This absolutely incredible country, Cape Verde, lies over 10 different islands. Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to visit only two of them, Santiago and Maio, nevertheless it was an incredible journey.
Santiago represents the main island, where the capital of the country is, called Praia (The Beach). The island is surrounded by beautiful beaches and rocks, totally different from the interior of the island, which is surprisingly filled with mountains.
Praia is a pretty developed city and quite colorful, but don’t stay there for long; the nature outside the city is great.
It is said that the first settlements were created by the slaves who had managed to run away from their masters. 15 km from Praia, there is a city called Cidade Velha, which was home to a famous port for trading slaves. Those who managed to escape from the port were running away to the interior of the island, which didn’t have any infrastructure at that time. Plain mountains and hard to get through flora made it almost impossible for the slave traders to catch them. Thus they became the first settlers.
Because Cape Verde has so few resources, everything is pretty expensive, starting from food, housing and electricity, so don’t expect a cheap trip to Africa. The best is to rent a flat and then buy food to cook at home. Meat is very expensive, but there is a very delicious and cheap alternative - fish. At the Sunday fish market, you can buy a lot of delicious tuna very cheap as well as other kinds of fish.
Cape Verde produces very good local beer, called Strela, but if you’re at the beach, you should definitely try the local Caipirinha made with locally produced liquor, called grog. It is perfect in the afternoon sun!
Santiago has nice beaches, but incomparable to those in Maio. Maio is a small island, very peaceful and full of empty, white sand beaches. You get here in about 4 hours on a very old boat from Praia. So if you usually get seasick, be prepared to suffer.
But it is all worth it! When approaching the island, if you’re lucky, you can see the famous fish that can fly. I couldn’t believe it myself, but these small fish were flying above the water for a couple of meters before the dip.
And then, the beaches...
We have met lots of internationals, mainly older people, who have nice houses here, so when Europe is cold, they immigrate here.
There is a person who rents out bicycles to tourists, so you can bike around the island, taking you, I think, about 6 hours.
Accommodation is easier to get, and not that expensive. There is a new and very modern apartment complex. Each apartment belongs to some family and when they are away they rent it out to tourists. There is a kitchen as well so food is not a problem again, though you can always try the fish cooked by the locals.
And if you have the opportunity to visit the other islands, please do, they are all different and they are something to see!