We booked through Thompson and got a great deal on an all in one flight and resort package to stay at Melia Tortuga flying from Gatwick. I'll summarise the bits that I think are important to save waffling on:
Flight is about 4 hours.
Make sure you pay for your visa when booking, this will save you waiting in the long queue with everyone else who forgot to pay ahead of time!
Currency is mainly Euros. They are accepted everywhere but you will get your change in Escudos which are only useable in Cape Verde.
Electrical Sockets are the same as European sockets (such as Spain, Greece etc).
People kept saying there'd be mosquitos but we didn't get bitten, I'm assuming it was because 't was quite windy.
Check with doctor about which jabs you need before going.
If you booked an all inclusive package like we did (which I recommend) then this is what was included:
Coach picks you up from the airport in Cape Verde and takes you to the resort, which is about a 15 minute journey.
Upon arrival to the resort, you are given a drink and a wristband while you queue to check in.
It was only two of us but we got a three bedroom villa with a private swimming pool, we were really impressed! It had a kitchen, dining room, living room, three bedrooms, three balconies and a view of the beach. The fridge had bottled water and the bathrooms and bedrooms were stocked with the usual things that you would expect in a hotel such as shampoo, hairdryers, tvs, safe etc.
Once you're settled in, I suggest you nip to the reception, get a towel card (€20 deposit per person) and then go to the main pool located in the middle of the resort and you will receive beach towels that you can swap for clean ones whenever you like. At the end of your stay just take back the towels and you get your towel card and deposit back.
If you book through Thompson, I recommend going to their meeting on the first day. I know it sounds boring and it's early in the morning but you'll be able to book fun excursions and activities such as quad biking etc through them and ask any questions about the resort that you have.
There are four restaurants in the resort, 3 are buffet for breakfast and set menu dinner restaurants and one is an all round buffet (Spices).
You have to book dinner in the 3 restaurants (so it's not crowded) but Spices is open all the time. Booking is done in the late lounge during lunch times. The food in all of them is amazing, I forgot what it was like to feel hungry during my stay!
I recommend the 4x4 tour, the guide is really helpful and informative. You take a tour of the island and stop at various places such as the fishing market and the salt lakes which were fun to swim in.
I also recommend the quad biking especially for people that haven't done it before, they'll love it but expect to get really dusty so take a bandana! We did the neptune (submarine) tour as well but the water was so choppy that I felt rough the whole journey. Even people that don't get sea sick didn't really enjoy it.
There's also a spa at the resort which was really good as well as a gym.
The resort offers a free shuttle to and from Santa Maria (the island's main town). But if you want to go by your own schedule, taxis are only €3 a journey and €4 at night. If you want to buy anything in town, make sure you haggle! It's fun and you save a few quid!
We mostly stayed at the resort as all we wanted to do was relax. The place is amazing, the sand is white and the sea is green. The staff are really friendly and helpful, your glass is never empty and there's never an empty plate left in front of you. You can walk up to any bar in the resort, order a bunch of cocktails (for free!) and take them to the pool, beach or even to sip in front of the tv at the villa!
It's a very windy island which is nice because you stay cool on the hot beaches but the downside is it makes the sea very choppy and the red flag was up the whole time we were there. I wasn't that bothered as there are a load of pools to choose from and if you really want to swim in the sea, you can go around the corner to the east of the island where the sea is less wavy.
Drinks or dinner at O'Grilles during sunsets are highly recommended. Stunning views with chill out music in the background while on the beach... What more do you want!!
All in all, we had an amazing time. We're a young couple but the place caters for families, there are "kid's clubs", children's shows and a kid's pool so mum and dad can escape for a while!
Book it, you'll love it!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 5 star Melia Tortuga All-Inclusive Resort is located in the southeast of the island Sal, only a few minutes from the colourful town Santa María and Amilcar Cabral international airport. During your stay you will find relaxation and fun right on the fabulous Algodoeiro beach, with its white sand and turquoise waters. The resort offers spectacular suites and villas with up to 4 bedrooms, private garden and swimming-pool. Set in gardens there are 2 magnificent adult pools and 2 pools for children. Experience Yhi Wellness with sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool, thermal circuit, fitness facilities, massage and beauty treatments. Dining options include a variety of 4 restaurants and bars, offering a selection of international and local cuisine. The Melia Tortuga All-Inclusive is also the perfect destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing or scuba diving. Events for up to 200 people can be organised in 2 meeting rooms with natural daylight. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, Cancelon, Prodigios Interactivos SA, TripOnline SA, Hotwire, Agoda, Cheap Tickets and HotelQuickly so you can book your Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Melia Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa Cape Verde/Ilha Do Sal - Santa Maria