Dreaming of a tropical island, deserted sandy beaches and unspoiled natural beauty? Cape Verde is all that and more.
This archipelago, off the west coast of Africa, 450 km from Senegal and 1500 km south of the Canary Islands is a revelation.
A former Portuguese colony, it is currently becoming a trendy destination for tourists from outside the Portuguese-speaking world, drawn here by the endless sandy beaches, great surfing, friendly locals and reasonable prices.
Like the Canaries, Cape Verde is volcanic in origin and boasts mild climate all year round, with temperatures ranging from 23C (winter) to 30C.
Among the 10 islands to visit here, there are three which should not be missed: Boa Vista, Sal and S. Vicente.
Boa Vista, one of the biggest islands, has wonderful stretches of deserted white-turquoise beaches and it is ideal for someone looking for a total escape from today’s hectic urban life.
Hotels are starting to pop up here but the island hasn’t yet been spoiled by tourism — there is only one asphalt road, from the airport to the capital, Sal Rei, and the population is small.
This isolation has left the scenery untouched, ideal for exploring by trekking, renting a quad or a 4×4 car.
The beaches offer excellent conditions for surfing, wind-surfing or kite-surfing and for snorkeling in the reefs.
Sal is the most popular island for visitors, with many hotels and resorts.
The small island of S. Vicente is known for Mindelo, a historic city with many colonial and colourful buildings from the Portuguese but also the English era.
In fact, don’t be surprised if you see someone playing cricket: the English established here in the 18th century, to build a coal deposit for the ships that crossed the Atlantic.
The sounds of “mornas” and “coladeras”, the music of Cape Verde is certainly one of its best known exports.
Thanks to the remarkable songs of Cesária Évora, also known as the Barefoot Diva, many have discovered the ‘mornas’ and ‘coladeras’, the distinctive sounds from the islands.
Cape Verde has great singers and musicians, either living there or abroad. Experience it and don’t forget to bring some recordings home. With deep roots in the musical scene there, Italians and Portuguese have made Cape Verde a prime destination.