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Riu Karamboa `Hotel Ocean Storm`

All-inclusive out on the Desert Shoreline

Unlike the Riu Funana and Riu Garopa Hotel the Riu Karamboa on Boa Vista which opened at the beginning of 2009 is actually built on the edge of the beach at Praia de Salinas. Riu Karamboa is between the open desert and the sea a couple of miles out of Sal Rei and stretches half a mile back from the beach. It covers a lot of land and there are long walks from room to restaurant or pool. A taxi to the nearby town costs £10 and gift shops and pharmacies in the hotel are very expensive.

The position is windy and the sea can be rough here in winter, with red flags prohibiting swimming. Riu Karamboa has long block buildings in Moroccan style. Most rooms look inwards onto the sandy open space but some have sea views, But these are not guaranteed at Riu Karamboa. Most rooms have only showers withouth baths.

It is a holiday camp or sun factory aimed at the Ibiza or Tenerife tourist who wants better winter sun. The staff is German, Spanish and Italian with Cape Verdean or Senegalese waiters and nursery attendants who try hard but have little English. Riu Karamboa offers school food - pasta, pizza, hamburgers, frankfurters etc enlivened by the occasional paella. Many people complain of illness brought on by the unsanitary kitchens.

Local drinks are free, dispensed from push-button faucets. But the wine is poor Spanish plonk imported in powder form which could give you a headache and the beer a thin local brew.

Riu Karamboa has the largest beds and the largest bedrooms on the island, with nice furniture. Riu Karamboa has free gyms, jacuzzis and saunas (not all ready at the opening date), to divert but the children`s area can be unsafe due to poor maintenance. Riu Karamboa pool areas are crowded by breakfast and many find the water cold in winter.

Some rooms look out onto bare sandy pitch, on which they have planted shrubs. There is sometimes building work adjacent as they build new properties along the shoreline near the complex of the Riu Karamboa .

Entertainment is Hi de Hi and the staff can be pushy when not enough people want to partake. Hotel shops very expensive and excursions marked up from the hotel. Most visitors are British or Portuguese. It is better to hire your own car if you want to see this desert but beauriful island.

Situated on by far the best accessible beach in Boa Vista

N from Notts had bad food poisoning.
"It claims 5 stars: but it`s not: having said that it has everything you need and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Apart from the hotel there is nothing in the vicinity. That makes it a good spot to relax. Trips are expensive but the island tour in a 4x4 trip is a must. There were flies absolutely everywhere and little attempt at control by the hotel. Mosquitoes were vicious. Take a strong repellent! Nothing is too much trouble but not all staff speak English. Loads of people had stomach bugs and I still have one 7 days after the holiday they score very low on hygiene. There is nowhere else to eat or drink. I also did not like the fact that smokers were mixed in with everyone else Facilities are pretty good as everything you want is there. |The rooms are a little basic but exactly what you want. But take everything you need with you as there are very few shops and they are hugely expensive eg 17 for suncream! Strongly recommend Immodium and fly repellant "

N from Herts found Riu Karamboa had uninspiring food.

"Hotel was clean, tidy and looked very impressive from afar. Staff was excellent although had poor English. Food was poor, very bland and the smell of the cooking fat in the pool restaurant made me feel sick. Excursions were very marked up by the hotel. Watersports and swimming- unless you are a very competent windsurfer you will not manage - the sea was too rough to swim with red flags most days. Entertainment was very "Hi De Hi"

D from Suffolk. liked the Riu Karamboa pool but nothing else

"No lifts,100 yard long steep ramp between rooms and reception and lounges, or six flight stairs. Washing area in rooms is open plan to the bedroom. No privacy at all. My partner and I both were ill, we believe it was the food. The hygiene at the buffet tables left a lot to be desired. Fresh hot meat put on top of, and mixed in with the lukewarm meat left in the tray. No facilities in the bedroom for tea or coffee making. From some rooms, to get a drink meant a half mile walk. The pools were exceedingly good and spacious and we swam comfortably. Nowhere to go except a shanty town which cost £10 by taxi."

R from Yorkshire was saddened that little of his money escapes from the Riu Karamboa to benefit local people

" Riu Karamboa has 750 rooms . Very barren island, not a lot to see. Not enough shade by pool and beach. Cape Verde is ideal for kite/windsurfing as it is a very windy place. The island is very poor and we did our best to spend time/money in the local village. The beach was quiet in contrast to the hotel, which was too busy, with construction work. There are often no sun umbrellas for shade. Most of the Riu Karamboa is flat, ideal for the less able bodied but spread out over a large area. I would hope that some money reaches the locals as they are very poor. It is not everybody's cup of tea but worth a visit as the sun is almost guaranteed."

V from Sussex did not enjoy the Riu Karamboa and found the hotel had marked everything up.

"The Riu Karamboa in Boa Vista looks impressive as you arrive - but there's nothing else for miles around: an oasis in the desert. Architecturally attractive, but, every day, you must literally walk miles. No room service: no baths/just showers: no tea/coffee-making kit. The wind was fierce the whole week. The sea was off-limits, red flags out most of the time, and a strong cross-current. Swimming pools were cold. Too many screaming kids: too many loud Germans. Depressing, regimental, Hi de Hi style entertainment; long treks to the restaurants all with the same bland over- or under-cooked food. Morning tea required a mile walk. We all got upset tummies for two days . No real milk. Lots of frozen veggies and chips everywhere. We met one couple who had been mugged and one couple who had their patio jemmied and money stolen. Taxis cost £10 for a 2 mile journey. Hotel shops charge what they like. (and don't offer change): £2 for chewing gum or mints;£2.50 for a small Mars bar;£7.50 for month-old magazines and no newspapers; Paracetamol £20." 
S from Sussex found the Riu Karamboa staff disturbing.
"The hotel was huge and far too big for the staff to cope with. The room was clean and basic with an open-plan shower which was very difficult for a child. Rooms are far from restaurants, bars and reception. We were woken at 6.15am every morning by noisy staff coming to work and again at 11-11.30pm as they went home. The restaurants - like motorway canteens - were dull and made us very ill. The childrens` play area was lovely, but unsafe with a large concrete slab step at the bottom of the slide and a broken entertainment advertising board with 2 five inch screws sticking out of it. The local girls running the area were fantastic considering the language barrier. The childrens` disco in the evening was the highlight as adult entertainment was awful. People put up windbreaks around their sunbeds at the pool and on the beach, making it difficult to walk in these places. The pools were sandy and cold. The organised trips are very expensive."

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