We had a fantastic week here. Paul was a wonderful host and responded quickly to all enquiries. The flat was great, immaculately clean and the large private balcony is a real highlight. We were looking for a peaceful and relaxing holiday and this location really fit the bill.
The resort is attractive, well-maintained with swimming pools and a lovely beach. Having read some negative reviews of Tortuga Beach, I can honestly say we experienced none of these issues. Check in was fast and easy, staff were friendly (though we were not on the ‘all in’ package they treated us as valued guests). There were always sun loungers available, and although the sea immediately in front of the Tortuga has high surf and rocks, there is a gorgeous swimming ‘lagoon’ adjacent.
We got the best of both worlds with this property; taking advantage of all we wanted on the resort without the all-inclusive pricing or commitment. We registered a credit card with the reception when we checked in and this meant we had no problem buying drinks from the bar or any other little extras (e.g. on the last day we hired one of the covered ‘Bali Beds’ on the beach which was fantastic). The only challenge regarding the self-catering option was that the supermarkets are not greatly stocked. There’s a shop nearby and a great bakery and a supermarket in Santa Maria, but choices were limited, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. But we found great restaurants in town as well as an Asian restaurant (Nami) and the Bikini Beach Club next door to Tortuga beach, which we would recommend.
The late March weather was warm. The wind is strong which can be off-putting, but makes this a popular destination for kite surfers. Santa Maria has a busy beach with bars and restaurants but it doesn’t have the tacky feel of a lot of resort towns – it’s relatively quiet and suited to the older crowd. The locals were friendly, but it should be noted they are being paid almost nothing to work at these resorts and the cost of living is high. No wonder you will get approached by people trying to sell you things (which coincidentally always seem to be for sale “at their mother’s shop”!) But we never got hassled in any way. If you’re not interested you can just politely say no and they will move on, usually with a smile, saying “no stress”!
All in all, a top holiday, very relaxing and a much-needed sunshiny escape from the over-long British winter.