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Spinguera, Boa Vista, Cape Verde

A resort that has nothing and is so far away

Direct flights operate from Gatwick, Manchester and Lisbon

Far out along dirt roads indicated only by the occasional white circle painted onto a roadside rock some Italians have built what they term an ecologvcal resort. The low stone buidings are raised slightly above the surrounding tundra, perhaps 1km away from the sea. The settlement may previously have been a farm or a fishing hamlet for there is a windpump and some vintage water piping fron a nearby spring. But successive years of lack of rain on this windy northern coast of Boa Vista have made the farmers or fisherfolk give up. Animal life now consists of a few semi-wild dogs, which wander around the buildings looking for scraps of food and water to drink.

The resort has been heavily advertised in Boa Vista and on the Internet. Despite that there was nobody staying there when we visited. Proud claims are made for all the ecological features of the Spinguera resort. And indeed it draws very little on the local resources, for there are none beyond a trickle of water from the spring. The buildings have been carefully restored and are clean and freshly painted.

But at least when we visited it did not seem to be offering many of the advertised features. Perhaps these will arrive in future or perhaps they had already been abandoned due to lack of interest and resources. We did not find the owners particularly welcoming - perhaps we would have done better to speak Italian rather than Portuguese.

There is nothing to do once you get there. The sea is a long walk across the dunes, With the Atlantic swell throwing up substantial boulders, it was too dangerous to swim during our visit. This will often be the case in the winter months as the beach is wide open to the North-East trade winds, which can blow with considerable force. After a bumpy journey over rough roads visitors are likely to want a swim so this is a disappointment. There is no swimming pool and it seems doubtful that the spring will ever be mighty enough to provide one.

Restaurant and bar

To eat at the restaurant, which is the only eating place for many, many miles around, you need to sit on stone benches on the terrace in front fo the main building, the original farmhouse so to speak. The food, meat or fish with potatoes and rice is not good and it is the most expensive meal that we have ever come across in the Cape Verdes. it is unclear that those staying for a week or so would be willing to pay so much. Perhaps they are not asked to. Wines are Italian and very average but also expensive for the passing lunch-time visitor.


Spinguera the resort where you really do get away from it all

L from Italy liked it despite the absences
"Spinguera is a wonderful eco-resort. The owner and hotel manager Larissa has made an extraordinary job in restoring an old fishermen' village with care for every little detail. Rooms and communal spaces are just beautiful and the natural location is amazing. Larissa is also very welcoming and you really feel at home. But being so isolated (first shop and restaurant are at about 40 minutes cross country drive) you would really enjoy more services. There is no service at all between 11 pm and 7.30 am and it's really hard to get a coffee or even a glass of water before 8 in the morning. Food is good, nice and healthy but not much choice and you have to order in advance. The staff is kind and smiling but not always helpful. On the positive side - if you ask in advance - there is a local woman who provides excellent massages and a cosy small shop with nice clothes and amenities (but again is often unattended). * My ratings for this hotel is lovely spot, poor service and poor value"

T from Londonliked the climate

"Spinguera was the first place (and first time we have been to Cape Verde) we stayed at in Boa Vista. We travelled in December (Christmas Eve). We were met at the airport by Larissa who owns the renovated fishing village and who took us there in her 4 x 4 utility vehicle. The journey from the airport to Springuera is around 35 minutes and this gives you an opportunity to see what the island looks like. One thing that is immediately apparent on arriving here is the temperature. It is hot, particularly if you have just travelled from a cold December in London. For those concerned about what to pack, think t-shirts, shorts and light shoes/sandals. The journey to Spinguera followed some ordinary roads before they gave way to single track roads, dry river beds and dirt tracks that eventually brought you out to a collection of small chalet like stone buildings perched on a brow of a coast line facing the sea. Apart from the small town of Rabil, we didn’t see any other houses or villages or people really until we reached Spinguera and even when we arrived, we found out that we were the only guests there. We were taken straight to our little ‘cottage’ like building which was spotlessly clean, tastefully decorated with a minimalist feel. Everything you needed was here, including a four poster bed with muslin style drapes around the sides to deter flies or mosquitoes . The bathroom is also a good size with very large shower head that delivers a very nice shower. One thing you will notice about this island is how dry it is, so there is great emphasis on not wasting any of the water. Outside of the room there is a little outdoor space with two brightly coloured deck chairs for the occupants to sit in and look out to sea. Each ‘cottage’ has its own different colour deck chairs. . Like the ‘cottages’, the restaurant and cafe face the sea and a nice meal can be taken whilst admiring the views. They feed you very well here. Huge bowls of soup for starters, a very large main course and dessert to follow - more than enough. The main emphasis on the whole place is relaxation and tranquillity . Our Christmas day was spent on a beach that was a 20/30 minute walk away. The water here was relatively safe in terms of the size of the waves and we were able to take a dip and do some sunbathing. In the other direction way off into the distance is a wreck of a ship that is visible from Spinguera. We walked to the wreck to have a closer look and a round trip on foot will take you the best part of 5 hours. Make sure you wear decent footwear, take lots of sun cream and water as it’s quite a trek. If sun worshipping is your thing, then there are plenty of opportunities for you to sun bathe here. Dotted around the village are sun beds, chairs and places to sit in the shade if you wish and there are a couple of beach style shacks near the sea front if you wanted to be closer to the water. Overall we had a pleasant 3 days here relaxing, reading and eating in a calm and comfortable environment. The staff are also very friendly. The food in the evening is very filling as is the breakfast in the morning. I would recommend this if you are after getting away from a busy and hectic lifestyle for a few days."

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