Castara Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion

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.

Guest Report   

Dr. E Torres from U.K. visited in March 2008 and awarded  Four out of Five

My family and I spent 2 glorious weeks at Castara Cottage (Cinnamon) in March this year. If you donít want breathtaking beaches, fantastic snorkelling and fishing, lush, wildlife-filled rainforest, and warm friendly locals, then this is not the place for you.

We started each day by putting out food scraps along the balcony railing and then sat eating our breakfasts while a kaleidoscope of tropical birds came and sat happily munching just yards away. The cottage is just a minute from either of the two beaches, so our first venture out each day was down to the beach for a bit of swimming, snorkelling or fishing. The fishing off big beach was good and the snorkelling at the north end of little beach was fantastic. On our first day there we helped haul in the seine net off big beach, and an hourís hard work was rewarded with a huge haul of tuna up to 15 lb in weight.

Cinnamon cottage was amazing. Not for the faint-hearted, the open front wall and close proximity of the vegetation makes it seem more like a tree house (albeit a very well equipped tree house). Both birds and bats were wont to fly in for an occasional visit, and the two resident geckos made regular appearances. We loved it. Even my normally squeamish teenage daughter enjoyed it. One thing worth mentioning is the noise. You are close enough to the beach to hear the waves all the time, and together with the birds during the day and the frogs and cicadas at night, it is not the quietest place youíll ever stay. However, after a couple of days we were all sleeping like logs and this minor inconvenience was well worth it for the magical experience overall. The local shops sold the basics necessary for life (no meat or cowís milk) and fresh fish was available every day from the fishermenís centre on the beach. The restaurants sold good food at reasonable prices, with picture-book sunsets thrown in for free most nights.

Last but not least, I must mention the people. Without exception the people we met were friendly and welcoming. Duck was our main contact there and he not only organised a couple of boat trips for us (sightseeing, snorkelling and beach barbeques) but even arranged a birthday cake, pink icing and all, for my daughterís 15th birthday. As a rainforest guide, I canít recommend Fitzroy highly enough. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the jungle is surpassed only by his enthusiasm for sharing it, and a pair of eyes that would put a hawk to shame. Sharon and Brenton down at the boat house are the perfect hosts and donít miss their steel pan and drum night on Wednesdays. Finally, for the serious fishermen among you, get Anaconda to take you out on his boat. The fishing was fantastic and the rates very reasonable. Donít forget to ask him about the big marlin he caught.

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