What better way to escape winter weather and beat post-Christmas blues than with a trip to sunnier climes? One upcoming destination for 2017 is Cape Verde (or Cabo Verde), an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. Here’s a look at what awaits visitors to these Atlantic Ocean islands.
Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, is best known as the birthplace of Cabo Verdean singer Césaria Evora. It’s a great place to experience authentic Cabo Verde, since the hometown of the “Barefoot Diva” holds a colorful carnival early in February. Festivities aside, Mindelo is also home to one of the world’s most stunning bays.
Surf the legendary waves of Ponta Preta
The island of Sal attracts windsurfers and kitesurfers from all around the world, keen to ride the impressive waves at Ponta Preta. These veritable walls of water aren’t for the faint-hearted, reaching two to five meters in height, but they’re sure to enthral thrill-seeking watersports enthusiasts. Competitions are also held in Ponta Preta. Beginners will be more at ease in the waters of Monte Leao or Ponta Leme, also on the island of Sal.
Hiking to the top of Pico do Fogo
Energetic visitors in search of a memorable experience can head to the island of Fogo, where the Pico de Fogo — the highest point in the Cabo Verde archipelago — stands 2,829 meters (9,281 ft) above sea level. Pico de Fogo is actually a volcano, which last erupted in 2014. Hiking trails lead the most adventurous visitors to its summit, promising breathtaking views over the island and the archipelago. Keen hikers can also take in the Cha Das Caldeiras caldera in the Pico do Fago crater.
The walking trails of Santo Antao
Travelers who don’t have the energy or the time to climb Pico do Fogo can head to the island of Santo Antao. The westernmost and second-largest island of Cape Verde is a volcanic island with dense vegetation in the north and an arid landscape in the south. A walking trail takes visitors across the entire island, taking in banana plantations, papaya farms and rum distilleries, apparently the finest in all of Cape Verde.
Watch turtle eggs hatch on Boa Vista
The star animal of Cape Verde is the loggerhead sea turtle. Wildlife fans can head to the island of Boa Vista to watch the turtles lay their eggs between June and mid-October. This is one of the most popular spots for visitors hoping to experience this moving sight first hand. Special tours take tourists up close to the turtles without disturbing them. Some lucky visitors might even see the eggs hatch, or see baby turtles scurrying to the shoreline.
Experience Cape Verdean culinary culture in Praia
Although there’s not much to see in the archipelago’s capital, the market in Praia is well worth checking out for an authentic taste of Cape Verde’s culinary culture. This bustling market has stalls selling fruit, vegetables, fish and meat, as well as other items and bric-a-brac. An authentic experience guaranteed!