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“Simple, Peaceful, Unique”
Review of Mar Tranquilidade

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Mar Tranquilidade
Certificate of Excellence
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
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Thank Senegeser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 - 39 of 185 reviews

Reviewed February 29, 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
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2  Thank bethm1UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank JS79NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank brian b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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Thank groovy_j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2011

Despite three pages of instructions and having phoned to double check with the owners the day before, the so-called travel arrangements fell through and we had to make our own last-minute plans to get to Tarrafal. It would in fact have been much easier to do this from the start. The trip is bumpy, dusty and exhausting, crammed in the back of an aluguer for 2-3hours, and the return journey to Porto Novo leaves at 5am at the latest. Mar Tranquilidade is an attractive bed and breakfast with basic but spacious rooms (cold, weak showers) and a pleasant shady outside area. The food was excellent. Dinner is served outside and at lunchtime soup is available on a self service basis. The evening cocktail at sunset is a nice initiative to bring guests together. It's a pity that the owners are not more welcoming as Mar Tranquilidade could be a really special place. Unfortunately, service was an absolute minimum. Rooms were dirty and in an 8-page guide to the bed and breakfast, containing rules and highlighting the owners' convictions, guests are notably invited to clean their own rooms.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Viajantes-75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2010

Mar Tranquilidade, the location comes very close to "the end of the world".
To come there, you will have to make an adventurous journey, wondering wether the driver is still on the road....most times the return to Porto Novo is in the dark...say no more. We gladly paid more to driver Julin to be sure we had a place in the cabin, and not in the back of the pick up.

Mar Tranquilidade: the location is great, we loved the view and of course the sundowners.
Frank and Susi were not there but Bernd and Annette replaced them well.
The catering was very well: breakfast OK, soup for lunch whenever you wanted it, and the small dinerbuffet was great, the most fresh fish I ever had. Still dream of the dorade in winesauce.

Still....we do not mind to be concious about using water. Drinking their filtered water instead of buying new bottles, OK.
What I think goes to far is not using any stuff to get rid of all the cockroaches. There were many and they were big. I know they do not harm you, but I don't like them walking over me. As there is no electricity at night, you walk into to the bathroom with your torch hoping not to meet your little friends in there, but they usually are there.

The beautiful stone walls in the rooms give them great hiding places, we had to keep our stuff in closed bags as there is no real closet in the room. Replace one back and you see the little creatures run away.
At night, your safe under your mosquitonet, but you hear them and, even worse, you smell them.
I also have the impression that rooms are cleaned after customers leave, but not really checked when new ones arrive. We were there at low season, and our bathroom had lotst of dust, dirt and cobwebs.

Although Tarrafal and Mar Tranquilidade have the "paradise lost"feeling, I doubt if I would go back there, as our little friends gave us not much sleep at night.
But if you really want peace and rest, and can copy with my problems, it's a great location.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Hippohanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mar Tranquilidade

Address: Santo Antao, Cape Verde
Location: Cape Verde > Santo Antao
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Santo Antao
Number of rooms: 10
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 

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