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Cape Verde Holidays
Beautiful unspoilt beaches, stunning landscapes teeming with exotic wildlife, and year-round sunshine has earned Cape Verde a reputation as Africa’s answer to the Caribbean. The sparkling blue sea and soft white beaches sweep up into volcanic mountains, with green valleys and rustic villages tucked in between to explore. This exotic chain of 10 islands is set in the Atlantic off the west coast of Africa, so you can practically guarantee sunshine all year round.
The sun is almost permanently shining, with average temperatures comfortably around 24-30 (°C) all year.
Amílcar Cabral International Airport is the main international airport in Cape Verde. The airport is around 17km from Santa Maria.
Sink your toes in to the soft white sand and relax at the beach, check out the water sports like snorkeling and kitesurfing, or take a tropical trek through mango tree forests high up into the mountains. Every way you look you’ll be treated to stunning views. And if you come at the right time you might also spot a rare loggerhead turtle or humpback whale from the beach! When it’s time for a spot of shopping, head into the towns or fishing villages dotted over the islands, like relaxed Santa Maria on the island of Sal. Catch up on some retail therapy at a local market, or sample delicious local delicacies at a choice of good restaurants. Visit during February and join the carnival fun as music fills the air and dancers perform through the streets.
If you’re looking for picture postcard beaches you’ll find them at every turn during your holiday to Cape Verde. Stroll along the seemingly endless powder-soft, white sand at Santa Maria, which stretches over four and a half miles. Colourful fishing boats bob on the turquoise sea, making this the ideal spot to relax and soak up the sunshine and views. Or take a short boat ride to Boa Vista. This unspoilt island paradise promises secluded bays where you can get away from it all, though you may have to share it with a turtle or migrating whale.
The result of millions of years of volcanic activity, there are no shortage of stunning natural attractions on the islands. One of the most popular with photographers is the bay of Buracona, which is less than an hour’s drive from Santa Maria. This rocky cove is home to ‘Blue Eye’, a gap in the rock where the sun shines through to light up the ocean floor, creating a dazzling effect. The stunning beaches are not only a magnet for sunseekers, the local wildlife loves them too. Every year, thousands of female loggerhead turtles return to these beaches to lay their eggs. Book your Cape Verde holiday between June-October to witness this amazing natural event during a guided turtle-watching tour. Or if you visit in March/April, you might also spot a splendid humpback whale, passing through on migration.
The traditional food of the islands is as colourful and vibrant as Cape Verde itself. You’ll find restaurants serving local delicacies like cachupa, a traditional slow-cooked dish of beans and meat or fish with a distinctly Portuguese heritage. Enjoy the fruits of the sea with freshly-grilled lobster, washed down with the local tipple, a sugar-cane rum. The Portuguese influence also fuses with African culture each year in February for the popular Mindelo Carnival. One of many festivities held throughout the year, it’s a time to let your hair down and party. Like Rio Carnival, it’s a heady mix of colourful costumes, complete with feathers and sequins, pounding samba music, and dancing.
For up to date advice on travelling to Cape Verde, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cape-verde/safety-and-security
Couples: Unspoilt beaches and memorable sunsets make holidays to Cape Verde ideal for couples. Take a romantic stroll along the Santa Maria shoreline and stargaze, or float through streets soaking up the al fresco café culture and traditional culinary delights.
Night Owls: Santa Maria comes with a variety of bars and local night life, mostly in the form of live music bars that are open until the early hours of the morning; perfect for a sunrise stroll along the beach on the way back to your hotel.
Animal lovers: Spot humpback whales off the coastline of Cape Verde during their migration or enjoy the miracle of the turtle nesting season (seasonal depending).
Language: The language spoken is Portuguese.
Currency: The currency used is the Cape Verdean escudo.
Local time: Cape Verde is 1 hour behind GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Amilcar Cabral International Airport (SID). Most resorts are less than half an hour away.
Flight time from UK: 6 hours
Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found below.
Visa & Health: Before you travel, click here for recommendations and advice on health.
A visa is required for travel to Cape Verde. This is included in the cost of your holiday as long as full passport details (otherwise known as API details) are submitted correctly at least 10 days before travel. This can be done via www.tcgo.me/YourFlight. If this is not done correctly or at all, then you will need to pay for a visa upon arrival which comes at a cost of €25 per person
All year round you’ll enjoy temperatures ranging from 21-30(°C) with the sun seeming permanently in the sky. It does rain, but these are infrequent. Instead you can look forward to almost wall-to-wall sunshine. In the height of summer, temperatures can peak in the mid-thirties. If you’re a keen kite and windsurfer, the winds build in the winter months to offer excellent conditions for hitting the water. Or to enjoy the warm sea and long sunny days, book for the spring or autumn.
By mini-bus: Great value shared mini-buses known as ‘aluguers’ can be flagged down on the street. They’ll drop you off at any point and are a practical way to get about.
By taxi: It’s easy to spot the bright blue taxis of the island, which have a distinctive yellow stripe. There’s usually plenty to choose from, but the cost of fares can vary depending on the time of day.
By plane: Hop between islands effortlessly, thanks to regular flights.
Every August 15th: The Fetsa Nossa Senhora De Piedade, which translates as the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, takes place on Sal in August. The celebration includes processions, sports such as swimming competitions, religious activities and a music festival featuring local talent down on the beach. It is a true taste of the fantastic culture of Cape Verde
Live music: Every September, the Festival de Musica da Baia das Gatas de Santa Maria entertains beach goers. A vibrant mix of Jazz, Latin, reggae and traditional local musicians hit the stage, with dancing on the beach continuing into the small hours.