Sustainable tourism in the Caribbean
We have strived to create a worthwhile exemplar for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean, and are committed to evolving as an eco-resort that takes a responsible approach to the development of our enterprise, to the surrounding environment and to the local culture.
Our aim is to offer visitors the opportunity of an authentic Caribbean holiday in a uniquely local style; where guests can positively engage with the natural environment and local community – adding value and contributing to the economic wellbeing of the village. In return, visitors have an insight into the life of a Caribbean fishing village, lapped by the waves of one of the most beautiful beaches on Tobago.
- “Keep it Real”
It’s the people and place that matter. We invite our guests to experience authentic, life-enhancing moments, where the simple attraction of rainforest, beach and ocean is enhanced by engagement with local people.
- “Love What You Do”
We enjoy our work and take pride and pleasure in our success. We love the people we work with, and in feeding into a positive culture within Castara. Love and respect carry our message and efforts far beyond the bay.
- “Do the Right Thing”
We demonstrate respect for the environment and the surrounding community. We work hard to ensure we deliver on our guests’ expectations. We are open and honest, and we keep our promises.
- “Daring to Share”
Sharing is at the heart of our ethos and is reflected in our relationships with our team, our guests, and the wider community. Its relevance is seen in the number of guests who return each year, in our staff who rarely leave, and in the village which is welcoming of our guests.
We express our values through…
We are proud to work successfully as an intimate, family run eco-resort which is managed by empowered locals who have a stake in the business. A number of our staff have established satellite services under the Castara Retreats banner such as airport transfers, laundry, bread making and boat trips. We take no commission for these services.
We have no aspirations to become a large hotel complex that separates itself from its surroundings with gates or guards. Castara is a friendly village that is welcoming of visitors. We are proud to be part of it and to have open access to the village and beach, with opportunities to exchange courtesies with neighbour’s en-route.
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. Promoting these services is part of our ethos, and guests love that the dollars they spend contribute to the local economy.
We have employed local people to build and create Castara Retreats. Whilst the style of the accommodations is unique, we ensured the construction process derived from local labour, materials and practice. Some 40 people from the village helped build Castara Retreats, and take pride in what they have helped achieve.
Wooden lodges and apartments, nestled into the hillside to create a ‘living in the landscape’ experience. With green roofs and wooden frames, they are architecturally designed to merge harmoniously with the backdrop of rainforest, ocean and village.
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 culture 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 spent 15 years creating a sanctuary for wildlife within our tropical gardens. The endangered agouti is now a common sight, along with iguana, and a nesting armadillo that was first spotted in 2016. Over 70 species of birds can be viewed from our accommodations.
In 2015, over 30 village stakeholders came together to form Castara Tourist Development Association (CTDA), a non-profit organisation that works to protect the village’s local culture and natural environment. CTDA is now seen as an exemplar for community-led tourism.
We have undertaken extensive tree and shrub planting to maximise soil retention and avoid the risk of soil erosion and landslides. Paths with drainage systems have been constructed to ensure the safe run off of water from our land to the highway below.
We have created composting areas used by both our guests and our restaurant for disposing of vegetable and plant waste. The compost is then used for feeding our garden plants and trees, nurturing their growth and development.
In 2015, we constructed grey water soakaways to ensure the beach, bay and reefs are protected from waste water from our premises. We had not previously understood the negative impact of such waste and are pleased to have now rectified this.
Significant attention is given to electricity consumption and the implementation of measures to reduce carbon footprint including; LED lighting , roof and wall insulation, low-energy air conditioning systems, and invitations to guests to be mindful in their energy usage.
Somehow, and I hope it is by design, the village has managed to build a thriving cottage tourist industry that complements and enhances rather than ruins and degrades local life. The intermingling of tourism and traditional village goings on with spectacular natural surroundings is relaxed and completely unassuming, and while we always knew we were visitors, we never ever felt out of place. Castara, thank you all for allowing us to taste your corner of the world. I wish we could all be as welcoming as you.
This is an authentic tropical paradise with stunning picturesque views. Fabulous location, stunning views, lovely accommodation, perfect service, helpful and friendly, and low key but with lux. Steve, Sue and family and Porridge, Jennel and the rest of the team have done an amazing job of building and creating this very special place. You can feel the joy, love and blood sweat and tears that has gone into building this paradise, and we are so pleased you did.