Vila do Farol
The resort of Vila do Farol is on the outskirts of Santa Maria on the island of Sal in the Republic of Cape Verde. The resort seems to be rebranding itself as Villaggi Bravo. It is Italian owned and until November 2012 only accepted large tours from Italy. Swedish tours are their experiment into the non-Italian tour space. We’ve encountered Dutch, German, and French guest, but for our stay it is almost always Swedes or Italians.
The resort is an expansive palm tree covered property with 236 single-story rooms, approximately three hundred yards of white sand beach between its back stairs and the ocean, a theater, disco, 520-seat restaurant, three additional bars, and a multitude of common areas and activities.
A somewhat complete list of resort activities – and it is a long list – include, dive instruction, kite surfing lessons, water aerobics, poolside dance aerobics, Latin dance, volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, beach tennis (paddleball),beach soccer, archery, introduction to martial arts, billiards, foosball, ping pong, and loads of stuff for kids.
Outside the resort you can go fishing, diving, snorkeling, go sail on a catamaran, rent a horse or a four-wheel ATV, take tours, go shark watching, or walk in the ocean with Lemon Sharks.
And then there is aerobic dining and drinking, kite surfing, and fending off street vendors (see related stories).
The day-time temperature on the island is roughly 70f or around 23c. Ocean temperature is about the same. Unfortunately the pool is colder, but I have not found out why, unless it is merely an energy conservation measure. One nice thing about the pool is they sanitize it with salt rather than chlorine. There is enough salt in that water that if you drove a Hummer into the pool it would probably float.
With windy conditions the surf can be raucous. Not like the pipeline in Hawaii, but you can lose your footing and get a few good drinks of Atlantic Ocean as you recover.
Marie and I did spend an afternoon with about 30 others on a catamaran. I had a pleasant conversation with a labor organizer from of Rio de Janeiro, now based in Italy, who is funded by the U.N. He was here to negotiate with hotel owners to get staff overtime pay and make management pay wages due even when business is slow. He said some staff have gone two months without wages. To be clear, these issues have nothing to do with our resort.
While the island landscape is arid — nearly desert-like — the resort is fairly lush with palm and banana trees, hibiscus, rhododendron, and a variety of other species. Marie noted that oddly the beach sand does not get hot here, always pleasantly warm.
The dive shop has a Golden Labrador and the Reception grounds have a cat with four kittens.
Cable TV with CNN and BBC World News is available, and WiFi Internet for a fee. I wasInternet-free for a week. Turned it on for week number two to post all this stuff and check in with the world. I did get to see some inauguration coverage. Go Obama!