Cape Verde


Cape Verde is a delightful and colorful country offering a great mix of adventure, relaxation and African culture. Out of the country's ten islands, I visited Fogo, Sal and Santiago.

Fogo, dominated by an impressive volcano, is incredibly scenic. I rented a car and drove around the island for a taste of local culture and landscapes. The trip to the village of Cha das Caldeiras, located in the volcano's caldera, was just awesome. As the paved road was covered by lava following an eruption a few years ago, you get to drive on the lava fields with fabulous views all around. Many of the village's buildings were covered by lava during the eruption (but everyone was evacuated safely). Locally produced wine is very good.

Sao Filipe, the island's main town, is beautiful, featuring colorful buildings, cobblestone roads, nicely decorated walls, a fantastic black sand beach and interesting people. It felt like being in a movie at times.

The major attraction on the island of Sal is its fabulous beach, Santa Maria - one of the best beaches I have ever seen. Santa Maria beach has everything: warm and calm waters, stunning views, fine sand, good amenities, excellent beach bars and restaurants. The pier is lively with local fishermen selling their catch. There are countless shops offering Cape Verdean and African souvenirs - owners can be a bit of a hassle but it's not bad.

Santa Maria town has good dining options. Food was excellent throughout Cape Verde, exceeding all expectations (but it won't be too kind to your stomach, as it tends to happen in some tropical countries). Local delicacy cachupa needs to be tried, together with a glass of grogue or the excellent local beer. Traditional Cape Verdean music is also very nice.

From Santa Maria you can take a tour to check out some of the island's attractions: the Pedra Lume salt flats, the towns of Espargos and Palmeira, and baby lemon sharks in Shark Bay. You can also do a cruise to spot dolphins and flying fish.

Santiago is the country's main island featuring the capital, Praia. The capital's centre area, Plato, has a few interesting sights and attractions including the pedestrianised Rua 5 de Julho, cool views of the city below and some nice buildings such as the presidential palace or the city hall. Don't miss the Bistro for great food and the Quintal da Musica for good music while in the area. From Praia I drove to the Serra da Malagueta national park for more cool landscapes and local culture.

I had a very good time in Cabo Verde and enjoyed the country's culture, landscapes, beaches, good food and friendly people (where else would you shake hands with your waiter or taxi driver?). Highly recommended destination.

Additional info:
- country entry on Wikipedia
- country profile on Wikivoyage

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Cabo Verde

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