Cape Verde: Holidays
An Archipelago of 10 Volcanic Islands
Backpacking in Cape Verde
Without a doubt the best way to experience real culture is to live with the local people, and backpacking holidays in Cape Verde offer a fantastic opportunity to connect to local life. On Santo Antao and Fogo, the two hiking islands, local people are offering their homes to walkers. Cape Verde has many hostels on each of its main islands and several on all of the minor ones, available for all in a wide variety of locations and standards. The largest concentration of hostels in Cape Verde can be located around the centres of Boavista, Sal, Sao Vicente and Maio but there are also many excellent establishments to be found further afield in Fogo and Sao Tiago. Facilities range from dorms with mod-cons, ensuite and cooking areas to plain rooms with just a few bunks. Some Cape Verde hostels have set times for checking in, although nearly all allow 24-hour access once you have paid. Prices start low but go up distinctly during summer periods, fluctuating throughout the year. Accommodation in the cheaper hostels is basic but allows walkers to take up more energetic challenges, knowing that they have somewhere to stay along the way, and get an insight into Cape Verdean lifestyle. Pensao and Residencial, often interchangeable, generally refer to the most Spartan and no-frills type of accommodation. The rooms have simple decor, are clean, and often with en-suite bathroom. Overall, Cape Verde offers a fantastic range of stunning locales and settings for backpackers to explore, with many of the islands offering great accommodation for holidaymakers on a backpacking breaks.
Beach in Cape Verde
There is no shortage of great beaches in Cape Verde, making beach holidays a wonderful ideas for holidaymakers looking for unspoilt areas for sun and fun. The most visited islands are Sal, Boavista, Fogo and Santo Antao, though real luxury beach holidays is available only on Sal, Boavista and Santiago, and to a lesser extent on Sao Vicente and Maio. The stunning long white beaches running in either direction from Santa Maria, the main town on Sal, are a good place to catch the suns rays. Beaches on Boa Vista are ideal for watersports with everything from diving to sailing on offer. The island also boasts one of the largest and best beaches on the archipelago, Curralinho. Sao Pedro beach on São Vicente is also lovely and a good place for windsurfing. Sal is regarded as a surfer's paradise on account of the breezes constantly coming in from the north. Rooms in most three-star hotels will have en-suite bathrooms, telephone, fan or air-conditioning, fridge and television. An increasing number of hotels now offer all-inclusive packages, but not on every island. On Sal, Boavista and Maio you can also take advantage of the many villas and apartments available for rental for one week or longer. These new developments, most of which have been sold to international buyers, are usually situated in great locations only a few hundred metres from the sea. Some, called 'front line ocean', sit right on the beach! They generally come completely furnished and benefit from close proximity to bars, restaurants and shops. There is a wide range to chose from: studios, 1 to 3 bed apartments, 2/3 bed villas and even townhouses! Overall, Cape Verde makes for a unique and unrivalled location for a beach holiday, offering something for everyone looking for a sun-drenched and secluded getaway. Take not that the so-called rainy season in the Cape runs from August to September.
Family Holiday in Cape Verde
Kids generally love exploring, and the Cape Verde islands provide plenty of opportunity for adventure! Families have been visiting the islands for years and even though there are no waterparks or child specific attractions within the islands, there is an abundance of activities for younger ones to enjoy. Firstly, when it comes to beaches, the main Cape Verde islands of Sal and Boa Vista offer mile upon mile of golden sands for families of all ages to enjoy. For families with a sense of adventure, activities like horse riding, turtle spotting and volcano exploring are sure to prove unforgettable and exciting tales for your return back home. Older children will love the water sports available – especially on Sal, which is considered to be one of the world’s top 5 windsurfing locations. The resorts on Sal are particular recommended, boasting plenty of facilities for families and the beaches by Santa Maria that are great for kids. On some of the islands it is possible to do a bit of bird and turtle spotting without intruding too much on their habitats, and on São Vicente and Santiago it is possible to go horse riding. There may well be some organised activities for children at other properties, however, English may not be the most commonly used language. Some hotels will have small play areas which tend to be unsupervised.
Please note that there is no Malaria present in the islands of Cape Verde with the exception of Santiago during the months of September - November. Overall, Cape Verde is a family-friendly holiday destination, with plenty on offer to make for an unforgettable experience for mum and dad as well as the kids.
