Cape Verde Islands

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 Post subject: Xmas and New Year in Sal
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:58 pm 
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http://picasaweb.google.com/10411944837 ... auaxt6-fw#

some piccies of Xmas and New Year, write a report at the weekend... mainly of VV and Tortuga but eagle eyed may spot a couple of Paradise Beach.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:34 am 
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future, amazing photos.

I've spent many weeks on the island this year, but your photos jsut confirm everything i've always thought about CV.

Lets hope now everyone can relax a little more, the place is starting to look amazing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Great pics, best ones i have seen yet. Many thanks for making the effort to post them.
Regards
Bobo.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:40 pm 
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Arrived into Sal after not too bad a delay on 22nd - must have been 20-30 people getting visas on arrival so was quite a wait, may be worth getting it before hand if you can be bothered, although keep any paper work as officials seemed to have no record for some people who had!



Dark when we arrived at Tortuga, obviously drove past Vila Verde on the way which was all lit up and absolutely huge,like to know what full capacity is on it but it must be five or six thousand (seeing as one of the sofas in living area is a sofa bed).



Hotel not finished until Feb at Tortuga and road down the side 80% completed so had to drive across mud/scrubland to get to the gate. Wife thought what the hell have we bought here but I knew what to expect (she isn't constantly looking for photo updates like I am) but as soon as we walked into the development and saw the lights along the path and swimming pool area her fears vanished. The development is absolutely stunning - looks exactly like the photos. Got taken to our apartment and shown around, furniture although obviously expensive does look great and has been well though out. Opened the balcony doors to see a direct view over the pool to a full moon over the ocean - very pleased. It did however let the mozzies in - take stuff with you as it's quite expensive to get from the chemist opposite Pirata nightclub - got bitten 4 times on my forehead first night and looked like a teenager again in the morning!



First morning seeing as we had no food in we got a cab into town (4 euros) from Silvano 00238 9985527, he drove us round the whole 2 weeks and spoke good English and was very courteous. After sitting on the terrace having breakfast at Papayas with the waves lapping up at the harbour walls (4 pancake stack with banana, bacon and caramel syrup!) we walked to get our provisions. The second road parallel to the beach - the one with Tam Tams on seems to have most of the supermarkets on as well as the bakery. Bakery is Papaya end and has rolls, baguettes, sliced loafs and doughnuts if you get there early enough. Shop next door has croissants. About half way towards Morabeza there is a supermarket called Wind which does a few bits, opposite is a new Italian deli which has some nice bits including cheese and meat counter. Further up there are another 2 supermarkets opposite each other to get a few more bits. I agree with everyone else - you probably won't get everything you need in one place. There is actually another chinese supermarket on the 3rd road called Yin's which is the largest I found but has same kind of stuff.

Next time I might get a cab up to Espargos and get the whole weeks worth in one go, prob work out cheaper although fridges at Tortuga are pretty small, the ones at VV are huge - with a proper freezer section.



Left the girls round the pool at Tortuga (nice chrome and rattan sun loungers) while I went to get my keys at Vila Verde.



Much quicker to walk the north side round to the entrance of VV. Up until a few weeks before I had been told by Svetlana that I had no curtains, bedding, sofas or tv and patio furniture so I didn't really know what to expect. I had told her that I intended to stay in my own apartment even if I had to take my own sheets.



When I arrived she came to meet me and drove me round to Coprosma. First impressions driving round the ring road were not great... Whole area is a massive dust bowl due partly to a lot of building work still going on, building of the club house behind Coprosma and all the dust blowing over from the Tortuga new road and hotel. The back of my block facing the sea looks like it needs totally re painting before any paying guests arrive. I was told the official opening date now is Feb 14th or 15th (same date as first guests arrive for soft opening of Tortuga hotel incidentally. May official Sol Melia opening). Seems to me this is achievable if there are enough workers - does need one last big push.



Entering my apartment I was amazed how big it was and the furniture really is top quality and you really get everything you could possibly want - juicer, coffee machine etc.



Svetlana had made a real effort and put curtains and bedding in from another block as mine weren't ready, located me a TV and DVD and got one sofa in - just sofa bed missing.



Opening up the sliding doors you can see from the photos a lovely view across the Coprosma pool across to Canna (I think).



It is only when you walk back through the inside of the development you realize how lovely it actually is. The plantation wouldn't look out of place in Kew Gardens, and the 3 main squares are huge. When a few bars and restaurants are open it really will be an evening destination for the hole of Santa Maria.



I am told one square will be Cape Verdean, one Portuguese and one International with bars and restaurants to match the theme.



They are even building what looks like a massive fountain in one of the squares - perhaps some one could confirm that...


The place really will be a great touristic destination, I just wonder how they are going to fill it and if they have the experience to do so.





We had intended to eat out every other night but actually only stayed in one night out of 14. Days were spent with breakfasts on the balcony watching the waves crashing in then taxis to the beach - normally in front of the Morabeza. Lunch was either at the hotel beach club - fairly expensive but probably worth it, Atlantis - the French run beach restaurant on the other side of the Turtle Shack (great for kids and adults too - fantastic choice of sandwiches and 'proper burgers' fro the younger! Papayas or the two restaurants in the middle on the beach - Barracuda (locally run) or the Pizza/Sandwich place next door where you sit with your feet in the sand!



