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Castara Villas Tadpoles - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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Castara Villas Tadpoles, Tobago

Castara Villas Tadpoles

1-bedroom Holiday Rental Cottage

The holiday accommodation on offer at Castara Villas comprises of a small but charming studio cottage, called Tadpoles, next to the English owner's... house, Toad Hall. The property also has a spacious 3-bedroom apartment called Toad Heights on the upper floor of a traditional wooden house, plus a one-bedroom semi-studio called Leapfrog on the ground floor (see Apartment listings for full details). [read more]

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Castara Villas Tadpoles

1-bedroom Holiday Rental Cottage

The holiday accommodation on offer at Castara Villas comprises of a small but charming studio cottage, called Tadpoles, next to the English owner's house, Toad Hall. The property also has a spacious 3-bedroom apartment called Toad Heights on the upper floor of a traditional wooden house, plus a one-bedroom semi-studio called Leapfrog on the ground floor (see Apartment listings for full details).

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Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

Welcome to Castara Villas.

Castara Villas comprises of two rental apartments: "Toad Heights" and "Leapfrog" and one rental cottage: "Tadpoles". There is another cottage "Toad Hall" on the property but that is reserved for the owners use only.

Castara Villas is located in the village of Castara on the north (Caribbean) coast on the island of Tobago. It is about 5 minutes' walk from the beach and the village centre. It is accessed by a short footpath from the main road. The property is set amongst fruit trees and flowering shrubs at the edge of the rainforest.

Fast broadband internet is provided free of charge to all clients and boat trips & island tours are easily arranged for a fair price. Safety-deposit boxes are also provided in all our rental units. There is no air-conditioning, but powerful fans are provided in all rental units. All pots, pans and utensils are provided

Tadpoles

Tadpoles is a small self-contained cottage located next to Toad Hall. It has a covered front porch/veranda and a rear tiled patio. The main room includes the bed area, dining table and kitchen. The cooking facilities comprise a 2-burner hob, toaster and microwave oven.

The separate bathroom has a heated shower, sink and toilet.

The bed is a standard double protected by a wrap-around mosquito net.

Tadpoles also enjoys access to the "Liming Station" (gazebo) for eating outside or for just enjoying a drink in the afternoon or evening.

Toad Heights and Leapfrog

Please see the main Castara Villas apartment listing for full details of our three-bedroom and studio apartments.

myTobago Review

Castara Villas Tadpoles, Castara, Tobago

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at Castara Villas in February 2019.

Introduction

The Castara Villas holiday apartments nestle at the head of a small valley leading down to Little Bay and the smaller, but prettier, of Castara's two wonderful beaches. The site was a French military encampment during the Napoleonic Wars and known locally as Crapaud Gulley. Crapaud is French for 'toad'. This fact, together with the owners love of the popular children's novel, The Wind In The Willows, led to the name Toad Hall when they built their holiday home in 2000. The property is still best known under this name.

Over subsequent years, additional buildings were added on to the picturesque ¾-acre plot. Deciding to stick with the 'froggy' theme, the new apartments were named Toad Heights, Tadpoles and Leapfrog.

Location

Access to Castara Villas is via a narrow path leading into the gulley from the main North Coast Road. There is no direct vehicular access to the property and parking is beside the road. We experienced no problems with this during our week there.

Toad Hall sits at the entrance to the picturesque ¾-acre plot. Tadpoles is a self-contained unit alongside the main house, whilst Toad Heights and Leapfrog are housed in an attractive two-storey building a short distance away, up a steep hillside. The gorgeous panoramic views of Castara Bay and the Main Ridge Forest Reserve make the short climb on wide, concrete well-lit steps more than worthwhile.

It is a short 5-minute downhill walk from the property to beautiful Little Bay (a.k.a. 'Heavenly Bay'). The walk to the centre of the village takes a little longer. Shopping in the village has improved dramatically in recent years. A weekly trip to the main supermarkets, near the airport, used to be essential. However, it is now feasible to get your groceries locally if you are flexible in your expectations and keep your culinary demands simple.

As usual, I recommend that holidaymakers' budget for car rental for all or part of their holiday. You certainly won't require a car to get around Castara, but having your own transport is the best way to make the most of your time on this beautiful island. An excellent small car hire service is conveniently based in Little Bay and rents vehicles by the day or week.

Castara Villas is surrounded by local homes and the path leading to the two larger apartments is shared with three other local houses. None of these neighbouring properties intrude on guest privacy and everyone that we encountered was friendly and courteous. You feel that you are part of the local community, not just tourists.

Accommodations

All three Castara Villas apartments offer similar levels of accommodation. It is primarily the spaciousness of the accommodation and sleeping capacity that differ. Toad Hall is no longer available for rental as the owners now spend most of the winter high-season months in residence; a big bonus for guests staying at the property.

