I stayed in this apartment with my girlfriend and another couple for two weeks over New Year. The booking process could not have been smoother and David, the owner, is a pleasure to deal with – professional, attentive, helpful and responsive. He sent us lots of useful information before our arrival, and even arranged for a taxi to be waiting for us at the airport.
The apartment is spacious, modern, well equipped and well maintained. The balcony is huge with fantastic views, and we lost many hours just sitting there enjoying it all. Having two bathrooms made it perfect for two couples, and it would also be ideal for a couple with children. The kitchen was more than adequate for our needs (see comment about eating in/out below), and most importantly had a decent size fridge for keeping drinks cold.
It’s worth noting that the apartment is on the outskirts of Santa Maria, approximately 10-15 mins walk from the centre of all the restaurants, bars, shops, and the main beach. This was fine for us, as it gave us chance to work up an appetite / walk off any overindulgence in the evenings and we used taxis when we didn’t feel like walking as they only cost 3 Euros flat rate within Santa Maria, but it's worth considering if you’d planned to be in the thick of the action. The apartment is perfectly located however for the Josh Angulo’s surf and watersports centre, where there is also a nice beach. Angulo’s beach bar actually ended up as one of our favourite places – perfect for breakfast, a lunchtime snack, or an evening beer watching the sun go down. The staff there are excellent and the food both tasty and reasonably priced.
Santa Maria itself is a seriously laid back place, and it only takes a couple of days before you are completely relaxed and stop caring about what time it is, what day it is etc! We also found it to be very safe, and everyone we met to be extremely friendly. Apart from watersports (which are available everywhere in Santa Maria), below are a few activities we particularly enjoyed:
- Quad bike safari - we did the full day tour which takes you around the whole island, stopping at beaches, the salt mine, blue eye, and a bay where you can watch sharks.
- Scuba diving – a fantastic experience. Use the company recommended by the tourist office cabin in the centre, as the staff are simply excellent and made this a really memorable day for us.
- Walk around the headland to Ponta Preta – the walk takes you along the most amazing beach, and the café on the beach at Ponta Preta does surprisingly good food.
- Fishing trip – we opted against the expensive ‘big game’ fishing and instead went out with a local fisherman in his boat for a few hours (booked through the tourist office cabin). It was great fun, inexpensive, and between four of us caught around 60 fish, a number of which we took to a food hut on the beach who cooked them for our lunch – you can’t get much fresher than that!
- Catchupa cooking – catchupa is the local dish (made from beans) and we persuaded the Culture Café to let us into their kitchens to teach us how to make it (this used to be a tourist activity which was discontinued through lack of demand). We had a really fun few hours (particularly as the chef doesn’t speak English) and the result was delicious. It was fun to sit afterwards watching paying customers quickly order what we had been unable to consume, unbeknown to them that it had been cooked by four tourists!
A word on eating in/out – don’t go to Santa Maria planning to self cater the whole time - you will really struggle as it can be hard to find some of the ‘basics’, and fruit/veg is not cheap at all. It’s much better to eat out, and on this note we found there are loads of very good restaurants (though you’ll really miss out on a treat if you don’t like seafood!). Our favourite restaurant by a long way (and we did try most of them!) was La Privee – only 10 minutes from the apartment, great atmosphere, interesting menu, excellent food, and reasonably priced.
Overall one of the most relaxing holidays I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to Sal, and to David’s apartment, again. Top marks all round. …
Polaris apartment with amazing sea views
Wonderful Appartment for an even better value.
We stayed for one week and had a wonderful time. Deby was really helpful. Even airport pickup and drop of at the airport was superb. Thanks for everything. …
Town centre apartment - sea views!
friendly helpful people. Jamie especially was a wonderful host and was very helpful throughou tour stay.
the apartment was fantastic. the location is pefect! …