Travel Blogs from Santa Maria
... top of the Belem tower, a smaller version of the Belem tower in Lisbon. We walked to the outdoor market, the usual collection of clothes and local handicrafts and then wandered along some of the side streets, passing the President's palace, an indoor fruit and vegetable market and the main church and then arrived at the Hotel Porto Grande, where we stopped for two coffees and two beers for the sum of 6 Euros. It was a comfortable hotel with a good outside view of ...
... contrast of green fertile irrigated valleys and sand dunes of genuine Sahara white sand. The sea is an amazing colour blue and some areas of beach are well known to surfers.Our guide Carlos was excellent and made it clear to us that the island was a struggling economy that barely keeps its inhabitants fed from its crops that frequently fail from the dry weather and lack of rainfall,l in fact this year they did not have their usual rainfall ...
... of all things beautiful transcends language barriers. Then there was the gentleman from Switzerland sitting on the sun lounger next to me who wanted to know what language we speak in Australia, and in turn told me that in Switzerland there are 3 (German, Italian and Roman –I think he said), and the previous night 2 Belgian gentlemen who we have seen a few times in the bar/lounge where we go dancing – this time they fiercely protected our seats and we ended up having ...
- Stopped in Cape Verde Islands, traveled southwest and reached the coast of Brazil towards Cape St. Augustine
- The rest of the voyage was disrupted but claimed to continue South
Luckily as I wander around like an ant who's lost his trail, I bump into the uncle from that day! He shouts "ABIL!!!" (what feels like half way across town to someone used to quiet Swedes whose idea of an emotional outburst equals sending in a complaint to the local newspaper) and from around the corner comes the big serious man, his little boy Bruno lights up as he sees me. One out of two ain't ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Morabeza Santa Maria
Questo è un hotel carino, ma ha qualche problema. Al momento ci sono dei lavori in corso, quindi c'è molto rumore.
La spiaggia è magnifica, una delle migliori che abbia mai visto. Purtroppo anche chi è ospite dell'hotel deve pagare per poter utilizzare le sdraio. Basta fare 100 metri per trovare un bar/ristorante che mette a disposizione delle sdraio gratuitamente. Bisogna ordinare almeno una consumazione, ma va bene così.
L'isola di Sal è molto deludente, è formata per lo più da sabbia grigia e la cittadina di Santa Maria è squallida e sporca. Se avete bisogno di un elefante di legno, questo è il posto giusto per comprare delle cianfrusaglie.
Ci si sente un po' strani a fare i turisti (relativamente) benestanti in un posto così povero.
La cittadina è piena di mercanti/mendicanti.
Tornando all'hotel: il personale era fantastico e la colazione eccellente. Sembra che Sal attiri soprattutto i turisti italiani.
L'Hotel Morabeza è un bel posto, ma non tornerei mai a Capo Verde.
Quest'hotel è in un'ottima posizione, è proprio sulla spiaggia e a piedi si arriva facilmente a Santa Maria, non che la città offra molto! L'hotel ha una bella piscina circondata da una gran quantità di lettini per il sole, anche se ci vorrebbe qualche ombrellone in più, visto che durante la nostra vacanza il clima era sempre molto caldo e umido. Il cibo era buono e presentato in modo fantastico. Al momento l'hotel è in fase di ampliamento, stanno costruendo altre camere. A quanto pare le nuove camere saranno attrezzate meglio di quelle già esistenti, che avevano un disperato bisogno di essere rimesse a nuovo.
Very disappointing holiday
The best bits really were the flights (full of expectation), the breakfasts (buffet) and getting back to the hotel of an evening and sitting in the bar. The beach of course was lovely and the sea a nice temp but there is a constant wind which leaves you sand blasted if you are laying on the hotel sunbeds (which are mattresses on the floor). There are beggars and hawkers trying to sell you necklaces, shells and sand pictures all day long.
The town I found very intimidating but lots of others we spoke to did venture out a bit more than us. The beggars hassle you all the time as you walk down the street.
We really enjoyed the pizza restaurant at the end of the drive. They did lovely pizza, pasta and fish. In other restaurants the food is VERY expensive and small portions, approx 45 euro.
The hotel has building work going on which starts at 7am and finishes at 5pm (ish). There are cranes all around as there is building work going on all around. We were put in a beautiful new room which was below the builders for the first night but as we were leaving builders behind at home we didn't want to put up with them on holiday. So instead we were moved to a Superior Sea View (only just) room which looks lovely from outside but had not been touched for years. The bathroom felt grubby, the toilet had plaster falling off the walls and smelt. We never saw a double bed anywhere, only singles.
The general feel is that we are being ripped off there as tourists and only a couple of people we spoke to would return. We all had high expectations thinking this would be a wonderful spot for holidays in the future but we would never go back.
This is a nice hotel but has some problems. There is extensive building work going on at present whch can be noisy.
The beach is great-one of the best ever. However, even as a hotel guest, the hotel charges for the use of a sun lounger daily. Go walk about 100 meters and there is a bar/ restaurant which allows free sun lounger use. You are expected at least to buy a drink but that is OK.