The apartments are serviced weekly, with an additional linen and towel change mid-week. There are no self-use laundry facilities, but this can normally be arranged privately with the housekeeper.

The owner's telephone landline is available to guests for local calls. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. A fast 56Mbps connection is available around the main house, including Tadpoles, but is more patching in the Toad Heights/Leapfrog building. So, don't expect to be downloading films from Netflix.

The following detailed description of Toad Heights is a good indicator to the other two units.

Toad Heights (Three-Bedroom Apartment)

We septuagenarians may well be somewhat out of breath after climbing the hillside to Toad Heights, but boy, does the view make the effort worthwhile. Never has a cold bottle of local Stag beer tasted as good as after that walk, sitting on that wonderful balcony, bottle in hand, looking out over those wonderful views.

The layout of Toad Heights is simple and the décor bohemian. The two main bedrooms and bathroom occupy one side of the 11m(37ft) long building. The kitchen stretches across the far end and the remaining space is devoted to a dining bar and seating area.

Rather than the more typical open format with wooden shutters, Toad Heights adopts a more modern style, with glazed windows throughout. Opening and closing ten pairs of windows morning and night may be a 2-minute pain, but it does at least prevent the problem of bats flying around the house in the evenings.

Visitors like sea views, so it is not surprising that most properties face the sea. Facing west may be great for beautiful sunsets but is not so great when you are forced to close window shutters, or draw blinds, and retreat to back bedrooms for relief from the burning afternoon sun. I am delighted to report that this was never an issue in Toad Heights.

What impressed and surprised me the most was how quickly the house cooled down after returning from trips to the beach, etc. Some properties can take an hour or two to cool down if shut-up during the heat of the day. With around 50% of the wall space being occupied by windows and doors, Toad Heights always enjoys a nice through-breeze. Consequently, we stayed comfortable throughout the day. Despite a few blisteringly hot afternoons, we never had to retreat from the sea-facing portion of the house. Much the same applied at night.

The two main bedrooms are identical apart from the 'master' bedroom at the front having windows on two aspects and a sea view. For security reasons, it would not be advisable to leave windows open at night, so occupants must rely on the single wall-mounted fan in each bedroom. Despite that, we slept comfortably every night.

Both main bedrooms are furnished with a double bed with wrap-around mosquito net, nightstand/shelf with lamp, a small key-operated security safe, a 3-drawer dresser, an open wardrobe for garments and a wall-mounted mirror.

The third bedroom is situated in a loft space, which partially projects over the living area. It is accessed by rather challenging steep wooden steps and furnished with a pair of single beds with a large wrap-around mosquito net, plus a floor fan and open wardrobe. I imagine that kids would love this loft bedroom.

The single bathroom sits adjacent to the bedrooms and is equipped with a storage cabinet with inset cold-water basin; a toilet and a large walk-in tiled shower with two shower heads. One shower is cold-water only; the other provides warm water from an instantaneous water heater. Bath and hand towels are provided and changed twice a week, but guests must remember to bring their own beach towels.

The kitchen area is dominated by a long countertop, with open storage shelf beneath. With five pairs of windows in the kitchen area, cooking heat is not the problem endured in many properties. The kitchen is equipped with a cold-water double drainer stainless steel sink; a 4-burner bottled gas oven; microwave, electric toaster, full-size refrigerator with smaller freezer cabinet and a French press (cafetière) coffee maker. The supplied pots and pans, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery were in reasonable condition (bearing in mind the demanding salt-air environment) and adequate for a small family party.

A wide breakfast bar with six tall wooden stools provides an indoor dining area and neatly separates the kitchen from the living area, which comprises of two 3-seater sofas arranged around a low coffee table. An old CRT television with DVD player and small collection of DVDs is provided. TV reception is virtually non-existent.

French doors lead from the living area onto the 1.2m-wide wrap-around balcony, which is shaded by the roof overhang. Throughout the day, large portions of the balcony are always in shade. It is furnished with four padded plastic chairs, a padded bench and a small circular all-weather table.

An open patio area is available just a few steps from the balcony. There is a pair of deck chairs and it is an ideal spot for sunbathing. A large all-weather table is provided for al fresco dining, and a large charcoal grill unit located just a few feet away.

Leapfrog (One-Bedroom Apartment)

Leapfrog is located on the lower floor of the building and occupies around half the footprint of the larger upstairs apartment. It is clearly not as spacious or airy, but nevertheless, does represent a practical and comfortable one-bedroom self-catering holiday apartment.

