Cape Verde: Introduction
An Archipelago of 10 Volcanic Islands
The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately 604 km off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands (of which nine are inhabited) and eight islets. The nine inhabited islands are bristling with their own individual character and melodious, unique musical culture, besides offering plenty of opportunities for relaxation or active pursuits. Santiago, the largest and most populated of Cape Verde’s nine populated islands, has a mountainous, lush interior fringed by small sandy beaches. The island’s capital, Praia, is a lively, pleasant town with a good nightlife.
Other attractions include Cidade Velha, the first Portuguese settlement on Cape Verde. There are ruins and old buildings and, on the hill above, the Fort Real de San Felipe, an old Portuguese fort. Make sure you check out Cape Verde’s fantastic beaches: in particular, go and see the fine white sand beaches of Sal and the black sand beaches of Sao Nicolau. The surrounding sea provides great sailing. Surfing and windsurfing are available on Sall and diving is gaining in popularity, mainly on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista. Find the famous salt pits of Sal, after which the island is named, which produced salt for much of the former Portuguese empire. São Vicente’s Carnival is the liveliest in Cape Verde, while the traditional Baia das Gatas Festival, which usually falls in August, has become internationally renowned for the standard of its music.
Unveil an abundance of unique plant life on Brava, a lush island with more rainfall than most, offering beautiful views of the coast from its plateau. Walk or climb amidst the spectacular scenery and rugged coastline of Santo Antão. The mountainous island of Fogo is also great for hikes with excellent views, and it also has an active volcano in its midst.