By Freddy Gomes, mindelocaboverde.com
By Freddy Gomes, mindelocaboverde.com
Cape Verde is a fantastic travel destination. Each of the islands has something special and unique to offer its visitors. Sal, Maio and Boavista are known for their beaches and sand dunes, Santo Antão and São Nicolau are known for their mountains and hiking trails. Island hopping in Cape Verde, though unfortunately pretty expensive, is by far the best way to truly get to know the country. Here are the 7 places in Cape Verde you definitely need to visit:
The Fogo Vulcano
In november 2014 the Pico volcano (2829 m.) of the island Fogo erupted. Hundreds of residents of the village Chã das Caldeiras had to be evacuated. Today, many residents of Chã das Caldeiras are back and have started to built up their lives again. Even before the eruption, the vulcano of Fogo was amongst the most popular places to visit for the more adventurous traveller discovering Cape Verde.
“Cape Verde: 10 islands, 1 amazing travel destination”
Without a doubt the most historical place of Cape Verde. This oldest settlement of the country, located on the island of Santiago just half an hour outside capital Praia, is listed on Unesco’s world heritage list. Cidade Velha was built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, as an important slave trade port. Because of the slave trade Cidade Velha became the 2nd richest city (!) of the Portuguese colonialists. You can reach Cidade Velha from Praia by ‘Hiace’ (public transportation).
The Valley of Paul
The valley of Paul on the island of Santo Antão, which might be Cape Verde’s most beautiful island, is a paradise for hikers and trekkers. It offers hours and hours of spectacular hikes and views. Be prepared to be amazed every time you go around a mountain during your hike. Each new view seems to be better than the last. Along the route are many small lovely villages where you can rest, grab a drink and maybe enjoy a traditional Cape Verdean snack such as ‘pastel’.
This incredible little village on the island of Santo Antão was named by National Geographic (!) as one of the villages in the world with the best views. Fontainhas is located close to the charming town Ponta do Sol. The hike up to Fontainhas offers amazing sea and mountain views, and takes up almost one hour. It is possible to continue your hike along the coast towards Cruzinha. Spending the night in Fontainhas is also an option. Although it is a very small village, there are options to choose from. This would also allow you some time to check out the small beach that you can reach by following a little trail down the mountain.
Santa Maria Beach
Cape Verde’s most popular beach among tourists. The island of Sal receives the most tourists of all the Cape Verde islands, followed by Boavista. The beach of Santa Maria has been named ‘one of 25 most beautiful beaches in the world’. Santa Maria is a lovely town where, although filled with many visitors, it’s still possible to see what daily life is for many people on the islands. Head out to the pier to check out the activities based around the fishing industry. Fisherman coming and leaving in their colorful boats, and women yelling out their catch frases and prices in order to get attention from potential customers.
The Bay of Mindelo
The bay of Mindelo on the island of São Vicente is often named as one of the ‘most beautiful bays in the world‘. Walking down the ‘Avenida Marginal’ you will understand why it has this fame. The combination of the sound and smell of the ocean, colorful fishing boats, sunshine and lovely sea breeze might just be the reason why the bay of Mindelo made it into that list. If you are hanging out around the bay make sure to stick around for the sunset. Choose your exact location on the avenue based on where the sun goes down at the moment of your visit. Sit back, relax and enjoy! (For more on Mindelo sunsets, click the photo)
The beach of Tarrafal is one of the most beautiful beaches of Cape Verde. It’s located in the northern part of the island of Santiago. Tarrafal is a traditional Cape Verdean town where the fishing industry is a very important source of living. The amazing beach of Tarrafal is great for snorkeling and surfing. You can reach Tarrafal daily with a ‘Hiace’ from the city of Praia.