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!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A place for people looking for peace and quiet, closeness to nature; outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing; situated directly on the beach, secluded enough for private relaxing or free-and-easy contact to fellow travelers, yet truly part of the village---experience the local ambience right outside the doors! Feel at home in comfortable accommodations, simple but with flair; plenty of space outside as well as inside rooms. Emphasis on fresh meals---local products, carefully prepared by hand, good quality... and always plenty. Book directly with us---personal service and recommendations---our website and email are easy to find. ... more less