Part 2 of my mini tourism guide is about a beach resort we visited last weekend. It's an hour (or two depending on traffic) from town and it feels like another world.
So without further ado, the Tropicana Resort:
First thing to note, it's kind of surprising that Lagos isn't just swamped with beach resorts because the coast of Nigeria is gorgeous and except within the city it's still pretty untouched. There is 'bar beach' which deserves a post of it's own - it's basically a gritty, dirty stretch of sand that functions as a sidewalk/home/gang hangout/church revival locale, etc. Not good for swimming for many, many reasons. There's Tarkwa Bay which is ok for swimming but a bit polluted and jam packed with people. I'll give that one a post of it's own too. Other than that your beach options are either further out, or privately owned.
All of this background is necessary to explain how in a country with so much poverty this beach resort can charge a $30 entry fee per person and still receive customers. Yes, it was breathtakingly expensive, but they do try to provide some services for the price. All the little huts in the picture below have different activities and the property itself is strewn with random rope swings, horses to ride, nature walks, limbo bars, sand volleyball courts, etc.
Of course no one used all that (except me, I rode a horse!) since the main attraction is the water.
There was no trash, plenty of palm trees, and brilliant blue water. Just about perfect.
We spent a lovey, lazy day sleeping/reading/swimming and repeating.
You'll notice the lack of people in these pictures. That's what you're really paying $30 a person for. At Tarkwa Bay it's hard to see the beach for all the touts trying to sell you poorly made crafts and peanuts (ironically, no one sells water for when the peanuts have you dying of thirst...). At the private resort no one is allowed to shove wooden carvings in your face in the middle of a nap, or just stand aimlessly in front of you with a pile of cloth on the off-chance that despite your numerous protestations that you don't want to buy (and would love to be left alone) you suddenly decide to start investing heavily in tourist swag. There are definitely days in Nigeria when I would pay this much (or more) to be left alone so this kind of place is a nice resource.
Several little huts sell food. It was bad and incredibly over priced ($18 a plate - as much as the fancy places in town but the food was more 'cafeteria-chic'). If I went back I'd bring a sack lunch.
I swear it wasn't cloudy for more than a few minutes, but I guess that's when I felt compelled to take all my beach pictures... naturally.
So there you have it, if you have the cash I recommend at least one day at a private beach in Lagos, just to escape from it all. Also, you should bid on Lagos, because it's the best. ;)
*And to the members of the 171st who just found out their first post is Lagos yesterday, congratulations! You're going to love it here. I promise.