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The last few months have been full of many things and the winds of change blew again when in August I left behind the comforts of Portugal and started to think about moving to Cape Verde, and just like that is how I became for the first time in my life an island girl!
It has never been a problem for me to change myself from one place to another, because I love adventures and new experiences and I like to get to know new places in peace and by immersing myself in the local lifestyle. More than a year ago, I tore myself away from my home country Finland and everything familiar permanently and moved alone to Lisbon, the amazing capital city of Portugal, for a new job opportunity. This change brought a lot of new friendships, unforgettable experiences into my life that I will never forget, and this also made me grow a lot as a person. Life in Portugal also helped me rediscover the joy of life and travelling and the desire for adventure that Finland kind of suppressed in me.
When I finally traveled to the sunny island of Sal in Cape Verde for the first time in March of this year 2022 to meet my friend, I found myself enjoying the hustle and bustle of this distant island more than I could have imagined. After returning back to Lisbon, it didn’t take long when I found myself already booking another trip to Sal and in April I was once again lying on the beach sand of Santa Maria enjoying Caipirinhas. The atmosphere of the island got me so hooked that I finally threw all of my vacation days together and in June I moved to the island for a month to try if I could really enjoy the island life for a longer time and this time without my friend, who had already moved to work elsewhere because of her work as a tour guide. This month-long trip was full of many good and bad things, but in the end I decided to accept the challenge and seriously try moving to Cape Verde for a longer period of time, because something about this island life just attracted me again and again.
READ MORE ABOUT SAL ISLAND AND MY PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES:
LET THE NEW ISLAND LIFE BEGIN
In August, me moving to Cape Verde finally came up and I set foot permanently on the island of Sal after stepping off the plane, this time with not only a backpack but also two suitcases in which I could fit my entire life from both Finland and Portugal. To pick me up from the airport was my current beloved boyfriend and since that reunion we have been inseparable together.
My first apartment here was at the Misturod Aparthotel* near the center of Santa Maria, but still at a suitable distance, enjoying my own peace. The apartment was reasonably priced and included everything you may need, from air conditioning to free wifi and laundry service and a beautiful private terrace with a hammock. The apartment was just the right place to settle down to get started in a new country, and although there are other similar accommodation options in Sal, this was the most suitable for my needs at the moment. Find out more about all the amazing accommodations on Sal and check out Misturod here*.
HOME SWEET HOME
However, I really wanted some more privacy and peace of my own apartment (after all, I lived in Portugal in a shared apartment with eight other people for over a year), so together with my boyfriend, we finally found a wonderful home near the beach, where we are still enjoying the sea views from our roof terrace together with our little rescue puppy, Mini. When moving to Cape Verde, it is better to find an apartment on the spot and not, for example, online without seeing the apartment first, because the actual condition of the apartment is not always as on the pictures, and it is too easy to cheat remotely.
Life on the island of Sal is mostly peaceful and relaxed beach life day after day. Sal is the most touristic of Cape Verde’s islands, so there are restaurants for every need and more boutiques have also appeared since my first visit in March. Corona brought a lot of challenges to this island that lives on tourism, so it’s also great to see how the place has started to find its own shine again.
The price level of the restaurants varies depending on the restaurant, but in the high season from October to February the prices are slightly higher in several places. The supply of boutiques is expensive, because many products come from, for example, Europe, while in Chinese stores you can find anything and a little cheaper (almost all clothing stores in the Cape Verde islands are Chinese stores, including miscellaneous goods).
In addition to shopping and restaurants, I like to spend time at the beach, chilling with friends or our dog, occasionally visiting another city or having fun with some kind of activity. I work as a freelancer living the famous diginomad life (haha), so I am responsible for my own working hours and I have plenty of time for other things as well. In September, we also celebrated my birthday with a nice beach day, a light evening out and a traditional cake bash, because I really hoped to have a proper big cream cake dream in the Finnish style, and my wonderful boyfriend arranged this for my surprise.
SUMMER, FESTIVALS AND THE RAINY SEASON
Summertime in Cape Verde is usually hot, but fun, because each of the islands have for example their own big summer festivals, where you can even see some bigger names performing. We went to the two-day festival in Santa Maria to celebrate and see artists like Dynamo and Calema, among others, and it was interesting to participate in an island festival for the first time in my life. Locals say that the best festival is always found on the island of Sao Vicente, which is held every year in August. Maybe we will go there next year, in addition to our own home island of course.
Summer and autumn are also known to be quite rainy from time to time on the islands, and here in Sal too we got to enjoy rainy days with really heavy downpours, so that the streets were flooded and sometimes we waded knee-deep in water (at least I hope it was only water…). We took advantage of the joy and slipped into an empty hotel swimming pool to enjoy the rain, because why not?! We were already wet and for once the pools were empty! You can see more videos of these rainy days on my social media.
HAVE COURAGE TO LET LIFE LEAD THE WAY
A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have believed my ears if someone had told me that in a few years I would move to Cape Verde and that I would soon be living on a small island on the coast of West Africa in the middle of amazing afro rhythms, enjoying the sun and the sea, working only on my laptop, watching street dogs running on the beach and horses swimming in the sea, not to mention beautiful sunsets, without the stress of schedules and rush. I really wouldn’t have believed this back then, but I would have said that bring it on sounds nice! And so here we are.
In Cape Verde, island hopping is relatively easy and I can warmly recommend it, if only the travel schedules allow for it. Each island in Cape Verde is different and offers something interesting to experience and see. My boyfriend and I went to the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antao in October, and I will tell you more about them here on the blog soon too. We will also visit other islands in the near future, so you should also follow my account on Instagram for more real-time updates: @tiinajohannaaa.
CHECK OUT THE BEST ACTIVITIES AND TOURS ON SAL AND OTHER CAPE VERDE ISLANDS:
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HAVE YOU VISITED THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS OR ARE YOU PLANNING A TRIP? IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT CAPE VERDE OR WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE MORE CONTENT ON THE BLOG IN THE FUTURE? SHARE YOUR WISHES AND QUESTIONS IN THE COMMENT FIELD! 🙂
<3: Tiina Johanna
*Photos: Tiina Johanna, blogger
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