|Minimum Stay||5 nights|
Both studios are identical one being the mirror image of the other. Each has: Queen size bed made of local red cedar. 'Four poster' style canopy/mosquito net. New sprung mattresses. We also have a pull out single bed for a child or another adult. New appliances. Large Whirlpool fridge, Saffire stove, toaster, electric kettle. liquidizer.All new kitchenware, cutlery and china etc. Personal safe. White cotton linen. You can see the view without getting out of bed! 2 sets of louvered red cedar doors open out onto the balcony.
The bathrooms are 'wetrooms', fully tiled and of a good size.
The rooms are naturally quite cool but there are portable fans as well. The ceiling are high and with the tiled floors stay quite cool throughout the day. Up here we hardly have many mosquitos at all and a breeze blows most days.
A variety of local birds come around, the vegetation is quite lush and we have mango, banana, paw paw and fresh herbs etc growing in the garden. Wi-fi access throughout. BBQ
Carpe Diem Villa was completed in late 2007. Half timbered construction over a block ground floor. It is our house and was designed for US to live in and constructed of local materials using all local labour. The whole point of the house was to take advantage of the view of Castara Bay. It is set back and 80 feet above the Northside Road in the village of Castara, a small unspoilt fishing village on the Caribbean coast of Tobago. You will not find jetskis etc but you will find peace and quiet and a chance to really relax. The beach is safe and kept clean by the villagers. Lifeguards are on duty during the day. There are NO hustlers! They are usually asked to 'move on'. In the village are guides and boatmen to take you into the rainforest, visit waterfalls, take you fishing & then to a bbq the catch on a secluded beach. The local bars are friendly with locals, expats and visitors all 'liming' together. Crime is almost non-existent. The property is covered by 8 security cameras .
Come here & write that book you always meant to write! For more reviews (130! ) and photographs check out what guests have said on Trip Advisor !
I have spent all my working life to date making things happen for others. Building this house is Yvonne and myself making it happen for us and as a bonus we have been able to create a beautiful place for others to enjoy as much as we do. We have both had and still have pretty stressful jobs. I am in the live music production business and Yvonne was a property manager for a local estate agent in the UK. We have worked hard and still do as few of us are really ever able to retire early and enjoy the fruits of our labours. We call it semi retirement.
You only go around once so you cannot let life pass you by. We all do and then it is too late, you do not get a second chance. We love life.
Living or staying in Castara is about as good as it gets!
Chris Runciman purchased this apartment in 2006
I was sitting on the hillside when it was all scrub looking out at the view of the bay after I found out the land was available and said 'This is it!'.
We decided we needed to stop thinking about a house in the sun and actually build it before we were too old to enjoy it!
Then we could share it with family and friends. We fell in love with the village after coming here on holiday and getting involved with the aftermath of the only hurricane to hit the island in a 40 odd years. We were made welcome from the start.
The area and the village, beach, the people etc just tick all the right boxes for us. You only get a chance to do something like this once.You can say lets look elsewhere and then think why did we not stay in Castara.
Opportunities like this only come once in lifetime...Carpe Diem..."Seize the day"
Castara is a friendly working fishing village set at the edge of the rain forest..., it has its own waterfall & pool, great beaches, rain forest, a reef, good fishing, sunshine, I am sorry but we would have been mad not to have said yes!
It is away from the busier south of the island with it's more tourist oriented areas but still less than an hour from the airport and main town of Scarborough if, and it is a big if, we ever need to go there!
We can walk down to either beach , shop go for a drink without needing a car. We buy fresh fish or catch it ourselves, local produce is there at the end of the road or actually in the garden. The best mango tree is behind the house, they drop, roll down and end up by the kitchen door!
At the end of the day we have the one of the best views in the village and it would have been selfish not to want to share it.
My wife and myself have just been for a fortnight's stay in Villa Carpe Diem, in the village of Castara on Tobago. Quite simply, it was the best trip we've ever had to the Caribbean (we've been to Barbados, Antigua and Monserrat before) and we can't wait to get back to Carpe Diem and Castara again. It pretty much defines for us what a Caribbean trip should be all about: as relaxed as you want to be, a lovely,
unspoiled fishing village of really friendly and helpful locals plus plenty of day trip activity if you feel like it. Most of all – the beautiful, comfortable, clean and well-organised accommodation we had in Carpe Diem: it's no good being somewhere terrific if you aren't happy with where you're staying locally. We generally prefer self-catering rather than hotels so that we can suit our own schedule and cook local when we want to, always an added extra when you're somewhere new. Carpe Diem fitted the bill for us perfectly.
