In search for sunshine in the winter, I decided to go island hopping in the West African country of Cabo Verde. The country compromises 10 islands 500 km west of Senegal on mainland Africa. It was discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century and only gained independence in 1976.
I got a cheap return-ticket from Eindhoven to the island and use ad local carrier to fly between the islands. The island Sal is almost flat and was once used for its salt flats before it became the main tourist island of Cabo Verde. That explained the amount of TUI flights going there and the all-in resorts on the island.
I stayed in a B&B on the main square in Santa Maria. This small town is at the beach and is facilitating to the tourist market. The pier is the place where the locals receive the fish from the fishermen and is functioning as a fish market during the day.
I spend some days on the picture perfect beach (that extends for 8 km) and at the pier. Now I knew why Cabo Verde sometimes is called to be the African Caribbean.
From the capital of Praia I flew to the island of Boa Vista. The third largest of the Cabo Verde islands consists of rocks and sand. For that it is known as the Sahara of Cabo Verde.
I stayed in a B&B in Sal Rei, the largest village on the island (population 9000). This was a good base for some long walks on the beaches.
On sundaymorning I flew from Mindelo to Praia on the island of Santiago. Praia is the capital city of Cabo Verde. Almost half of the countries population lives here (population 150.000). The city is spread over the hills, with its city centre on a plateau at the bay.
Where Mindelo had some of a Latin/Caribbean vibe, the vibe in Praia is definitely African. I stayed in an apartment on the plateau, a central and safe location to wander around the area and visit the city beaches.
The second island I visited was Sao Vincente. I stayed in a hostel in the city of Mindelo. Mindelo is the lifeblood of the island and it is known for having one of the most colourful carnaval celebrations. It is situated in a wide bay of a sunken volcano crater and is surrounded by low mountains. The main streets of Mindelo are in the areas close to the waterfront. Many colonial buildings from the 19th and early 20th century have been preserved in this city centre.
My daily routine in Mindelo was to start the day strolling around the streets in the city centre, passing by the harbour (Porto Grande) to end at the beautiful city beach Praia Laghina in the afternoon.
On saturday (my last night) I went to a festive music performance together with some other travellers from the hostel.