The Caribbean can be done a lot cheaper than people believe.
1) Firstly check out charter flights - for example Monarch at Christmas is almost half the price of BA and Virgin. Also sometimes while longer, flying via Miami or New York can save hundreds.
2) On most Caribbean islands you can buy duty free when arriving which is often cheaper than duty free in England. For example in Trinidad you can get a 1litre bottle of rum arriving for £5 which is a lot cheaper than a £12 bottle of Barcadi in Heathrow.
3) When it comes to accommodation a local bed and breakfast can be substantially cheaper than a hotel. Call the local tourist board who can recommend places to stay and give you a star rating. For example in Tobago there are many places minutes from the beach that are much cheaper than the big hotels. Also don’t be afraid to negotiate as often places will have offers or have low occupancy and are willing to drop below advertised prices. Worth asking what discounts they offer for being a member of an organization. I got 10% off Tobago Hilton a few years ago because I prepaid.
4) The taxis that wait at the airport are often very expensive. It's much cheaper to walk out and go to the information desk and ask them to call one to come the airport. You might have to wait 20 minutes but save yourself 50% on the taxi fare!
5) When in the Caribbean I often try to eat where I see locals going to eat - cheaper and often better food (ask locals where they would go for food otherwise they always recommend places for tourists!)
6) Also when doing excursions or renting things always ask about discounts, last year I asked a jet ski operator about when his quietest time was and asked what was the best price he could do. I paid £11 for 30 minutes when other visitors were paying £20.
7) In the Caribbean the disparity in prices between hotel bars and restaurants and places outside can be huge! So don’t be afraid to sample them and they are often better. In St Maarten you can buy a cooler bag for the beach and a bottle of Vodka for $10 USD in the supermarket whereas one vodka drink from a beach bar will cost about $6/7.
Hope this helps to make the Caribbean more affordable!
The fishing village of Castara is undoubtedly the best location in Tobago and renting one of the six lodges at Castara Retreats is a superb way to enjoy the best of this unspoilt Caribbean island.
The philosophy behind Castara Retreats was to create a small eco resort to reflect principles of beauty, balance and respect and to reflect these aspirations in the buildings, the gardens, in the relationships with the local people involved, and with the clients.
The principle of sustainable tourism is having a positive impact on the local economy in the village of Castara, the community and the environment.
For those tourists who are interested in responsible travel and offsetting carbon emissions from flying, staying in Castara Retreats most certainly supports conservation and the local communities.
We stayed in Coasthanger Lodge for 12 nights (not long enough) and absolutely loved everything about it.
The lodge is thoughtfully and tastefully designed, and blends in sensitively with the landscape and the surrounding area.
The moment we arrived we felt instantly relaxed and we will never forget stepping into the lodge for the first time and looking out at the stunning views towards the turquoise sea and the beach.
Coasthanger is perfect for daily living, and the deck, which is just off the bedroom, is a perfect spot to relax at any time of day. The deck has full sun throughout most of the day but also benefits from a cooling breeze from the sea, so it was very tempting to spend all day there, relaxing and reading and generally delighting in the wildlife around us.
However we didn’t, and we had some wonderful experiences in Castara and some very happy memories to bring home with us.
We left Castara Retreats thinking that we had been part of something very special and feeling very privileged to have had the opportunity to share the local culture and the life of many of the people that we met.
There is no doubt that we will return to Castara and to Castara Retreats in the near future.
Check out the website which is very extensive and you will get a wonderful picture of what you can expect.
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