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“Paradise found” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mar Tranquilidade

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Mar Tranquilidade
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Santo Antao, Cape Verde   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Wiesbaden, Germany
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Paradise found”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Our experience staying in Tarafal at Frank and Suzy's was absolutely wonderful. It started with quick and friendly responses to our email questions. They arranged for a trusted driver to pick us up as we arrived on the ferry from Mindelo on Sunday. The driver was very personable and drove well. He stopped several times to point out sights along the way, or when I wanted to pause to look at birds. When we arrived the room was ready. It was clean, airy and spacious. The showers were cold water only, so there was a speedy economy of bath time, but the weather was warm so it was not a problem. The food was very good and inexpensive. Breakfast was simple and good. Lunch was hot soup and fish. Dinner was a variety of vegetables and fish or pasta and chicken, All delicious. All meals were served on the tree shaded terrace which looks over the ocean. While there it is possible to hike, or walk the beach, swim, fish, go diving, or just sit and enjoy. In the evening there are Sundowners, cocktails made of orange juice and local grogue, so you can sit and watch the sunset and relax, reviewing the day's activities and getting ready for dinner. Frank and Suzy were extremely friendly and helpful. They worked hard to ensure that all of their guests were well cared for. Highly recommend.

Room Tip: Best to make an early reservation, and plan to stay at least 3 days, longer if possible. The road o...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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118 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Polish first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Copenhagen, Denmark
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Our expectation have been sky high and our stay has been even better than expected. A very relaxed and easy going place with large, comfortable and clean rooms and excellent food. A cocktail is served every evening just in front of the hotel so you meet the locals. Susi and Frank are relaxed, Susi is very artistic and straightforward and Franks project is to invest his money and develop Tarafal. The local stuff has been employed their for many years and I agree, they are not the most smiling people I have met i Cape Verde. But I sure this has nothing to do with the way they are treated. The transport from Porto Novo has been arranged perfectly and we have been picked up at the ferry terminal by Adriano, a most welcoming local driver and expert on Cape Verdi Music. All together an excellent place that I can warmly recommend and I hope to be able to come back to.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Beirut, Lebanon
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2012

We spent three nights at Mar Tranquilidade. The highlights of our stay at the bed and breakfast were the delicious buffet dinners and the general relaxed atmosphere that dominates the place. The lowlight was the bugs in our bathroom, adequately mentioned in prior reviews. Here are some more details.

Service: Frank was very helpful in making sure we knew about all the possibilities for things to do during our days in Tarrafal. He even arranged a fishing trip for us with the local fisherman who use his boat (and then cooked our catch for us for dinner). He was generally easy to find when we had a question and always provided great advice. The staff were helpful and polite.

Food: There were buffets for breakfast and dinner and was also always a soup and some bread around in the afternoon. The food was always delicious. Breakfast is included in your room rate, but the lunch (soup), dinner, and drinks were not included (as advertised). There were many options - vegetarian, meat, fish, etc. at each night's dinner. There was always enough food for everyone to be full. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't dessert, but there were always free shots of grog after dinner.

Rooms: Our room was large and airy (there are no screens or glass in the windows). There were lots of bugs, especially in the bathroom, and there was an awful smell that came up from the drains any time you ran the water. The bed was comfortable enough. There was a mosquito net but we didn't see any mosquitoes during our stay.

Other stuff: During our stay in Tarrafal, we were able to also visit Tomas, the owner of Marina d' Tarrafal. It seemed like another fun and unique place. When we couldn't find snorkel gear at Mar Tranquilidade, Tomas was able to provide fins, snorkels, masks, even wet suits if we had wanted them. I'm sure a stay at his place would be a great experience too.

