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When the winter season is in full swing in Europe and the first snows have surprised the people again in Finland, many people are looking for a warm escape and that’s why I thought I would list 10 reasons why travel to Cape Verde!
1. SUNSHINE ALL YEAR
In Cape Verde, the sun shines all year round and the climate is always warm, so the islands are a great choice to escape the winter cold. During the winter months, there can be windier days from time to time, and especially in the evenings, it might be good to keep a long sleeved sweater or a jacket with you, but in general, the heat prevails throughout the year. The average temperature in Cape Verde always stays around +25 degrees and above, in the summer months the grill usually stays hotter. The recommended sunscreen is 50+ by the way.
2. Every island is different
Cape Verde is located on the coast of West Africa and it consists of ten different islands, each of which is interesting in its own way, and definitely worth visiting. I myself am currently living on the island of Sal, which is the most popular holiday island in Cape Verde and most of the travel agencies’ trips also go here. Sal has good restaurant and accommodation services and an excellent setting for a relaxing beach holiday, as well as some fun activities. In addition to Sal, Boa Vista is also a popular island for tourists because of its similar elements.
My boyfriend and I went in August to get to know the islands that were still unknown to me, Sao Vicente and Santo Antao. Sao Vicente offers local urban life and beautiful nature, and the most popular activity here is to go snorkeling with turtles. Santo Antao, on the other hand, is full of rugged and green mountain scenery and idyllic mountain villages, so the island is a great counterbalance to Sal’s flat beach and desert landscape and is an excellent choice for those interested in hiking. These and other islands will have their own blog articles in the near future, so stay tuned if the different islands of Cape Verde are of interest to you!
3. Cheap prices
The price level in Cape Verde is moderately affordable and in local restaurants you can get a good portion of food for as little as 4-8 euros. During the high season, some of the most touristy restaurants raise their prices rapidly, so I recommend going a bit further from the most touristic areas and look for local delicacies elsewhere, if you are interested in cheaper prices.
There are a lot of different types of accommodation options, and if you book your own accommodation, for example, through Booking.com* instead of travel agencies, you might get a really cheap bargain. Of course in the winter season prices can rise a bit higher everywhere.
The Cape Verde islands are by no means a shopper’s paradise, so it’s good to take this into account before your trip. Most of the clothing stores, for example, are small Chinese shops, where you can sometimes make nice finds, but don’t expect any brand stores or big shopping malls. A few new boutiques have opened in Sal along the main street, where you can also make finds suitable for Scandinavian tastes, but the price level in these is sometimes even higher than in the Nordic countries and the clothes are often what you can get cheaper in your own home country.
4. Relaxed and friendly lifestyle
The motto of the Cape Verde Islands is no stress. Here, there is no point in stressing because of schedules, busy work, other responsibilities and family relationships, because everything is taken care of and organized on its own time. In here the things are handled in a slightly more relaxed manner, haha.
Even though I loved living in Lisbon for more than a year and could still go back there someday, I find that I enjoy this island life more than I thought. Apart from my own work schedules, I don’t stare at the clock during the day, I just let the day go at its own pace and do things just by feeling. I also no longer experience the same feelings of anxiety that the hectic and performance-oriented urban environment usually brought to the surface in me when I lived in different European cities.
5. Possible to see whales, dolphins, sharks and turtles in the wild
In Cape Verde, you have the opportunity to see dolphins, whales, sharks and turtles in nature, in their own habitat, almost at any time, depending on the species. Whales are perhaps a slightly rarer sight, but possible nonetheless. It is possible to spot all the above-mentioned animals mostly from the sea, but on the island of Sal you also have the opportunity to walk among the lemon sharks in Shark Bay. This happens on the sharks’ own terms and lemon sharks are not dangerous to humans. You can snorkel with the turtles from all the islands, but during the nesting season it is also possible to admire them from the beach. Voluntary work with turtles is also done on the islands, for which helping hands are often welcome, of course.
