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Beach House - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation
 

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Beach House, Tobago

Beach House

3 Self-Catering Apartments

Nestled directly beside the golden sands of Castara's nicest beach, the Beach House is a traditional local wooden open-style two-storey house. The upper floor... forms the owner's beautifully-decorated one-bedroom holiday apartment, Coconut Heights. The ground floor has two smaller and simpler studio apartments.

We have stayed in Coconut Heights several times and consider it the most authentic and atmospheric accommodation in Castara. Other properties in the village charge considerably more and yet are pale imitations of the real thing. See our review for full details of these unique apartments.
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Beach House

3 Self-Catering Apartments

Nestled directly beside the golden sands of Castara's nicest beach, the Beach House is a traditional local wooden open-style two-storey house. The upper floor forms the owner's beautifully-decorated one-bedroom holiday apartment, Coconut Heights. The ground floor has two smaller and simpler studio apartments.

We have stayed in Coconut Heights several times and consider it the most authentic and atmospheric accommodation in Castara. Other properties in the village charge considerably more and yet are pale imitations of the real thing. See our review for full details of these unique apartments.

click/tap the photo to view a gallery of 34 photos

Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

This delightful two-story house, divided into three separate apartments, is situated right on the beach of a small bay in the picturesque village of Castara. Nestled among palms and lush tropical foliage, each unit offers spectacular views of the sea, surrounding hills and coastline of the Caribbean Sea. As Beach House faces west, you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean sunset from each of the 3 apartments every evening.

Coconut Heights is comprised of the entire upper floor of the Beach House and has an en-suite bedroom with queen-sized bed, well equipped kitchen, and a large dining and living area with open balcony.

Palm Corner and Breadfruit Grove are two self-contained studio apartments alongside one another at beach level, each with its own separate entrance. Their individual verandas can be interconnected to allow access to both units, if desired. Each apartment has a double bed, well-equipped kitchenette and separate bathroom.

myTobago Review

Self-Catering Apartment, Castara, Tobago

The following review was produced during a 7-night stay at the Beach House in March 2018.

Introduction

The Beach House in Castara is a truly unique property. Only a tiny handful of Tobago self-catering accommodation properties offer the same direct access onto a beautiful sandy beach with safe swimming and snorkelling. Better still, the beach concerned is Castara's Little Bay. With one of the prettiest beaches on the Caribbean coast, Little Bay is still very much part of the 'real' Tobago.

The Beach House was the very first self-catering holiday rental property in Little Bay. It was also one of the first in Castara and long before this charming fishing village became Tobago's most popular holiday destination.

The small valley that backs Little Bay has experienced extensive development in recent years. We were fascinated to find out how this had affected the Beach House and whether it would remain one of our personal favourites.

Location

The Beach House is located at the southern end of Little Bay, the smaller and prettier of Castara's two lovely beaches. Little Bay is often referred to as Heavenly Bay. Access to the bay is via Depot Road, a steep narrow pitted lane that drops from the main coast road as it wends its way through Castara.

Two rocky outcrops separate Little Bay from Big Bay and its beach. At low tide it is possible to wade waist-deep from one beach to the other, but few do. Other than the Boat House Restaurant, there are no facilities in Little Bay, so walking to shops and restaurants means climbing the steep hill between the two bays. Best avoided in the heat of the day, it is a pleasant walk that won't faze most people.

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 is a 50-minute drive from the airport. Arrangements can be made to meet your incoming flight and transfer you back to Castara, via one of the main supermarkets. Shopping facilities remain fairly limited in the village but have improved dramatically in recent years. Visitors normally plan a weekly trip to one of the main supermarkets near the airport. A golden rule in Tobago is "if in stock, buy it"; the concept of stock control does not exist.

Castara will not suit everyone. It is a small working fishing village, very different to the cities and towns that most visitors come from. It will not suit those who expect a Starbucks or MacDonald's on every corner, or the family who once accused me of hiding the truth about Castara and commented "The village is so primitive. We couldn't even get fresh bagels". And long may it continue so.

