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

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

Responsible tourism: Tobago beach accommodation

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.

Reviews of Tobago beach accommodation

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 01 Mar 2016 by

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


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


We went in August school vacations, 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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


Excellent, one of our best yet.

Reviewed on 27 Mar 2013 by

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


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


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

Reviewed on 02 Jan 2011 by

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


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

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


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

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


For sure.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation truly unforgettable.

Reviewed on 04 Aug 2010 by

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


It was perfectly beautiful, and relaxing as expected.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take double the mosquito repellent you think you need.

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation 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.

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2009 by

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


Arriving at the accommodation which was exactly as advertised and superb in a magnificent location. Swimming in the sea before breakfast with Sting Rays in the bay and finally Castara Village itself.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take plenty of insect repellent and histamine tablets to reduce irritation after being bitten. Relax in a beautiful location.

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


Absolutely as within Castara village there is the opportunity to buy in the local stores, fish market etc. There is no real need to hire a car (we did only for 1 day). If we went north or south we used the local bus.

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


One of the best.

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2008 by

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


Going on a rainforest/bird watching walk with King David. Going out on a fishing boat to check the fish pots (cages) with Porridge.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take earplugs to make sure you get some sleep and don't get too disturbed by the cockerels and chachlacas because they wake up early! Take plenty of mosquito repellent with DEET if you have a tendency to get bitten. In August (wet season) you have sandflies and mosquitoes feasting on you all day! Consider carefully whether you are going to be comfortable without air conditioning in 32 degree C temperatures. It's very hot and sticky, even with the coastal breezes! Hire a car for a few days and go to Argyle Falls before 10 am (when all the coach loads start arriving). Don't go if you need constant activity/entertainment because there are not loads of things to do. Do go if you need a relaxing vacation, away from it all, in a village atmosphere, and are interested in wildlife (eg birds).

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


Yes. Many local people are employed or have been helped by the owners in some way. Having said this, the owners are careful not to dominate the village and are very aware that they don't want to become too prominent within the area even though they have a lot of ideas for improvements.

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


8/10.

Reviewed on 12 May 2008 by

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


This isn't an exciting place to go! The beauty of the place is its wonderful tranquility and lack of urgency. Most memorable moments included learning to play steel pan on the beach with Kenneth and then being invited to hear how the professionals do it later that day. Other than that, the abiding memory is of relaxing in comfy chairs and watching the view - much better than telly!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Arrange the airport pick-up - it's very good value and they will take you to the best local supermarkets and fruit / veg shops - ask for help if you don't know what the funny looking veg is. Write a shopping list before you set off as your brain might not be entirely 'with it' after the flight. If you are exploring on your own and want to refuse offers of guides, trips, taxis etc. just say you have already arranged it with Porridge - this works on the whole of the Island - the man is a local legend.

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


Yes - lots of involvement with the community and a lot less 'hassle' on the beach etc. as a result.

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


Excellent - the perfect setting for a well earned rest

Reviewed on 25 Jan 2008 by

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


All of it - particularly realising the accommodation was better than anticipated.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To stay longer than one week!

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


Yes - we ate at local restaurants, bought fish from the fishermen and bought products from the shops.

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


Absolutely excellent - highly recommended.

Reviewed on 31 Oct 2006 by

We had a wonderful honeymoon. Tobago is still in the pre-blood-sucker stage of tourism so we were able to really relax and have an authentic experience.

The best bit was staying in this accommodation - because we interacted with local people and we were in self-catering accommodation, so we didn't feel locked into buying expensive restaurant and hotel food.

I felt that the local people there benefited from our vacation and the whole thing just felt right. You were able to buy services from neighbours (like washing, cooking or cooking lessons, trips into Scarborough, etc) at a fair price and people were obviously benefiting directly. Guests were expected to accept their responsibilities as tourists as well, so there wasn't that awful dynamic that often develops in tourist areas, where tourists feel entitled to everything and anything and locals become resentful and cynical.

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2006 by

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


The highlight of the vacation was the bird-life on Tobago. We also found the people courteous and charming. There were a few attempts to hustle us, but they were the exception.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


One tip - our mobile phones didn't work on Tobago. Normally our phones simply switch to the local network. One possibility is to hire a phone or you can make an arrangement with the Trinidad and Tobago phone company for which you pay.

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


We also stayed at Runnemede. In many ways this provided more employment for local people and was an excellent way to visit the rain forest.

4. Any other comments?


We had a relaxing time in Tobago. It was slightly pricey but worth it - the views over the bay were fantastic and we were surrounded by a beautiful garden with many close up views of birds.

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