Castara Cottage - Reader Reports & Opinion

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.

Guest Report   

Mark Neal from Georgia visited in March 2008 and awarded  Five out of Five

After reading the reviews on Castara Cottage, there is little left to say. The cottage is perfect if you are looking for a self serving apartment within an authentic, welcoming fishing village...walking distance to two beaches, next door to a market, etc. Duck, Fitzroy, Bridgette, and the management were fantastic and there were no hangups what so ever. Castara, the actual village, is the most genuine community you could ever hope to visit. Where else will people accept you into their lives, their circle of friends, and families after knowing you for just a few days?

I had no idea what to expect of Tobago before we arrived, but it is paradise, and Castara is the gem in the crown. Charlotteville is fantastic as well. I highly recommend renting a car while you are here and see the entire island. The roads are definitely dicey in that they have constant blind curves on the side of cliffs, with very few guardrails...and as an American not used to driving on the left, and driving a manual transmission changing gears with my left was certainly a new experience, but all this just added to the "coolness" of Tobago.

I would recommend spending a day at the beach at Pigeon Point as well. Sure it's full of tourists, kids screaming, trinket shops, and more burgers than roti, but it is absolutely beautiful and reminds you that Tobago has not only the rugged beauty of the North, but the quintessential Carribbean beaches and crystal clear water to the South. It also, in my opinion, allows you to truly appreciate the rest of the island and how well other areas have kept their purity. If you are planning a family vacation and you want to walk off the plane on to the beach, consider staying in the Pigeon Point area. If you are looking for more, just take a day trip there.

Here are my recommendations:

-rainforest tour with Fitzroy. a rainforest tour really is a must.

-boatride with Duck and friends

-bring your own coffee, because i can't think of a better place to wake up early and have a good cup of joe, and it is tough to find on the island


-try to go to Tobago during Goat and Crab race, and go to the race by boat

-visit all parts of the island, even if it's just to drive through

-spend a lot of time between Castara and Charlotteville....breathtaking panaramas everywhere.

-bring very few clothes...pack what you think you need and then put half of it back. no collars necessary.

-stock up on groceries when you arrive, and enjoy cooking with local ingredients and the catch of the day

-eat "bake and shark" sandwiches, the salted fish puff pastry things, fresh fruit, home baked bread and veggie roti

-drink local beer and don't be afraid to drink a little more rum than you are used to :)

-MEET's worth it here.

-snorkle as much as possible

Thank you Tobago!

Guest Report   

Johann Klinger from Austria visited in February 2008 and awarded  Five out of Five

We stayed for 15 days in the Tamarind apartment at Castara Cottage and it was a great time !

Castara Cottage is just located perfectly in Castara.You have the choice of two beautiful beaches - it`s one minute down to Big Castara Bay and 2 minutes to Heavenly Bay.

We also got a nice view over both beaches from our apartment.

The wooden house is offering good vibration to you from the morning to the night.

We used to have our breakfast on the terrace enjoying the start of the day and watching our kids feeding the birds.In the late afternoon the sun is setting the whole house in a wonderful light.

The house itself is decorated with love and Brigitte the manager is always there if you need some help.

We`ve been to a lot of countries around the world always searching for peaceful places where you can stay without big hotels and get in contact with local people - Castara is one of the best places we have found !

The people of Castara(as on the rest of the island!) are really friendly and helpful - for boattrips ask Duck/for bushwalks ask Carlloyd - we had a great time with these guys.

It`s also a good idea to get a car and explore Tobago on your own - we rented a car for two weeks and explored the island from Pigeon Point to Speyside.Especially Charlotteville/Pirates Bay and Pigeon Point/Buccoo Reef are places you should not miss !

We just hope that Tobago will stay the way it is and tourism will not get to strong on that paradise island.

Johnny,Eva,Yvonne,David & Sarah

Guest Report   

Martine & Wiemer from Netherlands visited in February 2008 and awarded  Five out of Five

Excellent accomodation right on the beach in one of the more secluded areas of Tobago. Peace and quiet, great food and a lovely accomodation with everything you need to have a wonderful vacation.

Easy to explore other parts of the island, but you may as well stay here just to enjoy the beach, the sun and a great book.

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Guest Report   

John Hogarth from Canada visited in October 2007 and awarded  Four out of Five

Castara cottage is a very special place, given its simple beauty, practicality and stunning setting.

I went looking for beach and birds, armed with my cameras, and found the perfect place at Castara Cottage. The two beaches below the cottage are as beautiful as any in the world, and only a stone's throw away, with easy walking access by the roads on each side of the ridge. The site also has tantalizing views of the Caribbean, through lush foliage.I enjoyed the bats, birds and chickens that visited me in the house. I pulled in a huge variety of birds on the porch railings outside, with cracker crumbs, etc., and shot many dozens of still photos and miles of video footage. I had the opportunity to snorkel (nice coral and fish on the north end of the beach), swim, laze, people-watch and film at the beach - including the famous fishermen's take from the beach with their nets - one catch captured a ray and that provided considerable excitement when the net reached shore! I befriended a large local family on the beach as they routinely came to swim near the end of each day.

I also thoroughly experienced Englishman's, Parletuvier and Bloody Bays, and drove through the forest reserve on my way back to Crown Point .

Met Fitzroy, the guide - he kept popping up like an old friend - at the cottage, at Englisman's Bay - he even flagged me down on the reserve road as I motored to Roxborough! I enjoyed our encounters.

Back to the Castara and the Cottage.........utilitarian cottage but nothing was missing. The fans are essential but did the job. Mosquitoes were not a problem. Slept like a baby. Much sun, little rain. Wonderful music from around town, including live band and singers at the church up the way on Sunday. Ninety-nine percent friendly people. Few other tourists but talked with some really nice Brits. Sorry that Castara is "growing" -apartments and the like - as the character and mood will eventually erode, I think. Was aware of neighbours upstairs but we co-existed just fine. I enjoyed the outside shower.

I believe rates are appropriate. Housekeeper Brigitte was unobtrusive and accommodating.

When I first arrived I was surprised to discover the road below so close - but it was not a problem - little travelled by vehicles. (I quickly discovered the short-cut through the railing.)

The mood and character of Castara are rare and precious in our fast paced complex and often difficult world. Castarians are fortunate to live at one of the few remaining oases on earth.

I have no doubt that I will make every effort to return as soon as possible, and bewail the fact that northern Canada is SO far away from Tobago.

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