The Ultimate Travelers Guide to Cape Verde and Hotel Parque das Dunas
Cape Verde (officially Cabo Verdean in native Portuguese) is a sun-drenched cluster of 10 islands floating 350 miles off the West African nation of Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cape Verde Islands have perfect weather conditions for vacationers with an average of 350 days of sunshine per year. You are almost guaranteed great weather no matter what time of year. This should be reason enough to mark Capo Verde on your map.
“Cape_Verde_C4_0175″by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The islands are just 6 hours on a direct flight from Europe making this beach lover’s paradise fairly accessible, but just far enough to keep it off the radar for many tourists. Most tourists opt to travel to the slightly closer Canary Islands making Cape Verde an adventurers dream and an incredibly unique and picturesque location to take a holiday.
Better yet, because Cape Verde remains out of the spotlight of mass tourism, the islands are considerably cheaper than the Canary Islands. You can expect to get great value for money here.
All up, the 10 islands of Carpe Verde occupy over 1500 square miles of an extraordinary dramatic landscape and beautiful beaches. It is a place where many lovely beaches meet the vista of mountain scenery.
“Cape Verde remote south east side (costa da fragata)”by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The breath-taking beauty of the beaches, rich history, and outstanding landscapes have made Cape Verde into a rising star among the must-visit destinations for well-traveled people worldwide.
Even though all the islands having picturesque landscapes, the most popular islands for visitors are the island of Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio, due to the allure of their sandy-white beaches.
“Pico do Fogo with Lavafield, Cape Verde”by firstname.lastname@example.org is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
That said, the active stratovolcano Pico do Fogo is attracting more and more tourists to the gorgeous island of Fogo. And if you are seeking sites rich in culture, you should head over to the island of Santiago, on which lies the own of Cidade Velha that was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.
There is much to do in Cape Verde so for those of you who have an adventurous spirit, Cape Verde offers an abundance of fun activities that will keep you on your toes all day long.
Seasons, Climate and Weather
“Lighthouse, Praia, Cape Verde”by CarolineG2011 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Cape Verde’s climate is uniquely mild verse the African mainlands due to its unique location.
The sea surrounding the islands provides a more moderate temperature on the islands than the blistering heat of West Africa, giving the impression of an eternal summer season.
“Cape_Verde_C4_0118″by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Better yet, the water is perfect. The cold streams of water that affect the Senegal coast do not reach the islands, so Cape Verde has an ideal combination of cooler air and warmer sea making the water very inviting indeed.
“Cape_Verde_C4_0271″by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Cape Verde is warm but comfortable all year long with average daily temperatures ranging from 79 °F (26 °C) in February and 87.8 °F (31 °C) in September.
“Boa vista”by neil@ is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Islands like Sal, Boa Vista, and Maio have a more arid climate, while the other islands have more vegetation due to higher rainfall.
Typically the islands that are closer to the Sahara are dry, and those that are further away are characterized by rainforest habitat.
Best Time of Year to Visit
“cabo verde MAYO-06″by roser.gibert is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
It is generally true that any time of year is a good time of year to come to Cape Verde.
Irregular rainfalls are usually expected from August to October which is also the hottest part of the year. These are usually only minor rainfalls however so this is still a great time to visit to take advantage of the hotter weather. Given there is only minor change throughout the year, our suggestion is to check out this great resource below and pick a month a that suits your preference:
There are multiple flights from Europe that can take you to Cape Verde. A great number of these flights will get you to Sal and Santiago, but there are also those that can take you to Sao Vicente and Boa Vista.
TACV is the official flying agency of Capo Verde. You can book any of the 3 weekly flights to Lisbon from Praia. Or you can opt for the ones flying from Sal or Sao Vicente. If you wish to fly to Africa, you can choose between Dakar or Bissau.
“”Emigranti” TACV Cabo Verde Airlines D4-CBP Boeing 757-2Q8 cn/30045-957 @ LPPT / LIS 09-01-2017″by Nabil Molinari Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
If none of the above suit you, then you should consider one of the charter flights from German, Italy the Netherlands, or the UK.
Things To Do
One thing is for sure – you will never experience a moment of boredom during your time here. With so many things to do in Cape Verde that you will have something new and exciting for each day of your stay.
Go straight to Santa Maria beach on the island of Sal to explore life under the sea. Snorkeling and diving will give you the opportunity to see all the hidden mysteries of the deep blue realm.
