The island archipelago of Cape Verde is one of the world’s best kept secrets in its own right. The ten sumptuous islands dotted along the 500-kilometre coast of Senegal are blessed with sultry beaches and sparkling crystal waters.
A former Portuguese colony, the blend of European and African heritage make the Cape Verde islands a magical place to explore, and the laid back locals always offer a warm welcome. But one of the best things about a holiday in Cape Verde are the hidden gems you find tucked away in this serene corner of the globe—and if you’re looking to plan a trip yourself, check out the travel guides over at Holiday Hypermarket, World Travel Guide, and Lonely Planet. CapeVerde.com also has a great travel guide recommendations for anyone looking to go.
Morro Beach, Maio
Cape Verde is a beach lover’s heaven, but if the bustling crowds on Kite Beach in Sal are too much for you, escape to the secluded island of Maio. This sleepy island just south of Boa Vista has dozens of secluded beaches, among them the coconut palm groves of Morro. During the summer, the long, wide stretch of creamy sands attracts turtles to nurture their eggs.
The majority of visitors arriving in Cape Verde will land in Sal – the gateway to the island archipelago. Sal is geared towards tourism and has plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from, but for something different and refreshing, head to CapeFruit. It is off the beaten track, but well worth the detour. A favourite with locals due to the varied menu and sumptuous cuisine, the colourful, open-air restaurant has a great atmosphere, friendly staff and fresh fruit punches that are to die for!
Kindergarden project, Santo Antao
When you visit the Cape Verde islands, you will notice social and economic indifferences. The country is still very much in development, but a series of schemes like the Kindergarten project in Santo Antao make a real difference. Visitors are encouraged to get involved by spending time on-site and mingling with the locals. And the kindergarten is one of the most rewarding and special experiences you will have on any holiday anywhere.
Desert Viana, Boa Vista
Boa Vista is Portuguese for “beautiful view” and the island has not been named by chance. The white-sanded Estoril dunes offer a unique landscape and with only a handful of villages here, the beaches are not overcrowded. Desert Viana can look quite barren at times, but subsequently makes it perfect for quad biking, sand skiing and island exploring in a jeep. Also look out for the Spanish shipwreck on Santa Maria beach.
Chez Pastis, Santa Maria
Santa Maria is another of the most popular islands in Cape Verde, but as a consequence you find a lot of overpriced restaurants with low quality food. You will avoid disappointment, however, if you head for Chez Pastis just off the main drag. The roof is made for knotted tree branches and with a relaxing ambience and a warm greeting, you are made to feel very much at home. The cuisine is French, and you should book in advance – need we say more?
Cape Verde has all the ingredients for a magical holiday, but it is the hidden secrets you find that make your holiday extra special.
Image credit: Beatrice Tiberi
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