Honeymoon in Cape Verde
Cape Verde provides the ideal setting for a romantic, idyllic and unforgettable honeymoon along one of the most stunning areas of the world. The natural beauty of the islands and surrounding hinterland; the glorious coastline, the forest parks and wonderful beaches all add up to the perfect getaway for honeymooners. Alongside the fantastic food and drink, there are many activities for honeymoon couples around the islands of Cape Verde; from adrenaline-rush activities like sailing, surfing and cycling to visiting the picturesque hiking paths and landmark sites of natural beauty or simply relax and enjoy some of the best settings in Africa. For those looking to get away to more secluded environments, take a trip to the beautiful Fogo Island to see some awe-inspiring sights perfect for honeymooners. With many guest houses, hotels and apartments all along every island of Cape Verde you’re sure to find something to suit your budget and many of these places provide romantic suites for couples on honeymoon.
Golf Activity Holiday in Cape Verde
Although there is an 18 hole course to be found on Sao Vicente, it probably isn't worth making a special trip to the Cape Verde Islands to simply play golf. "Bald" is a good description as it is hard to tell the difference between the fairways, the "greens", the bunkers, and the dirt track road leading to it. There was a golf course on Sal made by the South African Airways staff, using salt flats, but as Espargos expanded the golf course was built on. As of January 2009, other courses have been announced, on various islands, and we will keep an eye on which materialises the first, and what they will be made of. Overall, although Cape Verde does offer some good greens for the determined golfer on holiday, there is perhaps not enough to sate those looking for lots of golf action while on vacation.j
Sailing Activity Holiday in Cape Verde
Cape Verde has numerous islands perfect for sailing, not onli are there plenty of places to rent first-rate sailing equipment, Cape Verde is situated in the North-East Passat winds so there is enough wind for sailors all year round. During the Winter months (October to March) winds can be strong with around 70% of the winds 4 – 7 Beaufort. During the Summer months (April to September) winds are less strong with around 45% of the winds 4 – 7 Beaufort. There are no hurricanes or heavy storms in the Cape Verde Islands.
Most sailors visit the islands during the Winter months when the weather in Europe is not so good for sailing. The distances between the islands are relatively long (up to 120 miles) and it is important to be aware that there is little nautical infrastructure available on the islands. However, each island offers fishing harbours and bays where it is possible to anchor safely. It is possible to charter a yacht with or without the services of a skipper. Sailors who hire without a skipper should be experienced as the Cape Verde islands do not offer any form of air/sea rescue service. The yachts are stationed in Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente. Most sailors normally hire for a 2 week period which allows sailing around most of the islands. Because of the convenient location of these islands, an increasing number of yachts about to cross the Atlantic stop in Cape Verde. They can refuel and take advantage of the few facilities available, i.e. boat repair, food and water supplies. The best equipped harbours are on Sal, Sao Vicente and Santiago, while on the other less developed islands, the safety of the anchorage depends on the weather condition. Overall, Cape Verde is a fantastic and awe-inspiring sailing destination, but only for experienced sailors and holidaymakers who know how to sail.
Scuba Diving Activity Holiday in Cape Verde
Scuba Diving is a brilliant way to spend any holiday in the sun, and Cape Verde offers a multitude of unique areas to Scuba Dive, available in a range of levels to ensure that every holidaymaker can enjoy. Because the islands are mid-Atlantic, the waters are clear, the fish plentiful, and the water warm. You can see volcanic rocks, caves, and wrecks as well as the marine life. There are diving schools in Sal, Boavista and Sao Vicente. Many of the dive schools expect payment in cash, and there is a possibility to pay for diving in advance through a tour operator's package. Divers can see a good range of fish, including tropical species such as parrot fish and angelfish, groupers, barracudas, moray eels and, with luck, manta rays, sharks (including the nurse, tiger and lemon) and marine turtles. Five species of turtles visit the islands on their way across the Atlantic. Nesting takes place throughout the year, but in particular from May to October. All in all, Scuba Diving in Cape Verde is one for the whole family and promises an unforgettable experience.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Cape Verde
Trekking is one of the great activities on Cape Verde; and with its lush hinterland, beautiful beaches and wondrous stretches of coastline, offers everything a hiking holidaymaker could want on its sun-drenched collection of islands. The most popular island among walkers is Santo Antao, because of its spectacular landscapes. The island has a vast mountain range offering great views and a wonderfully diverse flora, and in the island's interior there are green valleys and fertile forests, while the coast is rugged. There are several marked trails on the island, but it is also possible to hire a guide for your walking trip. Further afield, steep paths crisscross Bravo, the flower island, and walking in Fogo's volcano crater is a unique experience. Take switchback routes in the ribeiras (normally dry river valleys) of Sao Tiago. There are also some superb walks within the green and mountainous heart of quiet little Sao Nicolau Island. Guided tours are available on every island, proving to be affordable and regular as well as offering an invaluable look at some of Cape Verde’s most picturesque hikes and jaw-dropping scenescapes. A real must for hiking enthusiasts.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Cape Verde
Cycling is a good way to get around the islands, but there are few places to rent them; so determined holidaymakers looking to cycle Cape Verde should think about bringing your own. Sal has a number of off-road tracks, and a dual carriageway with very little traffic in it which runs down the middle of the island. Several keen cyclists train on this road. In February 2008, there were special triathlon training sessions being run in Sal, which included cycling. The Belgian over 60 cycling champion trains on Sal throughout the year. While Cape Verde’s wealth of stunning settings could well be explored by bike, the terrain is largely unforgiving and is perhaps best saved for another holiday.
