No worries guaranteed at Hakuna Matata Hostel
For our #ThrowbackThursday article we’ve picked this one about one of our favourite hostels…
Portugal captured my heart a few years back, with one pretty seaside town playing a big part in this seduction… Zambujeira do Mar, or ‘Zambu’ to those in the know. I stayed at the newly-opened, friendly Hakuna Matata Hostel, which has since moved to a larger property and is getting rave reviews.
I recently asked owner João Mendes what made him decide to start a hostel in Zambujeira do Mar. “I always had an idea of doing some kind of place to receive travellers,” said João. “Then with Marisa supporting the idea, it was just a matter of time until we made Hakuna Matata Hostel happen!”
Considering it’s such a small village, Zambujeira do Mar is a popular destination for holiday makers from all over the world but now Hakuna Matata Hostel is putting this sun-kissed spot on the map for backpackers. The fact that the Rota Vicentina (a popular hiking track) begins here is an added bonus and so Hakuna Matata is proving popular with hikers too. They have space for 17 people in total… so book yourself one of those beds ‘rapidamente’! Offering a 3, 4 and 6 bed dorm (with it being possible for the 3 bed to be changed to twin if asked for) and 2 double rooms, they can cater for everyone in this larger property. “After the good experience that we had opening our first space, we found we needed a bigger space, and followed the same philosophy that we had since the beginning… quality accommodation for an affordable price!,” explained João. “And much more than a simple bed, we expect that our guests will enjoy the full experience that a stay in a hostel can offer.”
Hakuna’s new space is situated at Rua da Fonte – a peaceful location, only a few metres from the coastline and really close to the sand dunes. The village centre is also just a stone’s throw away – 300 meters to be exact.
So what does this new location feature? Well, it has backyard with barbecue, terrace and small garden, as well as various balconies where you can relax and enjoy the sun. The kitchen is fully equipped with a coffee machine, microwave, refrigerator, stove (with oven), dishwasher, washing machine (€2 charge per use), toaster, and all necessary kitchenware. A common area provides the perfect spot for socializing and eating meals, with a cosy area to watch TV, and a small library. There is also wireless internet available throughout and towels are provided by the hostel. What’s not to like?
The main beach is stunning – I often used to stand up on the cliff by the village square and admire the view before meandering down to establish my sunbathing spot. I asked João his opinion on why backpackers should come to this coastal hotspot. “The first reason is to enjoy nature… Pure raw nature! You can hike (Rota Vicentina is a stunning walking track), discover deserted beaches, dive (or do spearfishing), sea fishing, geocaching, BTT (mountain biking), bodyboarding or surfing (but our main beach is better for intermediate and advanced wave riders) and much more!” And all of this with the fabulous backdrop of sunshine…
Varied and delicious Portuguese food can be found in the numerous restaurants all along the coast – fish is usually top of the menu but there’s something for everyone. I’m a vegetarian and found plenty of tasty fare. Zambujeira do Mar also has some very fun nights on during summertime, from relaxed places to just drink a beer and chat, to more upbeat places to get down and boogie. “You have it all!” said João proudly.
“Hakuna matata” is a Swahili phrase which roughly means “no worries” and the Lion King did well to sing it into our awareness back in 1994. Make this your motto for this year and hang out in the Hakuna Matata Hostel – you’ll be guaranteed a carefree stay.
By Sharon Henshall