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Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:04 pm
by Martin S
Hi all
Last time we came to Tobago was in 2007 when we stayed in Castara and it was fantastic, now we hope to return next year but has Castara changed much, is it still as quite or will we be disapointed

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:53 am
by Steve Wooler
Hi Martin

Welcome back! :D

I guess that a lot depends upon where you stayed last time. Some properties/areas of the village have changed more than others. Little (Heavenly) Bay is noticeably busier than it used to be, but other than that, you'll be surprised at how the village has managed to retain it fishing village character. Shopping is easier, because you can get so much more than you used to be able to without having to trek over to the other side of the island. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. :D

Re: Castara

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 6:03 am
by Nicole
Dear Martin,

I don't know what Castara was like in 2007. But I know what it was like in February 2014.

I read a lot about Tobago and Castara and fell in love with Castara. But I didn't find a place in Castara, I wanted to stay, so we stayed in Parlatuvier (two bays north). We visited Castara sometimes. And I was disappointed.

Castara is the third busiest town on Tobago. Ok, that almost means Tobago is dead. But that is, what makes Tobago sooooo lovely.
You want a beach on your own? Don't go to Castara! You don't want to spend all your time with other Tourists? Don't go to Castara.
You prefer a different restaurant every night? Than go to Castara. You like to have more than one supermarket you could walk to? Go to Castara.
You want to have a good party every night? Than Crown Point would be the better choice, but Castara would be second best.

Castara isn't that bad, but it should not be your choice, if you liked it only because it was quiet in 2007.


Re: Castara

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:22 am
by Chris Runciman
Sorry Nicole are you talking about Castara Tobago ? The one I know, and I was there in February as well, is still a fishing village with friendly people.Not a resort. There are no more places to eat now than there were when this chap last visited apart from the newer place up at Retreats , were there ever anything other than small local shops?
Miss Merlines is a supermarket? Smallest bar in the world maybe?
When the village is 'full' the beaches can still be empty and no hustlers!
2 positive differences , now we have great wi-fi and an ATM ( most of the time !)
The visitors because that is what the village calls them tend to be the sort of people you don't mind talking to!
Parlatuvier is lovely we go there regularly to meet up with friends, 2 great places to stay each with their own charm.
This is a totally biased response as Mr Wooler may point out as we live in Castara 4/5 months a year!

Re: Castara

Posted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:26 am
by Steve Wooler
Yes, in the interests of balance I would have to point out that you are a property owner and semi-resident in Castara, Chris. :)

Having said that, I have to totally agree with everything you say. :D :D

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:45 am
by Nicole
Dear Chris,
dear Steven,

did I say anything, that isn't true? I really tried to give the facts.
So if you think Castara is very quiet, it may-be true, espacially if you compare it to Crown Point. But if you compare it to Parlatouvier, you have to say that Castara is busier. You can like it or not. An ATM is a good thing - but an ATM in a 15 minutes car drive is not that bad ;-)

When I'm on holiyday I really like to get in touch with the people living there. In my view, Castara seems to be a meeting point for all the Tourists (what they are, even if you call them visitors ;-)). Someone may appreciate this. Sometimes I appreciate this. I just tried to tell Martin, that there are many tourist (in a tobagoian messurement) in Castara. If he likes it or doesn't care, he will go there. If he likes to be with the black boys who are going crazy about seeing white people, he will choose some other place.

But I really understand both of you. You love Castara and you have been loving it for years. So it is always hard to accept that someone doesn't love it.


Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:31 pm
by Steve Wooler
Hi Nicole

Truth is an elusive beast I'm afraid. :)

Your viewpoint is perfectly valid and, within the context of your tastes and preference, your description and opinion of Castara is equally valid. However, you must also appreciate that a very large number of the visitors who would consider the isolation of somewhere like Parlatuvier as a step too far. My concern is striking a reasonable balance for our average reader.

To illustrate my point, let me describe a true incident. This happened just a few years ago. I was walking through Castara village when I was approached by a party of 4 visitors. Now, it is normally always a very pleasurable experience when a reader makes themselves known. However, in this case, it was far from, although it did later appeal to my sense of humour. Having established that I was the author of this site, the father, a large rounded American, told me that myTobago was highly misleading. He claimed that we were giving people the wrong idea about Castara. His pit bull was snapping away in much stronger language, but he yanked her leash and managed to keep things civil. To be honest, I never got a word in edgeways and was somewhat stumped as to how I should respond. Then, the daughter, a girl of about 18, commented: "Do you realise that this place is so primitive that you can't even get fresh coffee or bagels for breakfast." I suspect they didn't appreciate my mirth as I walked away.

Which opinion is more accurate - yours or the American family? :)

Speaking personally, I am more inclined to agree with you than that obnoxious family who had clearly not really bothered to do any proper research. What stuns me is that they had clearly used this site enough to recognise me from my avatar photo, or perhaps the 'About' page. Therefore, how could they have got such a wrong impression of Castara; the polar opposite to yours.

My reply to your post was very much more about trying to keep a balance for the average reader - which mean a far wider audience than Martin, who asked the question. My concern is the first-time visitors who know nothing about Tobago. Our goal is to provide as accurate an impression of Tobago as possible. Sure, you like the REALLY quiet places. I have a friend who would consider you nothing more than a mass-market package holidaymaker for even suggesting Tobago as a holiday destination. According to him, if it takes less than 20 days of punishing travel to get to the destination; if you come back with all your limbs; haven't been bitten black and blue by various animals/insects; and spent less than 5 days struggling under some tropical lurgies; and been in mortal physical danger at least once a week, then you are nothing but a package holidaymaker.

