Cape Verde – the greenest archipelago ever
The 10 marvels of Cap Verde.
In the footsteps of Vasco da Gama, Columbus, and Charles Darwin
Basking in the sun just off the northwest coast of Africa, Cape Verde is a glorious archipelago of nine inhabited islands (yes the last one is not) that boasts a colorful Creole of African and European cultures, today bringing a new wave of tourism and investment on its shores.
Cape Verde or Cabo Verde officially the Republic of Cabo Verde island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. In ancient times these islands were referred to as “the Islands of the Blessed” or the “Fortunate Isles”. Located 570 kilometres (350 mi) west of the Cape Verde Peninsula off the coast of Northwest Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi). Let the adventure begin.
The lucky horseshoe of Cap Verde
In the shape of a huge horseshoe, the 10 islands of Cape Verde have a dramatic landscape that blends beautiful beaches and gigantic volcanoes, postcard seaports and sunsets embellished by the windswept sand of the nearby Sahara.
The culture of Cape Verde is equally diverse, a vibrant mix of African and Iberian influences, with a touch of Brazil and even maritime New England (the islands have a long and very strong relationship with coastal Massachusetts).
Cape Verde offers a wide variety of landscapes, from volcanic peaks to verdant islands, all surrounded by a beautiful equatorial blue ocean.
once on the ground, you feel like you’re in Portugal with a mixture of mixed Africa. Portuguese-speaking people, with Creole food and music everywhere.
Tourism has been one of its main drivers of economic growth.
The islands have gone from receiving almost zero tourism in the 1990s, even among normally intrepid backpackers, to become one of the new frontiers of African tourism. Come and join Vasco da Gama, Columbus and even Charles Darwin as part of its illustrious visitors.
What to do in Cap Verde
Pico De Fogo walking tour
If you’re looking for something adventurous, head to the island of Fogo where you can walk near the top of Pico De Fogo (the highest point in all of Cape Verde).
Now, there is little need to worry about an imminent eruption. There is not one for about 400 years and it is also monitored for activity. The hike itself has a picturesque path to the top with some villages and little surprises along the way. For this excursion, you will need to be fit and comfortable with the elevation gains (which can make it hard in the hot season).
Float in a pool of the saltiest water of all in the world
In its period of maximum colonial splendor, the small island of Sal produced salt for most of Brazil and West Africa. Today it only supplies salt to the other islands of Cape Verde, but the functioning salt mine of Pedra Lume offers a glimpse of the last traces of the trade that gave the island its name (Sal is Portuguese for salt)
The saltwater pools here are so concentrated (higher than the Dead Sea) that it is impossible to sink, even though you hit the all-inclusive buffet hard. Admission is € 5, and it’s an extra euro to take a shower before you leave – if you’ve never been completely covered in salt before, this is a place where we recommend you throw yourself!
Island hopping in Cape Verde
The ten islands of Cape Verde offer a remarkable geographical and cultural diversity between them, so a day or more of exploration of the islands is essential to truly enter the skin of this intriguing archipelago.
The lush jungles of Santiago are very far from the charred red earth of Sal, while the imposing Fogo volcano and the black sand beaches make the visit of the island worthy of the extra effort. Meanwhile, Sao Vicente is known as the cultural heart of the country, where the rhythms of traditional music and Creole hospitality are the order of the day.
There are a couple of ways to get between the islands, depending on how much time you have and how much you want to see. If you are looking for a quick look, it will probably be a full-day boat tour with several stops. If you want to stay on different islands for a few days, there are also connections between ferries and flights between some islands.
Beach and rock fishing in Cape Verde
Ideal for beginners and those who do not pay well on boats for longer periods of time, you can launch your line from the golden sand or rocky headlands and catch some of the smaller fish. A wonderful place to go fishing on the beach is the western side of the Santa Maria a Sal beach. You can expect to catch anything from moray eels to small captain fish.
You won’t even need to get in the water for this, especially if you visit Ervatão beach on Boa Vista between July and September. This is the third most important sea turtle nesting site in the world, where turtles come to lay their eggs on the sand. The best time to see them is at night and we offer a series of guided tours that will allow you to see this incredible natural phenomenon.
Go to kitesurfing
Cape Verde offers a fantastic range of water sports, but wind sports are among the most exciting and rewarding. Between November and March, the winds can be quite strong on most of the Sal and Boa Vista coasts, making kitesurfing superb. Whether you are an experienced professional or a complete beginner, there are extensive facilities and lessons available for vacationers who wish to engage in the sport.