The islanf of Sal is very disappointing. It mainly consists of grey sand and the town/Village of Santa Maris is dingy and dirty. If you need a wooden elephant-this is the place for tatty ornaments.
There is something a little weird in being a (relatively) wealthy tourist in a poor place.
The town is full of vendors/beggars.
To get back to the hotel-the staff were great and the breakfasts excellent. It appears Sal is mainly orientated to Italian tourists.
The hotel Morabeza is a nice place to stay but I would never go back to Cape Verde.
Choose another hotel
This hotel is not worth the money. On Sal there are better and at the same time cheaper options. We've stayed in several hotels, Hostels and B&B's, but Morabeza, with the highest price was the worst kept. Paint peeling off, roaches in the rooms (I never had any roaches in other hotels or hostels).
And the service is louzy. Don't get fooled by "the third world developing country" retoric, other Cape Verdian hotels do succeed in cleanliness, and friendly service, so ...
This hotel has an excellent position being right on the beach and within easy walking distance of Santa Maria - not that there's much there!
It has a nice swimming pool and plenty of bedchairs although more sun umbrellas would be useful as it was very hot and humid when we were there.
The food was good and well presented.
The hotel is in the process of being enlarged - more bedrooms. The new rooms look as if they will be better equipped than the existing ones which badly needed refurbishing.
Very good hotel
Travelled with Astreaus Airlines which I had never heard of. Flew in their Star Class which I have to say was excellent. The service and food were very good. The extra cost was well worth it. Not exactly Club Class, but then again - nowhere near the cost. Flight times - 6hr40min going due to head wind and 5hr20min coming back. (Gatwick)
The Hotel Morabeza was really very nice. We were given a suite (not requested) which had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a very large living area with 2 sofa beds. No air conditioning in it though, but the fans were very good and surprisingly adequate at cooling us. The pool area was clean and sunbeds readily available. The only criticism is that in a 4 star hotel you have to pay for pool towels. When using their beach area they charge for mattresses and towels too. Also ladies - there are no hairdryers in the room - luckily they can be borrowed from Reception. Not sure how many they have though!
Evening meals consist mainly of fish - very nice though and we found them to be good value overall. There is a nice restaurant called "Atlantis" just along the beach.
Happy hour in the bar is from 6.30 - 7.30pm. This is very popular with the Brits and I would advise you to have your showers early because by 6pm hot water becomes sparse.
When out walking there are lots of Senagal and Gambian young men who want to take you to their shop to sell their craftwork. Initially, you are pleasant and take a look; however, there are so many of them and they are so determined that by the end of the holiday we felt we were being quite rude by ignoring them. There are a lot of apartment complexes being built - maybe the "time share" touts are a thing of the future unfortunately. Hopefully not.
The island is extremely barren - a lunar landscape. A visit to the salt flats is worthwhile. No architecture or scenery.
The infrastructure is there ready for many more hotels to be built, so things over there are going to change dramatically. This will take a few years yet though. I think this will be an island of hotels and apartments - nothing else (apart from the essential water park). The other islands in the group look more inviting but have no direct flights yet. There are boat trips and island hopper flights available though. Had we been there for 2 weeks we would have taken a trip.
If you are looking for a guaranteed hot sunny holiday, enjoy watersports or just want to "do nothing", then Cape Verde is definitely worth a trip. and I would definitely recomment the Morabeza.
The Emperor's new clothes
The Cape Verde's reputation as the next big destination for Europeans, particularly the British is, as far as one can tell, founded on two things, their proximity and the weather. There can be no denying these factors (plus the beaches and the permanent, strong onshore wind) make for, on first glance, a sure fire hit. So my wife Pennie and I headed due south from terminal 2 via Lisbon to Sal. Which is where it started to go wrong. I will never fly TAP ever again. The service was as poor and rude as I have experienced on any flight. On all 4 legs of the trip I almost felt like apologising for disturbing the cabin crew. However to do this I would have first had to get their attention which in a total of 12 hours flying I didn't manage once.
Arriving in Sal shortly after midnight we picked up our luggage and waited for the mini bus to take us to the Hotel Morabeza, eventually finding ourselves with Luis the receptionist in the hotel at 02-00. Pleasant chap in a "I'd rather be in bed" sort of way. With English only marginally better than my Portugese (ie 3 words), he reviewed our printed booking and deposit confirmation and declared that neither he nor the hotel had ever heard of us. So instead of the sea view air conditioned room we'd booked we were escorted to a hot sweaty non air conditined hovel with a view of a wall, being told it would be sorted in the morning. Which it wasn't. At around 4pm we were informed that our reservation had been found, but the hotel was full, our only option being to take a room in the new wing of the hotel where one room had been finished. This we accepted as their appeared to be no other option.
So, what was the hotel like? Well the pool was clean, there were adequate sun loungers at the pool and the Beach Club (more of which later), but one had to pay for the beach towels. I've had at least 3 holidays a year since the early nineties yet have never encountered this before. Pack your own towels.
