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Reviews (144)
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Reviewed April 12, 2017 via mobile

Chris and Yvonne could possibly be the best hosts in the world, a great balance of helpfulness in both choosing where to go for dinner and what to do in the day, and also just allowing you to go about it all yourself.

Carpe diem is smack bang in the middle of castara and walking distance from everything. My girlfriend and I stayed in the 'green room' with one of the best views in the whole of castara over looking the town and the sea with the sun setting almost directly in front of you every night.

Lovely village with helpful happy people we will defiantly be staying here again.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Matt_A_Rogers123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2017

Matt returned for a 2nd trip and brought his fiance Becca with him this trip to share the Castara experience! Now she is a confirmed Castara addict,. We enjoyed your company, thankyou.

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Reviewed April 10, 2017

Hosts Chris and Yvonne are genuine, friendly and helpful. Accommodated my partner and I on short notice. We're always around but never intrusive.

The studio is well equipped for a self-catering Holiday. Kept super clean and tidy with a very stylish mosquito net they picked up in Germany that kept us completely bite free.

The location is perfect for an evening sunset and nature watching.
Beautiful Birds always stopping by to say hello (and the occasional colony of Bats)

It's a very short walk to parking, Castara village shops, restaurants and beaches.

It is quite warm at night without aircon but there are plenty of fans provided to help with that. We'd both happily stay there again.

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Thank laurenandrew2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded April 16, 2017

It is always good to see people enjoying Castara and seeing why we chose to live here and to be able to share our luck in findind our piece of Paradise! We look forward to seeing you again...............

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Reviewed March 7, 2017 via mobile

A little hike up the hill is definitely worth it. Carpe Diem is virtually mosquito free with cool breezes and a beautiful view of the bay. A short walk down the hill brings you into the centre of the village where you
can dine at a different restaurant every night of the week, alternatively the kitchen is well kitted out if you prefer to cook. The beaches are just another short walk away and even closer is Mr Wallace's bottle shop so there's a ready supply of beers to drink while watching the beautiful sunsets from the bay on your verandah. Yvonne and Chris put sugar syrup in a dish on the upper verandah which attracts humming birds by day and bats by night. The bedrooms are cool, and comfortable with mosquito nets and fans which ensure a comfortable nights sleep with the doors to the verandas open. We took our fifteen year old son and he was very content in the Green room. Yvonne set up a study for him in the Garden room where he was able to do his half term homework in the afternoons. (excellent wifi!)

Yvonne and Chris are very knowledgeable about Castara. They are on good terms with the local restaurants and tour operators and if you say that you are staying at "The Professor's House" you can be sure of a warm welcome. It is worth taking their advice on when and where to go for supper etc.

We enjoyed breakfasts of locally baked fresh bread on the verandah. Then would head down to the little beach for a swim and lunch at the Boathouse bar. Later we watched the sun go down on the verandah before heading out for supper. We didn't venture out of Castara as we found everything we could wish for was just there. It's a difficult place to leave! We will definitely return.

Stayed: February 2017, travelled with family
Thank Julie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded March 9, 2017

Your stay was too short ! We had just gotten to know you and you were leaving!
We are so glad that you were all able to experience the Castara effect !
I hope that Toby received top marks for his homework !
I am sure it was hard to concentrate in the 'Garden Room' surrounded by the forest and birds! A good chap, he will go far.
One day we look forward to you returning for a longer stay!!

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Reviewed March 4, 2017

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.

For us, we loved Castara. It’s refreshing in that its relationship with tourism is a bit different to some other beachy places I’ve been to. Castara offers little in the way of commitment to tourism – it’s treated more as a fling, or a bit on the side if you will. Few in the village are reliant on you for the money that you’re going to bring in and spend (if you can get money out of the ATM that is – I’ll come onto that later). No one followed us around trying to flog us boat trips, no one pushed us to come and look inside their shop, and no one even offered us any ‘herbs’. Even the bar on the beach – some places will do all they can to entice you in, with two-for-one offers, happy hours or even just a welcoming smile and a greeting. Here, oh no. Expect a reversal of the situation - you’ll have to go and find a barman, lure him to the bar and ask nicely for him to fetch you a drink instead – and try and be a considerate punter and order two drinks at once to cause minimum disruption to their schedule of drinking beer in the shade. I liked that though.

What I didn’t like as much, was the ATM who also had a similar laid back attitude and a distain for work. If I could warn anyone of one thing, it would be this blasted, pi**ing ATM that takes it upon itself to give you either tiny amount of pocket money, or no money at all. Hey, it might even get hungry and gobble up your card! We could only get teeny amounts out at a time, and even that was unpredictable. It says 24 hour, but it doesn’t work weekends (it’s usually empty by then), and if someone does have any luck with it, for about five minutes afterwards it won’t work as it’ll need to calm down from all the overexcitement of handing out some dosh. Chris and Yvonne seem to have the bank manager’s number on speed dial, so do let them know. I think this leads to my only thing I’d tweak about Carpe Diem – I had no idea that finding cash could be such a faff, so if I had my way, I’d really like to be given the option of paying upfront via bank transfer to avoid this unexpected stress in case the ATM doesn’t want to play ball.

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.

  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Yellow_sunglasses
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded March 9, 2017

What a lovely review, thankyou!
We did warn you that you would be back ! Remember the lyrics of the Eagles song, "Hotel California" Something like "you check in but you can never leave".
With Castara you will not WANT to leave!
When you left we said "how long before we get the call?? "
The ATM complaint was justified. We have all had an ongoing battle with the First Citizen's Bank in getting them to sort it out !
Later this month they are replacing the old machine and fitting a new one !! Phew !
With regards to paying on island, we are a local limited company and so do need some money on island to pay staff, local taxes and expenses needed to run the house.
So, we take some in the UK by bank transfer etc, but do need some on island.
We were determined, from the outset, to put as much money back into the community as we could, the people of Castara had made us so welcome from the start and so we were going to repay their kindness in any way we could.
We look forward to seeing you return as there was so much more that you did not have time to experience!

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Reviewed February 18, 2017

Another great stay with Chris and Yvonne in Castara. This was our third time in Carpe Diem and again it was absolutely the right choice. The people "on the island of Castara" all gave us a feeling of being welcome. Little Bay and the Boathouse at only a 5 minutes walk are great for swimming, relaxing and a good meal. Thanks, Castara, Chris and Yvonne for two very special weeks in the green room, especially with you both around.

  • Stayed: January 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Thank AdenLia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GinandtonicSurrey, Owner at Carpe Diem Villa, responded to this reviewResponded March 1, 2017

It was great to welcome Ad and Lia back to Carpe diem! Always good company and great cooks as well. So pleased that they enjoy Castara as much as we do!

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