TRIP REPORT: South American adventure

TRIP REPORT


Submitted by Saša Radovanović

Although you will probably see more multi-city reports from me, this one is the most intense that my wife and I took until this day.

In 2015 we decided to visit South America (specifically Brazil and Argentina). During my initial preparation to book tickets I noticed that TACV (national carrier of Cabo Verde islands) provides
interesting Europe - Brazil connections (city of Mindelo, CV was on my must-do list for quite some time). Our mind was set - integrate Cabo Verde and South America in one two-week vacation (as crazy as it seems).

After we decided to book tickets I made a mistake that I would not repeat after this trip. I booked the European sector (Budapest - Bergamo) and South American sector (as stated below) before actually booking the intermediate part with TACV.

TACV had some really nice fares at the time (Bergamo - Sal - Praia - Mindelo - Praia - Recife - Praia - Lisbon) was around 1.000 EUR per person and I wanted to book that. Unfortunately that lead to 6 - 7 days of agony. The amount was reserved on my credit card but tickets were not issued and I spent this period trying to sort the issue with both the bank and the airline (at the end it was an error by both of them since my bank recognised transfers to Cabo Verde as malicious ones and TACV didn't have a proper middleware in their system for Serbian accounts).

Eventually this delay resulted in the Bergamo - Sal sector being sold out and we were left without the option of connecting via Italy. We paid an additional 300 EUR per person and changed our itinerary to the following (thus throwing away cca. 100 EUR for BUD - BGY sector and booking our TACV tickets through vayama.ie):


The entire itinerary set us back around 2.800 EUR for the two of us and as you can imagine - it was exhausting and awesome at the same time (doing 16 flights in 15 days is something I promised to my wife we would not repeat again). Mindelo and Cabo Verde in general is a beautiful place to visit.

Since most of the readers are familiar with Ryanair's service I will skip my comments about them (maybe only notable thing is that BRU - LIS sector is the flight where I experienced turbulence to the fullest).

TACV operated the fleet of 4 ATR's, 1 B757, 1 B738 and 1 wet-leased A320 (White Airways) at the time (they changed their wet leased B734 for A320 two days before we took the flight). They had a multi-hub model (and they still do) with the airline operating international flights out of Sal, Sao Vicente and Praia to Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, France, US and Brazil.

In the months leading up to our trip I followed their performance using flightradar and I could see a pattern (they were only performing 1 flight a week on time) which raised my suspicions. At the end, TACV delivered - we managed to catch our connections (with huge luck since on the return sector from Brazil their flight from Recife got cancelled but they still operated a flight out of Fortaleza). They were 2 hours late with arrival to Lisbon which only gave us 30 minutes to catch our (self)connection to Madrid. Again, luckily - TAP delayed the flight for an hour and a half at the end, and after 6 consecutive flights and a train ride we managed to get back from Rio to Novi Sad.

As far as the experience on TACV is concerned - their 757 was worn out (the leg space was limited on board in addition to 2 cabin luggage per person policy), ATR's were great and in general FA's were superb.

Ryanair arrival to CRL from BUD

TACV 757 from LIS to RAI









TACV ATR 72-200 on RAI - VXE - RAI sector






Beach - Recife with TACV 737-800



South American sectors allowed us to experience business (or better say premium economy) for the first time. Nothing spectacular happened on the flights operated by GOL and Avianca Brasil, but I especially remember the latter one being superb (we had a very short connection in BSB and both of the planes featured individual IFE on board).

GOL, GIG - EZE - GRU - SDU






Avianca, GIG - BSB - FOR



BSB

Coming back home via Praia, Lisbon, Madrid and Budapest.

Breakfast on TACV flight VR1 (operated by White Airways)


Our ride to Madrid


Comments

  1. WOW, that was an awesome trip! Fantastic itinerary too!

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  2. Thanks for an interesting report! I would never do it myself, but I can just say wow!

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  3. That's one epic itinerary.

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  4. well done ! The best report..congrats

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  5. ¡Me encanta America Latina! Sobre todo Perú, Chile y también Argentina.
    Gracias por el reportaje tan chulo y saludos.

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    Replies
    1. danada amigo!

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    2. ¿Cuál fue el sitio que más te gustó?

      Delete
  6. Thanks for sharing. How did you get to BUD? How much more would your trip cost if you left from BEG?

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    Replies
    1. Sasa Radovanovic3 June 2018 at 20:49

      To/from BUD by train. Around 180pp.

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  7. Great report. What site are you using to find cheap fares, and to plan all of these flights. Tnx

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    Replies
    1. Sasa Radovanovic3 June 2018 at 20:50

      Airline website, wikipedia to find airlines that fly to certain airports and budgetair

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  8. Lovely report.
    One question though: where or what is Mindelo? According to Google maps it's a little town in the North of Portugal but I don't think that's what you meant?

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    Replies
    1. Sasa Radovanovic4 June 2018 at 07:43

      Mindelo is the second biggest city of Cabo Verde, the biggest one on Sao Vicente Island (VXE airport).
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindelo

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    2. Thanks for the quick reply.

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  9. Wow, this is ridiculous. I doubt most gypsies would take such a crazy routing to save a few Euro's. Your wife is one tolerant woman...

    ReplyDelete

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