Please go to Cape Verde with an open mind.
I had read so many bad reviews that for the first time ever, I really wasn't looking forward to my holiday. For us, it was a fantastic experience to enjoy a totally unspoilt way of life.
Our apartment was at the far end of Santa Maria town, next to the Odjo Agua Hotel. It had its own Restaurant and Bar called Papaya's, also open to non residents. Lovely terrace overlooking the sea. The locals don't speak a lot of English so sometimes our orders were a little hit and miss, but everyone we met was extremely friendly and helpful so it was all part of the charm of the place.
None of our party of 5 (including a 77 yr old and 2 kids) got sick.
We were extremely careful with the water as it is not even safe for teeth cleaning. (Also contaminating hands when washing too).
We took hand gel and used often, particularly after handling money etc. We took antibac wipes and handwash for the room and all had a course of probiotics before and during our visit.
Fruit and salad as much as I love it, were a no go area for the week. We ate out for breakfast lunch and dinner everyday of our holiday, including the Odjo Hotel and were perfectly fine.
Santa Maria is not a frightening place at all. It is not dirty, just very untidy, lots of building going on and lots of rubble and broken pavements everywhere. I don't know where the brothel is as mentioned in the Odjo review. It cannot be that obvious as we must have walked by it every day of our holiday without even noticing it was there!
The most annoying thing about Santa Maria are the African traders from Senegal who pester you as you walk along the street. They walk along with you so you can't really say 'no thanks' and walk away. They are only trying to get you to go to their shop but during the process ask where you are from, your names etc etc. It is quite exhausting too, to go into this conversation over and over again! Anyway, by the second day, a smile and a wave as we said 'no thank you' seemed to do the trick as we didn't go into any further conversation.
The local Cape Verde residents don't do this, they are much more polite and unasuming.
We went to the Morabeza hotel for their Cape Verde night on Sat.
You must book in advance and it is 21 Euro per adult, half for kids. The buffet meal is followed by Cape Verde singing and dancing. We got a taxi back as a little unsure about walking all the way across town (only about 10 mins walk) but longer for us as our 77 yr old has mobility problems and we would perhaps be slightly more vunerable after dark.
Also took a jeep tour with a guy called Danny Lopez who parks along the 'Prom' just west of the pier (just past the Morabeza).
He charged 18 E each and took us to all the places of interest. If you sit in the open in the back of the Jeep it is great fun but you will get very dusty!
So go and enjoy, if you like places like Benidorm and Tenerife you will probably hate it. Also, I think you would have a totally different holiday based on your location as some of the hotels were a little way out of town. The beaches are as lovely as the Caribbean, we have been there many times over the last 25 years. Watch the currents though as some days the sea can be quite rough!
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- Also Known As:
- Porto Antigo Residence Hotel Santa Maria
- Porto Antigo Residence Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria