10 things I wish I knew before going to Cape Verde

Danila Leshiy17 February 202120308 views11 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to Cape Verde
Cape Verde. There are the Cape Verde Islands. The country is located in the Atlantic Ocean on an archipelago a little west of Africa, namely-620 kilometers from Senegal. This archipelago is a sparsely populated country of tropics and beaches, including 18 islands. In Cape Verde, tours are sent primarily to show tourists a beautiful land, far from civilization. This is one of the few travel destinations where wildlife coexists with commercial and not so much tourism. Everything you need to know about Cape Verde before traveling to this island country, I will tell you below. I will tell you what to be afraid of and what to prepare for. And also, especially for those who do not like surprises, I will tell you all about Cape Verde tourism.

1. Cape Verde weather

cape verde sunset As befits any island nation of tropical latitudes, Cape Verde has a warm climate all year round. In the most severe cold times, the Cape Verde weather on the islands hovers around 20 degrees Celsius. Little rain falls, and some of the islands remain uninhabited. One important point is that the islands have winds all year round. Only they can greatly reduce the heat of the islands.

2. Wildlife Hotel Service

hotel As I said, in Cape Verde, tours are sent primarily to show tourists a beautiful land, far from civilization. And this can be judged by the place where guests from all over the world are offered to stay. While you're in Cape Verde, forget about internationally recognized Cape Verde hotels with global chains. They're not here. But there are a lot of hotels with an unprecedented scale. Unprecedented large guest houses of the archipelago are complexes not only with cozy rooms and restaurants, bars and others familiar to all tourist places. Most of them include children's playgrounds, swimming pools with both fresh and salt water, and even golf courses. On some Cape Verde islands, the distinctive features of which we will analyze later, it is possible to rent a cottage where there is not a single sign of civilization. There are no cities, no towns, no roadside eateries with gas stations. Only privacy and a clear ocean.

3. Cape Verde population

cape verde ladies Before you go, in general, to any country in the world, the most important thing is always to know first of all about Cape Verde population. The Cape Verde population is approximately about 540 thousand Cape Verde people, 70% of whom are mulattoes. The remaining 30, respectively, are all the other races of the Earth. The main Cape Verde language of the state is Portuguese. And this is connected, of course, with the history of the settlement of the islands. Since the archipelago lives primarily at the expense of Cape Verde tourism, all local residents are favorable to those who come to the Cape Verde islands for the sake of recreation and every third person has something to offer tourists.

4. Colonization Of Cape Verde

cape verde The islands were discovered by the Venetian navigator Aloysia Cada-Mosto, who was in the service of Portugal. This happened in 1456, and from that moment on, Portuguese colonists gradually settled on the islands, settling them. But, at the same time, the mention of the islands can be found in earlier periods – among Arab travelers. Starting in 1462, the first settlements of colonists from Europe began to appear on the islands. It was not only the Portuguese-the islands were inhabited by people from Spain, Genoa and France. In addition, a little later, thousands of Jewish political refugees arrived on the islands. For the colonists, the location of the islands was important – many merchant ships from Europe and America sailed through that section of the Atlantic Ocean. On the islands, the slave trade was carried out everywhere. Therefore, in fact, the main part of the Cape Verde population in our time is a mulatto. All this time, the archipelago was a province of Portugal, and only in 1974 it gained the status of an independent state.

5. Modern cities of Cape Verde

praia The main and most populous city of Cape Verde is, of course, Praia. The political, economic and cultural center of the country. It combines a large number of resorts and a European atmosphere. This applies to the mentality and appearance of the city. But about everything in order. The main attraction of Praia is its central square, Albuquerque. Around it are collected monuments of the era of colonization, namely-the Presidential Palace, the Ethnographic Museum, the City Hall. In addition to island options for spending time and recreation, Praia is distinguished by its European life. There is a very lively nightlife in Praia. Many bars and nightclubs are waiting for everyone. In Cape Verde, tours most often go to this city. And if you want to not only relax on the beach but also get acquainted with the local Cape Verde culture - welcome to this city. Santa Maria. A city on the island of Sal, which is famous for its salt pools. The finest sand, turquoise water and morna-style music pouring from the beach bars, all within a short drive of Ilha do Sal Airport and the Cape Verde capital. Also one of the most popular places in Cape Verde. San Filipe. The third-largest city in the archipelago. It is located on the island of Fogo – an island with an active volcano. And this is the main distinguishing feature of the city – many buildings of the city, including churches, are built of volcanic rocks. Of course, there are many more interesting cities in Cape Verde, but these three are the main ones. Only these cities alone will be enough to disappear in the archipelago for a long time.

