Porridge's Place - a myTobago guide to Tobago holiday accommodation

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Porridge's Place, Tobago

Porridge's Place

1 Self-Catering Apartment

Porridge's Place is a small, well-furnished studio apartment on the lower ground floor of the home of a well-known Castara property manager of the same name.... Located in a quiet spot on the eastern (Parlatuvier) outskirts of Castara village, the property looks across open rural landscape with distant views of the ocean, and a 10-minute walk from the Castara beaches. [read more]


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Porridge's Place

1 Self-Catering Apartment

Porridge's Place is a small, well-furnished studio apartment on the lower ground floor of the home of a well-known Castara property manager of the same name. Located in a quiet spot on the eastern (Parlatuvier) outskirts of Castara village, the property looks across open rural landscape with distant views of the ocean, and a 10-minute walk from the Castara beaches.

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Property Description

Provided by the property, or taken from their website

Porridge's Place is a small modern studio apartment recently constructed below the upper floor apartment occupied by Derrick Lopez (a.k.a. Porridge) and his partner Jeanell and their two children Shaquille and Derricia.

Porridge is a well known person both in the village of Castara and in Tobago generally. He has a successful car and jeep hire business and also a minibus service for meeting visitors at the airport and for island trips. He is a friendly and warm hearted person who has a very good reputation with tourists for offering a responsive and well organised service that includes excellent introduction to local Caribbean life.

Porridge and Jeanell manage, for other people, three holiday accommodations in Castara and are very experienced in looking after visitors. They have recently extended their home to create a studio apartment that offers a very good standard of accommodation for a modest charge.

Quietly located on the eastern edge of the village the apartment looks across open rural landscape dotted with local homes and has a distant view of the ocean. Castara beach is a 2 minute drive or a 10 minute walk down the hill and the famous Englishman's Bay is a 5 minute drive or 30 minute walk in the opposite direction.

Castara village is on the western, Caribbean coast and is a 45 minute drive from the airport. It is a small and delightful fishing village, recently reviewed in The Telegraph as the place to visit for an authentic local Caribbean experience. The village is situated on the edge of the rainforest and there is an excellent walk that starts at Porridge's front door and offers a clearly marked trail through the rainforest.

The two beaches in Castara are generally recognised as one of the prettiest beach locations in Tobago (many would claim it as the best) with very good snorkelling over the coral reef off the Little Beach, and lots of space to relax either in sun or shade, on both the big and little beaches.

If you are booking for good quality budget accommodation with friendly hosts and a quiet location the Porridge's Place may be just the place for you.

myTobago Review

Our reviews are devoid of marketing hype. We aim to provide concise, unbiased factual information that will help you find Tobago holiday accommodation that perfectly matches your hopes, requirements and expectations.

The following review was produced during a 4-night stay at Porridge's Place.


ll-inclusive hotels have their place, particularly when visiting a destination for the first time. However, the best way to experience Tobago is to get out into the community. There is a wide range of highly affordable, locally owned apartments and cottages available and the standards of accommodation on offer have risen substantially in recent year. The biggest single advantage, however, is the close friendship that so many visitors experience living in close proximity to a local family.

Derrick "Porridge" Lopez is a well-known Castarian. He is best known as the General Manager of the excellent Castara Retreats. Aided by his equally charming wife, Jeanell, Porridge operates an airport transfer service and arranges weddings for overseas visitors. His warm, welcoming smile and friendly face so ably illustrate the Tobagonian characteristics that led to the creation of this website. His manner, hospitality and good humour are genuine and heartfelt. The Caribbean abounds with beautiful beaches and spectacular scenery. However, the indigenous population is what makes Tobago so unique and special.


Porridge's Place is located one mile east of Castara's main beach facilities, on the main north coast road that leads to Parlatuvier. It is a 2-minute drive, or 10-minute walk, from the apartment to Little Bay beach at the eastern end of the village. The uphill return possibly takes a minute or two longer.

