Travel to Cape Verde will become cheaper: low-cost flights connecting Europe to the archipelago will be inaugurated in June, following the transfer of the concession of Cape Verde airports and airfields to the Vinci group. With this novelty, and at a time when all costs are counting, it’s time to think about a more frugal vacation.
And cheaper doesn’t mean less fun. In fact, there is no shortage of opportunities for this in the archipelago, whose beaches, such as the beach of Santa Maria, on the island of Sal, have crystal blue water similar to the beach of Ribeira do Cavalo, in Sesimbra, Portugal, with the difference that the former is hotter (about 22ºC) than the beach known as the “Portuguese Caribbean” (average 18ºC).
However, you can save these and other Portuguese paradise beaches for the weekend and the archipelago (now easier to visit) for a longer holiday. After all, there is room for everyone. “By bringing cheap flights, we open up our country and facilitate connectivity,” said Cape Verdean Tourism and Transport Minister Carlos Santos, quoted by the Lusa agency, according to “Volta ao Mundo”.
Since Cape Verde was highlighted as a trend destination in 2022 by the agency Abreu in an interview with MAGG, you should not miss the destination that everyone wants to go to. Since it is easy to get lost among the ten volcanic islands, we have five suggestions for you to discover the archipelago from one end to the other.
1. Santo Antão Island
The island of Santo Antão is furthest to the west and has the most green landscapes. You can start with a stay at the Pedra CinVillage hotel (from € 58 per night for two people), in Boca de Coruja, Ribeira Grande, a rural tourist complex composed of stone houses and surrounded by green valleys where papaya, banana and mango trees and sugar cane.
Speaking of sugar cane, there is another way to find out what is made of it other than sugar. It is on this island that “one of the best sugar cane brandies is produced, traditionally known as grogue, grog or grogu”, according to Turismo de Cabo Verde, who recommends finishing the tasting of a traditional dish with cognac: the goat stew with beans.
Once on the island, there are two more places you should not miss. Cova-Paúl is one of them, which you can explore on a three to four hour hike that gives you time to see in detail the famous crater of the Cova volcano, transformed into fields of potatoes, sweet potato cassava and other vegetables, the Paul Valley and Cabo de Ribeira, with many Arabica coffee plantations. It costs €60 per adult and €30 per child.
Another suggestion is the Cape Verde masterchef experience, the aim of which is to learn how to make a typical Cape Verdean dish, with the help of a professional chef and of course until a tasting at the end. It costs €40 per adult and €20 per child.
2. Island of Sao Vicente
Land of Cesária Évora, is a mandatory place in Cape Verde. The fact that it was the birthplace of the Cape Verde singer, made this island a center of music culture and nights dominated by the style that most characterized Cesária: morna and coladera.
Every year, the island of São Vicente hosts the music festival Festival Baía das Gatas, held on the beach from which it takes its name and has a natural pool of warm water that invites you to swim during the day. The Mindelact International Theater Festival also takes place on the island every year in the last quarter.
With there still a long way to go, in the summer you can enjoy the beaches of the fishing village of Calhau, which invite to swimming and surfing and body boarding for the more adventurous.
For sleeping, the Aparthotel Las Rochas has everything you need: comfortable rooms designed for families, a view of the beach, swimming pool and a rich breakfast, included in the price (from € 96 for two people in May).
3. Island of Sao Nicolau
On an island surrounded by nature, it would only make sense to stay in an accommodation where it is respected and that place is Farinha de Pau Eco B&B, a project created by Sérgio Machado and based on permaculture, that is, an agricultural design system whose production promotes balance with nature and also creates a more sustainable human environment. This is the accommodation that also offers vegetarian meals and costs from €25 per person per night.
It is good that you rest well, because during the day there is a lot to walk. On the island of São Nicolau there are several hiking trails, the main one goes from Carriçal to Carbeirinho, and includes a visit to several iconic spots on the island, such as Monte do Alto das Cabaças or Queimadas de Baixo, which always have a characteristic taste: fruit or caramel, the result of the local production of toddy.
Enjoy a tasting of local products at the end of the walk. Typical sweets and liqueurs can be found in Canto de Fajã, Fajã, Queimadas and Fragata; cassava in Fajã, Canto Fajã, Covoada; grogue in Talho, Queimadas, Ribeira Prata; and tea and medicinal herbs in Fragata, Canto Fajã.
4. Island Sal
The emblematic. There is no visit to Cape Verde without the famous island of Sal and its unique beaches of white sand and warm, transparent waters. Since the beaches are the highlight, it is the best destination for lovers of sports associated with them. This is the case for fishing, surfing, diving, kite surfing and windsurfing. Another way of diving is to go to the lava pool of Buracona.
To relax from so much activity, it is best to stay at Hotel Morabeza, located in the town of Santa Maria, on the southern tip of Ilha do Sal, which has no less than three swimming pools, three restaurants (with international cuisine, grills and local dishes and vegetarian options), as well as a tennis court and terrace to enjoy the sunset on Sal. In May, the stay starts at €118 per night for two people.
Before returning to Portugal, you will pass the Viveiro Botanical Garden and the Gruta do Amor.
5. Brava Island
We said we were going from one end to the other, right? Then we arrived at the easternmost island of the Cape Verde archipelago, which is distinguished by the flora that gave it its name in other times: Ilha das Flores.
But because the island doesn’t live on flowers alone, it changed its name to symbolize how brave it is in the offerings it has in various fields. One of them is the imposing nature, which can be admired from a few points: the bay of Fajã da Água, where you can take a dip in the natural pool of crystal clear water, the Eugénio Tavares route and the viewpoints of the city of Nova Sintra .
The easiest way not to miss a viewpoint during your vacation is to be very close to it when you stay at Villa Vicente, in Nova Sintra. It is a modest accommodation in which one thing is certain: in the morning the typical goat cheese of the island is on the table, as well as scrambled eggs and sweet bread. It costs from € 54 per night for two people, including breakfast.