Take a kite A review of Riu Garopa
Returned this morning from a week in the Riu Garopa, Sal.
The first thing you need to know is that the area of Sal where the Riu Garopa is situated is WINDY.
It is also very barren with very sparce vegetation,giving a somewhat alien impression.
Our party of two married couples are fairly well travelled but had never previously booked an all inclusive resort.
We were all quite impressed by the quality and variety of the food on offer.
Despite some comments to the contrary most of the food is not fried .
Items like steak,chops,fish etc are prepared on an oiled griddle type hot plate at cooking stations directly behind the buffet counter,so you are able to watch as the food is prepared.
There was plenty of salad available at both lunch and dinner as well as the previously mentioned meats,fish etc.
They also occasionaly produced large joints (we saw pork and lamb) which were served "carvery" style.
Wine (red,white and Sangria) is available from self service dispensers at both lunch and dinner as well as lager and soft drinks.
The white wine was a little like Semillon blanc and quite acceptable.The red was also good,being similar to Rioja.
The beer is caller Strella and again perfectly acceptable.
We managed to get into three of the "speciality" restaurants by booking on the day of arrival,but didn't think the seating restrictions (two sittings,one at 7 and one at 9) were worth the only slightly different selection of food on offer.
The exception to this was the Mandalay asian restaurant which we all enjoyed but were unable to book for a second visit.
We found the pool area clean and well looked after but ,like the entire resort, very windy.
You had to tie down towels etc or they would blow away-even the chairs were seen to take off.
We avoided using the beach because any use of sunscreen quickly made you look like a sheet of sandpaper----boy is it windy.
Our rooms were fine,kept very clean by the maid (who we never saw) and all of the facilities worked very well.
We experienced no water outages or power failures at all.
As far as entertainment goes,there were things like "Aqua Gym" and water polo most days at the pool,if you like that sort of thing.
We found the main evening entertainment baffleing and amateurish.
The entire "production" was mimed to a tape and seemed to consist a troups of brightly dressed individuals walking on one side of the stage and off the other.
Having said that,it appeared to be popular with the (mainly non British) guests--------perhaps it was just us?
We preferred the duo in the Barracuda bar who did an acceptable ,if bland, middle of the road show----but if you are under about 45 it would probably bore you to tears.
As our visit was only for a week and purely a "chill out" we did no sight seeing other than a trip into Santa Maria.
The whole place resembles a gigantic construction site.
What with all the building and the WIND it was not a pleasant trip.
We came across another hotel featured in the brochure we used,the Odjo D'Agua, it lookes great in the brochure but is in fact surrounded on three sides by building work.
If Santa Maria was ever a quaint sea side town it certainly isn't today.
So,all in all,we enjoyed our week.
The food and the drinks were all very acceptable-you certainly won't go hungry or thirsty.
But a week was quite enough for us,and although I think we may try a Riu property in the future,it won't be in Cape Verde.
And by the way-did I mention ,it's WINDY?