The narrow main road twists and winds its way up the valley and out of Castara village. Like the few neighbouring properties, Porridge's home is perched on the hillside, adjacent to the road. The main viewpoint is back down the green and lush valley, towards the glistening ocean at the bottom of the hill.


The accommodation at Porridge's Place consists of a single self-contained studio apartment offering around 22m2 of net floor space. The apartment is located on the ground floor of the house. Porridge, Jeanell, and family share the upper floor of the house.

The house is cut into the hillside. The apartment is constructed of concrete block-work on three sides, with a fascia of wood. Two sets of double windows, with opening wooden louvered shutters, provide adequate light and ventilation.

The 3.3 x 2.7m living/kitchen area is partially separated from the 4 x 3.3m bedroom/bathroom area by a bead curtain. The roughcast concrete walls and ceiling are painted white, the starkness being relieved by small paintings, prints and posters. It is clear that considerable thought and care has been put into making the apartment look 'homely'.  In fact, Porridge and Jeanell's involvement with Castara Retreats is obvious. The apartment is like a mini version, with close attention to detail and obvious attempt to provide high standards of furnishing within a rustic "back to basics" ethos.

The living room is simply furnished and the light grey floor tiles are soft and cool to walk on. Guests will inevitably gravitate to the 2.8x2.1m covered porch immediately outside the apartment door, so the sofa present on our first visit has now been replaced by a single wickerwork chair.

The kitchen is equipped with a large new fridge-freezer, a four-ring bottled gas oven and a microwave oven. The stainless-steel kitchen sink has a cold water supply and is set into a nicely tiled work surface, set above a spacious open shelf unit that houses the pans and crockery, etc. Provided utensils include a toaster, kettle, filter coffee machine and a 'French press' cafetière. There is an adequate supply of pots, pans, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils. Everything was immaculately clean and in excellent maintenance order. It was also nice to note that a small stock of condiments, such as salt and sugar, were provided. In fact, I do not think we have come across a better-equipped small apartment anywhere in Tobago.

The bedroom area is dominated by a double bed with four-poster mosquito net. There is a single bedside table and bedside lamp and 1.6m of open hanging and shelf space for clothing and other items. Additional furnishings include a small wall-mounted digital security safe, a hair dryer, television set and an MP3 player.

The walk-in shower has been upgraded since our first visit. It now boasts a 7-inch raindrop head and plumbed hot water, rather than the previous instantaneous heater. This is the only hot water in the apartment, however. The toilet is housed in a separate cubicle, in the corner of the room, and gave new meaning to the expression "sitting on the throne", being so high that even my feet barely touched the floor. A single small pedestal basin with cold water and mirror completes the bathroom furnishings.

The apartment is air-conditioned by a single modern, split-unit air-conditioner. Although quiet and efficient in use, many guests will probably find this superfluous and choose instead to leave the wooden window shutters open. A large oscillating floor fan is provided. We used this fan at night, but not because it was too hot. We prefer fresh air and find that mosquito nets restrict the airflow more than we like. To be honest, they are seldom necessary during the dry season. Our preferred method is to put a fan on at its lowest setting positioned towards the bed. Mosquitoes are so light that they have difficulty flying in strong air currents. If there are mossies about, we normally just use an electric bug deterrent, positioned on the floor between the bed and the fan.

A covered patio furnished with a table and chairs lies just outside the apartment's door. It is a lovely place to relax and lime with views down the valley and out to sea. The gardens adjacent to the apartment are full of colourful tropical plants. You are surrounded by nature, in its purest sense. Although the main road passes directly in front of the house, traffic is light – possibly one vehicle every two minutes during daylight hours and virtually none after dark.

Bed linen and towels are provided, but as with most such accommodation, you must bring your own beach towels. The apartment receives a light weekly clean, at which time the bed linen is changed. Bath and hand towels are changed twice a week.

