Cape Verde Cape Verde lies 300 miles off the coast of Senegal and is an archipelago made up of 10 islands and a number of islets. Nine of the islands are inhabited and Sal and Boa Vista, in the Barlavento, are the most popular tourist destinations. Due to their proximity to the Sahara these islands offer endless, white, sandy beaches fringing the stunning aquamarine sea.
The largest island, Santiago, is where the capital of Cape Verde, Praia, is located. The island is rich in culture and history and has a more diverse landscape with mountains, plantation and bustling towns. Santiago is well connected and makes a great base to visit the other islands.
A Portuguese colony until 1975, Cape Verde has an interesting mix of Portuguese and African culture which is reflected in the food and music. The natural environment has some amazing sights - turtles can be spotted in the sea and during their nesting season, July to October, you can watch them lay their eggs at night. Whales also visit the islands during March to May and there are lots of tours on offer to see them cavorting! We were able to spot whales and turtles from the beach when we visited in April.
Holidays to Cape Verde are definitely relaxing - the motto everywhere is 'No Stress" and everyone seems to live by this! Chilled out beach bars are dotted along the coast and entice you in with sun loungers, cool drinks and delicious food (lots of great seafood on most menus). All play music which always includes a bit of Bob Marley and many have live music often late into the night.
The temperature is in the 20s all year round and it rarely drops below this even at night but it can get windy and there is a rainy season during August and September. The constant breeze makes it perfect for kitesurfing or windsurfing. Paddle boarding, surfing, snorkelling and sailing are also possible and many bars and shops offer equipment hire, lessons and tours.
Travel to and in Cape Verde Flying direct to Cape Verde from the UK takes around 6 hours and it is only possible to fly to Sal and Boa Vista directly. You can fly to the capital Praia on TAP (Portuguese airways) but you will need to stop off in Porto or Lisbon on the way.
Travelling around each island is pretty easy by taxi or bus, both are cheap compared to the UK. Islands such as Boa Vista only have a few roads so to visit some of the sights you will be going off road! Travelling between islands is more tricky as ferry services are inconsistent and it's difficult to find up to date information about them. These companies offer ferry tickets to travel between some of the islands (I haven't used any of them!) - Bela Vista and Cape Verde Fast Ferry Flying between islands is easier as most of the islands have airports served by Binter CV which fly to the main islands daily. For more information see here.
Most popular airports: Praia on Santiago is primarily available on TAP (Portuguese Airways) and from the UK goes via Lisbon or Porto. Sal and Boa Vista can be reached directly from the UK with Tui.
Accommodation On the more touristy islands of Sal and Boa Vista most accommodation tends to be either large, top end, all-inclusive resorts or simple apartments. The resorts are pretty self-contained, they have a choice of pools, restaurants and you will be cared for and entertained from morning til night. In contrast the apartment options are often basic but have everything you need and can offer great value for money and the opportunity to get out and about bit more sampling local restaurants and bars. There are some smaller hotels dotted around which also offer great value and more independence.
A few recommendations: Booking Boa Vista - a beautiful collection of apartments right on the beach and a stone's throw from Sal Rei. Apartments are simple but equipped with everything you need and all have views to die for! The owners are on hand to help with anything you need and they provide maps and information on everything from restaurants to whale watching.
Sailing Cabo Verde - not exactly accommodation but a great day out! Charter your own sailing boat, 'Sundownder', for whale watching, snorkelling and enjoying the coastline of this amazing place. Ricardo's passion for sailing and Cape Verde is infectious and he is a wonderful host.
Cape Verde Facts Capital city: Praia Area: 4,033 Sq km Population: 0.55 million Currency: Escudos (CV Esc) (Although Euros are accepted in many places.) Official Language(s): Portuguese FCO travel Advice:Cape Verde