Architecture & General Layout

It is difficult to see more than the briefest glimpses of the Beach House outside the property. Hidden by mature shrubs and coconut, breadfruit and orange trees, the lush gardens offer lots of shade and help to keep the apartments cool on even the hottest days.

The house is a two-storey property of typical Caribbean style. The lower floor is of rendered block-work, partially clad in timber, whilst the upper floor is almost entirely of wood. Snuggled into the foliage, less than three metres from the sandy beach, it is very appropriately named and a very natural part of its environment.

Accommodations

Coconut Heights is a one-bedroom apartment occupying the entire upper floor of the property. The lower floor is divided into two, almost identical, self-contained studio apartments called Breadfruit Grove and Palm Corner. Each apartment has a maximum occupancy of two people, so the entire house would be suitable for a party of up to six adults. Coconut Heights has relatively low balconies, so is not recommended for families with young children.

The pathways around the gardens are constructed of small boulders, levelled and in-filled with sand. As with all cobblestone-type paths, the uneven footing means that the property is unsuitable for wheelchair users or those with severe mobility issues.

All three apartments are serviced before arrival. The bed linen and towels are changed every three days. There are no self-use laundry facilities, but washing can often be arranged with the housekeeper or local manager. Guest will need to bring their own beach towels. Each apartment has an outside shower and foot tap/faucet, so guests can rinse sandy feet when returning from the beach.

None of the apartments are equipped with televisions or telephones. We were delighted to find that complimentary basic Internet access has been installed since our last visit.

Coconut Heights (One-Bedroom Apartment)

The Beach House was built as a private holiday home. The lower apartments were added later, to enable family gatherings. The private nature of the property is particularly self-evident in the intimate décor of Coconut Heights, with its vibrant Caribbean paintings, wall hangings, seashells and coral fragment decorations.

This unique apartment offers 565ft2 of comfortable but rustic living accommodation. The bedroom and kitchen areas occupy the rear half of the building. The living area extends across the full 26-foot frontage of the building and is open to the elements, protected only by the roof overhang. The side returns have closable wooden shutters for weather protection, privacy and security. There is no separate balcony: the frontage of the apartment is effectively a covered balcony.

The 13x10ft bedroom is separated from the living area by a narrow wall and glazed double doors. Cooling sea breezes fan the bed when the doors are left open. There would be little point in closing the door. You would only be protecting your privacy from passing dolphins and fisherman and I doubt that either carry binoculars.

The bedroom is dominated by a 5-foot queen-sized bed with full mosquito net mounted on a four-poster frame. Curtains across the foot of the bed limit the light levels after sunrise. The bed is quite high, offering occupants a wonderful view out to sea whilst providing a great space to store suitcases.  There is nothing more relaxing than lying there with a cup of coffee and a good book, enjoying those magnificent views out over Castara Bay.

Leading directly off the bedroom is a small bathroom, equipped with toilet and washbasin. A half-tiled shower is located alongside. All bathroom (and kitchen) fittings at the Beach House were clean, presentable and in decent working order. The apartments are plumbed for both hot and cold water. Showers were a particular pleasure. With lots of hot water, and good pressure, the large traditional-style 'raindrop' showerhead guarantees total immersion while being gentle on sunburned shoulders.

A small walk-in wardrobe offers 30-inches of full-length hanging space and lots of open shelf storage. An ironing board, electric iron and hairdryer are stored there, together with a safe large enough for a small camera, wallets, travel documents and jewellery, etc.

The bedroom is furnished with several mirrors (behave yourself), wall-mounted 'reading' lights and a flexible LED light mounted on the headboard. There is also a small library of novels, plus playing cards, dominoes and compendium of board games.

The 11x7ft kitchen is light, breezy, and well equipped. Glazed double doors can be closed to separate the kitchen from the living area, but like the bedroom, there seems little point. With doors open, the kitchen remains cool and bright and allows you to enjoy the stunning sea views.

The kitchen is equipped with a standard set of fittings. A bottled gas oven with grill and four gas rings are supplemented by an effective toaster, French press coffee maker and a large fridge with freezer compartment. There is a generous stock of kitchenware. Everything was clean and in excellent condition.

Immediately adjacent to the kitchen, just inside the L-shaped living area, a wooden farmhouse table with bench seating offers a pleasant dining area for up to six people.

