Island life: Exploring Cape Verde

Cape Verde has become a popular package holiday destination for those seeking some winter sunshine, but there is so much more to the islands than just topping up your tan. Most tourists head for the beaches of Sal, but Cape Verde has many more treasures.

CapeVerde2Most tourists head for the beaches of Sal, but Cape Verde has many more treasures.

It’s easy to see the appeal of Cape Verde: a six hour flight from the UK and year around temperatures between 26°C and 30°C.

Ten islands make up the archipelago which is home to some of the best beaches this side of the Atlantic. But, UK airlines fly to only two of them (Sal and Boa Vista), and most tourists don’t look any further.

With their fine sandy beaches and clear waters, it’s easy to see why.

Sal’s beaches are among the best in the world – whether you want to enjoy activities like diving and surfing, or just lay back for some serious sun worshipping. At night, the lively town of Santa Maria boasts a great selection of bars and restaurants.

CapeVerde3Chaves beach is one of the most beautiful on Boa Vista.

Over on the aptly-named Boa Vista – the name translates as beautiful view – more amazing pristine beaches are home to some fascinating marine life.

Whale watching is recommended, and if you visit from early July to mid-October, you can take a night time tour to watch the native loggerhead turtles lay their eggs here.
The island has a slower pace of life than Sal and has an endearing sleepy charm that makes it easy to wind down.

The more adventurous will be rewarded if they make the extra effort to explore more of Cape Verde.

CapeVerde4Local fishermen shoot the breeze in Mindelo harbour. Guido Amrein, Switzerland /

It’s only a quick flight from Sal to the island of Sao Vicente and the beautiful harbour town of Mindelo – the town is famous for its music scene and is considered the cultural capital of Cape Verde.

Visit in early March and you will catch carnival – known as one of the most spectacular in Africa and similar to the renowned Brazilian carnivals thanks to the islands’ Portuguese and African heritage.

Island hopping by boat or plane is quick and easy and you will soon discover why this former Portuguese colony is known as the African Caribbean.

Published 3rd November 2015

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