Guest Report

2-bedroom cottage in Castara
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Joanna B

Guest Report

Post by Joanna B » Fri Oct 28, 2005 4:08 pm

We stayed in Young's House (aka Lemon Tree, aka Tony and Brenda's around the village) for two weeks in October. It was our first visit to Tobago, but not our first experience of renting property privately in the Caribbean. We were greatly reassured by the helpful email and telephone conversations with Tony during the few months before our visit.

There is always this concern when arriving at a strange airport, having made arrangements for a strange person to pick you up. We needn't have worried as Iris was standing right in front of the departures exit. On first meeting from her accent you would think she was brought up in Tobago, but she is in fact German married to a Tobagonian, Chester.

She couldn't have been more helpful during our stay, and as she works for Yes Tourism she was particularly useful, especially when we wanted to hire a car. We became good friends with her and Chester. Being a local hunter, Chester gave a great 'off the beaten track' rainforest tour. Iris also provided a local SIM card and pay as you go card to use whilst on the island. So do make sure you take a non-provider-specific phone, or perhaps an old mobile to save swapping SIM cards.

The house is excellent value, but don't expect absolute luxury and everything to be in perfect order. You can probably find that elsewhere in Castara, but I suspect you will have to be prepared to pay considerably more. The house provided all that we wanted, with lots of living space and in an excellent position only 20 yards or so up the road behind Castara Little Bay. There is no view of the beach, but you can hear the waves crashing on the bay, and the house is surprisingly private, with trees on all sides. Even the land across the road is forested. The wildlife was great, especially if encouraged with sugar or other titbits - we saw mot-mots, antshrikes, bananaquits, blue jeans, bats were out every night, leaf-cutter ants were just outside the front steps and the house lizards provided great entertainment.

There are two bedrooms, one upstairs with ensuite facilities, one downstairs next to a shower and WC. The main bedroom is serviced by a fairly old but perfectly adequate aircon unit and there is a mosquito net around the bed. Downstairs has a fan. All rooms are separately lockable for security. There were only the two of us, but it would suit two couples or a family with independent older children (the second bedroom being quite separate from the main bedroom and living area).

The only fault we found with the layout was that the kitchen, which is downstairs, was completely separate from the open air living area upstairs. But we still managed to cater for a couple of fish barbecues with friends. The kitchen was pretty well equipped, including a gas cooker and twin-tub washing machine, although don't expect matching crockery or cutlery or lots of fancy appliances. There isn't any hot water in the kitchen but there is a perfectly usable kettle. The tap water was pleasantly drinkable, we kept a filled jug in the fridge.

Everything was kept clean and tidy, the linen and towels were changed at least twice a week by Iris. The house has a lived-in feel, which is understandable as it is the Youngs' own holiday home. There are plenty of books and games to keep you amused, and there were copies of guide books and maps. It was fun spotting the characters in the photos on the walls, as we got to know people in the village.

Being on Little Bay it is convenient for the whole of Castara, as it is only a short walk up a small but steep path to the edge of Big Bay with its local restaurants and shops (but take a torch when going out after dark). It is only yards to the Boathouse restaurant, but sadly it was closed during our visit - perhaps next year. It is particularly convenient for Codrington Wallace's rum shop at the top of the hill! The mosquitoes are pretty fierce, but that seems to be the norm in Castara, and there were plenty of mosquito coils left for us to use.

So, to sum up, we loved the house, its position and Castara. We felt it was excellent value for money and already plan to return next year.

PS We cannot comment on the other properties on the same website, as they have different owners and are looked after by different people locally. But if the Young's house is typical, you won't be disappointed, although the locations within the village are quite different.

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