As mentioned, the living area extends across the entire frontage of the property. The views over the beach and bay are simply stunning. The living area is furnished with comfortable armchairs and small tables and beautifully and artistically decorated with shells, pots, family photographs, shells and wind chimes. A wonderfully comfortable hammock can be slung across one corner of the living area.

Access to the apartment is via a wide wooden staircase at the side of the building. There is an attractive partially-covered deck at the top of the stairs, furnished with plastic chairs and a good gas barbeque unit. Backing onto a cliff rock face, the deck is decorated with coloured fairy lights and painted wooden fish carvings, making it a lovely place for al fresco dining.

None of the Beach House apartments are air-conditioned, nor need to be. The cool sea breezes are supplemented by electric floor fans in both the living area and bedroom. The apartments face due west, so occupants get the full benefit of the views across the bay and the stunning sunsets. Wide hessian roller blinds can be lowered on the balcony to prevent glare from the setting sun.

The house is surrounded by lush vegetation and located near a small stream. It is inevitable that gnats, mosquitoes and other no-see-ums will be present, particularly during the rainy season (April to November). We had absolutely no problem with this and did not even need to use the mosquito net. However, anyone visiting the tropics is strongly recommended to make regular use of a good repellent, regardless of where they are staying.

Breadfruit Grove & Palm Corner (Studio Apartments)

The lower floor of the Beach House is divided into two self-contained studio apartments. They are very similar to each other but have slightly different decorative themes. Breadfruit Grove has a slightly larger kitchen and deck, but a smaller bathroom than Palm Corner, which is also a fraction further from the beach area and therefore possibly the quieter of the two. There is frankly little to choose between them, so it is very much a matter of personal choice.

These apartments are of reasonable size but more simply decorated and furnished than the spacious Coconut Heights on the upper floor. The stunning location, just a metre or so above the beach, with its glorious views out over Castara Bay, is sure to be the main feature for everyone staying here.

Each studio is dominated by a queen-size bed with attractive bedspread and four-poster mosquito net. Furnishings included a single chair, bedside wall lamps and wall mirrors. There is also a small bookshelf with collection of reading matter, plus a metre of half-height hanging space and open shelves for clothing.

The small kitchenettes are clean and serviceable. Equipment includes a four-ring gas oven, spacious fridge/freezer, toaster, coffee maker (cafetière) and kettle. Each unit has a reasonable supply of kitchenware.

Each apartment has a small bathroom with washbasin, toilet and half-tiled shower, but no shaver socket. All sinks, basins and showers have both hot and cold water.

Neither apartment is air-conditioned, but both have an oscillating multi-speed floor fan. Shuttered windows and/or doors on three aspects help to keep the apartments light and breezy. Stable-style doors lead from the living area onto a wide balcony to the front of each studio. A connecting door in the balcony partition between the two studios can be unlocked when friends or family have rented both units.

The front balcony of Palm Corner has been extended along the side of the building to form an additional deck area and used to store a gas barbeque unit. Breadfruit Grove has a larger, partly covered, deck. The balconies and decks are furnished with a small table, comfortable padded deck chairs and a bench seat, plus a large Mexican hammock.

Each unit has a hessian roller blind to block the setting sun. Stunning sunsets are a major feature in Castara. You could not ask for a more beautiful spot than the Beach House from which to enjoy the spectacle of the sun dipping below the horizon out over the bay.

Conclusion

The Beach House is not a choice that would suit everyone. I must qualify that statement by stressing that it also applies to EVERY holiday accommodation property in Castara.

The Beach House apartments are not sealed air-conditioned cells. Most of the frontage is open to the natural elements, either totally, or via simple wooden shuttered windows. Fruit bats, birds, geckos and even a chameleon have been regular visitors during our stays – not just outside the house, but inside as well.

Despite the commercial expansion of Little Bay in recent years, you will still seldom find more than a handful of people on the beach at the same time. In fact, you will often have the beach to yourself. This is a simply because there is so much else to do and see on Tobago. On top of that, the Beach House is so completely isolated by its own lush gardens that you are almost unaware of the other properties in the valley.

