Notes for Visitors (PAGE 5)
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Topics (click to view)
- Our Local Management Team
- Flight Information
- Airport Pick-up and Arrival
- The Accommodations
- Check Out & Departure
- Personal Responsibility
- Visa Requirements
In 2006 we completed a new driveway onto the land so that clients no longer have a steep walk up the hill when first arriving. There is a small attractively landscaped car park for three cars between Coasthanger and Birdsong. However, in the daily routine of visiting the village and beach, our accommodations are located about 75 yards up a paved, well-lit footpath that winds uphill.
Porridge will visit each days to check everything is OK, but do ring him if you need his help or guidance on anything. One of our housekeeping team will visit your accommodation every 3-4 days to change sheets and towels and do a light tidy up, usually between 10 am and noon; if you prefer not to have this, please let Jeanell or Porridge know in advance, since our housekeeping team will have been scheduled specifically to provide this service. If you skip this service, they will of course come 3-4 days later, but we are not able to change the schedule outside of that morning slot. House towels and bed linen are provided; we ask you to bring your own beach towels.
Hairdryers, irons and hammocks are available in each accommodation as well as security safes.
One of our cleaning ladies will do washing for you, though you need to set that up via Porridge or with one of them directly (40tt dollars a load, 30tt a half load, washed, dried and folded).
Water and Electricity
The house is on mains water, and there is hot and cold running water. However the water is stored above the house in storage tanks, and the water supply can occasionally be interrupted on the island, so we ask visitors to be mindful in their use of water. The tap water is perfectly OK to drink. The electricity supply is 110 volts so many appliances made in Europe will not function, although mobile phones can be charged provided you have an adaptor for the socket - this is the same as for the USA and can be purchased at most airports. It is quite common for the electricity to be cut off for short periods. Please take sensible precautions to reduce the risk of fire and do ensure that if you use night light candles that you place them in the glass holders that we provide.
There is a rubbish collection point in the car park area at Castara Retreats. We ask our clients to take rubbish disposal seriously because of the tropical climate and suggest you take it down to the disposal point on a daily basis. We recommend that you avoid leaving it outside your accommodation as it attracts chickens and dogs who tend to strew it about. Porridge also requests clients to keep cooked food that you want to dispose of in your freezer compartment until you are ready to take your rubbish bag to the disposal point. This helps to reduce the rate of decomposition and smells. If this is your first trip to the tropics, the rule of thumb is "if in doubt, keep food in the fridge" - if you leave bread, sugar or bananas out overnight, for example, they will be demolished by Bananaquits (a delightful local bird) or ants. There are also plastic containers in each accommodation for other perishables.
We made the conscious decision to create a small car park that sits into the landscape and does not impact negatively. Our main objective was to ease things during arrival and departure and the need to carry heavy bags. With care, there is room to park 3 cars in front of the utility building. Talk to Porridge if you are not sure of where to park. Occasionally we have more than three clients with hire cars and on such occasions you may need to park on the highway. The spaces are available on a first come basis and no spaces are reserved unless someone has walking difficulties. Please be mindful of noise when starting engines and shutting doors including during the day as some people take siestas. We request you do not use the car park on occasions when you intend to use vehicles before 7am or after 10pm. We would much appreciate your support in maintaining a tranquil atmosphere around this area.
Facilities for Music
We are very pleased to say that we have just installed good quality iPod docking systems in all our accommodations.
We are happy to provide these systems but please be mindful of volume level particularly later in the evening so you do not disturb your neighbours. For the benefit of everyone, we have a clear policy that music can only be played if it does not disturb your neighbour. Over many years we have had almost no complaints about this.
By the way, no local would understand the concept of quiet music, so if there is a party on the beach, do join in. Occasionally there is a village wide party and the music goes on into the early hours. The Fishermans¹ Festival in late August is an example. Such events happen maybe three or four times per year.
Personal Responsibility, Safety and Security
There are seldom problems to do with security in Castara and few stories of crime within the village. In 2005 there was a spate of petty crime that included thefts of holiday properties including Castara Retreats. However the thieves were caught and put in prison and there has been no problems since then. However we recommend that everyone take the usual precautions and care with regard to your valuables. There are security safes in each accommodation. We recommend that you use these for all valuables, cash, passports etc.
We rent our accommodation to our clients on the understanding that they take responsibility for their own safety whilst they are in Tobago and at Castara Retreats. Please consider the environment that you find yourselves in and take sensible precautions. Consider the ocean, for instance, and do not take risks- even strong swimmers can get into problems. Also please take care around the accommodation and the garden. We are located on the side of a hill, so do watch where you are walking, and use the handrails. Most of our accommodation is constructed of wood, so please do not create a fire hazard. Take proper precautions if you use candles or burn mosquito coils by making sure they are prevented from dropping onto the wood. Please do not use the bird feeders to burn night lights or candles in.
All accommodations have fire extinguishers. When you arrive, check where they are positioned and read the instructions on the bottles.
Tobago is a tropical county so there are lots of insects. Around the house we get very few problems though we strongly recommend that after dark that you use the dimmer switches to keep the lights low. This makes a huge difference to the number of insects that are attracted into the accommodations. You will find that the main cause of ants is food, so keeping things in the fridge and keeping the kitchen and bin area clean will ensure that ants are not a problem. Food left out overnight will attract ants in numbers. They particularly love sweet things, so if you have kids with you, keep an eye out for half eaten sweeties and sticky wrappers.