6. Activities and sights
In all honesty, Cape Verde is not a country of many attractions and thousands of activities, but yes, there are still things to do on the islands, in addition to sunbathing and beach days. City life is best experienced in Mindelo on Sao Vicente island or Praia in the capital of Santiago on the main island (caution regarding theft is recommended), but here on the island of Sal it’s also nice to visit the capital Espargos, and get to know the island’s other smaller villages, such as the fishing village of Palmeira, Murdeira (a great place for snorkeling), and visit the saltwater pools of Pedra de Lume. You can visit Buracona to admire the Blue Eye and the beach town of Santa Maria is a nice and relaxed place to wander the streets and enjoy sunny beach days.
There are also some activities in Sal of course. It is absolutely recommended to experience, for example, Shark Bay, Zipline cable slide, buggy rides, various island tours led by local guides and and also various water sports. Cape Verde also has world champions in Kite Surfing, so what better place to learn new sports than with the champions?!
BOOK YOUR ACTIVITIES AND TOURS FROM HERE:
READ ALSO MORE ABOUT THE BEST HIGHLIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES ON SAL:
Nightlife can also be found on the islands. My own experiences so far are only from here in Sal and Sao Vicente. Sao Vicente has plenty of different cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as nightclubs in fine settings, such as the nightclub Martini, which offers beautiful views of the city and the sea with an infinity pool. In addition to cafes and restaurants, the bars in Sal are mostly concentrated on the main street, but to name a few examples, the beach bar Ola Brazil serves the best Caipi cocktails in the city, the Ocean Cafe always has happy workers dancing with people in the evenings, you can practice Kizomba at the Chill@ut Cafe, and every Thursday you should head to Funana for the weekly parties they host. The Bikini Beach Club is also a good place to party, and the islands offer various concerts from time to time to refresh everyday life.
8. Festivals & Carnevals
Every summer, each island organizes its own festivals, and each of these is definitely worth experiencing. Locals say that Sao Vicente’s festivals are the best, followed by Sal. I myself have only experienced the Sal festival, but it was a really nice experience. The carnivals, on the other hand, are always at the beginning of the year, and it is said that Sao Vicente takes the win from this as well, because according to the locals, they are the most popular carnivals in the world after Rio De Janeiro. This remains to be seen.
9. Amazing accommodation
As I mentioned earlier, the islands have a good and diverse range of amazing accommodation. Accommodation in Sal, in particular, can be found from luxury hotels to smaller Bed & Breakfasts and hostels. The biggest hotels can be found on the lists of travel agencies, but through Booking.com* you can independently find accommodation in any price category, from hostels to your own apartments and larger hotels. Santa Maria is not big, so there is no need to stare at the map too much when booking accommodation, because here it is easy to walk from one place to another and if necessary, you can get a taxi for less than a few euros.
10. Great place for digital nomads
Cape Verde offers a great setting for diginomads, as the islands generally have good internet connections and the opportunity to work in co-working spaces as well. Only in the middle of the mountains are the connections bad or non-existent, but in the cities everything usually works perfectly. All the nine points mentioned above serve as a good reason to go to Cape Verde for a while and spend the diginomad life, right?
JOY, MUSIC AND COLORFUL CULTURE
The colorful and friendly culture, refreshing Afro rhythms, happy and relaxed lifestyle and the warming sun all year round attracted me so much that I made no less than three longer trips to the island of Sal during 2022 and finally moved to the island in August 2022. The island is an easy place for diginomads for a shorter or longer break, and it’s easy to travel here alone or together, because the locals are helpful and always friendly.
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DOES ANY OF THE REASONS ABOVE MAKE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL TO CAPE VERDE? 🙂
<3: Tiina Johanna
*Photos: Tiina Johanna, blogger
*Photo editing: Loov.fi “Tropical blues” presets – check it out!