The apartment is spacious enough for couples with a baby, provided they bring a travel cot. The hillside location does mean that the apartment would not be suitable for wheelchair users or anyone with mobility problems.


Without doubt, Porridge's Place is worthy of consideration by those seeking a more intimate holiday experience and a better understanding and appreciation of local life in Tobago.

The accommodation is simple, but adequate. Porridge, Jeanell and their wonderfully polite and respectful children, Shaquille and Derricia, are wonderful hosts. They are there when you need them, or whenever you feel like a chat, but never 'in your face'. If you really want to know and understand Tobagonians, you could not choose a better place than Porridge's Place.

Reader Reports

This property has a weighted Reader Satisfaction Rating of 100%   . Click below to read the 35 reader reports that this is rating is based on.

Graham Thomas from U.K. visited in March 2016 and awarded   

This was our first trip to Tobago, although we are old hands at Caribbean holidays. If you are looking for a laid-back out-of-the-way location Castara is a delightful rural village with 2 lovely beaches, and just enough bars and restaurants to keep one entertained for 2 weeks.

First the bad news:

1. The only ATM in the village has recently been modified so that it will not accept visitors' cards, only locals'. This means a 45 minute drive into Scarborough to access cash. Even then, trying to get money out of ATMs there was very difficult.

2. Whilst we were in Castara a visiting evangelical preacher held VERY long outdoor services every day and evening. This would not have been a problem had he not insisted on using a very loud PA system which proved outrageously intrusive. Fortunately, Porridge's Place is sufficiently far away from the centre of the village for this not to be problematical. However, the atmosphere of evening dining in the village centre was ruined by the broadcast rantings of the preacher and the abysmally out-of tune singing of his "choir".

Now the good news:

Hopefully, the cash availability problem is being addressed by the locals, and Jeanell went out of her way to make sure we were not inconvenienced by it during our stay.

We hired a relatively new clean and tidy car from Porridge at a highly advantageous rate. It had auto transmission, satnav, aircon and more toys than one would expect from a hire car - a problem-free bargain.

The accommodation was delightfully rustic, very well equipped, and spotlessly clean. Aircon was provided, but we did not use it, preferring to use the large fan. Bed linen and towels were changed every 3 days, rubbish emptying being on the same 3-day cycle. There is a lovely view from the verandah, enhanced by the wide variety of birds, especially humming birds, attracted by the bird tables.

However, what made this holiday for us was the friendliness and helpfulness of our hosts. We had virtually no problems, but nothing was too much trouble for Porridge and Jeanell, and we spent several evenings together diminishing the island's gin, rum and beer stocks. They organised an excellent boat trip, during which the skipper caught a barracuda which augmented our beach-BBQ lunch. We cannot recommend them and their apartment highly enough for a quiet (apart from the visiting preacher) relaxing Caribbean holiday.

Chris Runciman replied...

First Citizen Bank ATM have not accepted overseas debit / credit cards since November. By their own admission what originally was a software problem has ended up with FCB making a conscious decision not to accept overseas cards.

Other ATM belonging to other banks are OK.

Magali Espaze from France visited in February 2016 and awarded   

Very cute small apartment, very well equipped, and situated in the peace.

Everything is planned so that we feel at home.

Jeanell is a perfect hostess.

It is a pity the holidays are so short!

Location Map

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Studio Apartment:0 - 0
Minimum Nights:0 nights
Property Type:Self-Catering Apartment
Maximum Guests:2
Air-Conditioning:Fully air-conditioned
Children:Children welcome
Hair Dryers:Available
Internet Access:Yes
Safety Deposit:Yes
Wheelchair Access:No
Swimming Pool:None
Catering Options:

Housekeeping:3 times per week
Personal Laundry:At extra cost
Personal Cooking:By Arrangement
Region:Upper Caribbean
Location Type:Village
Airport:50 minutes
Beach:11-15 minute Walk