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“It will ruin future sub-par vacations.”
Review of Castara Retreats

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Castara Retreats
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“It will ruin future sub-par vacations.”
Reviewed July 12, 2013

Well, Im used to vacationing in places where I can relax a few days, do a little shopping, eat fancy, eat fast, watch tv, cruise around in a awesome rental I couldnt otherwise afford, not stress.....This place forces you to relax. No phone...No TV...No Internet...No Malls...No Car...No modern day amenities... No Problem! as soon as we got off the plane, I have to admit I was a bit reserved. Im used to vacationing in Orlando, or somewhere nice in FL...So this is what I had in mind. And I admit, I was a bit reserved in judgement with our guides attitude and smile. Just seemed a little too happy. But after the 1 hour drive from Scarborough to Castara, I slowly started to see myself transform. My wife was already relaxed and was excited for what was coming up. I was clueless! But once I saw the view from Hummingbird 2...That was it for me. I really dont think there are any words for the view. I tried remarkable, breathtaking, amazing, but they all fall short.

The Staff,

Porridge, I have to admit, when he picked us up, I was quite reserved. He greeted us with a smile, and was busy on the phone and taking us to where we needed to go....little did I know, this guy is one of Tobagos most loved and cherrished personalities. Whats not to like about this guy. I felt like he was family he was just there, I remember I put out my hand to give him a handshake... he brought it in for a hug...That was it for me Im a fan!

Kenny and Patricia, Ok Kenny has got to be the ideal of how a manager should be. I think he sensed that I was stressed and he erased it all from the moment he came and said hello. This dude made our day end well, even when I wasnt hungry I just went for the company. Patricia, all I have to say about her is....she is awesome!!!!!!! The smile, the welcome feeling, and the food...well, I dont think she can do anything wrong.

Wesley, all I can say about him is I am honored to have met him and I am happy I can call him friend. This guy was The greatest. I just had an awesome time hanging out with him. Im coming back just so I can hang out with him this winter. My wife thought he was like family. He really does care and takes pride in everything. you basically forget that he works there or that its a work environment because he treats you like your his family. The kids he teaches during his day job have an awesome role model

Seon, he was the captain of the snorkel tour. He has a silent exterior and may seem quite reserved, but we did two boat tours mostly to hang out with Seon and Shaq.

Shaq was like that childhood friend that you have had since you can remember.

Richy, If you want to get your SCUBA license, he is the man! Not to mention he is awesome!!!!! Worldly, funny, and makes you forget your in a learning environment.

Newton, Please if you get a chance do a jungle tour with him. he has more enthusiasm about his job than is healthy....makes you second guess your career paths in life.

All in all, there isnt one thing you can say bad about Castara Bay, or the Retreats. The locals are just my kind of people, and believe it or not saying "Thank You" will get you pretty far out there. I didnt feel the slightest bit nervous after my second day there. Nobody harassing you to buy this or that like they did at the other beaches and resorts. And if you really want to make the most of it, get down and help the local fishermen in the morning pull in the nets....I cant wait to be back there.

Room Tip: It doesnt matter which one you choose. If you can see the water, you are in the right room....If yo...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank damienkimbrough
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Ottawa, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Our family of four with a 10 year old girl and 13 year old boy were lucky to stay at Birdsong. Huge and airy with two bedroom/bathroom units we had sweeping views of the rocky coast to the north and Castara village and beach to the south. The expansive living/dining area and adjoining kitchen gave us more room and all the space we could use. On top of that were several viewing/sitting/hammock porches. Truly a gem.

We loved the fact that it was close to the village and we could enjoy the local small shops and restaurants. Our kids played on the beach with children from the village. Porridge and Jeanell were wonderful and helped us organize local outings and adventures. We all felt safe and secure on the property and throughout the village. When we ate at the retreat, Kenny and Patricia provided outstanding food at the Castara restaurant.

If a real tropical getaway experience is your goal, choose Castara. We honestly have no downside to report, recommend it highly and look forward to a return visit.

Room Tip: Birdsong was a dream with lots of room and views to die for.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank nextportofcall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Trinidad
1 review
Reviewed July 8, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed in Hummingbird Bird 2. From the breathtaking views, the amazing restaurant food, the great service of the caretakers, and the relaxing atmosphere, we could not have asked for anything more.

If you are looking for somewhere to RELAX and kick back this is the place to go!
Thank you again for a GREAT and unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Jade A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shaftesbury
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 11, 2013

Castara Retreats is nestled in the hillside with great views overlooking Castara bay. A five minute walk down the hill and you are on the beach, and another five minutes and you are in the village. The people are generally very friendly, if sometimes a little shy, and it feels like a safe and welcoming place. We spent a lot of our time out on our terrace watching the birds, and the occasional agouti, or in the evening under an amazing canopy of stars (and fireflies). The accommodation is really comfortable and it seems like a lot of care and attention has been put into everything, from the mosquito nets over the (very comfortable) beds… to the music system which plays from the iPhone… to the way the fresh sheets and towels were replaced every few days which helped to make the experience almost luxurious. The apartments are quite open which allows a gentle breeze to come through the rooms (and the occasional bird), with wooden shutters that can be easily closed for privacy or I suppose in the unlikely event of a storm coming through. Everyone at Castara Retreats was very friendly and helpful, and made us feel at home straightaway. We ate in the Castara Retreats restaurant quite often in the evenings (meeting other residents for cocktails or freshly made juices, which was always fun), and we found the food to be consistently delicious and better than most places we have found on the island. Add to all this a warm sea that is wonderful to swim in, fantastic boat trips for fishing or snorkelling, and you can see why we were tempted to stay right there for the whole of our two weeks. We will most definitely be going back!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Neil B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uk
Level 6 Contributor
132 reviews
83 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Just like the rest report- Castara is a great place. We stayed in coasthanger and the view when you enter is WOW! We arranged to be met at the airport by porridge- and we stopped at a supermarket to stock up on provisions...then headed to the retreats.

