Jake’s pick of five great hotels in Cape Verde
For my blog this week I thought it would be nice to tell you about my five favourite hotels in Cape Verde. There are so many amazing places to stay on these islands that is quite hard to single out just a few of them, but this selection includes just a handful of the hotels and guesthouses that I have really enjoyed visiting and staying in over the years. So, here we go….
If you are looking for a hotel on São Vicente that is a break from the norm then Terra Lodge is a fantastic option. From its elevated position just a short walk from the centre of Mindelo guests can relax in hammocks and enjoy fantastic views of the city and out across the ocean towards the neighbouring island of Santo Antão. What makes this hotel stand out from the rest is its construction – built using a mixture of reclaimed timber and recycled metal the building really stands out, and it uses solar energy as its power source. A fantastic oasis of calm in amongst the bustling streets of a cosmopolitan city! Bleary-eyed travellers arising early in order to get down to the port and take the morning ferry over to Santo Antão are greeted with a smiley ‘Bom dia!’ from the hosts closely followed by a delicious and hearty breakfast to send them on their way (complete with doggy bags to take for a picnic lunch).
Boavista is one of the two islands associated with large, sprawling all-inclusive resort style hotels (Sal being the other), but if you are looking for a more tranquil and relaxing beach-based holiday on this island then Orquidea is definitely the place to head to. The hotel sits literally right on the beach just a 5 minute walk from the centre of Sal Rei, the main town on Boavista. The rooms are very light and airy with lovely sea views and guests can choose to relax in the shade of the courtyard or take to the sandy beach which is just a few steps away from the entrance. Within a short wander there are a couple of beach bars too, important for those all important sun downers. What better way to start the day than a tasty Cape Verdean breakfast followed by a coffee and a chat with the resident parrots – they are full of useful advice about where to eat and which bar to head to for the best cocktails!
If you are planning to head to Santo Antão then one of the things you should not miss is the hike down from the volcanic crater of Cova de Paul into the spectacular Paul Valley, and Casa Cavoquinho is the place to end up! José and Belén are lovely hosts – very friendly and welcoming – and as soon as you arrive you feel at home. The rooms themselves are pretty basic but they are comfortable, and waking up to a view of the valley sprawled out below is a perfect way to start your day! Breakfasts and dinners are delicious, a mixture of Cape Verdean and Spanish dishes all prepared using local produce and ingredients from the garden, and their take on a gin and tonic is amongst the best I have ever had!
Perhaps one of the remotest locations in Cape Verde, the crater of Cha das Caldeiras is the perfect place for peace and quiet and gazing up at a night sky full of stars with no light pollution is an absolute treat! Fogo blew its top back in November 2014, a huge eruption which lasted a few months and destroyed the villages in the crater, but things are slowly being rebuilt. The correct name for this hotel is Casa Marisa 2, Casa Marisa 1 having been one of the buildings destroyed during the eruption. But it is back, bigger and better than before, and the perfect base for those wishing to take on an ascent to the summit of Fogo itself. Just remember not to leave any chocolate in your bag on the bedroom floor – the lava rock is still very hot so you may wake up to a bag of sludge!
Up to now my list has focused on some of the smaller hotels and guesthouses in Cape Verde so I’m going to finish off with something a bit larger. Oasis Atlantico Praiamar, located in the capital city of Praia on the island of Santiago is a fantastic option if you are looking for somewhere a little less personal and with all the facilities you’d expect from a modern 4**** hotel. It sits on a small peninsula on the south coast of the island overlooking a bay and close enough to walk into the centre of the city. The grounds are very spacious with a decent swimming pool and pool bar area, and the hotel restaurant serves lunches and dinners (although if you want to save a little cash there is a great place to eat called Restaurant Ipanema which is just round the corner). My favourite part about this particular hotel has to be the breakfast though – it is perhaps the biggest spread I have ever seen! And it is nice to enjoy it whilst watching the local spear fishermen at work in the bay too.
Cape Verde Holiday Specialists
So there you have it, five of my favourite Cape Verdean hotels. If you have a couple of weeks free and fancy a bit of island hopping then why not give them a try?
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