Me and my partner stayed in the studio apartment Leapfrog late January-early February 2015. We had been in Charlotteville the week before, and Steve was really helpful, asking if we needed a transfer organising. Even during the initial enquiry stage Steve was super responsive to all emails, and this made life a lot easier. Our taxi back to the airport didn't show up, so Steve very generously gave us a lift, another example of how helpful they were.
Steve and Rita (the owners) are real characters, in a really good way! They couldn't do enough to help us and ensure we had a enjoyable stay. On the first night they we doing a coppa (or maybe a koppa?!), a massive old casserole/couldron that Steve has had restored. Lookup, who manages the property for Steve and Rita was cooking a traditional fish soup/stew, using lots of fish he'd just caught, and loads of interesting local vegetables and spices. It was super tasty, and went excellently with the local rum and beers!
The grounds the property are set in are gorgeous. Lots of tropical plants I don't know the name of! We had dreamy breakfasts sat on our terrace watching hummingbirds fly by, and taking in the sounds of the valley, everything from dogs barking, reggae booming, birds singing, and at times silence.
The Leapfrog apartment we stayed in was great for us, a perfectly
practical kitchen that was great for cooking in, and generally nice and clean. The terrace was great for breakfast and general lounging. If you're looking for luxury accommodation, this isn't for you. In fact you'd probably be better off staying in Crown Point. But if you want to get in touch with the real Tobago and really disconnect, it's a fantastic choice.
We went on a fishing trip with Lookup that was great fun, he really looked after us and is a great guy!
Cheers Steve and Rita for making our hols, can't wait to get back!
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|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
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Contrary to the previous review we stayed very comfortably with three Adults in Toad Hall. The mezzanine floor does have very low ceilings and doesn't really have much space to do anything other than sleep, but this was fine for our needs and the rest of the living space is more than enough to compensate (though if you are a large Dutchman in need of personal space an upgrade to the larger Toad Heights may be advisable). This was all made clear to us at time of booking.
It's clear that a great deal of thought and effort has gone into making the space inviting and accessible. The decorations are charming and make the place feel very special (in a good way) and handy instructions are never far away if you're unsure of how things work. Steve was very responsive and helpful with the booking and put us in touch with Bruce Taylor, who arranged our airport transfers, took us to a supermarket en route, and sorted us with a hire car. Definitely the person to go to for sorting travel logistics from Castara! We found the place clean and tidy and were met by Petra on arrival who showed us around.
Castara itself is a very nice little town with a lovely beach, a few nice bars, and a good group of helpful locals. The town is tourist friendly, but also feels much more 'real' than staying in Crown Point. Fresh fish from the bay is a great highlight- we cooked ours on the outdoor barbecue which worked well once we'd gathered up some wood from the beach (though in hindsight we should have bought charcoal from the supermarket on the first day- there was none provided). Castara is also pretty central on the island, making it a good base to venture to any of the various other beaches, towns, or the forest reserve.
A few niggles prevent this being a fully positive review: the internet was lousy- we couldn't count on it for anything other than perhaps sending the odd message (not too much of a big deal- but good to know), the mosquito nets were well intentioned but not hugely effective (there are various gaps which some mozzies unfortunately seemed able to navigate), and the neighbours had a tendency to disrupt the peace by playing music very loudly at antisocial times of day (we were woken up at 7am by thumping bass one day out of three, and loud music was a recurring feature on all days). Not sure the property can do much about the last point, but it's something the Castara community needs to address if it's serious about attracting tourists in search of a quiet retreat.
For us the charm outweighed the challenges and we'd happily recommend Toad Hall as a great, and very reasonably priced, Tobago base; though if you are particularly sensitive to any of the issues mentioned above you may wish to consider other options.