Cape Verde, a dart-shaped archipelago consisting of ten volcanic islands and eight islets, offers endless entertainment, hotels, and opportunities for relaxation to travelers looking for secluded beach vacations. The island country is also well-known for surfing and hiking activities, as the mountainous terrain of the volcanic islands provides great opportunities for trekking trips. Located approximately 300 miles off the west coast of Africa, the Cape Verde islands provide dream getaways for adventure-loving travelers. These islands are classified into two groups: the southern group including Santiago, Fogo, Brava, and Maio; and the northern group, which consists of the Santo Antao, Santa Luzia, Sao Nicolau, Sal, Sao Vincente, and Boa Vista islands. The southern group of islands is known as the Sotavento (leeward) islands, and the northern group is called Barlavento (windward) islands
With a nice climate and excellent beach ambience, travel to Cape Verde is possible throughout the year, and the tropical weather attracts many tourists from the Americas and Western Europe. The warm sunny days make this an ideal destination for a holiday at any time, but the best time to visit Cape Verde islands is between December and May, when the temperature rarely exceeds 75 degrees Fahrenheit. On Cape Verde holidays, island-hopping is one of the main activities, and you can access different islands via minibuses and trucks. A flight between the islands of Sao Vincent, Santiago, and Sal is available through the local carrier TACV Cabo Verde Airlines, but booking the regular ferry services is also a good option, as they offer access to all the islands of Cape Verde.
The Cape Verde islands have an interesting combination of West African and Portuguese influences, and the European-style architecture of the buildings blends beautifully with the traditional African scenery. The islands were colonized by the Portuguese seafarers in the fifteenth century and used as trading outposts for shipping and whaling. Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975, and today this secluded island country is focused on attracting tourists to its beautiful destinations, beaches, and notable attractions, such as the fifteenth-century Fort Real de Sao Filipe in Santiago Island. It was built to defend the Portuguese colony against French and English buccaneers, and the solitary fort still stands 390 feet above sea level and draws tourists from all over the world.
Diving is one of the most popular activities among travelers, who enjoy seeing the marine life and going treasure hunting through the many shipwrecks. The waters off Cape Verde are home to more than 70 wrecks dating from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. The Boa Vista and Santiago islands are well-known for some of the best shipwrecks in the country. These islands provide some of the finest diving opportunities and windsurfing conditions in the world, and travelers on adventurous Cape Verde holidays will find Boa Vista an ideal place to enjoy such activities.
The beaches in Boa Vista, including the beautiful eleven-mile wide Santa Monica Beach, are perfect places to enjoy diving, sailing, and other types of water sports. Known for its mournful native music called "morna," Boa Vista is an ideal place for enjoying Cape Verde holidays that combine activities with cultural experiences. The island boasts an ideal habitat for a large variety of wildlife and is home to the endangered loggerhead turtle, which makes it one of the most important places in the world for turtle conservation. Boa Vista is the third-largest island in Cape Verde, with more than 30 miles of white sandy beaches—a perfect destination for tourists in need of a relaxing and secluded beach holiday.
Santiago Island is also a great spot for diving, surfing, and fishing. The Tarrafal beach is regarded as the best place to dive and surf, but other well-known surfing spots in Santiago include the southeast coast and Ponte de Lobo. This volcanic island is also known for great hiking opportunities. With an elevation of more than 4,560 feet, Pico do Antonio is an excellent hiking spot for adventure-seekers.
Another great island for hiking is Fogo, which is located between Santiago and Brava islands. This destination is well-known for its active volcanic mountain called Pico de Fogo, which last erupted in 1995 and forced the island inhabitants to evacuate their homes. The 9,314-foot peak provides excellent trails, but hikers are advised to seek the help of an organized local tour due to the perils of its active volcano.
Travelers looking for unexplored Cape Verde islands can head straight to Santo Antao. Much of the terrain of this island is unexplored, but the northeast corner provides nice hiking opportunities. In addition, the Ponto do Sol area of Santo Antao is great for hiking, scuba diving, and rock climbing. Sal Island is also regarded as a surfer's dream destination, but whichever island you choose to visit, you're certain to have a wonderful trip to Cape Verde.