If you are feeling less adventurous, and you just want to spend your day contemplating, then gorgeous sandy beaches are your answer. No matter which beach you choose to spend your day sunbathing you cannot go wrong. But, your best options for a perfect day under the blue sky are Cape Verde those would be Santa Maria Beach on the island of Sal, Praia de Chaves and Santa Monica on Boa Vista.
“the meal”by Frerieke is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
After you have reached the complete state of peace and serenity at the beach, you should continue your spiritual healing strolling down the streets of Santa Maria. Soak in the authentic atmosphere of Cape Verde, meet the locals, and taste their amazing food.
“Cape Verde remote south east side (costa da fragata)”by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
“teacher”by Frerieke is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Additionally, going to Cape Verde will give you an opportunity to try out some amazing water and wind sports. Let your adrenaline kick in as you embark on a kitesurfing adventure. Winds can get very strong during late autumn and early spring, so that might be a perfect time to give it a go.
Hiking Volcano Pico do Fogo
“Summit”by davetrainer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Hiking in Cape Verde is another activity that has to be on top of your to-do list. Specifically, hiking on the trails of the island of Fogo will lead you straight to the volcano Pico do Fogo.
Horseriding on the Beach at Boa Vista
“Horse”by + Isabela is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
And if you are too tired to walk you can always explore the islands further on horseback. Horse riding is a memorable experience, but even more so if you are doing it down the shores of Boa Vista.
Meet the Locals
“I love these green things”by t0m0 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Another great way of connecting to the islands is by getting to know more about their wildlife. Cape Verde has been one of the top sites for spotting turtles that come on the islands to lay their eggs. The perfect time to spot them is at night, between July and September.
“Infanta fishing”by valza46 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
However, if you cannot decide between a fun activity or a more peaceful one, how about doing something that can be both? Fishing is extremely popular in Cape Verde, especially on Sal and Boa Vista. There are several types of fishing to choose from – rock fishing, deep-sea fishing, big game fishing, and surfcasting.
Salt Mines and Soak in the Salt Ponds
“Thousands of Individual Salt Pools”by CB Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
“Cape Verde”by Andy Lederer is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Don’t miss out this opportunity to visit the salt mines of Pedra de Lume. The surreal landscapes will hypnotize you, whilst you soak yourself into the salt ponds that are the main attraction of this site.
Quad Biking Tours
“DSC_1651″by neil@ is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Last but not least are the quad biking tours on sand dunes. If you are not looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity, you can always take the tour that will take you on more accessible locations down the beaches.
Places To Stay
There are many amazing places that you can book for a perfect holiday in Cape Verde. To make your trip to Cape Verde as pleasant as possible, we have picked the best hotels for each island to ensure you have the top-notch vacation you deserve.
The Budha Beach Hotel
If you wish to spend your vacation sunbathing on a sandy white beach, then you should book a hotel on Sal or Boa Vista. The island of Sal is full of splendid hotels, but the one that combines affordable price, excellent service, and the amazing location is The Budha Beach Hotel. Situated in Santa Maria, the hotel will provide you with everything you need from room service to evening entertainment and an outdoor swimming pool.
Hotel Parque Das Dunas
Use your trip to Boa Vista to walk past one of the grandest hotels on this island. Hotel Parque Das Dunas Village used to be one of the grandest hotels in the area. And even though it is closed it still remains one of the most beautiful places that you can spot in Cape Verde.
However, the hotel that is still up and running and would be ideal for your vacation in Boa Vista is Hotel Dunas. Only a short walk away from Santa Isabel square, this hotel boasts a majestic terrace with an incredible view.
Santo Antao island is a dream come true for hiker and adventurers looking for an adrenaline rush in the great outdoors. And Casa Cavoquinho is just the place to set the base for further exploring of the surroundings.
Hotel Cruz Grande-Brava
Even though the smallest inhabited island of Capo Verde doesn’t have an airport, it doesn’t mean that is not worth the trouble of visiting. Take this opportunity to meet the natives and experience Brava island is every possible way while staying at Hotel Cruz Grande-Brava.
Imagine being surrounded by coffee and sugar cane plantations all the time. Make a reservation at Casa Patio on Sao Nicolau island and you will get to enjoy one of the smaller yet greener islands of Cape Verde.
