I’ve just got back from a 10 day holiday to Boa Vista, one of the islands in Cape Verde. Before we jetted off I spent a lot of time googling the location, trying to get a feel for what it was going to be like but to no avail unless you really trawl through trip advisor. (Aint nobody got time for that!)
I went with my mum and step dad, step sister and her fiance and my boyfriend Martyn so we were a fairly sizeable group.
First-of-all the flights are just under six hours if you fly from Manchester, which is brilliant for a bit of winter sun and not wanting to travel too far. It is however a long flight if you are a 6 ft 3 rugby player like my boyfriend.
We booked our holiday through TUI and there are two of their RIU hotels on the island. We stopped at RIU Karamboa which is a 3 minute bus journey from the hotel which is bliss because it really is hot there.
When we got there, we got settled in really quickly and was down by the pool within the hour. Normally all inclusive places have really weak alcohol…. not here though. My aforementioned 6 ft 3 rugby player boyfriend was KO’d by their beer (Strela) by 5pm on the first night and was so drunk he didn’t make it down for food.
Speaking of food. It is lovely, and there is so much of it. The main restaurant caters very much for the English and you don’t really get any of their traditional food whatsoever unless you book into one of the other three restaurants they have. (All free but you have to book as spaces are limited). There is an African style, an Asian style, and an authentic Cape Verdean restaurant.
In the day you tend to stay by the pool unless you have an excursion booked because the country is vast and not very developed. There is a town about 6km called Sal Rei but this is not a tourist spot and can take about 2 hours to walk with regular water breaks and walking on the steep sand. I did walk there and it was heart breaking to see because we were stopping in a palace, and they were living in a town that still looked from the outside like a third world country.
Be wary of the sea as well. Our family as a whole are pretty strong swimmers but even we got caught up in the rip tides. You are dragged like a washing machine and it can be incredibly scary. The sea, when calm however is really warm, but poor visibility for any scuba divers due to the high winds raking up the sand.
The hotel had a gym, jacuzzi, sauna, tennis court, kids club, entertainment and everything you could want really.
The rooms were fairly basic but the bathrooms were very modern, the shower was powerful, and the maids kept it fairly tidy.
Overall the hotel and location were brilliant. The facilities are great and the weather was perfect the whole holiday. The views were stunning. The food was great, the all inclusive drinks and snacks were second-to-none. We had a great relaxing family holiday and we were all sad it was over when we got back to Manchester Airport.
But for honesty sake I have to tell you about the not-so-good bits.
First of all, as I said earlier, the country is very under developed and this hotel is the only workplace for miles, so a lot of staff will come from parts of the country where there isn’t as many hygiene facilities and this is what we put the groups sickness and diarrhoea. down to.
Four out of six of our group came down with violent diarrhoea and sickness that made them bedridden for at least a day each. The only thing to counteract this I would suggest is to sanitise your hands after everything. We were not the only ones to come down with it and we believe there was a virus that was spreading around the hotel that staff and management could not contain.
Also, and I must stress that Martyn and I were the only ones in our group to have this happen, money was taken from our room. The safe in our room was showing low battery and would not allow us to lock anything inside so we put in our suitcase and locked the case. When we came back later that night to put the money in the safe it was gone? The case did not look like it had been opened but the money inside had vanished. The manager was very understanding and performed some security checks but it was too late and we will never see that money again as the excess on our insurance does not seem worth the amount stolen.
The sickness and money stolen meant we didn’t go on an excursion that we had booked to see the turtles, but despite those hiccups we still had a great family holiday.
This is definitely not a holiday for someone who likes to go on adventures as there is literally nothing to see, but if you want somewhere that you can eat, drink and relax, this is the place to go.