The retreats are located up a steep hill from the village- the view down across the bay is just amazing. Coasthanger has everything you expect from a good self catering establishment- also adequate bath room and balcony. Porridge ' the man on the ground' visits daily - usually twice - just to check all is well.He is freindly and knowlegable.
The villagers where very freindly - especially the fishermen, who where happy to chat and even the bread ladies almost smiled...We also watched the local footie match and never once felt uneasy. We did eat at the local eateries, and found them friendly- either fish chicken or goat. We ate a couple of nights at the retreats resturant ( a nice tree house really!)- with reasonable food-a step up from the village eateries- but lacking in atmosphere. Perhaps if you eat at the retreats you get more involved with other guests- we did feel alitle like outsiders at times.. . We walked to the waterfall- a lovely calm cool spot and no one else there,
We rarely return to the same spot twice- but if we did i would stay again at the reatreats.

Room Tip: Coasthanger-workers travel up the road from 4am- and the waves seemed to echo into the bedroom
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank julieei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

The pictures of the views enjoyed by Castara retreats are amazing, the reality is even better. It really is an amazing location. The service is excellent, there is always someone around to answer a query or pass on a message to Porridge who organises most things. Although it is self catering, the staff made it feel more like a hotel, first names were used from day one onwards and as I mention, there is always someone around. The lodges themselves are as stunning as the scenery, fully equipped kitchens, mosquitoe nets around the beds, plantation shutters on the windows. The village itself is probably the friendliest we have ever stayed, we 'limed' with the fisherman, went to a block party, watched three local football games, all the while feeling perfectly safe (we had teenage daughter in tow). For us, this location brought us serene peace and we left with a sense of calm. The only downside to our trip (and this was due to my bad planning rather than the retreat or village) was the mosquitoes. Make sure you take good sprays and creams! The lodges are surrounded by mango trees which meant a steady supply of the freshest fruit. We did a couple of day trips to other parts of the island but to be honest, nowhere compared to this place. Book it now!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Duncan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed May 13, 2013

It's difficult to find anything to add to all the other glowing reviews! This is a real gem of a place and well deserves five stars all round. This is partly due to the beautiful location, partly due to Porridge, his wife, son and others in the team at Castara who make everyone feel so welcome.

The Castara Retreats website does a really good job of explaining the set up, and it's important to understand that this is not a luxury hotel, and Tobago is the kind of place where you don't get five star amenities on tap (eg there might be a power cut, the shops shut at random times...), but it has so many other things going for it, it is all part of the charm.

We stayed in Coasthanger, and the view was spectacular. The lodge is lovely and has everything you need, and you can open up the sides to get fresh air and allow the colourful birds to swoop in and out. They will sort you out a pick up from the airport and stop at a big supermarket en route - try and get most of the stuff you need here as the local Castara shops are quite basic. When we arrived at the lodge there was a "starter pack" of bread, butter, marmalade, milk, beer and tea bags already in the kitchen which was a thoughtful and welcome touch. If arriving in the evening (as we were) you can pre-order a dinner for arrival from the restaurant for 100TT (c.£10) which was most welcome after the long flight.

Castara Retreats is on a hill leading into Castara Village. It is next to the road (and there is only one road in and out of the village) so you will get some traffic noise. Also, people in Tobago get up early to work before it gets too hot; so for example one day we were woken by someone cutting grass at 6.30am. That said, we fell into Tobago time very quickly - in bed between 9 & 10pm and up between 7 & 8am to enjoy the cooler mornings (and we are normally pretty lazy...).

The sea is a two minute walk, the beach is lovely and the sea a perfect temperature, sandy bottom, really clean and no seaweed. The main hub of the village is a couple minutes walk down the hill. There are a few eating options in the village, all fairly basic, generally no menu as the choice will be chicken leg or fish or shrimp plus various accompaniments (usually including rice, beans, salad). The best meals we had in the village were in the Boat House on the Little Bay, where the food was good and there was a bit more variety. The restaurant at Castara Retreats is very good and we ate there a few times, a simple menu including veggie options. The fresh homemade pasta in particular was excellent and Kenny who runs the restaurant with his partner is a really welcoming, friendly guy.

We did the boat trip offered through Porridge - definitely recommended. We were out 10am - 4pm, we stopped in two different bays to snorkel (loads of lovely fish) then lunch on a gorgeous beach (reachable only by sea so we were only people there) with a big BBQ and plenty of beer/rum punch, all included in the price. Plus there was the chance to try line fishing off the back of the boat too.

We'd also recommend Newton George for the rainforest walk and bird spotting - he's an incredible guide, really knowledgable. Again Porridge organised this for us. We also hired a car one day. Porridge does have some cars to hire, all his were out though so we went to Taylor's on the Little Bay, who were recommended by a family we met. It was 350 TT (£35) for a day, petrol is dirt cheap compare to UK and we got a small but perfect for the job jeep/car kind of thing, needed for some of Tobago's steeper/untarmaced roads. We visited Argyle Falls and the Cocoa Plantation by car, both worth a visit. I have to say, on our tour of the north of the island, Castara is definitely the most beautiful bay of those with a village/guest houses.

We met so many people who were on a repeat visit to Tobago (including repeat visitors to Castara Retreats itself) and it was easy to see why - it is a lovely island and we would wholeheartedly recommend Castara Retreats to anyone.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank LinzofLondon
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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