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“2 weeks of doing nothing!”
Review of Carpe Diem Villa

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Carpe Diem Villa
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed September 28, 2013

What an experience! Phenomenal!
The hospitality is 100%. If any business wants to be successful, meet Yvonne and Chris and try to bottle the formula! Although you might find it difficult to bottle that secret ingredient!
The veranda...open those shutters in the morning and drink in the view, put food in the bird feeders and watch them flock to the breakfast table, walk to the beach, nothing better than a swim in water which is warm and a different colour depending on how the night has been. Do nothing but spend your day walking through the village saying "hey maan" to the locals or relax on the beach. Perfect. Fish fresh off the boats that doesn't smell of fish, sweet potato, yam and pumpkin will do for your meals! Snorkel off the beach...sensational. Spoilt, with 2 beaches 2 minutes walk from Carpe Diem Villa.
Please be warned:
The Rum Punch carries a "punch", the sunsets are unbelievable, different everyday, the locals are very friendly, fish you buy from the local fish co-op on the main beach (in the afternoon) or from little bay in the morning is too fresh, time just stands still every so often, limes fall off the trees on the path up to your room for you to make fresh lime drinks with, Bingi the Fruit King will bend over backwards to give you the "best price" (be nice to him his wife Hazel makes some good pizza and roti to order), the ATM is erratic, giving you reason the go into Scarborough, brilliant day out, Alibaba does the best all day boat trip ever, Wild Turtle Scuba's Ritchie is the best guy to take you diving and Newton George is the King of the Rainforest and knows a thing or two about attracting the birds, the beaches are deserted and beautiful and that couple Yvonne and Chris, words can't describe these 2!!!
Don't say I didn't warn you!!!
Best holiday in the Caribbean! Castara rocks!

Room Tip: Ask for the room Corinne and Imtiaz stayed in!
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Imtiaz H H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded October 22, 2013

It is hard to imagine a couple having more fun than these two guys! Great guests, now friends, as seems to happen here!

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41 - 47 of 141 reviews

Reviewed September 22, 2013

We spent 10 days at Carpe Diem. It was absolutely amazing. The owners of Carpe Diem, Yvonne and Chris are very pleasant, welcoming and helpful. Castara is a very nice place to stay. We were only 2 minutes walk of the beach. The water is warm and blue. There's good snorkeling to do there. We had seen a lots of colored fishes. There are few restaurants in Castara. You can get a good breakfast, lunch or dinner (fish, lamb, pork, rice, salad, vegetables). We rented a car for a couple days to visit the island. We went to the Forest Reserve, Argile waterfalls, Englishman's Bay, Speyside and Pigeont Point. It was nice to see all those places but if you only want to spend you time on the beach and relax, you can also stay all the time in Castara. It's one of the most beautiful place on the island. The weather is pretty hot and humid. We wore swimsuit every day. It's the Caribbeans! The island is wonderful. There's a lot of vegetation. There's not too much tourist on the beach so it's very peacefull. People on the island are very nice. You just have to speak with them and you will see. So, if you like reggae music, blue water and friendly people, you need to go there. And Carpe Diem is a great place to stay. Thank you so much Yvonne and Chris! It was perfect. Steph and Phil

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Stephanie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded October 22, 2013

It is really good to see so many Canadians coming to the island! Steph and Phil were good company and we will welcome them back anytime! TA really should have a system where the owners can give guests reviews.............these guys would get 5* as would just about all our guests. we are lucky to be able to meet so many good people, one of the benefits of the job I guess! If we failed to provide a 100% great experience then we hope we get the chance to try again.

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Reviewed August 21, 2013

Just been back to Carpe Diem for a second visit and yet again had the most wonerful time! The apartment was just as lovely as we remembered and again provided everything we needed for out stay. The balcony gave us a perfect breakfast location for watching the birds and a fantastic sundowner venue to watch the sunset. The two beaches at the bottom of the hill (about 5 minutes walk) are excellent with Little Bay being the best one for snorkelling, we saw loads of different types of fish which was just brilliant. Big Bay is good too and has the advantage that you can drop into the bar for a cool beer on the way back to the apartment.
Can't wait for our third visit!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Edna C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded October 22, 2013

Seamus and Edna have been coming to Castara for some years now and are well known here! Always a pleasure to have such good company when we are there as well.
P.S. Marvyn ( D'Lime ) looking forward to his next guitar lesson Seamus!!

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Reviewed August 20, 2013

Our stay at Castara began by being picked up at the airport by a friendly local driver sent by Chris and Yvonne. The view as the car wound down into Castara bay was breathtaking.

