Cape Verde holidays

Untouched sand, year-round sunshine and amazing wildlife sightings, Cape Verde holidays offer that off-the-beaten-track feel without traveling too far. Africa’s answer to the Caribbean, this exotic chain of 10 islands is only a short six hours from the UK. From its fascinating mix of cultures to the verdant meets volcanic landscape, there are few places that dish up so much diversity. With an incredible coastline, Sal tends to come out on top, while Boa Vista is often favoured by families thanks to its choice of Blue Flag beaches.

Things to do

Whether you want to relax along the sand, soak up the vibrant music scene or test out the exhilaring watersports, you certainly won’t run out of things to do on your Cape Verde holidays.

Everyday is a beach day here, and we suggest you start your shore-hopping adventures in Sal. From its oceanside drinking spots, to its impressive set of watersports and swim-friendly waters, Santa Maria’s coast is a fantastic option for families. Wander east and you’ll come to the aptly named Kite Beach.This windy spot attracts some of the world’s best riders, all waiting to catch the perfect wave. Want to get involved with the surfing action? There’s a school where you can book lessons right on the sand. For quiet sunbathing stints surrounded by rolling sand dunes, Boa Vista’s Praia de Chaves is a great spot for romantic strolls.

Sightseeing on the sand is also an option on your Boa Vista holidays. Head to Praia de Atalanta and you’ll find an old Spanish cargo ship deserted in the water. Today it is a must-visit attraction, not to mention one of Cape Verde’s most photographed spots. Those looking for a relaxing float should swap Cape Verde’s beaches for the salt pans of Pedra de Lume. Home to an extinct volcano, the water is said to be saltier than the Dead Sea, while the mud from the lake will do wonders for your skin.

If you like your Cape Verde holidays with a slice of action, don’t miss out on the long list of adrenaline-fuelled activities. Scuba diving is a great way to see the local marine life with opportunities to swim alongside turtles and mantas. Buracona (or, Blue Eye) is a natural cave and a must-visit for submerged adventures. And even if you don’t dive in, it’s worth a visit just for its incredible waters, which change to a beautiful turquoise colour under the sunlight. 

If you don’t fancy getting wet, there’s plenty of land-based action too. Ride a quad bike across its mars-like desert or hop on a saddle and enjoy a horse ride along the beach at sunset.

After all of the activity, it’s time to slow things down in the island towns or fishing villages. Santa Maria in Sal is a great place to start with its local market and fantastic restaurants, where you can tuck into dishes influenced by Portugal, Africa and Brazil. If you come here after-dark, the place has a totally different vibe, so don’t be surprised if you get drawn into one of the bars playing Cape Verdean ‘morna’ music. This combination of guitar, violin and soulful lyrics, is a musical experience you won’t want to miss.

Unsure of the best time of the year to visit? Check the weather in Cape Verde to see which month is right for you.

 

Map of Cape Verde

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24-34 ℃

The sun is almost permanently shining in Cape Verde with average temperatures hovering between 24 and 34°C most of the year.

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6 hours
Amílcar Cabral International Airport (SID) is the largest in Cape Verde. The airport is around 17km from Santa Maria.

Cape Verde is best for...

Night Owls: Santa Maria in Sal and Mindelo in São Vicente are the liveliest towns with the buzzing atmosphere continuing into the wee hours of the morning. Filled with live music bars, dance to the local Creole beats. And if you don’t want to wander far from your hotel for an evening of entertainment, there’s plenty of resort-based nightlife on offer too. 

Watersports fans: Cape Verde promises unlimited wet fun. As one of the world's most reliable kitesurfing destinations, catching a big wave won’t be a problem. Kayaking and sailing offer an alternative way to stay active in the water, particularly around the protected islet, Ilheu Rabo de Junco.

Animal lovers: Those looking to see wildlife during their holiday to Cape Verde will be happy to discover the surrounding ocean is an important site of marine biodiversity. Spot humpback whales off the coast  during their migration or enjoy the miracle of the turtle nesting season (seasonal depending). 

 

Fast facts for Cape Verde

Language: The official language in Cape Verde is Portuguese, although most natives tend to speak Creole in day-to-day conversations. English is also spoken in most tourist areas, but it’s always worth picking up a few local phrases.

Currency: The currency used is the Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)

Local time: Cape Verde is one hour behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Amílcar Cabral International Airport (aka Sal International) is the main gateway into Cape Verde and most resorts are less than half an hour away.

Flight time from the UK: Around 6 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Cape Verde.

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Getting around Cape Verde

By minibus: Great value shared minibuses known as ‘Aluguers’ can be flagged down on the street. They’ll drop you off and pick you up just about anywhere, and are a safe and cheap way to hop from one resort to the next.

By taxi: It’s easy to spot these bright blue cars thanks to their distinctive yellow stripes. Dotted around most tourist areas, you will generally pay a fixed price. 

By plane: Home to nine inhabited islands, domestic flights are a great way to see more of the country. Taking around 20 to 50 minutes, these short journeys are surprisingly affordable.  

Events in Cape Verde

The Carnival: Taking place every February, around Ash Wednesday, is one of Cape Verde’s biggest events, the Carnival. Spread across all of its islands, expect fancy dress, floats and a street party atmosphere.

Sal Music Festival: Held every September, this weekend-only extravaganza has become one of Cape Verde’s most celebrated musical spectacles. Taking over Santa Maria beach, dance beside bonfires to a vibrant mix of jazz, latin and reggae as traditional local performers hit the stage.

Cape Verde safety and security

 For up-to-date advice on travelling to Cape Verde, please visit the FCDO website.

Cape Verde weather

Temperature: Enjoy average lows of 19°C during winter and average highs of 31°C in the summer. 

Best time to visit?

This archipelago has flawless weather with very little rainfall and continuous sun most of the year. In the height of summer (July to September) temperatures can peak in the mid 30s guaranteeing endless tanning hours. If you don’t fancy getting caught in a shower and want the promise of long, cloud-free days, April is the driest month, while May is the sunniest. Known for its breezy winters, the weather in Cape Verde is also a hit with kitesurfers, who come here to take advantage of the perfect wind and wave conditions.

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