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Located off the northwestern coast of Africa, Cape Verde is a year-round island paradise for travelers. Usually, it's quite expensive to get to this destination. However, every so often there's a sale on flights, specifically out of Boston to Praia through TAP Air Portugal. Cape Verde is made up of 10 islands, each offering something a little different, and this archipelago has become increasingly popular as an ultimate beach vacation destination.
These islands are home to buzzing cities, lovely beaches, and relaxing retreats that are set against a backdrop of truly sublime natural beauty. Cape Verde experiences warm weather throughout the year, making it a great option for a winter sun getaway too.
Santiago – Housing the capital, Praia, and its stunning colonial architecture and plenty of great beaches.
São Vicente – With the second city Mindelo which has markets and plenty of facilities but a quieter feel.
Boa Vista, Sal and Maio – All known for their popular and breathtaking beaches.
Fogo and São Nicolau – Ideal for a rural vibe by the coast.
Santa Luzia and Brava – Tiny pockets of paradise, with virtually no permanent dwellers and a real treat for nature lovers.
The Cape Verde archipelago consists of nine islands. The most popular and touristically significant are the following:
Salinas's extinct volcanoes and white beaches determine the image of Sal. The city of Santa Maria in the south of the island is the tourist center with its wide beaches and large hotel complexes. The island is extremely popular with surfers and kite surfers due to the strong trade winds.
Boa Vista is in the south of Sal and has also been developed for tourism, but has remained more original than the neighboring island. The capital Sal Rei beguiles with colonial-style architecture and a relaxed pace of life.
Santiago is the largest and most populous of the Cape Verde Islands and, with two mountain ranges, is also the most varied. The island is greener and rainier than Sal and Boa Vista but also has fine sandy beaches. Due to the varied topography, the island is in high demand among hikers.
Our pirate tip: why stay on the tourist islands when you can fly to western Cape Verde? The coastal town of Mindelo on São Vicente is considered the cultural center of Cape Verde. The singer Cesaria Evora also lived here.
If you want to hit the beach but still want a feel for the culture and history of the country, the large settlements of Praia and Mindelo are the clear choices on your Cape Verde trip. That said, you'll still have easy access by boat to the other islands, and so you can see the breadth of this gorgeous archipelago.
Visit the turn of the century Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and the Town Hall, both reminiscent of Portuguese architecture. Also, walk among the plateaux which separate the different districts of the city and you'll be rewarded with magnificent views across the beaches and central Praia. In Mindelo, scale the Fortum d'El Rei, an abandoned fort that recaptures the beauty of the city's past and also gives a splendid vista.
Both Praia and Mindelo have plenty of bars and restaurants. Be sure to try the local rum and the national dish Cachupa on your Cape Verde vacation. It's a hearty meat or fish stew.
The islands of Cape Verde enjoy a stable economy and political situation, and in fact, it's often cited as one of the most liberal and welcoming countries in the world. Families, couples, and groups of friends alike will find the country an ideal spot for a beach break that still feels distinct to the coasts of Portugal, Spain, and the rest of Europe. You'll find that many Cape Verdeans love to mingle with visitors, and you can expect a friendly chat in the local bars or when browsing the markets.
Generally very stable throughout the year, ranging from averages of 73°F to 80°F.
Temperatures below 68°F even in winter are quite rare.
Logically, the hot summer months are best suited for a beach vacation in Cape Verde, even though the "rainy season" prevails during these months. But the showers will pass quickly and the sun will soon be back. We don't even find the rain showers bothersome, on the contrary, we even find them refreshing for a beach vacation because who can stand it non-stop on the beach in such hot temperatures without cooling off? But the rain showers also have another advantage: They bring a stronger wind, which gives you optimal waves for surfing. In other words, the summer season is also the best time to travel to Cape Verde for surfers.
Not only sun worshipers and bathing beauties are drawn to Cape Verde, nature lovers and hikers are also enthusiastic about the beautiful Cape Verde islands. The best travel time for a hiking trip are the dry, cooler months in spring and winter. In January, February, March, April, May, June, November, and December there is almost no precipitation, and with temperatures below 77°F hiking is much more pleasant. But that doesn't mean that you have to do without a beach vacation, because the water is still pleasantly warm (especially in November).