Our room (the "green room") was airy and comfortable, with a big luxurious bed and a proper mosquito net that fully enclosed the bed. We slept well, and were provided with a large fan to keep us cool, but was seldom necessary as we slept with the doors open. We felt it was safe to do so as the place has security cameras installed, and Chris and Yvonne are both known and highly respected in the local community.

Views from the balcony were amazing. We loved watching the various different birds that would come and visit us during the day.

A short (<5 min) walk to the bay for swimming and snorkelling, or a longer walk to Englishman's bay, a beautiful idyllic beach about 50 mins walk away.

There are some amazing treks into the nearby forest, along rivers and up cascading waterfalls, with pools where the locals catch crayfish.

The general vibe of the place is really friendly, although you have to be careful when locals offer fishing trips or treks, as they will usually expect payment so be clear before you accept any offers however friendly they seem.

One gripe with the area in general was lack of availability of certain food ingredients - milk and flour are imported from the US and contain lots of additives. Also a lack of recycling facilities.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Adam W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2014

Sorry I should have replied earlier.....
We are so glad that you enjoyed your stay in Castara.
Unfortunately the need for recycling is an uphill struggle. Elsewhere we are all accustomed to recycling , alas not here........
In this climate fresh milk is a luxury the cow has to work hard to supply enough for her calf! Goat milk is available as is goat cheeze and yoghourt.
There are many types of local flour available you have to be prepared to compromise.
Ever tried cassava flour?
We look at is as a balance, yes we drink imported milk and carrots but then we have fresh fish every day, the eggs are not from battery hens and local salad and vegetables, okkra, aubergine, tomato etc are produced without the use of chemicals.....
The beef is always frozen but with local temperatures in the 80's F it has to be BUT is is grass fed from here or Trinidad, so less or no additives!
We look forward to seeing you back here again.

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Reviewed August 11, 2013

First of all let me start by saying we are well seasoned travellers and have stayed in many types of accommodation worldwide.Secondly we were very excited about going to Carpe Diem and had received good customer service from Chris and Yvonne before we arrived.
We came from Pigeon Point after having a great first week in Tobago and were picked up by Denzil, their driver ,on time and stopped at Penny Savers to stock up the fridge. We were in love with Castara from our first view of it as we rounded the last bend .

We pulled up on the side of the road and Denzil told us that everything had to be carried up the steep steps to the vila, which we did, wishing we had less! The path was difficult to navigate as there were many rotting mangoes, foliage etc on the steps. We also had a large pile of rubble/cement left at the top of the steps outside our balcony.A gardner arrived the next day but did not clear much away .

It was clear that the apartment had not been prepared freshly for our arrival. There was cobwebs full of dead flies by the kitchen sink, the mosquito nets had an assortment of flies, moths and mosquitoes in them which was not attractive and we were dismayed to find that there were two free standing fans, no ceiling fans and one of the fans was not at all powerful and did nothing but shift the hot air around the studio.I am aware that in the Carpe Diem website it states that air con is not necessary but we would beg to differ and the young couple in the next studio also confirmed they couldn't sleep due to the stifling heat, they chose to hire a car and spend all day out, not returning until late in the evening.We also spoke with the locals who laughed when we said there was no air con as they had air con!
Of course, you cannot sleep with the louvered doors open to catch a little breeze at night due to security so we endured two awful nights of unbearable heat and were exhausted the next day. We reported our concerns to Denzil, who we eventually found by the beach playing board games with his friends, and he shrugged and agreed it was too hot.
Just to reiterate we have stayed in Kenya in a tent and in basic lodges around the world so we are very aware of the reality of rural accommodation but in this case we feel that we were unable to function due to the heat and complete lack of sea breezes!
We spent only two days at Carpe diem, instead of the week as planned. We had two great breakfasts on the balcony with the various birds and butterflies, and we ate at The Almond Tree and Marcias and bought fab watermelon and avacado from Bingy. We swam in the sea and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery of Castara.We chatted to the locals and loved the vibe. We would certainly go back but would have to stay in an air conditioned villa.The temperature during our stay here was just over 100 degrees and in that temp , air con is a necessity!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank holidaybugLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded August 13, 2013

The island was experiencing an unusual heat wave whilst you were there, unfortunately we can not change the outside temperature but do offer 2 free standing fans per studio. You can alter their position and speed to suit.
It must have been quite a contrast coming from a 4star air conditioned resort to us in Castara.

