you could easily miss out one if it was not to your taste. There was soup both lunch time and in the evening and I have never tasted such lovely ones.
The swimming pool is in a stunning location as is the table tennis table - I lost most of my games as I was constantly looking out over the view for birds!
We thought it would be useful for the Retreat to produce a rough trail map so you could go out on your own. and we have suggested this so hopefully one day this might happen - Regina did tell us a route which was very easy to follow as the paths tend to be old tracks and are quite wide, but a rough sketch map would have been a help.
We did not have a car and did not miss it for the 4 nights we were there as the location and food were so lovely we saw little point in leaving, and would have been happy to have been staying a little longer. We would love to return and happily recommned this small hotel.
Dawn And Trevor Coote from U.K. visited in April 2007 and awarded
We had spent 8 nights in Castara but needed to find alternative accommodation for our last 5 nights so we decided to book somewhere as a contrast and Cuffie River was just that. Being in amongst the forest greenery, the temperature was slightly cooler and there was a feeling of tranquillity.
The swimming pool was an added bonus and meant that we didn't miss the sea for too long. There is a covered area above the self-catering rooms with a table-tennis table and dartboard, although we used it for reading and watching the birds in the shade.
Sugar feeders are all around the buildings bringing hummingbirds and bananaquits in close. A mockingbird had built a nest at the entrance to reception and 3 babies flew the nest the day before we left, which was lovely to see.
A walk with Desmond took us through the grounds and he showed us several birds and explained about the trees. Luckily for me though he wasn't able to get a tarantula out of its hiding place. The Common Potoo is a sight to see, sitting completely motionless while protecting its baby on a bamboo stump.
There is a real homely feel which Regina has managed to get just right, the staff are quietly efficient and friendly. Dinner is taken with all the guests eating together on one table, which makes it feel as though you're at a friend's house and results in some good conversation.
We had booked full-board but meals are flexible according to your plans and Yvonne made a packed lunch for us to take out one day of sandwiches, bread pudding and watermelon with water and juice. All the meals were excellent and a good variety, even the breakfast had 3 courses!
We have awarded 4 stars, rather than 5, as our room was just above reception which meant that we had some noise from cars arriving early in the morning bringing staff to the hotel (not helped by the habit of tooting the car horn constantly). Apart from that, for a relaxing, chill-out holiday, this is the place - next time we'll treat ourselves to a stay in the Executive Suite.
Anthony Townsend from U.K. visited in April 2007 and awarded
Firstly apologies it has taken so long to write a report.
I had read so much about Cuffie River and we couldn't wait. Regina and the team made us so welcome, which isn't always the case when you turn up with two kids. Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The cold freshly made drinks on our arrival were most needed. Go for the lemonade!
Our room was very spacious and comfortable - just what we needed. You will struggle to find more delicious homemade food anywhere on the island. Please don't miss this treat. We still rave about the soups. It's a great idea to have dinner together with the other guests. You don't have to, but we all got along and had lots of stories to share.
The swimming pool was a real bonus after a long day. Please do take advantage of the walk around the area with Desmond. He has such a great knowledge of the local plants and animals from showing you the common potoo and nightjars to explaining local history and cutting you some sugar cane.
Thank you Regina and your team for a special time. We look forward to coming back soon.
Anna M from U.K. visited in March 2007 and awarded
I have just returned from a very pleasant stay at Cuffie River nature resort. It is in a very pleasant,quiet location and is great for birdwatching and general relaxation.The food and service were outstanding. The staff were so friendly and polite especialy Regina and Ena the cook.I loved the swimming pool-so cooling after a hard day walking or bird watching.A highly recommended place to stay. You would need a car if you wanted to expore the rest of the island easily or go out at night.
Steve Bond from U.K. visited in February 2007 and awarded
What can I say? This place is a gem - an oasis of calm. The nature walks were good (even though I didn't see a Potoo). No matter how many times we will return to Tobago, we will always have a couple of days at Cuffie River.