We take a 50% deposit at the time of booking with the balance to be paid one month in advance of travel. If we are on island the balance can be paid in cash upon arrival.
In the UK you can pay by cheque or bank transfer. Otherwise PayPal is good. Any extra charges must be met by the guest though please.
Check us for last minute offers as we do get short periods between lets which we can make a deal on!
Most flights in and out are in the evening but to enable us to prepare the rooms for the next guest we do ask for a 12noon checkout . If there are no incoming guests that evening then of course you can stay longer & still get that last minute swim in...!!
Notes on prices:
Special offer 1st may until November 30th.
Studio for $75USd per night-subject to availability-5 night min.
Contact us direct as we have had the occasional cancellation at short notice & may not have updated the diary accordingly or we may be able to offer you a deal for longer lets.
We also let out the Green room upstairs separately when we are not on island at $150USD per night
Payment received by Credit card via Paypal or bank transfer to our UK account.
It’s a tough question – you find somewhere that’s a real gem. Do you keep shtum so next time your chances of being able to book the place are fair, or do you share your secret? But I can’t deny – this is it. If you’re staying in Castara, I’d need real convincing that there was a single contender that could be a match for Carpe Diem. Perched up on the hill, it overlooks the wonderfully rugged, jungle-covered coastline and the sparkling sea with its impossibly pretty sunsets, fabulous birds by day and the twinkling glow of fireflies by night – it’s just magic. At times I’d just sit on the veranda feeling giddy with content – at least I’m pretty sure it was the surroundings and not just the rum.
Some words of warning. We tried to leave – we failed. We packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and off we went to Charlotteville. As lovely a place as it is, being away from Castara was unbearable and we craved the friendly vibes and wonderful views again. It didn’t take long - we came crawling back after 48 long hours. We had tried to make it work, but eventually, we caved in to Castara’s charm. Lucky Yvonne and Chris let us come back – it felt like coming home. But a very superior home of course. This is a difficult place to tear yourself away from.
Chris and Yvonne were wonderful hosts. We were probably dud visitors forgetting a whole heap of essentials that we should have packed. But they were so accommodating, and if we needed things, they’d happily share what they had with us –chargers, snorkels, etc. It’s the sort of kindness that really makes you feel like you’re in good hands.
In general, I wholeheartedly felt that they take everything quite seriously in terms of making sure everyone’s happy. Carpe Diem didn’t really start out as a money-making business venture as such, but Castara had drawn them in and so they built their own place. The studios sounded like an afterthought almost, so it really is a product of love and you absolutely get the personal touch and we felt more like guests than customers.
So, if you’re going to Castara, I’d 100% recommend Carpe Diem - cut out the middle-man and book directly through them for the best rates. You’ll leave with postcard perfect photos of a gorgeous vista, a load of excellent twitches (including most of the hummingbirds found in Tobago), a catalogue of memories to cherish and a severe case of holiday blues.
The studio was just as we'd been expecting. Chris and Yvonne were exceptionally helpful with local knowledge and advice. We spent many happy hours watching and feeding the variety of local birds that visited the balcony. The village is quiet and friendly with unspoilt beaches and great snorkelling. We'd love to return.
We just returned from a stay at Carpe Diem Villa. Yvonne and Chris were great hosts and not only looked after arranging rides to and from the airport for us, but suggested things we might like to do. We arrived at night so didn't see the view until we woke in the morning. It was truly amazing and took your breath away. The deck had a number of colorful birds that would visit, and you could sit and watch them come and go. The villa is well equipped and had everything in it you would need for your stay. There are lots of things to do in the village and a couple of great beaches to relax on. There are several restaurants and some small stores in the village. It is a great place to relax, enjoy the beautiful villa, the beaches and explore the island from. We hope we can return soon!
My wife and I just returned from an 8 day visit to TT, with 4 nights accommodations in a lovely studio at Carpe Diem in Castara. Chris and Yvonne were excellent hosts and the studio was simple yet comfortable.
We cooked for ourselves in the studio several times and the kitchen was well equipped. Our hosts provided anything else we needed including fresh herbs from their lovely garden. One night Chris and Yvonne graciously offered their own larger deck for a potluck where we were also joined by the great friends we made whom were staying in the neighboring studios. That was the best grilled fish dinner we've ever made and it was wonderful sharing it with such wonderful folks and with a view of Castara Bay that is unmatched!