Shopping Holiday in Cape Verde
Cape Verde certainly isn’t the place to shop ’til you drop, but if peeking your head around colourful doorways to see what you find sounds like your kind of retail therapy, then you’ll love shopping in Cape Verde. Santa Maria is the most popular holiday destination, found on the southern tip of Sal island. Here, in addition to the two banks and supermarket, a delightful mixed bag of shops await you, from surf places selling beach gear to rustic makeshift shops painted in every colour of the rainbow where you can buy intricately carved wooden masks and brightly coloured canvas’ by local artists. Have a browse, and maybe a barter, at the indoor market which is bursting with jewellery, clothing and fresh produce stalls, and don’t miss the Centro de Artesanato, an arts and crafts store with shelves full of elegant ceramic pieces and leather goods. Shopping in the islands is low-key and is mainly in local markets. Toiletries and other day-to-day items can be expensive as most things are imported, but the markets are a great place to look for handicrafts. Basket-weaving is a popular past-time, and artists fashion utensils and figurines from clay. Overall, Cape Verde is hardly a shopping destination for holidaymakers wanting haute couture, but there are main bespoke gems and excellent local shops to be found scattered across Cape Verde’s islands, making it a good destination for holidaymakers looking for a unique shopping experience.
Touring - Driving holiday in Cape Verde
There are excellent opportunities to go off-road in the Cape Verdes, as so few of the roads are made-up - making a touring or driving vacation an excellent idea for holidaymakers looking to escape to a sun-drenched island paradise. If you are hiring a vehicle, it really should be a 4x4 so that you can go to more remote places, and have the essential clearance as some of the roads are not especially good. There are many unexplored beaches and remote spots to visit and can be easily traversed in one of the many hire Suzuki Jeeps and larger 4x4's on offer. The volcanic island of Fogo is another fantastic spot for exploring by vehicle, and is a must for serious driving enthusiasts. It's easy to get stuck in the sand unless you are very experienced, and many of the tracks on the islands are not signed, nor are the roads, so getting lost is simple. Check with the car renter where exactly you are allowed to drive it, and don't expect pristine vehicles, many are often dusty and dented. Overall, as long as you don’t expect the world in service, touring or driving holidays across Cape Verde offer some scenes of beaches and coastline that are unrivalled anywhere in the world. Just be prepared for the bumpy roads!
Winter Sun in Cape Verde
Cape Verde enjoys a temperate climate year-round and is a perfect destination for holidaymakers who fancy a spot of winter sun. Cape Verde is pleasant year-round. Even during the so-called rainy season from mid-August to mid-October, weeks can go by without a downpour. Thanks to cooling ocean currents and offshore winds, Cape Verde has the lowest temperatures of any country in West Africa, and also some of the most moderate, ranging from a minimum night-time average of 19°C in February to a maximum daytime average of 29°C from May to November. From December to March you may need a sweater in the evenings, especially at higher altitudes. Winter months are also marked by gusty winds, which blow in dust all the way from the Sahara. Also be sure to stick out the winter sun and enjoy the spectacular new year’s eve celebrations, giant street parties across each of the islands and several of the main beaches. Overall, despite the sometimes irksome winds, there is plenty of fun in the sun to be had on a winter sun holiday in Cape Verde.