Carpe Diem - Reader Reports & Opinion

Guest Report   

Kirsty Warren from U.K. visited in February 2017 and awarded  Five out of Five

Itís a tough question Ė you find somewhere thatís a real gem. Do you keep shtum so next time your chances of being able to book the place are fair, or do you share your secret? But I canít deny Ė this is it. If youíre staying in Castara, Iíd need real convincing that there was a single contender that could be a match for Carpe Diem. Perched up on the hill, it overlooks the wonderfully rugged, jungle-covered coastline and the sparkling sea with its impossibly pretty sunsets, fabulous birds by day and the twinkling glow of fireflies by night Ė itís just magic. At times Iíd just sit on the veranda feeling giddy with content Ė at least Iím pretty sure it was the surroundings and not just the rum.

Some words of warning. We tried to leave Ė we failed. We packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and off we went to Charlotteville. As lovely a place as it is, being away from Castara was unbearable and we craved the friendly vibes and wonderful views again. It didnít take long - we came crawling back after 48 long hours. We had tried to make it work, but eventually, we caved in to Castaraís charm. Lucky Yvonne and Chris let us come back Ė it felt like coming home. But a very superior home of course. This is a difficult place to tear yourself away from.

Chris and Yvonne were wonderful hosts. We were probably dud visitors forgetting a whole heap of essentials that we should have packed. But they were so accommodating, and if we needed things, theyíd happily share what they had with us Ėchargers, snorkels, etc. Itís the sort of kindness that really makes you feel like youíre in good hands.

In general, I wholeheartedly felt that they take everything quite seriously in terms of making sure everyoneís happy. Carpe Diem didnít really start out as a money-making business venture as such, but Castara had drawn them in and so they built their own place. The studios sounded like an afterthought almost, so it really is a product of love and you absolutely get the personal touch and we felt more like guests than customers.

For us, we loved Castara. Itís refreshing in that its relationship with tourism is a bit different to some other beachy places Iíve been to. Castara offers little in the way of commitment to tourism Ė itís treated more as a fling, or a bit on the side if you will. Few in the village are reliant on you for the money that youíre going to bring in and spend (if you can get money out of the ATM that is Ė Iíll come onto that later). No one followed us around trying to flog us boat trips, no one pushed us to come and look inside their shop, and no one even offered us any Ďherbsí. Even the bar on the beach Ė some places will do all they can to entice you in, with two-for-one offers, happy hours or even just a welcoming smile and a greeting. Here, oh no. Expect a reversal of the situation - youíll have to go and find a barman, lure him to the bar and ask nicely for him to fetch you a drink instead Ė and try and be a considerate punter and order two drinks at once to cause minimum disruption to their schedule of drinking beer in the shade. I liked that though.

What I didnít like as much, was the ATM who also had a similar laid back attitude and a distain for work. If I could warn anyone of one thing, it would be this blasted, pi**ing ATM that takes it upon itself to give you either tiny amount of pocket money, or no money at all. Hey, it might even get hungry and gobble up your card! We could only get teeny amounts out at a time, and even that was unpredictable. It says 24 hour, but it doesnít work weekends (itís usually empty by then), and if someone does have any luck with it, for about five minutes afterwards it wonít work as itíll need to calm down from all the overexcitement of handing out some dosh. Chris and Yvonne seem to have the bank managerís number on speed dial, so do let them know. I think this leads to my only thing Iíd tweak about Carpe Diem Ė I had no idea that finding cash could be such a faff, so if I had my way, Iíd really like to be given the option of paying upfront via bank transfer to avoid this unexpected stress in case the ATM doesnít want to play ball.

So, if youíre going to Castara, Iíd 100% recommend Carpe Diem - cut out the middle-man and book directly through them for the best rates. Youíll leave with postcard perfect photos of a gorgeous vista, a load of excellent twitches (including most of the hummingbirds found in Tobago), a catalogue of memories to cherish and a severe case of holiday blues.

Guest Report   

Gwynne Dyer from U.K. visited in January 2017 and awarded  Five out of Five

Three of us stayed at Carpe Diem in Castara for a week at New Yearís, and enjoyed it immensely. The rooms were big and clean, the view from the balcony was a delight, and at night the bats would do a sky ballet for us if we remembered to put sugar water in the feeder. Chris and Yvonne werenít there, but their friend Adrian took care of anything we couldnít manage for ourselves Ė which was very little, because Castara is sort of a self-service town. Itís very laid-back, used to having lots of foreigners around but still very friendly and with all the services.

We were mostly diving and there is some diving available at Castara, but the best diving is on the another side of the island at the north end. However, thereís a fast road across the mountains and itís less than an hour door-to-door for the dive ops at Speyside, a bit more to Charlotteville. (We went with Blue Waters Dive'n in Speyside, and were very happy with them.) Despite the driving, we were happy to be staying in Castara, which is just a nicer place. But do remember that there is no petrol available within a half-hourís drive of Castara, so fill up elsewhere.

Would we go there again? Yes, certainly.

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Guest Report   

Mariangela from Canada visited in January 2017 and awarded  Five out of Five

We absolutely loved our time and stay at Carpe Diem. We will be back!!!! Lots of privacy, very close by to the beach and very beautiful. It is a gorgeous property.

Guest Report   

Ad And Lia from Netherlands visited in January 2017 and awarded  Five out of Five

This was our third stay in Castara and again it was great to be with Christopher and Yvonne in Carpe Diem. The village and the people are always very welcoming and again we had great fun on the beach at Little Bay with the Boathouse as a perfect place to watch the sunset with one of their cocktails or a beer. Carpe Diem gives you the most beautiful view on the ocean, a very complete acommodation and (when they are on the island) the nicest hosts you may wish.

Guest Report   

Julia Forbes-Leith from U.K. visited in November 2016 and awarded  Five out of Five

What a wonderful place. The apartment was just as described and Chris and Yvonne were exceptionally helpful with local knowledge and tips, both before and during our stay. The village is quiet and friendly with a number of small shops and restaurants and great snorkelling off the relatively empty beaches. We'd definitely return.

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