Reviewed by Steve & Jill Wooler in February 2008 and March 2015
Situated in the popular fishing village of Castara on Tobago’s beautiful north-western Caribbean coast, Hidden Cottage is a two-storey wooden house nestled into the side of a steep hill and surrounded by avocado, mango, orange, lime and coco trees. So natural and private is the property that it is hard to believe that the centre of the village and main beach are just a two-minute walk away. It is truly well named.
Hidden Cottage comprises two apartments. These can be rented separately or as a single combined unit. Mot Mot Apartment occupies the lower level of the house and offers three air-conditioned bedrooms. Hummingbird Apartment is a self-contained studio apartment on the upper level. An internal spiral staircase with lockable door connects the two, allowing the house to become a spacious four-bedroom unit - the only property in Castara capable of accommodating ten people in a single self-contained unit.
Castara is a quiet fishing village. It has two lovely beaches with excellent swimming and decent snorkelling opportunities. Apart from its sheer beauty, the bay is particularly noted for the family of friendly rays that regularly patrol the waterfront. Totally harmless to swimmers, the rays are a wonderful sight, particularly when viewed from higher ground around the bay.
Grocery shopping has improved dramatically in Castara in recent years. However, the choice is still very limited. Basic supplies can be obtained from various small shops close to Hidden Cottage. The meaning of ‘basic’ will vary depending upon where you are from and your levels of expectation. I mention this, having been chastised by an American family a few years back. They claimed that we did not make it clear that they would have to forgo fresh bagels for breakfast and complained that the local shops didn’t stock ground coffee. I don’t think they appreciated my response when I commented that they were lucky to find ANY coffee in the village.
Tobago’s main supermarkets are a 50-minute drive from Castara. Visitors would be advised to stock up at one of them on their way to the village.
Away from the urban parts of Tobago, there are few worthwhile holiday accommodation properties within walking distance of a choice of restaurants, shops and beaches. Hidden Cottage is fortunate in this respect as it is within short walking distance of most of the village shops and restaurants. However, rather than wasting valuable holiday time waiting for public transport, we would still recommend a self-drive car or SUV. These can be hired locally on a daily or weekly basis.
Although it only takes a minute or two, the walk to and from Hidden Cottage does mean negotiating a short but steep hill. Additionally, access to the Mot Mot Apartment involves descent of 20 steps. Tthe property is therefore unlikely to be suitable for wheelchair users or anyone with mobility problems.
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