Written by MichaelJM on 06 Mar, 2008
Cape Verde was a place we’d looked at in the brochures as a potential holiday, but for the past couple of years it had been relegated to second choice. Our plans for Peru had been put on hold and the Kenya safari holiday was no…Read More
Cape Verde was a place we’d looked at in the brochures as a potential holiday, but for the past couple of years it had been relegated to second choice. Our plans for Peru had been put on hold and the Kenya safari holiday was no longer in the equation due to the civil disturbance in that country. I’d been working almost full time for a couple of months (a shock to the system after retirement and then a gentle two days a week consultancy) and so we opted for the Cape Verde Islands.You need a visa to enter the islands but fortunately that seemed fairly easy to sort with the travel agents (I managed to get a better deal with my local travel agents than I could secure on the internet) making an electronic application on my behalf. Although somewhat bizarrely I never had physical sight of a visa – apparently they electronically match your travel details and passport and check off the details on arrival. Let’s hope, I thought to myself, that’s it’s as trouble free as they suggest!Our next problem related to currency. You’re unable to purchase Cape Verde cash before arriving on the island (nor can you bring any off the island). Now everywhere that we’ve been to date, boasts an availability of ATM machines and a wide use of Mastercard or Visa. Cape Verde did not. Indeed everything we read indicated that you could use credit cards in very few places and that there was a dearth of ATM’s. The suggestion was that there was a single ATM on Sal and I got a half impression that it should not be relied on. So for the first time in over 20 years we were going to be reliant on traveller’s cheques. No problem, me thinks! But nothing is straightforward and wherever we go, who ever we speak with or whatever we read we gain a different impression of the best currency cheques to carry. Euros are best according to a couple of web sites, but our travel agents recommend US dollars. And then the bank believes that Sterling is preferred. We check in a specialist travel book that we have and here the strong recommendation is sterling. I return to our travel agents who check it out again and they confirm that their advice is US dollars are preferred but sterling is equally acceptable. My mind is made up it’s going to be sterling. Much easier as there’s only one conversion required!The usual decisions had to be made about travel but as there are no local flights it meant a flight out of Gatwick – a fair drive from Nottingham but an airport that we’d flown out of before. We were flying out early and getting back late so we decided to book two overnight stays at a Gatwick Hotel and accept the cheaper parking deal that went with it. Indeed courtesy of some old air miles that we’d been sitting on for several years we managed to secure the room at no cost. Now that’s what I call a celebratory rate! Close
We landed exactly on time at this small but not quite primitive airport on the barren island of Sal (being Portuguese for salt). There were several gasps of concern from a group of seemingly ‘flight virgins’ behind us as we suffered a fairly noisy…Read More
We landed exactly on time at this small but not quite primitive airport on the barren island of Sal (being Portuguese for salt). There were several gasps of concern from a group of seemingly ‘flight virgins’ behind us as we suffered a fairly noisy albeit comfortable landing. The steps were efficiently brought to the rear and front of the plane and disembarkation was quick. It was around 3pm and we’d travelled form a cold and miserable Britain to a pleasantly warm Cape Verde island. Indeed the heat hit is as we got off the plans and I was soon unzipping the bottom half of my trousers to convert them to serviceable shorts. (I’d had these made during a holiday in India and they have proved to be of great benefit), socks were removed and I was now almost a ‘Brit abroad’ – sandals, shorts but a long sleeve shirt.The queen for customs checkout seemed to take an age and it turned out that several people did not have an entrance visa (ours had been sorted by our holiday company) and so those without a visa were being re-routed to another queue to make the necessary payment, still it unsettled everyone. We didn’t need to have bothered as we passed quickly through customs with a new stamp having been added to out passport (that happens less and less as the EU expands).A short conversation with the awaiting tour guide and we are directed to the small minibus that will take us off on our short journey from the airport to the resort and hotel.Overall the journey along the modern tarmac road was uneventful but as soon as we hit the cobbled roads of Santa Maria the passage was less smooth. This road has been recently constructed (according to some on the bus) within the past year but they must have built into the design the potholes. We were jarred consistently on the thankfully short run down to our hotel.After a little time to relax on the hotel balcony we decided to orientate ourselves and walk back down the cobbled street to Santa Maria whilst it was still light. So we returned down the road the bus had taken and confirmed that this was no more than an access route form Santa Maria to the hotels that are already built on either side, there are large plots identified for further hotels and concrete confirmation that Cape Verde is the holiday destination of the future. It certainly won’t be for lack of trying as its clear that there’s serious money being pumped into this island and hoteliers, tour operators and private investors will be sadly disappointed if their speculation is un-rewarded.In all honesty what little personality that is latent in Santa Maria (See separate entry) will soon be erased clear as the big all-inclusive hotels take over. We noticed that there are numerous restaurants around but as it’s getting dark and my wife became more and more spooked by the shadows in the unlit streets as we headed up to the garage (which has a small supermarket attached to it) to get water. Close
Written by Babi on 01 Jun, 2004
I would say this is a nice holiday, but it depends from what you want from a holiday. The club itself was nice because you could have whatever you needed. There was a small beach beside the enormous swimming pool of salty water. The customers…Read More
I would say this is a nice holiday, but it depends from what you want from a holiday. The club itself was nice because you could have whatever you needed. There was a small beach beside the enormous swimming pool of salty water. The customers were mainly Italian. At night, you could have fun with the staff or in the disco. Outside the village, there is a nice little town of Santa Maria, which is reachable by walking for 10 minutes.
The only thing that could disturb you is the thousands of people who want to sell you their products (generally from products from Senegal, like wood turtles, elephants, etc.). The beach is good for jogging – it’s 8km of sandy, white, windy beaches. There’s an excursion on the boat that gives you the chance of going fishing or on a trip to the "Salinas." The isla takes its name from this because it was, in the past, the main salt supplier for the other islands. You can do many things there. It was nice, but I don’t think I would go back.