There are a lot of reasons for taking a “trip of a lifetime”. In our case it was the end of a maternity leave period.
The decision to travel 4,500 miles with a thirteen year-old and a 10 month old baby might seem a strange one to some, but when you choose a place like Carpe Diem in Castara it becomes about the best decision you’ve ever made.
I don’t remember imagining that we’d feel sick on arrival and heart-broken on departure; but we did: Sick with jealousy and heart-broken to leave. The single best holiday we have ever had; and we’re not inexperienced travellers.
Carpe Diem was exactly as we’d imagined it, except more so. Our opening remarks to Chris were that we were already green with envy (nearly as green as the gardens) and that we already hated him! That bit wasn’t true (we’ll come back to that).
The view is stunning. The few minutes’ walk into the village and on to the beach is shorter than we expected. The balcony is right in the garden (there is a Papaya tree within yards – we ate some!) and within minutes we were seeing Tanagers, Mot Mots, Cocricro, Ant Shrikes, Humming Birds and more. We had visits from red squirrels, lizards, butterflies, and at one point one of Tobago’s non-venomous snakes.
The apartments are immaculately kept and everything you could want is available in them.
Castara is an absolute dream. A genuine Caribbean paradise of a village. Very few tourists - very few villagers! - and a working fishing village. You will want to do a supermarket shop on your way there though – the shops are a bit limited. But the fresh bread and cakes from the outdoor oven are a real treat.
We had the great big glorious beach to ourselves more or less for the week and a half we were there. We met so many great people but somehow they melt away when it comes to being on the sand. No bothersome chair vendors or anything vendors; just you, the (brilliant) sand and the waves.
We helped pull in the seine nets (and earned five greenback fish as a result which Splish Splosh came and cooked for us in a Caribbean style for a very small fee and his lunch). We snorkelled. We ate good food. We visited the rain forest. We went out on a boat trip with Chris and Yvonne, and some of their other guests and former guests and locals, and we had a BBQ on the beach, and rum punch in the Nylon Pond.
Chris and Yvonne are just brilliant. It’s not usual to leave having made good friends with the landlords, but I really believe we did. They are just great people. They give good advice on what to do; they lend you books and bus tickets, take you on boat trips, make you laugh, let you use the internet, and generally have about as fantastic a house and lifestyle as you could reasonably long for!
Within a few hours of arrival Chris had brought us a book about Tobago’s history; La Magdalena: The Story of Tobago. Magdalena is the island’s original name, and Chris had been delighted to find it to be the name of our daughter too. We hadn’t known that, but in that moment we knew everything was just right.
Leaving Castara was really hard, partly because it’s stupidly beautiful, partly because it’s gloriously sunny, partly because the food is pretty good and the pace of life is ideal, and partly because there is just enough of everything and just enough of nothing to do. But mainly because we made a lot of good friends; most of all Chris (the Prof!) and Yvonne.
You will not be disappointed to have chosen here; you will be heart-broken to leave.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the top 5 Speciality Accommodation on TripAdvisor with 129 reviews for last 6 years. All suites have queen size beds and en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold water. Fully equipped kitchen areas with larger than usual refrigerator, real stove/grill, toaster, juicer, water filter etc. Personal safe deposit box. All the rooms have great views of the ocean, without even getting out of bed, and great sunsets as it faces almost due West! ( Banana & Cocoa trees may obscure the studio view a little depending on how they are fruiting!!(House faces 240Degrees). We have just built the "Garden Room" an annex to Studio 2 to accommodate a child/adult so as to give the parents a little more privacy. The 2 safe beaches are 100 yards away and all village amenities are within walking distance. Wi-fi hotspot/5GB broadband! Check with your partner if you are allowed to use it though! A recent couple ended up arguing because he stayed in daily contact with his office...... Ideal for birdwatchers as you can see most of the island's birds from the balcony. We can arrange diving, car hire, rainforest walks etc. Smoking allowed outside on the balcony,( well it is a wooden house! ) A lot of couples seem to get engaged while staying with us so yes we can sort out wedding arrangements as well........................!! We have been awarded the Trip Advisor "Certificate of Excellence" for the last 6 years for which we have to thank our guests for their reviews and trust it means we are getting it right! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Carpe Diem Villa Hotel Castara
- Carpe Diem Villa Tobago/Castara