Castara Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion

Guest Report   

Maureen Taylor from U.K. visited in June 2009 and awarded  Five out of Five

We stayed in Saffron for the first few nights, then we moved down into Cinnamon for the remainder of our holiday. Both apartments were just as described on the website i.e. traditional, clean, comfortable and well equipped but as a couple we found the layout of Saffron suited us best . The open plan apartment felt spacious and airy, unlike other studio apartments which we have rented. It was natural, unpretentious and simple – with a few quirky decorations.

Since coming back from Tobago we heard that some guests have complained about the passing traffic behind the studio, but that was a minor irritation for us, it was definitely offset by the positives of our holiday.

The manager, Brigitte was attentive, friendly, helpful & unobtrusive. She popped in now and again to check everything was OK and left us her mobile number just in case we had any problems (we didn’t).

Try calling in to see Cheno for breakfast as you walk through Castara. He has the small cafe on the edge of town and serves fresh, local food at a good price. You must put a special dinner order in for Crab and Dumplings, as the restaurant claims this is “ finger lickin’ good” !!

Don’t miss the stern old women who bake bread at the clay oven twice a week in Castara. The small number of restaurants in the village serve similar food ie chicken or goat, and all are good, but Cascreole (raised up on stilts on the beach) is the best for sunset drinks.

Castara fish must be the best we have ever tasted, the price is fantastic and it was certainly fresh. We bought it off the local fishermen on Big Bay beach and cooked it back at the apartment within an hour or so. The local shops sell most items that you will need but go to Scarborough market for a real eye-opening treat.

Bird watching is a must on this holiday and to see some you don’t have to leave the apartment. The small local yellow and black birds (bananaquit) fly onto the balcony and even hop in now and again. If you put food out on the balcony for the birds the results are breathtaking, especially when the MotMot lands. I would recommend you beg, borrow or buy a local bird book and check out how many different varieties you can spot. Many other species can be spotted on the beach or while travelling around the island.

The two local beaches are quite different, but both are wonderful. We often had the sea to ourselves and snorkelling off Heavenly Bay is brilliant.

We visited the Castara and Argyle waterfalls – fantastic ! We took a fresh-water dip in both of them and saw amazing butterflies and yet more birds.

A boat trip to Nylon Pool and Coral Gardens is a must – but even better is the BBQ on No Man’s Land when you cook what you catch.

Before you leave you MUST ‘lime’ at Codrington’s rum shop next door to the house. There you will get the feel of village life and meet lots of interesting local people, along with fellow tourists.

We really enjoyed our stay in Tobago and we give Castara Cottage a 5-star rating as natural, friendly apartments within a local community. However those wanting 5-star, up-market, sterile, ‘manufactured’ accommodation with all mod cons – maybe this place is not for you.

Maureen & Steve, Huddersfield

Guest Report   

Veronica from U.S.A. visited in April 2009 and awarded  Four out of Five

Had a great stay in Castara. Castara Cottage was perfectly located close to two beaches. We stayed in Cinnamon and found it comfortable and clean; perfect accomodation for the island experience. Great people, friendly and helpful.

Take a trip with Duck in his boat, rent a car and drive up the coast and see the magnificent coast-line, indulge in some local cuisine.

Had a blast!

Guest Report   

Alan & Jacqueline Cole from U.S.A. visited in March 2009 and awarded  Five out of Five

This is the first time in a few years we have been able to enjoy a trip such as this and Castara Cottage, Castara Village and Tobago way exceeded our expectations.

We were looking for a peaceful, simple retreat that had a flavour of how the locals live, with access to good beaches and the freedom to explore the island safely. In addition we wanted to be able to enjoy local food but also have the freedom to cater for ourselves - it certainly ticked all those boxes.

We stayed inititally in Saffron (studio) then moved downstairs to Cinammon. I have to say we would have happily stayed in Saffron.(The move was only necessary because we had to change our holiday dates and Saffron was not available for the full two weeks).

The apartments are clean, comfortable and well equipped. The shower is hot and the bed comfortable - what more do you need on holiday? We were particularly impressed with the way Brigitte called regularly to change bed linen and towels - particularly important in a humid environment.

