An infusion of rural Portugal and Africa will awaken all your senses when on holiday in the Cape Verde islands. Whilst the official language is Portuguese, you will hear many variations of Cape Verdean Creole, and music which also incorporates tastes from Brazil. Watch the morna dance or more modern passada, and savour the wonderful tastes of typical Cape Verde dishes particularly the delicious fish cuisine.
Most of the Cape Verde islands have their own characteristics; flat, arid, volcanic, mountainous, long sweeping beaches or small coves. Rainfall in Cape Verde only amounts to about 2.7 inches a year of which about half falls in September. The temperature is about 75 F in January and February, and about 85 F in September. A Portuguese island until the 1970’s, Cape Verde changed it currency to the Euro from the Portuguese escudo.
Santiago is the largest island and located to the south of the group. The capital is Praia which is the location of one of Cape Verde’s international airport. The island is mountainous and offers a host of off the beaten track beaches, and Praia, a good choice of restaurants and fascinating nightlife.
To the west of Santiago Island is Fogo Island. Whilst all the Cape Verde islands are volcanic, Fogo has the only active volcano which last erupted in 1995.
Boa Vista Island is the furthest east of the Cape Verde islands and boasts an amazing 55 km of stunning white sandy beaches lined with tropical palms. To the north of Boa Vista is the island of Sal, a flat island boasting some gorgeous sandy beaches.
Sao Vicente Island is located to the north west of the islands and is a super choice for walkers and those interested in painting, drawing or photography.
The most popular beaches can be found on the eastern islands of Sal and Boa Vista. On Boa Vista relax on the pretty sandy beaches of Santa Monica or Curralinho, perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Travel to the south of the island and experience the joys of Sal Rei and Estoril Beach which are ideal for families and first experiences of surfing. Chaves Beach near Estoril is also gorgeous.
Mainly flat, Sal Island’s sandy beaches include those at the popular resort of Santa Maria on the south coast of the island where there is a choice of water sport and land activities to enjoy.
Generally the sea around the Cape Verde islands is warm with gently sloping beaches. Kite surfing, wind surfing and a whole host of other activities can be enjoyed.
For the most spectacular views, take a trip to Fogo Island. A good pair of walking shoes is a must as well as a guide, and the climb up Mount Fogo can take around four hours – but the views are fabulous.
Cidade Velha or Sidadi is the oldest settlement in Cape Verde, on Santiago Island just 15 km from Praia. Accessed by water taxi or bus from Praia, Cidade Velha (formerly Ribeira Grande) was the original capital where Sir Francis Drake twice visited and has since been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status.