|Minimum Stay||7 nights|
We also let our 2 bedroom apartment to 'discerning' guests. Comprising 2 bedrooms with large ensuite bathrooms, queensize beds -made in the village from local red cedar, from which you can see the sea without getting out of bed!
Large kitchen diner/lounge.
All rooms open out onto a 50 x 10 ft veranda.
Fully equipped kitchen with hot & cold running water, water filter fitted to cold supply so no need to buy bottled water. 4 burner gas stove, large Samsung fridge, kettle, toaster, juicer, grill, caffetiere etc etc.
Large dining table and chairs for alfresco dining-We have never eaten inside yet!
Large comfortable sofa for lounging and reading from which you can also see the sea. All rooms have a very high roof allowing for good air circulation so no A/C! All rooms have free standfans.
Home office area with wi-fi hotspot,computer/dvd monitor.
Very comfortable accommodation, after all it is where we live when we are on Tobago! The view across the bay is the reason we built here !
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.
Our 4th visit to Tobago and 3rd to Carpe Diem, Castara (which probably says it all really). Once again we were not disappointed notwithstanding the somewhat unseasonal rain showers. Chris and Yvonne are exceptional hosts and on this occasion we were privileged to have the green room (top floor) and share more of our time with them. We were joined on this occasion by our Son and his fiancé who also had an apartment themselves, so hired a car for a week so we could show them the sights and sounds of Tobago (Englishman’s Bay, Pirate Bay up in Charlottesville, the East Coast including Argyle Waterfall, Sunday School at Bucco, the Nylon Pool and surfing at Mount Irvine). The reality on which we later all agreed was that Castara actually provided everything we wanted. Castara has beautiful clean beaches and great snorkelling off Little Bay over the coral reef, which is such a short walk from the apartment. Although the sea was a little rough and the snorkelling not as good as we have previously experienced, we came home with great pictures of turtles and sting rays which let us swim with them. We find Castara gives us everything we want within a short walk from the accommodation including Coddrington’s off-licence, Bingy’s for fruit and veg, the Boat House down on the beach for meals, Sunday Pizza and drummers and stilt dancer on a Wednesday. Chinos’ for a lovely breakfast, Shirma’s for a wonderful Friday night takeaway and de Lime (although recently changed its name) for an evening cool one.
Above all we love the overall ambience that Carpe Diem, Chris and Yvonne allow us to enjoy. Yes the wild village cockerels start to crow early in the morning. Yes the village dogs usually join them. Yes, the music can occasionally be loud and not necessarily to our taste, but this is far and away offset by all the positives, all of which I have included in earlier reviews and are simply the prolific wildlife, birdlife, snorkelling, friendly hospitality everywhere and the enjoyment of observing life in a traditional fishing village. Tobagans call it ‘liming’ and in Castara, you can do it very well.
The place to be if you want to have a brilliant relaxing holliday!
We were there for the first time and it asks for more!
Chris & Yvonne (the owners) are friendly and helpful to getting you started to explore the area.
It is a super location with a beautiful uphill view to the small village of
Castara and the Castara Bay.
A variety of colourful birds came each morning on the deck, even the Blue-crowned Mot mot was regularly seen on the breakfast deck.
Castara is centrally located on the Caribbean side of the island, with a beautiful beach (See the boathouse) and friendly locals!
We are going to do some savings for the next visit!
For the second year running we stayed at Carpe Diem Villa in Castara and can't recommend it highly enough, as a family with hectic lives it provided the perfect place to relax in a peaceful location where the locals are welcoming, the weather is fantastic and the accommodation and surroundings are perfect.
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).