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Meet Cape Verde, Paradisiacal Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean

Meet Cape Verde, Paradisiacal Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean

FIND YOURSELF IN CAPE VERDE

HOW TO GET THERE: From Lisbon, as TAP offers several flights to Cape Verde. The most common airports are Santiago Island and Sal Island.

How to get around: With no less than ten islands, the only way to get around is by plane or boat. It is worth seeing which one is more advantageous since the islands are not always close to each other. Within the islands, the car is the most suitable transportation!

CURRENCY: The local currency is the Cape Verdean shield.

LANGUAGE: The official language is Portuguese.

 

Sal Island

The Lunar Island

Getting to Sal is like reaching the moon, only a moon with a sea view. the water is translucent and its temperature mild. The land is arid, which sometimes becomes a bit disappointing. Your meeting is Santa Maria and its long white sandy beach. So Sal is the place to rest, relax and enjoy the beach or resort amenities. Sal is the island that receives more tourists.

Area: 216 sq.km

Population: 25765 (2010)

Capital: Asparagus

Airport: Asparagus

Points of Interest: Santa Maria Beach, Pedra Lume Salt Flats and Buracona.

 

Boavista Island

Love at first sight

With a sandy beach, turquoise sea and a small desert. It is a somewhat sleepy island, tourism is smaller, which helps to maintain its authenticity and its unexplored nooks. Boavista has the best of both worlds: a small Sara and paradisiacal beaches right next door.

Area: 620 sq.km

Population: 9162 (2010)

Capital: Sal Rei

Airport: Rabil

Points of Interest: Viana Desert, Chaves Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Herman's Beach, Cape Santa Maria, Curral Velho, Fundo das Figueiras, João Galego.

 

Santiago Island

The most African Island

Cradle of the nation, it was here that the settlement and the Creole began - the result of the mixture of Europeans and slaves brought from Africa. It is the most populated island, where the landscape is more diverse, and you can have a smell of what you will find in the other islands. Its interior is green and mountainous. It has so much to see, as if there were several islands within it. Praia is an overcrowded city, everything is bustling there. It takes a few days to get used to it, and we begin to appreciate its historic center.

Area: 991 sq.km

Population: 273,919 (2010)

Capital: Beach

Airport: Beach

Points of Interest: Old Town, Tarrafal, Serra Malagueta, Antonia Peak, Rui Vaz.

 

May Island

The Forgotten Island

May Island is one of Cape Verde's best kept secrets. Mysteriously it is not very well known to tourists, although this paradise has beautiful beaches like Sal and Boavista and turquoise sea. Being one of the most forgotten islands is one of the least developed and frequented. Soon the development will come, as there are already plans to build hotels and vacation condos. But meanwhile this island is literally standing still in time, making it the perfect destination for beach lovers and tranquility. On its vast coast of deserted white sand beaches, the days pass slowly, in endless laziness.

Area: 269 sq.km

Population: 6952 (Census 2010)

Airport: Vila do Maio

Required Points of Interest: Ponta Preta, Gonçalo Beach, Calheta, Saline in Vila do Maio, Morrinho.

 

Fire Island

Volcano island

This island has a special, almost magnetic charm. The sleeping volcano, although it is not known until when. It stands, imposing “The Mountain that Boils” in the words of the Cape Verdean writer Germano Almeida, through the clouds, in a contrast between white and black. When the sky is clear we can see it in all its splendor, but most of the time it hides in the mist, which gives it a certain aura of mystery, as if it were unattainable. And when we get to Chã das Caldeiras, the volcano's crater, it looks like the earth has increased in size, just as we have shrunk it. The landscape is unique. Everything is black, rivers of lava flowing down to the ocean. Rivers of lava that with each eruption flood the landscape transforming it to its pleasure. In contrast, the soil is fertile, as few in Cape Verde.

In the crater of the volcano lives a community that, despite government warnings and evacuation attempts, insists on staying there and cultivating the fields, even after the volcano showed signs of life in 1995, when the lowest peak erupted. Chã das Caldeiras has its own personality and is one of the most intriguing settlements in the archipelago.

On the other side of the island, already in the Monasteries, the color is different: green slopes with eucalyptus trees, vineyards and the famous Café do Fogo. In Djarfogo, as the island of fire is known, the inhabitants also excel in difference. In contrast to the black of the earth, there are blond people with blue eyes and lighter skin, the result of a large crossbreeding.

Area: 476 sq.km

Population: 37051 (2010)

Capital: São Filipe

Required Points of Interest: Chã das Caldeiras, São Filipe and Monasteries.

 

Brava Island

Flower Island

As they say in Cape Verde, "Brava is difficult." Hard to get to - not quite now, thanks to the new fast ferry - hard to leave. For many years it was the most inaccessible island of all, and perhaps how his mystery begins. Although an airport was built, Brava was condemned to isolation, as the winds that blow make landings virtually impossible. And it is by boat that crosses the channel that separates Fogo from this neighboring island. Many Cape Verdeans do not know it, but it has in its imagination legends and stories that are told about it. And the truth is that the smallest island of the archipelago islands has its own charm. It seems that the world does not go through it. It is also known as the island of flowers, as its moist microclimate grows hibiscus, bougainvillea, acacia and dragon trees. It is a land for unhurried people who want to dive into a small community and feel the true hospitality typical of the villages. Beauty is not lacking, so much so that many bought it to the Portuguese village of Sintra, for its verdant landscape.