Following the popularity of kitesurfing, windsurfing is another of Cape Verde’s favorite water sports, once again capitalizing on the ideal wind conditions enjoyed on many of the Sal and Boa Vista beaches. Balance is the key here and you’ll find plenty of driving opportunities on how to perfect the sport as well as readily available rental equipment.
By relying a little less on the wind and your natural balance, which will be a relief for some, kayaking is a great alternative for those hoping to get out on the water without a high chance of knocking us over first! Once again, kayak rentals are available along the coasts of the islands, with one- or two-berth kayaks ready to serve as a ticket to the open sea.
If diving in the water that excites you, you will be happy to know that Cape Verde offers excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Most dive centers, as with other water sports, are located on Sal and Boa Vista, offering both underwater and lessons. Between April and October, you can enjoy the best conditions and marine life in Cape Verde for diving and snorkeling and, if you’re lucky, you have a good chance of spotting a variety of sea turtles and even pilot whales.
See whales and sharks
The waters around Cape Verde are teeming with marine life, with whales, sharks, dolphins and turtles alternating to visit the archipelago throughout the year.
Between March and May, the humpback whales flock to Boa Vista to feed and give birth in the waters around the island. These extraordinary whales are famous for their acrobatic violence and sad whale song: you can take day trips from Sal and Boa Vista to see them for yourself. Meanwhile, from June to September it is the time of sighting of the turtles when thousands of rare sea turtles head towards Sal and Boa Vista to spawn.
One of the most unusual wildlife events takes place just off the coast of Sal, where you can literally walk among sharks. Exactly, walk. Lemon sharks gather here the rough waters of the Atlantic to feed and mate, and you can walk with them in shallow waters. Don’t worry, these sharks are friendly: lemon sharks have no interest in humans and if you get too close they swim quickly.
Trekking through the desert
The Viana desert in the Boa Vista is even more proof that the remarkable geological diversity of Cape Verde knows no bounds.
Seafood and Tropical Cocktails
Portuguese and African influences, helped by an almost unlimited source of fresh fish, has helped to create a fresh and tasty cuisine. Cachupa (a hearty stew based on fish or pork), peixe do dia grillado (grilled fish of the day) and Lagosta Suada (lobster, Cape Verde style) are good starting points from any menu.
Wash it down with a bittersweet explosion of tropical goodness: a Cape Verdean caipirinha. Instead of the cachaça, used in the Brazilian classic, the grogue of local spirit (pronounced grog) gives the cocktail a powerful punch. Just don’t push back too many; a grogue hangover is not for the faint of heart
Quad biking on the sand dunes
Take your time off the coast and hike through gentle sand dunes created by the powerful Atlantic winds. For a more adrenaline-filled way, quad tours are easily available on Sal and Boa Vista. Many will follow a rigorous itinerary that leads you from one site to another or from one beach to another, while others tend to stick to the impressive sand dunes of the island – a truly remarkable sight.
Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort
Featuring a year-round outdoor pool and water sports facilities, the Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is located in Santa Maria, in the Sal region. There is a casino on site and guests can enjoy the on-site bar.
At the property you will find a 24-hour front desk, a cash machine, babysitting service and a hairdresser.
Hotel Odjo d’Agua
Located in Santa Maria, in the Sal region, Odjo d’Agua Hotel offers a year-round outdoor pool and a private beach. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
Some units include a seating area to relax after a busy day. Enjoy a cup of tea from your balcony or patio. Flat screen TV. All rooms have a private bathroom with a bath or shower. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer
Located in Santa Maria, Pontao Hotel offers free WiFi, an outdoor pool and a sun terrace. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
Each room has a private bathroom. Flat-screen TVs Some units offer a private terrace.
Bicycle rentals are available at this hotel and the area is popular for horse riding and snorkeling.
Featuring a terrace and on-site dining options, Hotel Dunas is located in Sal Rei, 100 meters from Santa Isabel Square. With free WiFi, this 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour reception.
The hotel rooms are equipped with a seating area, a TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a bath or shower. Hotel Dunas rooms have air conditioning and a work desk. Rooms have balconies with sea views.
Overlooking Paul’s waterfront, Black Mamba offers a bar and a terrace. Facilities at this property include a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk, room service and free WiFi. The hotel has family rooms.
Chez Hujo offers a restaurant, free bicycles, a bar and a shared lounge for Paul. Facilities at this property include a garden and a terrace. The property offers a 24-hour reception, airport transfers, a shared kitchen and free WiFi.
The air-conditioned rooms come with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kitchen and a dining area. The private bathroom includes a hairdryer, shower and free toiletries. All units have a desk and kettle.
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