Favourite spots for dinner were in order - Chez Pastis, Leonardos, Cultual Cafe, Mediteranos, Faolin ( at the Ouja D'Aqua ) very slow service but great view. Bombay Braserie - tasty but quite expensive. I would imagine Atlantis would be nice for dinner but didn't have the days to try it - next time!

Local restaurants Cafe Creole and Compad also were recommended by ex pats but again ran out of days to try them...



Good bars were Blu bar - quite often live music and very cheap, Cabo bar - nice upstairs terrace over looking the street and the bar at the Morabeza. Leonardos restaurant actually has a bar upstairs on the roof terrace which is nice for a quiet drink too.



I had intended to spend a week on Tortuga and then a week at VV to get the feel of them both but seeing as there was no pool furniture at Vila Verde yet we stayed at Tortuga. They say they are waiting for it but I have a sneaky suspicion they may be trying to keep it looking new and dust free for the open. It also occurred to me during the week that I had no air con installed at VV yet, by that time they were all off on Xmas holiday so had to wait till the 2nd to ask about it.



Tortuga as you can see is racing to completion - I think the reason you don't get much chatter on the Tortuga forum is that everyone seems very happy with their purchase - there were 25 units occupied over the holidays and everyone seemed delighted, if there are any issues they get rectified pretty quickly and emails get replied to sometimes within minutes!



As I said the hotel apparently has bookings from mid Feb from the Tui Belgium website and is actually on the main Sol Melia site now as well.



Dunas is also going up fast and is already back as far as VV. When I left hundreds of workers ( well at least 100 ) were showing up for work at 8-9am.



The site between Tortuga and Dunas is also been bought by The Resort Group and will be a hotel called Llana Beach to be run again by Sol Melia making them by far the largest hotel operator on the island. The two plots in between Tortuga and the sand dunes next to the Riu I understand TRG also have an option on but I can't verify that.



The beach bar/grill to go infront of Tortuga left Portugal late Dec so should be arriving to get bolted together soon, hopefully we will all be able to use it irrispective of development.



Weather for whole 2 weeks was fantastic - must have been 30 every day with less of a wind than than the last Xmas i was there 3 years ago, sea was choppy but great fun - I got tossed off my ring a few times!



Wanted to go on dolphin trip, to salt mines but just ran out of time - don't know where the days went, could have easily spent another week.



Last day went to hand the key back at VV - you don't get to keep one if you are in the rental scheme, was told I was 'only allowed to stay over Xmas as I was the owner' LOL.



When I asked about getting the aircon installed to Maria and when I could expect some rental money she told me that she couldn't accept my unit into the scheme without aircon. I did say that that wasn't really for me to sort out but apparently it is. I need to get Svetlana to get aircon in before Maria will add my apartment to their list. Massive case of left hand not knowing what right is doing - they really need to sort that out, very frustrating.



I said I was looking forward to the official opening on Feb 14th and was that still the definite date for the launch. I was told that 'yes' that was the definite launch date 'at the moment'!!!



Last word - I bumped into Trevor Wilson while I was out there and whoever has used him to snag will know what a nice guy he is, he also has a furniture shop out there but I didn't have any cause for visiting it.



Hope this wasn't too long, any questions be glad to try and help...........


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:52 pm 
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Brill photographs,
many thanks for posting


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Excellent post FT, thanks v much for the detailed update and fantastic photos. Did you do your swimming from Tortuga's beach or in the more sheltered waters off Santa Maria? The reason I ask is that the views of the ocean on some of your Tortuga photos look like there's a Tsunami crashing down on the beach! If you did go swimming off Tortuga, did the long band of bedrock which stretches along the shoreline put you off at all? Do you think this will be a deterant to all these thousands of future holidaymakers swimming there in the future once all these incredible resorts and hotels open their doors? It will be a shame if swimming in the sea in that part of the island is too dangerous the majority of the time. Whilst you've got swimming pools in each resort, nothing beats taking a dip in the big blue sea. These resorts are going to attract the thousands of tourists every week they need to survive, but do you think it's going to make their job harder if the holidaymakers need to make a 10-minute cab journey each time they want to swim in the sea and splash about in the surf?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:17 pm 
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Bert,

Those photos are a bit misleading, the waves while we were there seemed to be biggest first thing on a morning and I was actually taking those photos of the waves. I think it is the spray you can see mostly in the photos but yes it was too rough for me to venture into but there was a holiday maker there who went for a dip every day ( she did say she was a strong swimmer though ).

It is peak windsurf/surfing season Dec-March I understand and some of the waves on Xmas day the surfers had been waiting for since mid Atlantic.

I only swam on South coast between Morabeza and Papayas which is a lot calmer - do I think the sea is a deterant to tourism?.. I really don't know, it would obviously be preferable for me if it was Maldives calm but there were literally hundreds of surfers/windsurfers and kite surfers there all over Xmas pumping their money into the local economy.

I guess time will tell. I did hear a rumour there were plans to build a lagoon infront Tortuga/Paradise Beach but The Resort Group rep hadn't heard anything about it when I asked...


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