The living area contains a pair of mini-sofas and a small table with two chairs. The bedroom has a double bed, a wall-mounted electric fan and an open wardrobe. At the far end of the unit, a small bathroom provides the usual trio of cold-water basin, toilet and a shower with instantaneous water heater.

Outside, Leapfrog has a wide concrete patio running the length of the building. This is furnished with a small circular all-weather table and a pair of padded plastic chairs. There are also a pair of deckchairs and a small charcoal barbeque unit. The sea is just about visible, but in many ways,  Leapfrog does boast the better views of the lush and colourful tropical gardens.

Tadpoles (Studio Apartment)

The owners have described Tadpoles as being suitable for the 'younger traveller'. I wouldn't dispute this but feel that they are perhaps not awarding Tadpoles the credit that it deserves. Compared to alternative budget accommodation in the village, it undoubtedly offers a perfectly good choice for the solo traveller or couple seeking comfortable no-frills accommodation.

The small kitchenette of Tadpoles has a two-burner bottled-gas stove and microwave for the preparation of simple meals. The apartment has attractive covered decks at both ends, one with views over the lush thick vegetation at the rear of the property and the other over the more formal gardens to the front.

Conclusion

Having inspected Castara Villas last year, before agreeing to review it, we knew that the levels of accommodation were totally acceptable and the property worthy of closer scrutiny.

So, how did we feel after a week in Toad Heights? The bottom line is that we really enjoyed our time there. Like any Caribbean village, Castara is noisy. Apart from the dogs and cockerels, there is the constant sound of music. However, our stay was hugely relaxing. I can't explain the contradiction, but it is a fact. Perhaps that is the magic of Tobago.

Castara Villas has an awful lot going for it and I can't think of a better way to experience being part of a Tobagonian community and never feeling like an unwelcome, unwanted tourist. Yes, we shall certainly return.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 0%   . Click below to read the 27 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Rosemary Feal from U.S.A. visited in March 2018 and awarded   

This may just be the best villa in Castara. Perched on a hillside with a rainforest in the back and sea views in the front, it is ideal for birdwatching, having a drink on the verandah, and watching the sun set. Steve and Rita are extremely helpful and can arrange transport and trips as well as give tips on when and where to eat. The home is beautiful inside. The beds are comfy, the house is well ventilated, and we had no insects bites. Yay! The four days flew by with snorkeling on Castara beach, leisurely fish meals, etc. The internet is a bit spotty but Steve welcomed us to his gazebo for a stonger signal. Castara is amazing. I hope it stays the way it is so I can visit again! I love small villages like thhis and prefer them 100x over resorts. If that’s your style, you will be super happy with tthis place!

Mia Harris from U.K. visited in February 2016 and awarded   

A group of five of us stayed at Castara Villas in Leapfrog and Tadpoles after carnival. It was a lovely haven of chilled out countryside after being in hectic carnival in Trinidad for 2 weeks. We loved being amongst the rainforest and appreciated the natural environment, the chickens, cats, agoti and beautiful hummingbirds. We also visited waterfalls which you could swim in about 10 minutes walk from the villas. Castara is a very chilled out place exactly what we wanted, enough going on at night but generally fairly quiet and peaceful and really friendly.

Castara villas is very close to the small beach and a 5-10 minute walk from both beached so its a very good location and its really nice being able to walk everywhere day and night. It is hilly so for older people or children its worth knowing this.

We found Steve and Rita really accommodating and we were very happy with the accommodation. We spent a lot of time on the veranda of Leapfrog and it felt very relaxed and some days we spent the whole day chilling out on the veranda. The facilities were good and clean and really nicely made. We cooked at home a lot and there were plenty of local shops. The ATM did not always work though so best to be prepared and bring cash.

Lookup was also very helpful and we went on a boat/fishing trip with him which was one of our best days in Castara, the coastline is beautiful and it was nice explore and Lookup was great to hang out with and he took us to some great places and we caught and cooked the best fish I have ever had.

We really enjoyed our stay and Steve, Rita and Lookup were very helpful. We would definately stay there again and did not want to leave!

Location Map

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Cottage Rate:$37
Minimum Nights:1 night
Property Type:Holiday Rental Cottage
Bedrooms:1
Maximum Guests:2
Bathrooms:1 (ensuite)
Air-Conditioning:None
Children:Children welcome
Hair Dryers:None
Telephone:A telephone is installed in Toad Hall only.
Internet Access:Yes
Television:No
Safety Deposit:Yes
Wheelchair Access:No
Swimming Pool:None
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:Twice per week
Baby-Sitting:Can be arranged through housekeeper
Personal Laundry:Can be arranged through housekeeper
Personal Cooking:By Arrangement
Location:Castara
Region:Upper Caribbean
Location Type:Village
Airport:50 minutes
Beach:3-5 minute Walk