We decided not to take any of the tours offered by Duck or Fitzroy - we really just wanted to relax. They were not the least offended and were not at all pushy when we said no.

Local restaurants serve good food at reasonable rates. The coffee shop run by Cheno and his brother do an excellent salt-fish and bake breakfast - must be tried at least once.

Ralph the fruit and veg man in the village gave us excellent advice on how to cook plantain and the fish purchased fresh from the co-operative was beyond excellent. The lady who runs the little gift shop by the beach offers excellent recipes on how to cook the fish.

All in all we really couldn't fault anything - other than the fact we had to leave.

If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, on a safe island, in authentic comfortable accommodation, in the most beautiful of surroundings, then look no further than Castara Cottage.

Guest Report   

Chris Robb from U.K. visited in January 2009 and awarded  Two out of Five

Just echoing the report of December 2008. We stayed in Cinnamon cottage for a week at the beginning of New Year. It is difficult to tell from the details, but the apartments are right on top of each other. We are a family of four with two kids aged 5 and 18 months who stayed in Cinnamon Cottage. We were delighted with the rustic charm of the place - cockerils, lizards and various birds coming to say hello. It was literally a tree house.

However, there was an English family staying directly above us in Tamarind. They were there for 3 weeks and had 3 kids. The 18 month old spent his time from 7.30pm till 9pm every night running up down and screaming uncontrollably. Without kids, we would have just gone out, but this is their bed time. The floors are wooden and there is no sound proofing. It was horrific.We know that several different parties complained about them, but nothing of significance was done to rectify the situation.

Before booking I would suggest checking the occupancy of the other appartments. They are so close together that this will have an affect. Despite my rant, it is such a lovely place I would recommend staying there. Just check for toddlers and selfish and irresponsible parenting...

Chris & Annie Robb, St. Albans UK

Guest Report   

Marsha Mark Montgomery from U.K. visited in December 2008 and awarded  One out of Five

For us, the best part of staying in Castara was having easy access to seeing the other very scenic parts of the island; from the north to the east and back to the west again. With car hire, this proved a wonderful and memorable experience. Like others before us we also thoroughly enjoyed Englishman's, Parletuvier and Bloody Bays, and drove through the forest reserve on our way back to Castara.

However, I am afraid that for my husband and I the four nights and five days spent in the Saffron appartment of Castara cottages was a huge dissappointment.

We were initially highly surprised by how close to the main road, the appartment was located as we drove into Castara, but thought that there would not be any problems if the noise level of the traffic was low. This proved totally the opposite - with loud hooting and people revving cars on a daily morning basis...with no chance of a sleep-in.

Unfortunately for us, we also had an English family next door with two screaming children, loud and constantly jumping on the floor boards. This proved our worse nightmare and we dread to think what the family in the appartment cottage below were going through. From all accounts Brigitte, the manager had already received complaints from the French family of four staying in the appartment below!

On a separate note, Brigitte, the manager was a star. She fixed the non-flushing toilet immediately and cleaned and tidied up the appartment on a regular basis. Even when after 3 nights, we decided to leave earlier than planned, she totally understood our position.

We also understood that there were no mod cons, such as TVs in the appartment; but with the noise of films being played next door, we felt as if we were living in a cinema whilst trying to have a relaxing evening, taking in the sun-set.

I would recommend to anyone wanting to visit Toabago, to either choose accommodation in and around Crown Point and /or Pidgeon point with its great relaxing and fun beaches, surfing, diving and snorkelling and with numerous guesthouses and hotels with a wide range of prices as well as some choice of reasonably priced restaurants and supermarkets for self-catering or further afield near Black Rock; where the small family-run guesthouses were comfortable but that can get booked out very fast in December.

We fortunately spent the remainder of the two weeks in two other places: one of them an appartment overlooking the sea near Black Rock and the other at Crown Point where we had a glorious time, with access to beaches, snorkelling and diving. Where we had a much needed relaxing time.

Tobago is a small enought island to get to know your way around, filled with stunning smaller and less frequented beaches than Castara that are simple, beautiful with fewer people.

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