Tobago beach accommodation

“If we had to sum up these cabins we'd say "rustic luxury". There are no flatscreen TVs or chlorinated pools - just panoramic views and the Caribbean Sea within skipping distance.”

Highlights

Excellent European-Caribbean restaurant | Four minute walk from beach | Nearby waterfall | Snorkelling in the bay | Food and live steelpan music in Castara village | On site birdwatching

Description of Tobago beach accommodation

This gorgeous eco resort offers 17 cabins tucked into the hillside overlooking the fishing village of Castara. On the northwest coast of Tobago, Castara has two beaches where you can swim, snorkel and fish in the warm, Caribbean waters. The resort was long listed in the 2014 World Responsible Tourism Awards for ‘Best for Beach Tourism’.

The eco resort can accommodate up to 42 people, and has a range of accommodations to suit different budgets, with beautifully furnished, compact apartments to larger Japanese-style haiku lodges. These wooden buildings are all discretely tucked away in two acres of lush, tropical gardens, harmoniously blending in with the natural landscape while being angled to allow idyllic views over the sweeping Castara Bay, where you can watch fishermen hauling in their nets each morning. Our restaurant also offers stunning ocean views, and has gained a reputation on the island for its delicious food, attentive service and great atmosphere.

This family run eco resort offers an alternative to the typical Caribbean hotel. Our principles are focused on beauty, balance and respect, and this is reflected in the sensitive design of our buildings, the great relationship we have with our staff and guests, and our beautiful gardens.

This is the ideal place to engage in the tropical landscapes and local culture of Castara, while enjoying comfort and stylish accommodation. From the rooms and the restaurant, you’ll see a great variety of hummingbirds coming in to feed, as well as soaring frigate birds, and local fishermen returning to shore with their catch. After dark, fireflies glow in the gardens, and you’ll awake to the sound of the dawn chorus each morning.

Our guests enjoy the attentive service of our staff as well as a daily visit from our manager, Porridge, who grew up in Castara and has is renowned for his friendliness, charisma and attention to detail. We don’t offer services such as 24-hour staff in residence or daily room service; this Tobago beach accommodation is the ideal place for those who appreciate simplicity and being able to get away from it all.

Castara is a quiet village, untouched by tourism. We are just a four-minute walk from the local services in the villages, including the rum bars and the fisherman’s co-op on the beach where you can buy fresh fish. In front of Castara, there is a quiet, golden sand beach, or head to Little Bay where you can swim with turtles and angel fish in the coral reef. Behind the resort is rainforest, filled with birds. A 20-minute walk through the forest is Castara Waterfall, where you can go for a dip in the freshwater pool.

74 species of birds can be spotted around the resort. We can also arrange bird watching walks into the protected rainforest with renowned ornithologist Newton George, who will help you to see several hummingbirds, as well as other colourful species including the blue-backed manakin, collared trogon and blue-crowned motmot.

Map

Our top tip:
Take a walk to the nearby waterfall and bring your bathing suit - its perfect for a dip.
Room description:
One and two bedroom wooden cabins and apartments. All have sea views, and private or shared terraces. All have kitchens and fans (some have A/C).
Amenities:
Restaurant and bar serving lunch and dinner, yoga space, WiFi.
Meals:
None included. Lunch and dinner available in the restaurant, breakfast available in the village. All cabins/apartments have well-equipped kitchens.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Tobago beach accommodation

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

We are passionately committed to adding value back into the community in Tobago that has given ourselves and our clients so much. We provide quality employment for a number of local people. The beach accommodation is managed by a local couple who ensure that everything is ready for guests when they arrive, and who organise the accommodation, meals and transport. Five other local people work in our team looking after the gardens and the accommodation.

The construction of the beach accommodation was undertaken by local people and over three years some 30-40 people were involved. Over this period there was a good deal of skill development amongst the people involved. This commitment to work with people in the village has helped to create a warm atmosphere towards visitors.

Our guests take advantage of lots of the services available in the village and this has a very positive impact on the local economy. Shops and restaurants benefit daily, as do the people offering rainforest walks and boat trips around the Tobago coast.

The design of our beach accommodation, with its stylish timber structures that sit gently into the landscape, has generated lots of positive comment and a recognition that development does not need to cause damage to the environment of Tobago. Guests and staff are encouraged to respect and care for the environment and our website and visitors books are filled with comments and ideas on how to protect & sustain this unspoiled landscape.

7 Reviews of Tobago beach accommodation

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 01 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Just being in Tobago and the experience of being in the West Indies for the first time. We were very well looked after at the accommodation. There is a lot to do on the island but just relaxing and doing nothing was also lovely as the accommodation was very comfortable. I liked the large living spaces (bedroom and Kitchen/sitting/dining area). The view from terrace of the accommodation was not as wonderful as I had expected and this was a bit of an initial disappointment.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


None. Just take it as you find it and enjoy it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, but not always in a good way. I don't think I will want to be in Castara in a few years time as it is being developed for tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very enjoyable but I am unlikely to go back as I found other islands in the West Indies which suited my 'away from it all' needs better.

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Waking up to that gorgeous view every day. It really is as pretty as it looks in the photos.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We went in August school holidays, with 3 children. Be prepared for heat, humidity, lots of mosquitoes and sand flies. Also, there is not a huge amount to do on the doorstep, except for amazing swimming/snorkelling on the gorgeous beach. It's a small fishing village. During our two weeks we went for a day trip on Porridge's boat, a couple of wonderful day trips (into the rainforest and to
Liitle Tobago) with local bird expert Newton George, hired a car for two days and visited Englishman's Bay, Tobago Cocoa Plantation and the Argylle waterfalls, walked to the local waterfall...and then had lots of days on the beach and the Retreats' sun beds. This suited us fine but just saying. Also be warned, when they say you can't buy a lot in the village, that's correct. We brought some
essential foodstuffs with us and took up the offer of supermarket shopping near the airport on arrival, even though it was hard after a long journey.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I think and hope so. The owners seem to have put a lot of thought into this. The accommodation is built on a hillside just at the side of the village. Clever engineering but it doesn't appear to dominate and blends in well. As visitors we ate out in the village, bought groceries from the local shops daily, homemade bread from the ladies at the village's outdoor oven and souvenirs from the little blue shed. We always had a friendly or natural welcome - like it was no big deal that we were sharing the village's facilities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent, one of our best yet.

