Cape Verde is the new Caribbean
It is said that Cape Verde is the new Caribbean, a fashion destination with its mild temperatures and 350 days of sunshine a year. Now it turns out that wants to become like the next Canary Islands, with wonderful beaches as a refuge for sun-hungry tourists even in the middle of winter.
Cape Verde is much more, and those who set foot on its volcanic terrain quickly realize it. Yes, its beaches are crystal clear and its 5-star resorts are the ultimate expression of (relatively) economic luxury, but these ten African islands also have some best kept secrets of the Atlantic.
This will be his year, and dozens of new airlines are closing deals to land at the country’s 4 international airports. To be clear, if last year it received 700,000 visitors, it is expected to exceed one million travellers in 2021 and three million in 2027, with a significant increase compared to the African average.
They want this young nation to grow with giant steps, but here we still live to the rhythm of the Morna and distinctly hear the sound of the sea even in the city center.
How do I get there? The easiest way to get to Cape Verde from Europe is to take one of the dozens of direct flights to the islands of Sal, Boavista. If you travel from the Canary Islands, Las Palmas offers a direct flight several times a week. To move between the islands, there is no choice but to juggle the combinations of ferries and domestic flights. You can find different solutions here: FLIGHTS. As for accommodation, there are options for all budgets, ranging from classic B & Bs to authentic ‘palaces’ such as the Riu Karamboa or the Marine Club Resort. You can find some solutions here: ACCOMMODATIONS.
We could begin by defining Cape Verde as a group of ten islands scattered more than 600 km from the Senegalese coast with little in common (the islands are very different from one another).
Sal and Boavista are the 2 main entrances of the country and, to be honest, the first impression is to be in the middle of nowhere. However, it changes as soon as we approach the sea. Aridity and flatness seem to make sense when we arrive at Santa María, in Sal, where we find eight kilometers of white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. By now you will have seen that Cabo Verde wins in short distances, a conclusion that has also reached surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers that flood the waters of nearby Ponta Preta. Even scuba diving has a loyal audience, thanks to the combination of exotic life, coral and volcanic soil that rests beneath its surface. If we prefer to stay afloat, the colorful boats full of locals fishing will be a good distraction. Are you looking for something more stimulating? You can rent fins and go snorkeling to see the lemon sharks in Shark Bay (a harmless but beautiful species to be seen closely).
To get around the island it is better to rent an off-road excursion that shows us other essential elements such as the fishing village of Palmeira, the colonial architecture that invades the streets of Santa María, the natural pool of Buracona and the 18-meter cave of depth known as Ojo Azul, which will leave us speechless if we can contemplate it when the sun’s rays pass through it.
Boa Vista instead prefers to opt for those who give priority to relaxation “without complications” because, although it is true that it is also hunting for tourists, has not yet reached the development of Sal. In addition, it is the island of beaches and shipwrecks: more than 40 ships sarcastically decorate its coastline and its depths, while 55 km of crystal-clear white sand surround the wildest of the Cape Verde islands. The Cabo Santa María, located on the north coast and devoured by rust, is the most photographed of all. To this ruinous beauty it is necessary to add that to cross the dunes of the Viana Desert and those that give shape to the beach of Chaves, called Morro de Areia. Not to mention surfing and kite surfing, which is also the clear protagonist of Boa Vista to see, who resists the waves of Santa Monica. Pure temptation.
Of course, if you are looking for an excursion that is not done every day, we suggest you go for night walks to see how the loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on the coast (only in summer). A procession that takes time but does not skimp on magic. Or a boat trip to see the humpback whales, in total safety.
Before leaving, the most important thing will be to remember that Cape Verde is appreciated in the small details. It is the taste of a cachupa stew, the burning of a grogue with sugar cane rum, the colors of Mindelo’s Carnival in S. Vicente and the promise to return after having fallen exhausted before their hospitality or “morabeza”.