A beginner’s guide to Cape Verde
.Looking for a package beach holiday that is wrapped up in authentic charm and lacks mainstream tourist crowds? Cape Verde could be your calling
Found off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, this former Portuguese-colony has become a popular option for package holidays (and cruises). But the islands aren’t your typical flop and drop beach holiday either. The ten islands are volcanic and at different stages of erosion: ranging from more than 2,800m high to as low as 390m. Visually this has resulted in a landscape that is a mix of flat desert to brooding volcano to abandoned beaches.
Culturally, the islands pack a punch. Aside from their mix of Africa locale and distinctive Portuguese history – the islands were a historic transatlantic port of call picking up cultural traditions from all who passed through.
Sound like your kind of holiday? Here’s what to expect from your first holiday in Cape Verde.
What to do
Sail around the islands
It would be a shame to come to Cape Verde and only see one island. Boat tours are commonplace and will take you round some of the key beauty spots as well as abandoned alcoves.
Try your hand at windsurfing
The trade winds in Cape Verde are a steady Force 4 to Force 5, making it the perfect conditions for windsurfing. In fact, national teams even practice here (Tortuga Beach is the top spot).
Keep an eye out for whales and turtles
If you visit in spring or early summer, turn your binoculars towards the Boa Vista horizon. Humpback whales are not uncommon at this time of year. While in June and September, you can spot loggerhead turtles on Ervatao Beach.
Cast your fishing line
Fishing is still a massive part of local life – and the visitors can join in too. Fishing lessons are available for beginners but deep-sea excursions are also available for the pros.
Where to stay
Most of the tourist hotels are found on Sal or Boa Vista. All-Inclusive is very common in Cape Verde, but half-board and self-catering does exist (though less common).
How to get there
Cape Verde is only six hours from the UK. Amílcar Cabral International Airport is the main international airport in Cape Verde and is around 17km from Santa Maria. It's also a very popular stop off on transatlantic cruises.
There are also regular flights between the islands. Taxis and mini-buses are also common and a great way for people looking to explore outside their resort.
· The language spoken in Cape Verde is Portuguese.
· The currency used in Cape Verde is the Cape Verdean escudo.
· Cape Verde is 1 hour behind GMT/UK time.
· You’ll need a visa to enter Cape Verde from the UK.