Take your journey on the next level. Visit the island that is almost in its entirety an active volcano, Pico do Fogo. Hotel Xaguate can be a stellar option if you wish to explore the island of Fogo and relish in its beauty.
The most secluded beaches and untouched nature can be found on the island of Maio. It is not very often visited by tourists, making it an ideal location if you are feeling a need to be secluded and away from all the hustle and bustle of the cities. AH Maio provides its guests with free WiFi, a garden, a bar, and a terrace where you can spend your afternoons soaking in the Capeverdian air.
Hotel Foya Branca
Sao Vicente is the main cultural hub of Capo Verde. It also nurtures wind sports such as windsurfing that has become very popular among tourists. Hotel Foya Branca will secure you have a cozy stay, and with an outdoor pool and a tennis court, you can have as much fun at the hotel grounds as you would exploring the city of Mindelo.
Boutique Hotel Pescador
Praia on the island of Santiago is one of the busiest areas in Cape Verde. It offers many options to tourists to visit the other islands, but it also has international flights flying from Europe, American, and the African continent. Boutique Hotel Pecador can provide you with apartments featuring balconies, TV, and air conditioning.
Planning a trip to a foreign land raises many questions, and the most important of those is – What is the food like?!
Cape Verde cuisine has evolved as a mixture of all the prominent nations that have arrived on the shores, that brought along with their language and their culture, their spices and recipes.
Tasting any meal or drink on the islands of Cape Verde is like tasting Creole, Brazilian, Portuguese, and African cuisine all at once. There are a couple of national dishes that will leave you craving for more.
Cachupa is a type of stew made with slow-cooked vegetables, corn kernels, beans, and fish or meat. This is the national dish of Cape Verde, and it is usually served with rice.
Soups are very popular in Cape Verde, and if you do go there, you should order Canjo. It is a thick chicken soup made with onions and carrots.
Being an island country, Cape Verde food mainly revolves around fish. Buzio is a stew made with shellfish. Another fish dish is Cado de Peixe ou Caiderado served with vegetables and tomato puree. Even appetizers are made with fish, like Bafas. If you like tuna fish then you should try Carpachio and Tuna Tartar.
Seafood dishes like Morreia, Lagosta Suada, Percebes, Lapas, and Cracas, are delicacies that are perfect for both lunch or dinner.
Finish your gastronomical tour of Cape Verde with any of their famous desserts like Doce de Papaya, Bol de Cus-Cus, Queijo de Cabra com Doce de Popoia, Fogo coffee pudding.
Roads are very accessible on Cape Verde. On some islands, roads are covered with cobblestones (Brava, Maio, Fogo, Sao Nicolau, and Boa Vista), and on others, asphalt is more common (Sal, Santiago, and Sao Vicente). Rural roads can be somewhat hazardous due to poor lighting, and driving at night is not recommended due to people and livestock who can often the main road.
Public transportation is also an option for many tourists, and your options are buses and taxis. Both provide a great service and they are quite affordable.
“Mindelo Cape Verde”by harryandrowenaphotos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Traveling between islands is possible. However, before deciding to go you should know that your means of transport will change depending on the island you want to visit and the island you use as your base. Islands like Santiago and Brava can only be visited by watercraft. Other islands might require you to hop on a small plane or a ferry.
Many tourists are unaware of the fact that Cape Verde was the home of the Cesária Évora or better known as the Barefoot Diva because she loved performing without her shoes. Her statue lies in Mindelo, and if you as a local trip advisor, you can even go visit her house that is now a museum.
By now, you have learned where to stay, what to do and eat, how to travel. Still, that is not all there is to Cape Verde.
Our personal recommendation goes to a couple of activities that are not so popular among tourists, but they will definitely be worthwhile.
“Cape Verde Sal remote south east side (costa da fragata)”by Mal B is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Visit Sal and float in the lake that used to be a volcano. Hop over to the central market in Praia o Santiago, and take a stroll down the old streets of Cidade Velha. On Mindelo, you can visit a guitar maker or have a strange round of golf. Lastly, you cannot leave Cape Verde without discovering the beautiful melodies of the local music.
We hope this article helped you with your trip to Cape Verde. Let us know what you think, and if this was helpful. Share your experience with us, and tell us about your time at Cape Verde! We can’t wait to hear from you!
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