Chris and Yvonne take care of anything else you may need including day trips in Tobago should you need help. Yvonne arranged for an all day Nylon Boat cruise that included fishing for our lunch, a beach BBQ of our catch, numerous snorkeling opportunities and a visit to the Nylon Pool. Our guides Davon & Latoya were awesome and an made sure this was the most memorable part of our whole trip. When my wife realized she forgot to pack her sarong, Yvonne kindly loner her one.
Castara is wonderful and, while I hate to let the secret out, this truly is paradise! From the beaches, the food, to the wonderful locals, and Wednesday night drum circle...we had a blast and can't wait to come back and we'll surely stay at Carpe Diem again!
Located right in the picturesque village, staying at Carpe Diem Villa afforded us the opportunity to participate in the village life in ways not accessible in larger hotels and resorts. We were able to quiz our hosts, Chris and Yvonne, who were always available and helpful, about the culture, the flora and fauna and the local amenities. Our studio was roomy, clean and airy, open to cooling breezes and the sounds of the village. The nearby beaches were the cleanest I have seen in the islands and people of all ages enjoyed them, including young families and children, although to say they were not crowded would be an understatement.
We had two very lovely weeks here. The accommodation was exactly as described, very comfortable, clean and functional. Beautiful view over the bay and well situated in the village. Snorkelling was great on Little Bay and the beaches on the island are really first class. Highly recommend this if you want to go somewhere for a peaceful holiday.
Special interest holidays:
The main thing people come to Tobago for is the fact that it is a small island & has the oldest rain forest in the world.
It also has the largest brain coral!
Tobago is good for snorkeling & diving-my wife saw Hammerhead sharks on one diving trip at the the Sisters!
There is a local dive operator close by.
The fishing is really good either off the beach in the evening or out on a boat with a local guy. Fly-fishermen come here every year.
The rain forest comes down to the sea, perfect for bird watchers & photographers. There are lots of trails to walk or you can get deep into the forest with several government registered guides for company.
You can watch birds & fruit bats from the house visiting the feeders.
Mountain bikes are available to hire in the south if you are that way inclined. As there are a lot of hills on Tobago people do come from overseas to train here.!!
The village has 2 beaches divided by a small headland which you can wade around. You have to hold your towel and camera above your head but it is at most 4-5 feet deep. The sea is safe and the beach and the sea floor sandy. Both beaches are about 200 & 400 yards from the house. The swimming is safe and there are lifeguards on the main beach. The snorkeling is great with coral within a short swim off the beach. All the beaches on this side of the island are good. the coastline is breathtaking.
The airport is at Crown Point in the south 45 minutes by taxi/car. It is actually quicker & much more romantic to go by boat back to Store Bay about 200 yards to the check in!
Ferry to Trinidad 1hr.
Hire a car in the village if needed. Otherwise it will just sit there most of the time. Driving round the island will take a day or 2 out visiting villages, beaches and checking out the highlighted points in the Rough Guide!
There are buses up and down the coast and hitching a ride is a local 'ting.
We are in the village on the hillside between the 2 beaches. Scarborough is about 45 minutes but it is hot there and we only go when necessary.
Further up the coast is the beautiful Englishman's Bay (10mins drive or some people do walk it! It takes about an hour...), Parlatuvier, Bloody Bay and of course Charlotteville are all within easy reach.
The roads are manly good but do have lots of turns and the occaisional pothole. Signposting is not particularly good so just ask if you get lost
Local shops have all the basic necessities.
Local fruit and vegetables etc all tend to be grown without chemicals!. The fish is available everyday from around 3pm and is incredible.
Fresh bread is baked most days in the village.
The nearest supermarket is in the south. It is a good idea to stop on the way up and get a few items to tide you over for the first day whilst you find your feet or if you want slightly more European items such as fresh OJ or boxed wine as it is cheaper than a buying by a bottle.
The main beach is manned by lifeguards & good snorkeling can be found right off Little beach.
Scuba operators will pick you up off the beach to go to various dive sites including the Sisters Rocks ( My wife 'swam' with hammerheads there!)
Tobago has the worlds oldest national park / rain forest and it abounds with birds, various flora and occasional fauna too.
Sunscreen is needed as the sun is overhead most of the year the latitude being 11 degrees!
Local restaurants serve a variety of local dishes. The local bars are very friendly and liming with the locals is the usual way to spend the evening. (Rum is cheap here).