3 personal experiences from Susanne’s travel diary

Most travel companies play lip service to exploring the destinations they offer. That’s just not our way at Archipelago Choice, we explore all the time and we’ve a bit of a knack for finding great activities and extraordinary sights. The result? Some very exciting and unique experiences for everyone who travels with us.

Three of our highlights to inspire.

Cape Verde – The road to nowhere on Santo Antao

Most people when they arrive at the ferry port on the island of Santo Antão in Cape Verde either drive to the Cova Crater to start their walk into the Paul Valley, or turn right and drive along the coast to Ponta do Sol. Those who turn left, only do so because they either want to climb the island’s highest peak Tope de Coroa or want to go to the end of the world.

Because that’s what it feels like when you drive down to the remote town of Tarrafal on the far western side of the island. Actually, what I meant was, to be driven down by a driver, as it’s not a road you want to navigate in your own vehicle.

The challenging unmade road is not only bumpy and slippery, it’s also very bendy and extremely steep. It really is one of my personal best travel experiences. I still don’t know how the local taxis (usually minibuses full of people), are able to drive up and down this road though, which eventually ends in Tarrafal a lovely little town with a secluded bay!

It is also on this road that you’ll get some of the best views of neighbouring island Sao Vicente. Especially early in the morning, when bleary eyed and still half asleep (we had to catch the early ferry), we took this magnificent shot of Sao Vicente.

If you want to climb Tope de Coroa (1979m) and want to stay at the charming Mar Tranquilidade in Tarrafal, give me or Jake a ring on 01768 721040.

Cape Verde is a great winter destination to top up on your sunshine, so give us a ring if you want to find out more about what to do and where to stay in this archipelago.

Costa Rica: Feeling lost (for all the right reasons) in Rio Perdido

With a name like Lost River you already feel like a real explorer when you’re driving on a dirt road for about 20 minutes towards the well-hidden Rio Perdido Hotel & Thermal River deep in the Costa Rican rainforest.

The rooms are like glorified tree houses, with a veranda (complete with two sitting hammocks) and a comfortable and modern interior.

Down below flows a thermal river with natural hot spring water and sulphuric muds. When night falls frogs and other animals make their presence known. In the morning a noisy bird chorus awakes you.

But it’s the view from the restaurant which blew me away.

With its domed wood strutted roof, the restaurant somewhat reminded me of a giant spaceship; during the day you have an amazing view 360-degree view of the rainforest canopy and nearby volcano tops, while at night you can see the lighting and hear the thunder in the far distance. You really do feel you’re getting up close and personal with the rain forest.

It’s truly a magical place and with all the biking, hiking and tubing, you can easily stay here for a whole week.

Do have a look at our Costa Rica Discovery Self-Drive trip and ring me if you’re interested on 01768 721040.

Cuba:  Trinidad the open museum

One of the many highlights when I was in Cuba was my stay in Trinidad – a charming small town with striking buildings dating back to the 15th century, when the Spanish founded it. The town has had a turbulent past as it also became a haven for pirates, smugglers and French refugees. It still has that colonial settlement feeling to it and it’s no surprise that it was declared a national monument in the sixties and eventually became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.

Often called Cuba’s outdoor museum, with its steep cobbled streets, it’s a popular tourist destination. However not many people would visit the rather rundown but magnificent Museo Historica Municipal and even if they did, not many would dare to navigate the steep, narrow and unsteady stairs up to the roof.

The panoramic views from the top are mind-blowing as you look down onto a maze of small cobbles streets and red-tiles roof tops and forest covered mountains in the background. You can stand on this rooftop and see it all with your own eyes.

If you’re interested you can have a look at our Cuba trips as they all include a visit to Trinidad and ring Susanne on 01768 721040 if you want to know more.

If you want to know more about our other destinations – The Azores, Baja California, Madeira, Namibia, Portugal and Sao Tome & Principe our team of Activity Holidays Specialists has an extensive knowledge. We give the most choice and flexibility possible combining activities, accommodation and everything you need for a holiday that you will never forget.

We are a member of AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) which encourages the highest standards in all aspects of tour operating. All members must adhere to the AITO Quality Charter.

Get in touch with us today on 01768 721050

Email: team@archipelagochoice.com