Cape Verde

stunning archipelago off the coast of Senegal

Set in the Atlantic ocean, over 300 miles from the west coast of the African mainland, this archipelago is famous as a year round destination for those looking to escape the British climate and find some sun.  And while many come here to laze on the beautiful white sand beaches, those looking for more activity can explore mountains and volcanoes, follow ancient trails through farmland, kite-surf, dive, snorkel or cycle.  Deep sea fishing and whale watching trips between February and May are available on some islands.  

Walking

The best walking in these islands can be found on the island of Santa Antao (see below) but most of the islands have good walks in their interior and Sao Vicente and the volcanic craters on Fogo also provide some great hiking options.  Walking maps produced by a  German map company exist for each island but the only walking guide is in German.  But, at least on Santa Antao, the trails are well used and marked, so self guided walking is perfectly possible.  Those wanting to do some of the more intrepid hikes up volcanoes and mountains would be advised to hire a guide and our suppliers can arrange this for you.  Combine Santa Antao, Sao Vicente or Fogo with a few days at the end of your trip at one of the luxury hotels on Sal or Boa Vista and you have an almost perfect holiday.  

  • Flying time: 6 hours
  • Time difference: -1 hour
  • Currency: Cape Verdean Escudo
  • Best time of year to travel: Year round
  • Best time of year for walking: Year round

Santa Antao

Relatively untouched by tourism, Santa Antao is a complete contrast to the more well known sandy islands of Sal and Boa Vista.  It provides great hiking opportunities – whether for a few hours or a whole day.  You will see cliff hanging villages, rugged green peaks, fertile valleys, sugar cane plantations and distilleries producing the local tipple – Grogue. Accommodation is simple but charming with fabulous views of the mountains.  There are no direct flights to Santa Antao but it is only a short ferry ride from Sao Vicente.  

Sao Vicente

The main port in Sao Vicente, Mindelo, is the cultural capital of the islands and the most sophisticated town with live music most evenings and tasty food.  No trip to Sao Vicente is complete without a climb to the top of Monte Verde, the island’s highest peak with stunning views of the city and across the Atlantic.  Accommodation varies from characterful boutique hotels to larger hotels with plenty of facilities.  

Fogo

The Pico do Fogo, at 2829 metres high towers over the dramatic volcanic landscape of the island of Fogo.  A trek up to the volcano’s peak will reward you with an incredible view of the original crater (12 km wide) and many smaller more recent craters.  The last eruption was in 1995, but a team of vulcanologists keep a close eye on it.  Fogo has a vineyard producing Cha de Fogo Vino Tinto, a smooth red wine.  The landscape is alien and breathtaking.  Accommodation is simple but characterful.  

Boa Vista

Boa Vista is home to some beautiful beaches, particularly those at Praia de Chaves and at Santa Monica.  The interior contains a lunar landscape, home to deserts and date trees and abandoned villages.  Highlights of the island include the white sand dunes of the Viana desert, the Cabo Santa Maria shipwreck, whale watching between February and May and the arrival of nesting loggerhead turtles from July to September.  Accommodation varies from simple guest houses to luxury international hotels.  

Sal

Sal is a beach-lover’s paradise.  As the name suggests, it is also home to the island’s once booming salt trade in the barren centre of the island.  Santa Maria is the main resort with a variety of bars and restaurants with both local and international cuisine.  There is a conservation project for loggerhead turtles but the main reason people visit is for the white sand beaches and year round sunshine.  It makes for a lovely relaxing few days after a more active trip hopping between other islands.  Accommodation is mainly in 4 and 5 star hotels with great facilities.   

Santiago

Santiago is home to Cape Verde’s current capital and its UNESCO world heritage listed former capital.  It is an island rich in history including its sad history as the main slave trading port between Africa, Europe and America.  You can still see the first fort built by the Europeans in west Africa.  Elsewhere on the island there is some nice hiking through mountains and mango and coconut groves to a waterfall where you can take a dip.  

Ideas for a trip to Cape Verde

Here are some ideas for trips to Cape Verde all of which can be adapted for you and we are always happy to create a bespoke trip from scratch

The Peaks of Cape Verde

from £2359
From the lunar landscape of the still active volcano on Fogo to the verdant valleys and rugged mountains on Santo Antão, the scenery you'll see on this fourteen night tour is spectacular. Visiting Sal, Sao Vicente, Santa Antao, Santiago and Fogo, great walking, vibrant music, colonial architecture and superb beaches are just some of the highlights.

Barlavento Trio

from £1669 per person
Experience three of Cape Verde’s most diverse and rewarding islands as you delve into the beauty of the Barlavento, setting foot on the vibrant streets, verdant landscapes and soft sands of São Vicente, Santo Antão and Sal. This seven-night island hopping itinerary will present some of Cape Verde’s most famed and unique attractions, showcasing the variety of the archipelago’s character – proving that each and every island possesses a distinct and proud identity.Sed posuere consectetur est at lobortis.

Santiago and the Island of Fire

from £1879 per person
Relax on the beautiful beaches of Sal before stepping onto the diverse island of Santiago, exploring markets, trekking through the mountainous interior or lazing by the pool. On Fogo, visit the active volcano surrounded by a lunar landscape, and of course, sample the wine! This trip is for 7 nights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions that haven't been answered here? Send your questions to enquiries@shearwatertravel.co.uk and we'll try our best to help.

British passport holders can enter Cape Verde for up to 30 days without a visa.  For further details visit the FCO Cape Verde web pages

No specific vaccinations are required to visit Caspe Verde although you should check your usual vaccinations are up to date.  Cape Verde is generally a low risk malaria area but there can be malaria in the north of Santiago between September and November. for more detail visit the NHS Fit For Travel pages on Cape Verde

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