The pool bar and main bar were reasonably staffed and priced and the restaurant for breakfast and evening meal was uninspiring if you didn't eat fish, which Pennie doesn't like. There are only so many ways you can grill chicken, beef and pork and we'd exhausted those after the first 3 days. Virtually every meal appeared to be served with chips and there was a dearth of vegetables other than those of the salad variety.
There was one exception to the general tedium of the hotel. It's Jewel in the Crown was the Beach Club. This consisted of a restaurant and bar and a water sports activity centre. The service here was of a much higher standard and, ye gods, I even saw staff smiling here. The food was also much better cooked and presented. The underdone tuna steak with grilled peppers and balsamic dressing was fabulous. So the post prandial afternoons spent on the beautiful white beach with glorious warm, clean sea seemed a definite improvement on all else in the hotel (though one also had to pay extra to use the hotels mattresses on the beach).
Now I'm an old cynic. But it did strike me that the one area that the most effort had gone into was the one place where people from outside of the hotel would visit for lunch. The other parts had a captive audience. Coincidence?
Whilst at lunch we had a daily companion. The estate agent. Not a day went by without one or more tables neighbouring ours being host to the excited chatter of Brits handing over their hard earned savings to a grinning realtor. Talk about candy from babies. For fear of missing out on something these British speculators couldn't wait to spend tens of thousands of pounds on some vague promise of a future windfall. And you know what, not one had the courage to say "hang on a minute, the Kings is in the altogether". Mark my words, there'll be tears before bedtime.
Finally a word about Santa Maria. The island of Sal is a flat, featureless, desolate wasteland away from the beaches. Santa Maria at present has little to distinguish it from the rest of the island. Sure there are a few restaurants in the evenings, the Matheus being good value with great live local music (not the sanitised, tourist friendly tripe you get in the hotels) and the Odjo d'Aqua having a great setting overlooking the Atlantic. However there's a kind of brooding malevolence in the air. You're not actually in any danger, you just don't feel entirely safe. Hassle from street hawkers is a constant nuisance. This wouldn't be so bad if they were locals trying to eke out a living. However every single one we asked was either from The Gambia or Senegal.
We ate out most nights yet the high spot, for Pennie at least, was the surprisingly modern and well stocked shoe shop. This should tell it's own story about the level of excitement in the town.
So in summary. The Morabeza is an average hotel with barely acceptable service, but a great beachside bar/restaurant. The weather is hot, the beaches clean and the windsurfing excellent. However the choice of food is extremely limited. If you want a little more from your holiday than staying in and around a hotel, forget it. If you choose to fly TAP, I hope you have the patience of a saint. And if you plan to purchase property in the Cape Verde islands, I hope you have plenty of money in reserve. Because I can't see you making profit from this investment for years. The arrival of a few charter flights a week from the UK won't be bringing enough independent travellers to rent even a fraction of the existing properties.
I spent a week in Cabo Verde including 4 nights at the Morabeza.The Hotel is well established has a nice pool area and is just by the beach.If i were going to Sal again I would definately use this hotel.Look up the hotel web site for all the details.
Santa Maria is probably the best place to stay in Sal.There is plenty yo do there.Sal itself is very desolate.It's ok for sun,sea and watersports but there is nothing to see there.If you are going that far I would certainly recommend you travel to some of the other islands which are much more interesting.We whent to San Vincente(Mindelo was fun),The highlight was a visit to Santo Antao where the scenery is breathtaking
For anyone travelling to Sal I highly recommend the Hotel Morabeza, bearing in mind that this is effectively a third world country and you cannot expect 5 star accomodation unless you want to do one of those all inclusive jobbies, in which case you could be anywhere! This hotel has a great location - on the beach - 3/4 restauarants and bars, lovely gardens and common areas, the one let down is the rooms - they are basic, but you don't spend that much time in your room. The staff are most pleasant bar one of the girls at the pool bar! Food is good and its a stone's throw from the town of Santa Maria, literally.
Perhaps most importantly this hotel has a good mix of guests, I refer here to nationalities. Many of the hotels on the island are predominantly Italian.
Restaurants? The BEST cachoupa in town has to be in the town (Santa Maria) square. It is blue and yellow and is called something like Restaurante Tipico. Cachoupa here is so good I would have eaten it every night, cachoupa - for the uninitiated - is a stew of Maize, beans, chicpeas, fish, meat and lots of local vegetables, including potato - both types- cabbage and carrots! The Vino del Fogo (White) is moderately priced here and is a nice wine.
I loved this place - Sal, especially Santa Maria - Boavista is also beautiful but I would not recommend the trimaran trip for the faint hearted or those who have even a slight tendency towards sea sickness. The trip is a long one and very bumpy! Make sure to visit the salt mines and have a float and take a trip around the island in one of those 4X4's, you will get a flavour of the place.
Diving is also very good, I could only do a shore dive while I was there but I saw more in twenty minutes than I have done on much lengthier dives elsewhere, sea snails, sea snakes, moray - both species - sea spider, and all of the other usual inhabitants of warmer waters.
The only downside of this place is getting there, perhaps that is why it has still maintained some charm, once the Brits start arriving in droves from November of this year onwards however that may change. No offence intended.