Those who love wildlife and want a "back to basics" holiday experience with good standards of comfort will adore the Beach House. In fact, Coconut Heights apartment is our favourite accommodation in Castara. Yes, the Beach House continues to be one of our personal favourite holiday accommodation choices on Tobago.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 96.5%   . Click below to read the 98 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Gill O from U.K. visited in August 2018 and awarded   

We spent two weeks in June in Coconut Heights. We worked out that this was the 9th time we have stayed at The Beach House. This was the first time we stayed during the rainy season, and although it did rain every day, there was only one afternoon and the day before we returned, that the rain was so heavy it stopped us going out walking. Even so, it was pretty spectacular to watch from the comfort of our verandah, armed with a rum punch and a good book.

The Beach House is paradise for us. We immediately relax as soon as we arrive.

Coconut Heights was delightful as always. We especially appreciated the bread safe, which kept those pesky little ants at bay ! The view from the verandah is magical. I love watching the fishermen head out to sea every morning, and also watching the pelicans and terns catching fish directly in front of us .If you don’t appreciate nature, perhaps you should be aware that the verandah is open , and birds,and lizards share it with you. At night the bats swoop through , helping themselves to the sugar water put out for the humming birds. If you don’t like bats, simply take the feeder down at night.

We did find the mosquitos and sand flies particularly bad this year. I am always a sand fly magnet, but as long as I remembered to spray my ankles with Deet as soon as I got up, it wasn’t too much of a nuisance.

The village was incredibly quiet, with only a handful of tourists. We had the beach pretty much to ourselves. This did mean that very few restaurants in Castara were open, although Chino’s was open for breakfast, and a nice cold Carib during the day. The Boathouse (next door to The Beach House) was also closed for refurbishment, which was disappointing, as I always love Sharon’s cooking. We certainly didn’t go hungry, with a plentiful supply of fresh fish ( some caught off the beach in front of Coconut Heights ), and delicious fruit and veg from DJ’s shop.

The sea was the calmest I have ever seen it, which meant we had fantastic snorkelling directly off the beach. The reef looked in good shape, and we saw something different every day.

We hired a car from Taylors in Castara. We love to go exploring, especially along the Bloody Bay Roxborough road through the forest reserve. We also had two trips out bird watching with Newton George, who as always, was full of enthusiasm and an amazing spotter of birds.

This year we visited Corbin Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time. We spent a very enjoyeable afternoon here, culminating in a surprise visit to a house where a British naturalist stays for part of the year, who helps out with the sanctuary. He has a beautiful set up for humming birds, and I could have sat there for hours.

Thank you Carole and Graham for letting us stay in The Beach House again.

We will be back.

Adam Zielinski from Austria visited in April 2018 and awarded   

What a fantastic place! It was our first stay here, but definitely not the last. The Beach House is located directly next to the beach, yet separated for your privacy. All 3 apartments have a balcony and a terrace with a garden shower.

The only other place at the lovely small Castara Bay beach is the Boathouse Restaurant, which we can also recommend.

Castara itself is a small fishermen village, still quite authentic and the beaches are not overly crowded. You can even spot rays right from the beach!

There is also a small dive center, as you have fantasti dive spots right in front of the house.

There are several other beautiful beaches within a short drive, but in the end we always preferred our "Little Bay".

Location Map

To view a detailed interactive map showing the location of this property relative to restaurants, shops and sightseeing features, click this link  

Studios:0
1-Bedroom:0
Minimum Nights:0 nights
Property Type:Self-Catering Apartments
Apartments:3
Bedrooms:1
Maximum Guests:6
Air-Conditioning:Standing floor fan provided in each apartment.
Children:Apartments are designed for couples only so regret no children, unless renting the whole house.
Hair Dryers:Available
Telephone:No
Internet Access:Yes
Television:No
Safety Deposit:Yes
Wheelchair Access:No
Swimming Pool:None
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:Twice per week
Baby-Sitting:No
Personal Laundry:No
Personal Cooking:By Arrangement
Location:Castara
Region:Upper Caribbean
Location Type:Village
Airport:50 minutes
Beach:Beachside Property