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“A wonderful holiday destination that blends beautifully with the location”
Review of Castara Retreats

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Castara Retreats
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A wonderful holiday destination that blends beautifully with the location”
Reviewed December 19, 2012

Castara Retreats is rather unusual in that it offers service and facilities of a high class yet blends with and supports the local community.

Castara is a beautiful small village on the north-west coast of Tobago away from the more built up area around the capital Scarborough and the airport yet within a relatively easy one hour drive.

Both the village/beach area and the surrounding countryside are outstandingly beautiful and the apartments exploit this to the full with wonderful views across the coast.

The accommodation is set on a hill above the beach requiring a short walk down a well surfaced path. Though steep in places it could be viewed as a bonus as the beach is close but the elevated position provides the great views, a cooling breeze and another environment (it's like having two holiday locations)

The standard of the rooms is top notch - comfortable chairs, beautiful tables from local wood, plenty of space to relax in and all presented spotlessly clean - with no rough edges and everything working.

The service is exemplary - with some rental apartments/villas you feel you are on your own following a short introduction but a Castara there is always someone on hand or a phone call away to sort out problems yet the service is not intrusive so big tick.

For those who like to cook there are proper facilities to prepare a sophisticated meal - a visit to the supermarkets in the south might be wise to stock-up, and for those who want to be cooked for Castara provides a number of well priced restaurants, including one on-site and meals can be cooked to order by arrangement with Castara Retreats.

A look at previous reviews underlies the popularity of Castara Retreats and it is well deserved. If you're looking for air conditioned luxury in a resort setting then this may not be for you but if you looking for a bit of Caribbean magic then here it is.

PS There is occasional loud music drifting up from the village into the early hours - hence the average rating for sleep quality - otherwise gently breezes, a comfortable bed and a magnificent view to wake up to would bank the full 5 stars.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Yaryl S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (121)
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed December 10, 2012

The location of Castara Retreats is stunning; the accommodation is lovingly crafted with great attention to detail. They’re built using local materials, and designed to not only make the most of the scenery but also to blend into it seamlessly.

The gardens are bright and colourful with both flowers and beautiful birds. There are birdfeeders everywhere and it is easy to spend a morning in a hammock, watching the birds scrap over bits of bread.

There are things to do: trips into the rain forest to spot birds; visit the cocoa plantation; snorkelling safaris round the bay; car hire, go off independently to visit other places; boat trips incorporating snorkelling, fishing, a beach barbeque and, in our very lucky case, swimming with dolphins that were passing.

The local village itself is also charming and it was always good to buy the delicious bread from the ladies working the open-air clay.

Of course, Castara Retreats wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does without the people who make it all happen and, the real jewels in the crown of this magical place are the people who every day turn the very nice into the truly memorable.

Go, you will love it.

Room Tip: Any room you choose here will be great.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank jane-cosmic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 6, 2012

In November I made my fourth trip to Castara in 3 years, and this is my first review, so apologies if not up to the usual standard.
Most (if not all) of the obvious delights that this place has to offer have been described in detail already, so I won't dwell too much on the fantastic wildlife (on land, in the air and in the water), gorgeous scenery, amazing people, fantastic accommodation - the list goes on.
My main intention for the week (aside from the obvious 1919 rum intake and general 'liming') was to catch the elusive 'Big Fish'.
Thanks to Steve (the owner), I had plenty of opportunites for getting out on the water in the dinghy fishing, so was geared up for my organised trip with Seon (local fishing guru) on the Wednesday in Sun Arise (the boat).
Seon knows the best places for hooking up with the larger varieties of fish off the coast, and I was not disappointed!
On our way out to the 'Sisters' rocks (rather large rocks at that), we landed several smaller fish (Bonito, Albacore and I think an Amber Crevalli) on both handline and trolled rapala lures.
As we passed below the Sisters, one of the rods bent dramatically and the reel screamed in protest as the line was rapidly stripped from it.
A very quick thinking Seon slammed the boat into reverse which fortunately saved the day as all but few feet of the line had been taken from the reel. This was a bit larger than normal on the end of the line!
After what seemed like mere seconds, when in fact a good five minutes had passed, I managed to play the fish to the boat where it was expertly gaffed by Seon onto the boat. A good 30lbs of delicious KingFish - a very satisfied fisherman indeed.
That was the highlight of my trip, although being biased about fishing I should also mention that snorkelling with a Barracuda and swimming with Dolphins were also on the agenda...
Unfortunately the time passes way too quickly and the desire to get back there is already preying on my mind.
Now back in a dreary, dull and thoroughly miserable London, wishing I could still wear shorts and swim (read: float like log) in the warm sea.

A week is not enough.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mike G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 3, 2012