Keep your view rolling though - they are a perfectly valid point of view and welcome here. :D

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:15 pm
by Glyn Kirpalani
I wish this forum had a facebook like button, as the posts can be very funny! I agree with all perspectives above as it really is in the personal eye of the beholder, ie whether or not anywhere is quiet, or busy.

However, in comparison with regular British/German resort destinations around the med, then clearly Castara is little more than a sleepy hamlet. Even compared with Crown Point, I would say it is sleepy.

But American tourist stories do tickle me. I fondly recall 2 fabourite emails from prospective clients of mine several years back - one young New Yorker asked me to book her a hotel on Tobago "as close as possible to a subway station". Another American lady wanted to know the schedule and route map for the Charlotteville bus transit system so she could work out how best for her to "cross town" from her guest house at Pirates Bay, into the centre of "town" in Charlotteville.

Clearly these 2 ladies (who never came once they appreciated the true nature of the island) would have shared the concerns of the ones Steve described about coffee & bagels, had they made it

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:19 pm
by Paul Tallet
Castara represents the great divide between resort experiences and community experiences ... both experiences can have their disadvantages as well as advantages.

Castara offers basic accommodation and very high levels of accommodation and it is for the visitors to decide how much they would like to integrate with the community ... and I think this is the real point ... getting to know people rather than setting the boundaries around your sun lounger in the Coco Reef Resort.

It is not about how you find it in this year or that year.

I have seen changes from year to year but in all honesty it has not really changed that much.

I have heard negatives and I have heard positives. I have seen positives and seen some real bad negatives that, for some visitors, would mean they may never return to Castara (or Tobago) again.

Regardless of your experience in Castara, it is still a community that has, to a large extent, made visitors welcome and I personally feel that visitors need to understand and respect that ... there are some that want you to be there and some that don't.

Don't expect apologies ... go with the flow ... and enjoy your experience in Castara.


Re: Castara

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:40 am
by Chris_T
I’ve been reading these posts with some interest and feel as a regular visitor to Tobago I can chuck my tupence worth in.

The first thing to point out is that Tobago isn’t like most islands in the Caribbean. It’s under developed in terms of hotels and ‘US’ tourism BUT that’s why certain people love it (I have noticed the emergence of the new malls, subway etc over the years but these were always going to creep in).

The hotels they do have aren’t bad but they are 3 star at best. Nothing wrong with them, but don’t expect a Sandals type of holiday.

Where Tobago trumps other islands is the people, the beaches, the rainforest, the rum and the ease of exploration. Each day can be an adventure or lime, whichever you want. Being so small and (dare I say) safe (within reason) it means you can always visit somewhere new or relatively empty, how many other islands have that? Or to put it more accurately, how many other like it can you get to for the relatively low price you can get to Tobago for?

Across the island there is high (and I mean HIGH), medium and low end accommodation. You just need to look about and occasionally be lucky enough to meet the ‘right’ person! ;)

As for Castara, I don’t mind sharing the beach with 4 other people lol! Equally, we like to go to different beaches each day. Supermarkets….well village stores, yeah there’s a couple but they ‘aint no Walmart. For me Castara epitomises the slow Island life whilst also giving you a few basic amenities to keep the average Westerner happy (ATM, choice of eateries, 2 bays, Wifi). Treat Castara as a ‘retreat’ and a nice entry level into Tobago, experience it and decide if you want somewhere new.

Busy is not a word I would associate with it though!

Re: Castara

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:34 pm
by Chris Runciman
For anyone not familiar with Tobago Chris T meant Subway the sandwich shop NOT a mass transit system ......!

Re: Castara

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:43 pm
by Hugh S
You got my hopes up for some mass transit! :lol:

Hugh 8)

Re: Castara

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:19 pm
by Chris_T
Thanks for clarifying, however judging by the queues outside it, there is a mass transit of the Crown Point population towards Subway of an evening!

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:42 pm
by Gisela Grell
Hello all,
Though I'm a regular visitor (last time was the 19th time I guess) in Castara, I still wonder where Nicole saw supermarkets (plural) in the village????. Dexter's On big bay? If it is still open I would never really call it a supermarket. All the other shops are smal and I really mean smal! But you can get almost everything. If not, You can ask and they will bring it for you the next day.... (like DJ at the fruit shop at the corner to the beach). Ok, maybe no bagels, but this is not typical food on Tobago. If you need everything exactly like home you better stay home.
And if you don't like Castara than stay away. That gives the people more space on the crowded beaches :lol: :lol:
Quiet? Well, if there isn't a (local) furneral, a marriage or christianing, a reggae or jazz festival and if the dogs stop barking or the cock's...
Go to Castara if you want to eat fresh fish, get in touch with the local people and the nature (i.e. rainforest). If you enjoy liming and snorkeling and chatting. But don't talk about Casara, if you have no idea how it is!

Sorry if this sounds rude, I try to stay calm, but....
See you in Castara February 2015!!!
All the best

Re: Castara

Posted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 10:38 am
by GillMathews
I visit Tobago almost every year and will be there again in November. :D I usually stay in the Crown Point area but always visit Castara aswell. I love it's 'village' atmosphere and of course the beaches.All my holiday photos from across the years show them virtually empty, and pictures from the coastal trip boats show the same. I would say that Castara still delivers on the description of sleepy fishing village nestling in spectacular scenery. Transport me there right now away from my exreme decorating project at home which has left me without any usable rooms downstairs! #-o I would relish the peace and the Rum.
gill x