Reviewed on 27 Mar 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The resort is stunningly beautiful and relaxing - great hosts, beautiful setting in a fishing village, off the beaten track but welcoming with many things to do for tourists. We loved where we stayed - a wonderful apartment with eco-conscious features and caring hosts. The high point for us was snorkeling with our guide Seon - swimming with jellyfish and giant angelfish, coral reefs, hidden mysterious beaches. The tour of the chocolate plantation was fun. Most of all, hanging out, swimming and visiting with birds on our massive open-air porch-living room, dining in the wonderful restaurant at the Retreats. TIP - bring a little "GoPro" underwater camera to take astonishing undersea footage while you are snorkeling or swimming.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


WestJet has incredibly affordable flights from Toronto Canada to Trinidad; a short hop to Tobago is also very inexpensive. This makes for a great getaway for Canadians. Could be challenging to those who have trouble climbing steps, as the resort is on a hillside.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The resort provides employment, eco-friendly leadership and lots of business for local restaurants and shops.
Definitely I think this resort is exemplary in its support for the local community and environmental engagement. I would bring my students.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This is an amazing place to hang out and bond with those you love. Beautiful, relaxing and a place you will hope to return to.

Reviewed on 26 Nov 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The view from the accommodation was just amazing. The food was delicious and just the general relaxed vibe of the area and it's people!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take lots of insect repellant, the citronella oil works well! Hire a car for the day and explore yourselves but definitely do a fishing trip with some snorkelling! Amazing!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Absolutely! It's been cleverly built to support its surroundings and the wildlife you can see around the accommodation is great- keep an eye out for the agouti!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10/10 without a doubt! Best holiday we've had!

Reviewed on 02 Jan 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The views from our house as well as the village where we stayed.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take cash with you as ATM often does not work in the small villages.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


For sure.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic is the word.

Reviewed on 22 Mar 2010 by

What pressure it is choosing a honeymoon destination! One can’t help but being worried, as it has to be the best holiday ever. Well, for us it most certainly was!

It has been two months since we returned to London, yet almost every day, at least for a moment, we’re back at the accommodation – the best place in Tobago and most probably in the Caribbean. For just a fraction of a second at some point while we are sitting at our desk, or squeezing through the crowds on the tube, we can feel, see, taste and smell the loveliness of Heavenly Bay: the sound of the sea, the perfume of mangoes, the hummingbirds feeding from the banana flowers less than a yard away from us, the wonderful hot sand, the warm sea water, the view of the bay from the balcony of Rainforest, the hot sauce with the mahi-mahi caught an hour earlier by one of our fishermen friends, the thrill at feeling the bonito biting at the fishing line, the laughter with Porridge, Sherwin and Daniel while sipping a malt on the beach, the exhilaration at seeing every new bay from the boat…

We had such wonderful, exciting and relaxing time, made possible by the beautiful nature, the perfectly designed accommodation, perfectly integrated with the surrounding environment and most of all by the great effort, the hard work, the touching kindness and the relentless but unobtrusive enthusiasm of Porridge and Jeanelle and of all the other people. They made our holiday truly unforgettable.

Reviewed on 04 Aug 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was perfectly beautiful, and relaxing as expected.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take double the mosquito repellent you think you need.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Very much so, as regards the individuals, but with some reservations as regards the community as a whole. The water in the wood obviously seem to be compromised by extra building activity in the bay and surrounding area. Presumably this is due to increased demand. There seems to be much untreated sewage and general garbage that ends up in the sea.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


9/10.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for getting back to me. I am giving you a very full reply as I’m sure you can imagine this is a serious issue for us and we have had to look into it thoroughly. So, I have now had a chance to speak at length to Porridge, our manager, and Steve, the owner, both of whom were there at the same time you were. They are baffled by your comments about untreated sewage as they have never experienced such a thing in here.

Steve and Porridge both feel frustrated that you didn¹t discuss this with them at the time when they could have gone with you to the beach to see first hand what you were concerned about. Since then, they have thoroughly investigated and found no signs of sewage. It is also important to note that we have had hundreds of guests staying since it opened in 2003 and we have never had anyone report that they have seen untreated sewage.

Regarding rubbish, it is certainly true that the beaches are a mess during any festivals or local parties. The Heritage Festival was on while you were there (your last weekend) and it often takes a couple of days to clean up. This happens about four times a year. This last time, the rubbish was cleared up more quickly than ever before. The government pays a team of people to keep the beaches clean and there has sometimes been some criticism that they have not done their job as well as they might but, generally, our beach, as a working and tourist beach, stays remarkably clean.

Further, with regard to your concerns, heavy rainfall and landslides occur during the rainy season (as during your stay) and there is a massive runoff from the rainforest into the rivers and the four culverts that have been built to handle this output. This fresh water brings with it silt, sediment and material from the rainforest. If recent building work has taken place, a certain amount of aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed stone) may end up in this rush of water. Overall, as a result, the bay is discoloured and smells earthy and it takes a day for it to clear if the weather remains calm. None of us (Steve, Sue, Porridge, Jeanell, myself, my husband or any staff) have ever seen untreated sewage or garbage flowing into the sea at this time.

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