Cape Verde is the ultimate island and beach destination with an intriguing mix of Portuguese and African cultures. It is located off the west coast of Africa and made up of 10 islands and 5 tiny islets. The country is famous for its warm tropical climate, volcanic islands, wonderful musicians, and delicious cuisines.
How To Get There
If you are arriving from a country with a Cape Verde embassy, you are required to purchase a visa in advance. A visa can also be purchased on arrival. Cape Verde has international airports on the islands of Sal, Santiago, Boa Vista and São Vicente which Connects to Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
There are taxis to get around each island. Shared taxis are the cheapest way and they have set routes. Ferries and small aircraft are the best way to island hop. Note the ferries are not always on time, so make sure your plans stay flexible as some of the islands take half a day to get to. The local airline TACV flies scheduled flights between all the main islands.
What To Know Before Packing
Cape Verde is a popular beach holiday destination. It has great year round climate with the best time to visit being from February to June when the days are long and sunny. Cape Verde’s official language is Portuguese, with Cape Verdean Creole (Kriolu kabuverdianu) being the most popular communication language. The official currency of Cape Verde is the escudo, abbreviated CVE. The easiest currency to change from is Euro and dollars which can be done at the international airport and banks. Pack your summer clothes with one or two lightweight jackets as it gets chilly in the night.
It is a good idea to know some Kriolu or at least Portuguese, since even though young urban people are often quite proficient in English, this does not apply to old and rural people, and even those who can speak English will highly appreciate any attempt you do to speak Kriolu or Portuguese.
Things To Do
Cape Verde popular tourist spots include, the coastline of Boa vista and Sal, the vibrant streets of Santa Monica, the haunting volcanoe of Pico de fogo
, each with an array of its own fun and exciting activities to try out.
There are lots of amazing coastal spots to choose from and For the ultimate beach experience, check out the coastal view on Santa Maria beach on Sal and Praia de Chaves on boa vista.
Indulge In Exciting Water Sports
The islands’ range of water sports, primarily on Sal and Boa Vista, are classed among the most popular activities during a Cape Verde holiday.
- Kite-surfing; you can’t leave cape Verde without trying out this thrilling activity. Best time for this sport is between November and March when it’s particularly windy. Kite-surfing equipment can be rented in a nearby store, dress in your shorts and join other tourists and locals enjoy one of the best water sports around.
- Windsurfing; another cape Verde favorite water sport. Enjoy this windy adventure after taking basic lessons as a beginner. It’s fun and adventurous and all about balance
- Kayaking; a less windy adventure, an alternative to those not willing to topple into the waves too often. Kayaks are abundant on the coastline and ready for your hire.
- Diving; Sal and Boa vista offers both diving experiences and tutorials. Between the months of 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 number of varieties of sea turtle and even whales!
Engage In Outdoor Adventures
- Hiking; there are lots of outdoorsy activities you can embark on in cape Verde and hiking is one of them. Take up your hiking boots and walking poles to the island of Fogo. There are a number of rewarding trails to attempt on the island, but one of the best has to be trekking in the Cha das Caldeiras towards the eerie remains of Pico do Fogo.
- Explore; check out the magnificent Pedra de Lume saltpans – natural salt lakes formed in the crater of an extinct volcano, visit the Buracona Lagoon along Sal’s west coast, go Quad biking on Sal’s sand dunes
- Whale and turtle spotting: Spotting humpback whales and loggerhead turtles is one of the top attractions of Boa Vista. Whale watching excursions happens around February and May where you get the chance of spotting these majestic creatures in their natural habitat
Food and drink
Many of the restaurants offer local and international dishes, mixed with live creolean music once or twice a week. There are numerous bars and restaurants in resort areas such as Santa Maria (on the island of Sal) and Mindelo (on the island of São Vicente), and the music at weekends can last long into the night. When dinning in high end restaurants, expect lots of fresh seafood and also vegetarian menu. While local restaurants offers more pasta and omelet related dishes.
Popular drinks include Grogue – A strong alcoholic drink locally produced from sugar cane, Fogo wine – Very pleasant when drunk at the right time but can be hit-and-miss depending on the age of the grape and Caipirinha – Brazil inspired cocktail made with sugar cane and local liquor.
Whichever of the island and activities you opt for, you are sure to enjoy the weather, culture and beautiful landscape of Cape Verde. Cape Verde is relatively new to international tourism traffic, which makes it a good choice for crowd weary travelers.