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“Check the conditions before you book” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Santa Bernarda

Santa Bernarda
Rua Judice Fialho, 4, Portimao, Portugal
+351 282 422 791
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Ranked #9 of 33 Activities in Portimao
Attraction details
Brentwood, United Kingdom
1 review
“Check the conditions before you book”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

Impressive-looking boat, professional and friendly crew, interesting cave trip...but, oh dear, the sea sickness!!
At least a third of the passengers were sick despite the handing out of tablets at the start of the trip and the best attempts of the crew to keep everyone cool by dousing them with cold water. Those who were sick were ushered into a dark cabin at the rear of the boat, Within an hour of the start of the trip this resembled a scene from some TV drama about a 19th Century crossing of the Atlantic from Liverpool to the United States - poor folk in steerage desperately trying to survive, praying for the sigh of dry land.
One family were evacuated by small boat at Carvoveira when one of their boys was sick and started fainting. Some quietly chucked up overboard, others emitted low moans and wails.
The captain said something about winds coming up from Morocco causing unsually choppy waters. Just wish we had known beforehand, which I suppose must be the advice to anyone considering this outing. Out of my party of five, only one was actually sick, but two others spent much of the time feeling awful and looking green. Four hours can seem a very long time when you're trapped on a rocking boat.

Visited July 2013
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40 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
111 reviews 111 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
“Morning trip: not much to see so pretty boring really. There is nothing about pirates at all....”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2013 via mobile

We went on this trip and the temp reached up to 40c by the end so there was a lot of sea sickness including myself. The staff were excellent with everyone throughout and provided tablets, although these didn't work.... They were very quick with sick bags and removing these when full! They've obviously had lots of practice.

The trip itself is pretty boring really with an hour sail to the caves followed by up to an hour of waiting for your turn to join the boats. There is only two row boats so it took 3 trips before it was our turn to see the caves. It was a lot of hanging about especially when you're feeling sea sick. If you're even slightly prone to it I would avoid this trip. I'm not sure if its the type of boat, the Atlantic or the heat but its a lethal cocktail. The caves are nice but hardly awe inspiring and certainly not worth the effort. There wasn't a commentary to tell you about the geology or whether or not pirates used them.

We chose this because we thought the kids would love the pirate theme but apart from the boat there was nothing else to suggest it.

One improvement could be letting folk off for a swim as this might help the boredom and the sea sickness. At one point all my fellow passengers and I looked jealously as we passed another boat where everyone was enjoying themselves jumping into the sea etc, lucky sods. I quickly returned to my sick bag!

Visited July 2013
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Dublin, Ireland
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Best bit of my holiday!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2013

Without doubt this was the best bit of my entire holiday. While it is slightly more expensive than all of the other boats touring the algarve sea caves this tour is certainly worth it! Spend 4 hours with a fantastically friendly and entertaining crew sailing you 40 miles down the coast into inlets and caves. A must do if you have the opportunity!

Visited May 2013
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Luton, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Great day trip out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2013

All staff were friendly, helpful and funny. Ship sails out to sea and then you board smaller boats to visit the caves. There is 3 different trips to chose from a morning, afternoon or full day trip. Morning is meant to be better for calm sea, we took the afternoon trip and the sea was a bit choppy so a did feel a bit of motion sickness but plenty of room on seats to lay down and staff keep a check on you to make sure you are ok, offering pillows and blankets if you want to lay down. Great day trip and well worth the money.

Visited June 2013
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Dusseldorf, Germany
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great family adventure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2013

Did the trip today in mid March at sunny conditions (family with 3 and 1 yr old daughter) and loved it. The boat is even more beautiful than on the pictures, you feel the love the captain invested when building/renovating it. The trip along the beautiful coastline east of Portimao with its cliffs and caves itself is worth the cost. Going with the small extra boat close to/into some of the caves completes the adventure. Although the weather conditions (not low tide, some waves) did not allow entry into many caves, we loved it. Captain Bernarda is very experienced and knowledgeable and his stories shared along the ride are very entertaining and inspiring.

Visited March 2013
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