An alternative to traditional Tobago hotels
Nestled on the hillside with rainforest as a backdrop, and the ocean below, our eco resort on the edge of the Caribbean village of Castara invites you to enjoy a ‘living in the landscape’ experience in one of our 15 treehouse-style, self-catering accommodations. Each is built in perfect synthesis with the lush surrounding environment, and angled to absorb the glorious views of the Caribbean Sea. We invite you to experience the tropical paradise in this unspoilt corner of the Caribbean that so captivated us 15 years ago.
We aim to create a balance between the services of a hotel with the freedom of self-catering. If you are looking for five star luxury in an exclusive Tobago hotel, we’re likely to be not for you. But if it is a more subtle sort of luxury you seek, our tropical hideaways capture the simple, exotic essence of Tobago and exude creativity and style. You will find all you need to unwind and recharge. Comfort is paramount with open-air bedrooms, hammocks for lounging, and expansive decks; we strive to deliver a level of quality that sets us apart.
Our local team – led by charismatic Porridge and his wife Jeanell –will do all they can to ensure your stay is a happy one. They have created an intimate, friendly atmosphere around the place, and will call by your accommodation most mornings to say hello and check all is well. Their openness of spirit helps guests connect with the relaxed Tobago ‘go slow’ attitude that has beguiled so many. Strolling down to the village, you’ll find a friendly local vibe and an invitation to experience the relaxed rhythms of Caribbean village life.
Being in Castara encourages a healthy lifestyle: daily strolls up and down the hillside, dips in the ocean, and a diet of fresh fish, mango and avocado, result in our guests feeling relaxed, nourished and nurtured. For those needing a little extra help unwinding, our network of experienced wellness practitioners are available to assist. Relax the mind, strengthen the body, and uplift the spirit with a morning yoga session overlooking the Bay, or soak up the healing benefits of a Thai Yoga massage.
Castara’s golden beach is less than a five minute stroll away. Here, you will find safe swimming in the azure Caribbean, along with mesmerising snorkelling along the coral reef, sun loungers under the shade of palms, and local bars perfect for enjoying a chilled beer at sunset. You will see the fishing boats bobbing into the bay loaded with the daily catch, and the Seine fishermen who pull great nets onto the beach. This is a true spectacle, and anyone wanting to lend a hand is welcome.
At sunrise, awake to the dawn chorus and watch the pelicans swoop over the ocean. Admire the hummingbirds hustling for space on the feeders, spot the rare agouti that has made its home in our gardens, and perhaps glimpse a school of dolphins passing the bay. Twilight brings the glow of fireflies, and you will see the stars rise and the moon casting its light onto the sea. When sleep beckons, you will be lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves. This is a place alive with nature and buzzing with life.
The views are amazing. Stayed at Birdsong with friends who enjoyed walking down to the beach, buying a 10lb king fish and returning to the apartment to have freshly caught fish for dinner. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the waves, or waking next morning to the sound of birds chirping or watching the boats bobbing in the water. The view of the bay from your window is to die for and the apartment was exceptionally clean. The only drawback is that you would wish you spent more time there no matter how long you stay.
If you are looking for a taste of the "real" Caribbean then this is definitely the place to find it. Castara Retreats is situated on the hillside overlooking the small village of Castara. From our perch in the trees we could watch the boats going out to fish, the ladies baking the bread in the clay oven twice a week and spot when the fish was being sold in the market. We hired a car for two days, which enabled us to see a bit more of Tobago, but nowhere else that we visited had the kind of lively but laid-back ambience we found in Castara.
But by the moments that take your breath away”
Located at the heart of Castara Retreats, Caribbean Kitchen offers open-air dining with panoramic views to the beach, ocean and rainforest. It is a magical spot for watching hummingbirds over a light lunch, savouring the sunset over cocktails, or enjoying a candle-lit dinner listening to the lapping of the waves. Open daily for drinks, light bites and dining, Caribbean Kitchen is a place to find engaging conversation with like-minded guests, and a central spot for seeking support from our team.
Our chefs – Keisha, Liliana and Karim – are passionate about fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and their menu celebrates the flavours for which Caribbean cooking is known. We champion the fresh fish caught daily and brought in on the small fishing boats. Whether it’s red snapper, kingfish, or barracuda, we serve our fish succulent and ‘just cooked’. Keisha heads up our bar, and is known for her big smile and for mixing a mean cocktail- don’t miss her passionfruit mojito!
Each accommodation has a fully equipped kitchen and wonderful spots for al fresco dining. With the village just a few minutes’ walk away, a choice of characterful eateries and bars are on your doorstep. We purposefully choose not to serve breakfast, encouraging guests to make their way into the village and soak up the local scene. For many, morning begins with a wander down to Cheno’s Café, where coconut bake, scrambled eggs, and salt-fish is guaranteed to get the day off to a good start.
We are proud to work as an intimate, family run eco-resort, led by our local partners who have a stake in the business. A huge number of guests testify to the warm and friendly atmosphere that they experience during their stay. This is an integral part of our ethos and our team regularly describe the Castara Retreats staff as ‘one family’. Guests are welcomed into this culture, and often leave feeling part of the family too.
We have strived to become an exemplar for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, and are committed to evolving as an eco-resort and Tobago hotel that takes a responsible approach to the development of our enterprise, to the surrounding environment, and to the local culture. We champion Castara as an authentic Caribbean destination which has retained its identity and traditions, whilst responding to the opportunities of tourism.
In the village are local services to be enjoyed – from boat trips and sunbed hire, to limin’ in bars and eating out local style. Promoting these services is part of our ethos and guests love to spend time in the village and contribute to its economic wellbeing. In return, they have an insight into the life of a Caribbean village. This approach creates a virtuous circle of sharing and good feeling that positively resonates among Castara locals and visitors alike.
We are hugely excited to be launching our new website, and rebranded ‘look’. This project began in autumn 2015, when we consulted with guests, staff and service providers – getting insights into what Castara Retreats represents to them. Since then, we have been working to develop these ideas into our revitalised new brand, and designing this new website. We are delighted with the outcome, and hope you find our new website enjoyable and easy to explore.
Following feedback from our guests, over the past few months, we have been working with our restaurant team to create a new menu which celebrates the spices and flavours of the Caribbean. Sizzling new dishes now include the Trinidad and Tobago speciality shark ‘n bake, along with griddled prawns with coconut and lime dressing, passionfruit cheesecake, and Jamaican jerk chicken, to name just a few!
As part of the re-branding project, last month we invited our talented sign-writer friend Jesse Watkins to paint all of the new signage for Castara Retreats at Caribbean Kitchen. She brought fabulous creativity to the project and has done a beautiful job hand-painting bright, colourful and unique new signs all around the property.