Area: 67 sq.km

Population: 5995 (2010)

Capital: Vila Nova Sintra

Points of interest: Vila Nova de Sintra, Furna, Faja de Água.

 

Sao Vicente Island

The Island of the Party

Synonymous with party, live music and good mood, São Vicente is an open island to the world, and it seems that the world has entered it with warm rhythms and gliding steps. São Vicente is not visited by the beach, but by the life, history and animation that is felt in every corner. Its main city, Mindelo, is cosmopolitan and the cultural capital of the archipelago. Its streets, celebrated until late, are the right place to get lost and discover cafes with history, bars on the Avenue, Tocatinas and dancing until day. Feel the spirit of true “Cape Verdean night”, regardless of age, social class or skin color. The Saint Vincentian motto is “passa sab morre ca nada”, which means that the important thing is the moment, to be happy and enjoy, the rest not interest, because if we die, we die happy.

São Vicente is the birthplace of Cesária Évora and so many other artists who took Cape Verde's music across borders. No wonder it hosts the 2 biggest festivities, Carnival, the most celebrated in Africa, and the Baía das Gatas festival. Mindelo rests with its gaze fixed on its welcoming bay, which welcomes visitors with open arms, thanks to Porto Grande and its strategic geographical position. Perhaps that is why we feel this is Cape Verdean city where we feel closest to Europe.

Area: 227sq.km

Population: 76107 (2010)

Capital: Mindelo

Must see points of interest: Mindelo, Baía das Gatas, Monte Verde, Calhau, Praia Grande.

 

Santa Luzia Island

The Desert Island

Santa Luzia is the smallest island of the archipelago, with only 35 sq.km and whose highest point is Mount Topona, with 395m. Since 1990 it is considered a public heritage and an important nature reserve of the archipelago. Arriving on the island by boat, the landscape seems to be taken from a painting. A mound of brown, endless white sand and turquoise sea, clean and crystal clear. If you thought the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago were in Boavista, it is wrong: they are here. They are immaculate beaches, huge, without anyone. The island is divided into 2 parts, the north coast is steeper and the south zone, which corresponds to three quarters of the island, is a huge sandy beach. The interior of Santa Luzia alternates between aridity and dunes. But here are several medicinal plants, for digestion and constipation or the abrolho, a plant that "gives strength to man". There are also endemic plants unique to this location.

Over the centuries there have been several attempts to populate the island, but due to its aridity and very dry climate it has never been possible and has become a cattle pasture. Southwest of Santa Luzia - between this island and São Nicolau - are the Raso and Branco islets. Both serve as a refuge for rare birds, including the Raso islet calender.

Area: 35 sq.km

Population: Deserted

Highest point: Topona (395m)

 

Santo Antão Island

The Green Island

We have always heard that Santo Antão was the greenest island in Cape Verde, one of the few that lives up to the name of the country, but when we get off the boat all we see around us is arid and dry. No green, just brown. This is a first impression that quickly fades when we make our way north. We realize that after all it is true, Santo Antão is green, mountainous, with waterfalls and their mythical streams. It is also one of the most special islands in the archipelago, not only for its landscape that reminds us of regions of Portugal such as the Azores or Gerês, but for the friendliness and hostility of the local people.

Known for being the most welcoming, they welcome the visitor with open arms and, on the second day, are likely to be invited to lunch at someone's home or to return from a walk with their arms full of papayas and sleeves. Santo Antão is also an island for long walks, rather than for swimming, as the beaches are black sand and the rough sea. It is the ideal place to be in touch with nature, to immerse yourself in the rugged landscape, the coastal ravines, the green valleys and inland streams, lulled by the sound of the waves crashing on the black rock and enjoying the peace that comes with it. There are several walking routes to choose from. Santo Antão is also the island of sugar cane, with huge plantations, and grog. It is said that this is where the best grog and punch of the archipelago is produced.

Area: 779 sq.km

Population: 43915 (2010)

Capital: Ribeira Grande

Porto: Porto Novo

Must see points of interest: Paúl, Cova, Ponta do Sol, Ribeira Grande, Tarrafal de Monte Trigo.

 

St. Nicholas Island

Dragon Island

On this green and mountainous island, the pace is slow and contagious. It seems that development is reluctant to come here and with it the winds of the future. Everyone knows each other and the people are from the most hospitable of the archipelago, rivaling Santo Antão. As tourists are a rare presence, outsiders feel no different. It's as if it's always been part of the place. Saint Nicholas was once an important cultural center, with the opening of the country's first high school. Today is a forgotten island, agricultural and rural. It is also the island of dragon trees, a very rare tree that is considered fossil for its longevity.

Area: 334 sq.km

Population: 12817 (2010)

Capital: Ribeira Brava

Porto: Laziness

Must see points of interest: Ribeira Brava, Monte Gordo Natural Park, Tarrafal.

 

In Cabo Verde de Tânia Sarmento