At the beginning of November I had my first experience of Tobago (and the Caribbean). I was lucky enough to be invited to stay in the Rainforest apartment at Castara Retreats for a week, and what a lovely surprise it was. Pictures and videos only go so far when trying to get a "feel" for a place - when you are actually there, feeling the heat, humidity, hearing the sounds (both man-made and nature's finest) and inhaling the scents/smells....think of a picture of a bottle of very fine wine, then imagine actually savouring the smell and flavour of it from a glass. A big difference.
Being woken every day by the sounds of Parrots and Mot-Mots, Agoutis nervously foraging in the garden and the cheeky little Bananaquits squabbling with various types of Tanagers over the sugar and bread in the bird feeders.
Looking out from the living area over Castara bay itself you see moored fishing boats and always the background sound of breaking waves on the beach.
A walk into the rainforest to take a swim under the local waterfall, then lunch (or breakfast) at one of the local cafes. Some Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters around the bay. A boat trip, fishing for lunch, swimming with wild Dolphins! Oh look, a Turtle...
Drinks and a Barbeque on the Pagoda whilst watching the spectacular sunset.
This is all made even more special by the people running Castara Retreats (The effervescent Porridge and his lovely wife Jeanelle, inscrutable Seon, the ever smiling and laughing Sherwin - to name but a few) and not to forget the locals who are welcoming and friendly. As a single female I did not once feel unsafe walking about on my own, which just made the experience all the more memorable (Although for me, the definite highlight of the trip was the swimming with Dolphins bit).
I'm now back in a thoroughly wet, cold and miserable UK, and I'm already thinking about when I can go back.
Missing you already, Castara.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Katie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
733Anderson, Manager at Castara Retreats, responded to this review, December 6, 2012
Hello Katie,
Thank you for your review - much appreciated by all of us. We are so pleased you enjoyed your first experience of Tobago and Castara Retreats so much. I loved your image of the bottle of fine wine - looking at a photo is one thing but opening it and savouring the colour and taste and scent is so different. Just like looking at photos and the video of Castara Retreats - you have to be there to really get the true nature of the place. Look forward to seeing you again...
Kind regards,
Jean
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pembrokeshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 30, 2012

If you want to stay somewhere a little bit different away from the usual tourist resorts this is the place for you. Castara retreats is set in a beautiful location on the side of hill in a fishermans bay with a crescent shaped beach. The wooden houses perch on stilts, a little like being in a treehouse, with open windows (no glass) and shutters making the most of the panaromic stunning views. Each well equipped house have their own private verandahs and outside seating areas so you can relax outside at any time and enjoy your own privacy watching the tropical birds and listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach below. All the staff at Castara retreats are helpful and friendly and will make you feel most welcome throughout your stay. Their website gives a very accurate and honest description of what to expect and we always felt like their customers really mattered to them. We had a fantastic time and have recommended it to all our friends and family.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Nicola C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
37 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2012

Castara retreats is a completely divine place to stay. We stayed 7 magical nights in Hummingbird 2 (8-14/11) with the most wondrous and uninterrupted views overlooking the bay. We instantly caught onto the way of life here, line-fishing, snorkelling and laying back with a beer and chatting with the local people. Steve was there at the time of our stay and courteously dropped in on us a few times to see if everything was ok. He is a really warm and down to earth person, sharing a beer with interesting and informative talks about Castara.

The Retreats uses the local workforce in the running and maintenance of their buildings and are a major part of the community. The villagers greeted us with a smile and made us feel welcomed and accepted as part of their community.

Our favourite choice of restaurants was Chino's which offered mouthwatering mixes of both creole and Western dishes. Chino, himself was a real gem in ensuring we were happy customers. And of course Porridge and his wife were an absolute delight. We were invited to their house to share in conversation, and music with his family and friends and to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by his wife. In summary every minute of our stay has been absolutely perfect. A really big thank you to everyone, you are sorely missed.

Room Tip: Use the Retreats website in deciding your choice of rooms.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Jennifer10WestLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2012

We have just spent 2 weeks here and loved every minute. We don't "do" hotels and Castara Retreats was perfect for us. We had 10 nights in Birdsong and 4 in Fishermans Lodge. It's difficult to say which was best, they both have amazing views and, being quite open, are visited by a lot of wildlife.They were well equipped with everything you need and were spotlessly clean. We loved the fact that there was no A/C, TV or radio, bliss!
We saw so many beautiful birds plus bats, lizards, and 2 quite pretty chickens! We were also visited daily by the Agouti, despite being rare it seems to like the gardens.
Our holiday was made by Porridge and Jeanelle, who couldn't do enough to make sure we had a good time. The beach was fantastic and most days we were the only 2 people there.So many things we will remember about this holiday but mainly it will be the beautiful setting of Castara and the friendly people we met there.

Room Tip: All the rooms have fantastic views.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank weirning55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Castara Retreats

Property: Castara Retreats
Address: Northside Road | Castara, Castara, Tobago
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Trinidad and Tobago > Tobago > Castara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Specialty Lodging in Castara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Castara Retreats 3.5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Castara Retreats is a small Tobago eco resort superbly located overlooking the Bay of Castara, with stunning views of the Caribbean and mountains. For those seeking holidays in Tobago the seven tropical hardwood accommodations are built to the highest standards and are set right above Castara beach in lush tropical gardens. Backed by the deep green of the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere and framed by mango trees and bamboo, Castara Retreats offers Caribbean vacations in a lush tropical paradise where guests can relax and live in the landscape around them. The lodge accommodation offers 15 separately available areas, each with wonderful privacy and exclusive terraces, which can be rented individually by couples, or together for larger groups and families. The accommodation is specially designed to create open, spacious living areas that allow uninterrupted views of the beach and rainforest, cool sea breezes and the natural sights and sounds of the ocean, rainforest and village. Each lodge or apartment is constructed of red cedar, a local hardwood, and is from sustainable sources. The bedrooms, each with en suite showers and either queen size or twin beds all have full size mosquito nets on suspended wooden frames. The spacious living areas have panoramic views of the two beaches looking north-west and also to the coastline looking south-west, and stunning sunsets over the Caribbean. Each accommodation has the advantage of free Wi-Fi internet access. There is comfortable and stylish seating with both indoor and outdoor dining and all three areas are equipped to a very high standard for self-catering. We have recently completed open-decked Pavilion Bar and Restaurant - already receiving excellent ratings - perfect for a romantic dinner for two or for family groups and events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Castara Retreats Hotel Tobago
Castara Retreats Tobago

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