Cape Verde may be most famous for it’s popular stretches of white, sandy beaches, but there are plenty of other sights and sounds for those who really want to get stuck in with the archipelago’s culture. Located just under 400 miles off the coast of Senegal, this group of 10 islands is fast becoming a popular tourist destination for those looking to discover what has been dubbed as the ‘African Caribbean’.
Places To Visit In Cape Verde
Boa Vista is Cape Verde’s most easterly island and one of the best places to visit in Cape Verde. As soon as you step foot on any part of its 55km stretch of white sand coastline, you’ll know why the island earned itself the name ‘good view’ in Portuguese. With a Blue Flag prestige as standard, Boa Vista has some of the best beaches on this side of the Atlantic. Alternatively, why not visit Sal, the island to the north of Boa Vista? Its coastline is dominated by white-sand bays, and with an average of 350 days of sunshine each year, it’s the perfect destination for an island getaway.
If you fancy going further west, flying is by far the most practical way of travelling between the islands. There are also regular ferries operated between São Vicente and Santo Antão, and between Fogo and Brava, as there are no airports on either Santo Antão or Brava.
Things To Do In Cape Verde
In the 18th century, Sal was famous for its salt mining communities, and although the industry is now long gone, a trip to the Saltpans in Pedra de Lume is a must during any visit to the island. With a patchwork of pink, green and blue lakes set deep into a volcanic crater, visitors can take a walk through the old mining village, before heading through a tunnel to get a look at the crater.
Afterwards, if you’re looking for some unique souvenirs to take to your friends and family back home, go for a walk around Vila Santa Maria, where you’ll find the island’s craft market. With a variety of homemade gift ideas, from shell carvings and clay dolls, all the way to bongo drums and large African masks, you’re bound to find something interesting. Elsewhere in the surrounding area, you’ll find surf shops and trendy clothing stores intermingled with traditional artisans and standalone boutiques if your currency is burning a hole in your pocket.
Back in Boa Vista, if you find that you’ve had enough of the sand on the beaches, head further inland to join a quad bike safari or hire a 4×4 to explore the golden dunes of the Viana Desert. Alternatively, if you find that it’s too hot above ground, Boa Vista is home to several stretches that are perfect for donning your snorkel to explore the rich, fertile waters just off the coastline. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a sea turtle!
What To Eat In Cape Verde
With influences from both Portugal and Africa, Cape Verde’s local cuisine is a unique melting pot of cultures. For instance, why not try the national dish, ‘Cachupa Rica’? It’s a slow-cooked stew made with maize, vegetables, beans and fish, that any local will tell you do wash down with an ice-cold ‘grogue’; a glass of rum made from sugar cane.
Being an island nation, Cape Verde is also home to some of the best independent seafood restaurants in the world. Visit one of the homespun Italian or Portuguese restaurants anywhere in Boa Vista and sample a feast of locally caught lobster, squid and shrimp, along with a variety of other fish and seafood. If you’re in Sal, take a walk along Santa Maria’s beachfront, where the restaurants serve a variety of tuna carpaccio and local speciality: wahoo fish.