6. Features of the islands of the archipelago

fisherman Cape Verde consists of 18 islands, divided into leeward and leeward groups. There is nothing to say about the small Cape Verde islands, in general, but the large ones have very important features. Now about each island in order.
  • Sal. The flat island of all. Based on this, it has more opportunities for the development of infrastructure, including Cape Verde tourism. In addition to surfing and diving, sailing boats with transparent bottoms are popular here. Sunken ships and marine life are clearly visible through it.
  • Fogo. Another island of volcanic origin has a protected area with an active volcano. Despite this, the volcano has been dormant for a long time and in the basin of the former eruptions there is a village with a church and a local museum. The nature of Fogo is a series of vineyards, from which the locals make excellent wine. And against the background of vineyards – lifeless fields, scorched by a volcano and beaches with volcanic sand.
  • Brava. "Island of Flowers". A piece of land with an innumerable variety of plants is considered a geological extension of the island of Fogo. The stretch of ocean between these two islands is only a few hundred meters, and just to the north is another small continuation of two small desert islands.
  • Santiago. The largest island in the archipelago. Accordingly, the largest cities of the state and the government are located on it. Accordingly, the majority of the population lives here. An important part of the island is a large natural park with baobabs and dragon trees over 400 years old.
  • San Vicente. More or less flat terrain and a center of crafts, where they make everything that local traditions dictate-fabric and crafts made of stone and shells.
  • Boavista. The island, for the most part, consists of beaches, alternating with oases. The main local attraction is the Viana Desert, where off-road, ATV and motorcycle safaris are constantly held.
  • San Nicolau. Once the cultural Cape Verde capital of the archipelago with its own literary current. In addition, the main attraction of the island is its rocks.
  • Santo Antao. The oldest lighthouse in the archipelago and many surviving buildings from the colonization period.
  • Mayu. It is located at a distance from the other islands of the archipelago. It, like Fogo, has a dormant volcano, only this one hasn't woken up for thousands of years. There are many beautiful beaches on the island, but you will have to drive off-road vehicles to get to them from the island civilization.
  • Santa Lucia. No vegetation, no population. But still, the island is visited by tourists because of the large number of beautiful beaches. Once upon a time, fishermen and shepherds lived on the island, but due to the lack of freshwater, they did not last long here.

7. Water sports

scuba diving What is an island state without water sports? Most people who are interested in getting to Cape Verde are primarily interested in diving. First of all, this is due to where is Cape Verde located. Diving is the most popular sport in the archipelago. First of all, this is because of the diverse underwater world. The clean and warm ocean water is home to tuna, moray eels, barracudas, manta rays, eels, lobsters and sea bass. When submerged in water, visibility due to clear water reaches 40 meters. This is the main reason for divers to visit this place. After all, so much clear water allows you to see large ocean inhabitants like huge turtles, stingrays and even whales. A separate topic for diving Cape Verde-reefs and underwater caves. But even they are not as interesting as sunken ships. During the colonization of the islands, there were an incredible number of shipwrecks, most of them near the islands of Santiago, Sal and Boavista. In the last two, sunken ships can be found at a depth of 12 meters or more. Two other island sports that are considered a big crime to pass by in Cape Verde are windsurfing and kitesurfing. All the islands have modern sports centers with all the equipment. And all the islands have favorable conditions for this in the Atlantic Ocean. But the most popular island for this action is Sal. But more suitable for experienced surfers. Still, huge waves and a lot of rocks-the site is not for beginners. Another thing is the waters near the city of Santa Maria. Here the water is always calm and ideal for beginners.

8. The ruins of the colonies

cape verde Important information about the islands is the traces of European colonists preserved here. We will start with the Cape Verde capital. No, not from Praya, but from its surroundings. Namely, the town of Cidade Velha. It was here that the first ever capital of Cape Verde was located. There still stands the Portuguese fortress of St. Philip, which was laid as a defense against pirates. A majestic representative of the ruins of Cape Verde and a symbol of the era of colonization. There are ruins of a former civilization all over the archipelago, but compared to this UNESCO-listed fortress, they are not so interesting. But very interesting rock Rocca Sabinada on the island of sao Nicolau. There are ancient writings preserved here, which have not yet been deciphered. According to historians, they were left by people who visited Cape Verde long before the first arrival of the Portuguese on the island.

9. Local cuisine

fish The cuisine of Cape Verde is a reason for a separate article. Where is Cape Verde located, there is a very large variety of large and not very marine inhabitants. Of course, this is reflected in the local cuisine. The delicacies of the local oceans, prepared by the skilled chefs of Cape Verde – sawfish, tuna and sea bass. Lobsters, barnacles and octopuses are also popular. The main delicacies, in addition to fish dishes – "jagasida", stewed pork with corn flour, sausage "bochada" from the stomach of lambs, as well as local fast food - "devil pies", about the features of which it is better to ask the local chefs. Of course, there are a lot of tropical fruit desserts on the islands. They can be listed endlessly, because the vegetation of each island is hideously diverse. You can also endlessly list the miracle of local winemaking, which is different from many places in the world, first of all, the volcanic origin of the grape plantations.

10. How to get to Cape Verde

plane Finally, we come to the most important thing that interests absolutely everyone who plans to spend time in this wonderful archipelago – how to get to Cape Verde. The first step is to get a visa. To do this, you will have to come to the Cape Verde embassy in Moscow. You can get a visa on arrival, and it will even be cheaper, but some airlines will not take you on board to this country without a visa. And you still have to issue a permit at the embassy. Unfortunately, Russian tour operators are not very fond of this direction. And you will have to get to the islands through Europe - through Lisbon, Madrid, Paris or Frankfurt. Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Russia. But there is always another option, which I always insist on. To overcome themselves. After all, you are going to meet the Cape Verde nature. And why not get to it in a wild way? On your own flight on your own ship. Or not on your own, but on a ship. Again, there are no direct flights, but official flights with a large number of passengers are not all ways to explore the world. Although, you will have to get a visa in any case. The path for everyone is his decision. And you don't have to travel like everyone else. Cape Verde is a rare route for a Russian tourist. As for me, this is the main reason to embark on it. Pack a backpack and go to where is Cape Verde located.

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