We are really sorry & upset that you didn’t raise any of these issues with us or Denzil whilst you were at the studio, which would have given us a chance to resolve them for you at the time-we only received an email from you saying that you would leave early after having stayed only 2 nights due to the heat & found the fans inadequate.

We rang Denzil immediately to ask him if he had offered you another fan or we could have moved you into the apartment upstairs. But he said that you had already left, only stopping to speak to him whilst he was at the beach.

The studio was certainly cleaned prior to your arrival but if further cleaned needed to be done then we would have arranged it straight away. Our “Welcome folder” asks that you to let us know straight away if anything is missing from the inventory, broken or dirty so that we can replace, repair or clean the item.

You could have left the 2 sets of double louvre doors which open onto the balcony ajar, as they are fitted with security locks that enable them to be left in a cracked open position. Most guests find this adequate for ventilation

Once again we are sorry that we were unable to resolve the issues at the time.
Chris & Yvonne

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Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent two weeks in Tobago, of which the first week was spent in Carpe Diem in Castara. Chris and Yvonne made us very welcome and were very helpful when we were making our booking and throughout our stay. The accommodation has everything you need and the gardens are lovely.

Castara is a fantastic village in which to stay and very picturesque. Chris and Yvonne told us everything we needed to know, such as which restaurants were open when, where to get our bread from, etc.

It is very quiet, there were a few other tourists around but we often had the beach to ourselves. The beach is a short walk, (less than 5mins), down the hill from Carpe Diem.

After our stay in Castara we stayed at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort and spent most of our time wishing we were back at Carpe Diem. We will be back.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank HowCro07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded May 30, 2013

We always say that Castara should carry a health warning in as much as it is addictive and you can never get enough of it ...............Just look what happened to us, we ended up building a house here ..........................!

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Reviewed May 19, 2013 via mobile

Well, when we left 6 months earlier we said we would be back. Little did we know it would be so soon. But that's the draw for us of Castara. Simply beautiful! Once again the accommodation provided everything we required. Great location for a quick walk to a heavenly beach, great snorkelling, and when you are done in the sea, fantastic bird life and agouties from the balcony. Chris and Yvonne are wonderful hosts who have found a true bit of paradise and, as always, were happy to share their experiences and advice. It was such a pleasure to see them again. The snorkelling in Little Bay this time was nothing but superb. On one day alone I counted 7 turtles, 2 Moray eel, 1 massive lobster and just such an abundance of reef fish. We were lucky enough to be there for a local football tournament. Wow! Someone on our flight told us to keep the secret of Tobago to ourselves and I can understand where he was coming from. Having been 3 times now and hiring a car for 2 days to visit both ends of the Island, only leads me to be certain that when we return, and return we will, Castara and Carpe Diem, will be our choice of venue once again.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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2  Thank Mike L
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GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded July 1, 2013

Thank you Mike and Tracy for being such great guests! The worst part of our 'job' owning and running Carpe Diem is having to say goodbye...........................................

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Additional Information about Carpe Diem Villa

Address: Northside Road | Castara Tobago, Castara 00000, Tobago
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Castara
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Castara
Price Range: $76 - $200 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the top 5 Speciality Accommodation on TripAdvisor with 129 reviews for last 6 years. All suites have queen size beds and en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold water. Fully equipped kitchen areas with larger than usual refrigerator, real stove/grill, toaster, juicer, water filter etc. Personal safe deposit box. All the rooms have great views of the ocean, without even getting out of bed, and great sunsets as it faces almost due West! ( Banana & Cocoa trees may obscure the studio view a little depending on how they are fruiting!!(House faces 240Degrees). We have just built the "Garden Room" an annex to Studio 2 to accommodate a child/adult so as to give the parents a little more privacy. The 2 safe beaches are 100 yards away and all village amenities are within walking distance. Wi-fi hotspot/5GB broadband! Check with your partner if you are allowed to use it though! A recent couple ended up arguing because he stayed in daily contact with his office...... Ideal for birdwatchers as you can see most of the island's birds from the balcony. We can arrange diving, car hire, rainforest walks etc. Smoking allowed outside on the balcony,( well it is a wooden house! ) A lot of couples seem to get engaged while staying with us so yes we can sort out wedding arrangements as well........................!! We have been awarded the Trip Advisor "Certificate of Excellence" for the last 6 years for which we have to thank our guests for their reviews and trust it means we are getting it right! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Carpe Diem Villa Hotel Castara
Carpe Diem Villa Tobago/Castara

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