Lying about 500 kilometres off the coast of West Africa, Cape Verde is a delightful and rugged island nation. The scattering of islands creates a fascinating if somewhat challenging country. Volcanic islands at various stages of erosion cover the islands, ranging rather dramatically in height. This creates some extreme landscapes between the islands.
Cape Verde is a terrific destination for adventure-lovers. If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, love seeing places that are a bit different to the norm, enjoy meeting new people, are up for a challenge, and are able to deal with all the quirks and oddities that island life might throw at you, Cape Verde could be a perfect destination for your next vacation.
Curious to know more? Here are some of the best things you can experience in Cape Verde:
Enjoy Fantastic Water Sports: Jet Skiing and Wind Surfing
Cape Verde is world-renowned for its perfect waves and ideal windsurfing conditions. Enthusiasts are recommended to plan their trip for between November and April to really make the most of the waves.
The island of Sal is one of the most celebrated surfing destinations in the country. Surf shops can be found just a stone’s throw away from most of the area’s major beaches.
Another fantastic way to have fun on Cape Verde’s waters is by jet skiing. Have a blast as you bump along on the waves, feeling the thrill and enjoying the awesome coastal vistas. You can rent jet skis from many places near the beaches.
Of course, if you’re not feeling so active, you can also just lap up the sun and bask on one of Cape Verde’s lovely beaches instead!
Explore the Underwater World: Deep-Water Diving
The deep waters around Cape Verde offer volcanic lava shoals that tumble away to reveal deep water caves and crevices that are teeming with tropical fish. Some of the creatures that lurk in the waters include morays, lobsters, crabs, sharks, and mantas. Strap on your gear and head down into the waters to get up close and personal with an intriguing array of aquatic life.
If you want even more, the waters are also home to many fascinating wrecks. Sir Francis Drake accounted for many Spanish galleons in these very waters. Italy’s own Titanic, the Cecile, also lies within diving depth. Explore eerie vessels that have now been taken over by marine life, lying desolate at the bottom of the sea, their sea-faring days long over.
At Buracona, in the north of the country, you’ll find some thrilling underwater caves that you can swim through. The natural grotto is comprised of black basalt, which, when combined with the lighting conditions, creates some truly superb visual effects.
Spot Feathered Friends: Terrific Bird Watching
Cape Verde is home to several rare breeds of African birds, as well as some birds that are unique to the islands. Look out for swifts, sparrows, warblers, larks, petrels, and more. Bird-watching is a popular hobby and activity across the islands largely because of the large range of bird species that inhabit the area.
Boa Vista is one of the most popular places to go bird watching. Get your binoculars ready and head out to see what you can spot!
Hunt for Souvenirs: Great Shopping in Cape Verde
Handicrafts in Cape Verde show the effects of lack of water and limited natural resources. Basket weaving and cloth weaving are important across the islands, and you can take home some exceptional handmade items. Why not treat your loved ones to some nice local items and help the local community at the same time?
Clay is another much-used material, with many local artisans creating interesting figures that show daily life in the country. If you’re looking for something a bit more practical, however, don’t worry – you can also find an array of kitchen utensils and pots.
Take a wander through the lively markets even if you don’t plan on buying anything. They are great places to observe the local way of life.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food and Nightlife in Cape Verde
The blend of Portuguese, African, and Creole flavours and ingredients creates some interesting and tasty local cuisine. Being an island nation, seafood is, unsurprisingly, popular and abundant. The national dish is called cachupa rica, and it is a type of stew that is made from meat, fish, and vegetables. Buzio is another type of stew, which includes shellfish and soy sauce. Containing chicken, onions, carrots, and rice, the soup called canjo is another popular dish in Cape Verde. Carpachio is marinated raw tuna, morreia is an eel delicacy, and feijoada is pork stew with beans and veggies.
If you fancy something sweet, try queijo de cabra com doce de popoia, a dish of cheese and jam. Bol de cus cus is another good choice for dessert.
For some of the local booze, try grogue, a strong alcoholic drink made from sugar cane.
Nightlife in Cape Verde generally revolves around traditional live music and dancing. Head to some of the local bars and discos and join in the revelry!