Cape Verde, once a territory of Portugal, was the first European settlement in the tropics. Its strategic location made it ideal for the Atlantic slave trade, which made the islands prosperous. Privateers and pirates were attracted to its fame, with legitimate shipping lanes traversing from Europe to India and Australia. Although various cultures has interacted in its lands for centuries, Cape Verde is mainly Creole, with each island having their own distinct dialect that they use along with Portuguese, the primary language of the country.
What to see & do
When in Cape Verde, sightseeing in the countryside is the primary activity. Tourists will enjoy themselves with Santo Antão, the largest of the Barlavento islands of the archipelago. The tallest mountain here is the Topo de Coroa, going up to a height of 1,979 metres, with the Pico da Cruz following at 1,585 metres. One can also visit here various attractive places such as Paul, which stretches behind the coast. Lying here is the pretty main town of Vila das Pombas, mainly composed of pretty pastel houses along the ocean. The quiet atmosphere here invites one to slow down and watch the waves or visit the distillery, Trapiche Ildo Benros, where grogue is made using a trapiche, a machine for juicing sugarcane which is said to be about 400 years old.
Povoação, a small colonial centre in the town of Ribeira Grande, features some of the best nature sights in the archipelago. Its setting between steep hills and the roaring Atlantic Ocean makes it an impressive sight for those who want to see the ocean. Another relaxing locale is Tarrafal in the desert beige of the west coast. It is a delightful place to rest and unwind, with the high cliffs sheltering the town from the bite of the winds.
Fogo, which translates to 'fire', consists of several attractions where one can hike around or go on a drive the small town of Mosteiros. Coffee lovers will find the scenery captivating with the hillsides along the way, which one will marvellously appreciate, especially if one likes the smell of Arabica beans. There is also the Museu Municipal to see, which features old photographs, traditional music instruments, and many other items. D'jar Fogo is also another popular part of the island for those interested in the history, culture, and coffee in the area. Tourists will find here an art gallery and information on how to go on trips around the island. Artisanal coffee from the plantations in the area is also available here, which can be a delight for those hankering for a cup of local java.
How to get around
The local transport in Cape Verde is fairly convenient at best, which is provided by comfortable vans to pickup trucks that take passengers between small towns on most islands. Car rental service is regular among most islands, but one must be discerning about their choice of vehicle. One must focus on looking for a 4WD in good condition, so tourists can go on to the countryside despite the rough paths diverging from the few main roads.
Boats also make up the primary transport between the islands, but the only reliable routes as of the time of writing are those coming from Praia, Brava, and Fogo, as well as Mindelo and Santo Antão. Domestic flights are also an option, with the Cabo Verde AirPass from TACV. This air pass is recommended, especially for those making two or more internal flights.
How to get there
Tourists out to visit Cape Verde can enter through Amilcar Cabral International Airport in Sal. Airlines serving here include Binter Canarias, Cabo Verde Express, Europe Airpost, Jetairfly, Jet Time, Luxair, Neos, TACV, TAP Portugal, Transavia.com, Transavia.com France, TUIfly, and XL Airways France.