If you only have a few days on Santo Antao and are trying to choose between Tarrafal and the Paul side of the island, I would definitely recommend Paul. It's greener and more dramatic landscapes aren't really available in Tarrafal, at least in the springtime. Hiking around Tarrafal is definitely hotter and more challenging, and of course getting there is an "adventure". However, you won't find anything in Paul like the gargantuan black beach and calmer seas of Tarrafal. The best option is to just do both!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Cornwall, UK
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2012

I have been to about 30 countries, and Mar Tranquilidade is definitely in my top 10 favourite places to stay. It has nothing to do with the facilities, although given the location, there is nothing I would want to change. It is the ambience that I remember, the peace, joyfulness and beauty of the place - and the simplicity! And it was the only place in Cape Verde where there was no wind, and swimming was a pleasure.
There are limitation to the level of facilities due to the nature of the area - there is only electricity for part of the day, and none during the night. Everything (including guests) apart from fish and some veggies has to be bumped over the mountains for 3 hours in the back of a pickup truck. The food was very much to my taste, more like good creative, healthy, home cooking than standard hotel fare (but like all the smaller islands, choice is limited to what is available). The owners and staff are lovely and provide what feels like a very personal level of service.There are lots of insects, but nothing to hurt you - I was more impressed by the owners complete ban on the use of all chemical sprays, insect killers and detergents which perhaps slightly increased the levels of creepy crawlies, but in my view created a far safer environment.
This is a remote location, getting there and back is either a nightmare or a memorable adventure. I cannot recommend it more highly.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Hague
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

There are some factual errors in a number of the poor reviews about this establishment, which I'd like to put in context.

I travel to Africa nearly every month and spent four days at Mar Tranquilidade last week. 

During my stay, the food was great, all organic, and none of the many guests fell ill. There was nothing to suggest hygiene issues with food. To the contrary, my impression was that standards are well above the African average. Tables were wiped immediately after eating and common floors at least three times a day. All food was consistently protected from insects with covers.

Staff was well treated and received all tips from guests, instead of the owners keeping these, as is common in Africa from my experience. I did not witness any untoward behaviour from the owners to staff. Rather their relationship appeared cordial and friendly, with staff also joking with guests during dinner. Besides providing work to four local staff, the owners also provide a fishing boat to local fishermen, who we saw dropping by every afternoon for lunch.

My room was clean and well situated. Facilities are basic, with electricity available twice daily, cold showers and no aircon. This is the standard in Terrafal. If you cannot handle a bone rattling ride to get there, basic facilities, roosters making noise, or African insects, best stay away (from most of the Island in fact). Rooms are only cleaned during your stay upon request.

For those who know what it takes to travel in Africa and can deal with some basic inconveniences, Mar Tranquilidade provides a truly relaxing, welcoming and warm atmosphere, tasty fresh organic food, and a great base to explore charming Terrafal. I, for one, will certainly be back.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2011

We stayed at martranquillidade for 10 days in nov 2011. It is a wonderfull and enchanting place, utterly simple but well run and just those things you need. Nice spacious and clean rooms, good food, a lovely terrace and spectacular beach.
the village is very close and you meet friendly locals easily, also there are some lovely walks up the valley or to monte trigo that you can undertake straight from the hotel.
we enjoyed it very much!!!

brian and ester
the netherlands

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt, Germany
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2011

We stayed at Mar Tranquilidade after a week of hiking and adventure on Santo Antao. The place is great for relaxing, hanging out, watching the sea, reading, sleeping. There are also some opportunities for hikes but we didn't use them much. The place is run by two lovely German/American couples who give it a very family-style and personal touch. Once when we discovered some dolphins out in the sea, the owner of the place rushed with us down to the beach, we all jumped into his boat and we went for some dolphin-watching which was brilliant. Accommodation is basic and authentic, don't be afraid of spiders and friends. The place provides mosquito nets which is nice - although there are no mosquitos but it's good for those who want to be safe from spiders and the like.

Getting to the place is an adventure by itself (a two-hour bumpy ride on the back of a pick-up truck), offering lots of nice views but also lots of dust and wind. A nice black-sand beach is nearby but given the wind and lack of shelter we didn't hang out at the beach much. Overall, we enjoyed the peace and tranquility much and it is certainly a unique experience!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Mar Tranquilidade

Address: Santo Antao, Cape Verde
Location: Cape Verde > Santo Antao
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Santo Antao
Number of rooms: 5

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