Cape Verde, life’s a beach

Cape Verde took me by surprise. You see, I had imagined a kind of Canary Island light. But there were no British newspapers in the shops, no Scandinavian cheeses on the menus, and most importantly – no neon colored beach toys or beach towels for sale. In other words, this is no Canary Island.Image

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You may not even have heard of Cape Verde before, and I don’t blame you. It is an archipelago consisting of ten islands, situated off the coast of Senegal. It used to belong to Portugal, but gained independence in 1975. Find out more facts over at wikipedia.

So what’s the allure? What makes Cape Verde worth your time, rather than spending your holiday somewhere more predictable? Well, did I mention there are no British newspapers around, or weird Scandinavian cheese to be found? I believe I did, and if that has a nice ring to it in your ears, you should keep reading. Or rather, keep looking at these pictures. After all, a picture says more than a thousand words, and there’s no way I am about to cough up a thousand words about this place. Not now anyway.

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These shots are taken at the island called Boa Vista. It is a flat island surrounded by wonderful beaches. However, remember that this is the Atlantic, so expect waves. When I visited (march 2012), there were only two major hotels on the island – the Riu Touareg and the Riu Karamboa. These are perfect if you don’t mind queuing up in the dining room, lying side by side with other tourists by the pool and of course, appreciate a bit of 5 star luxury. The rest of the island remains pretty much unchanged, including the road system which is only paved and prepared between the airport and the before mentioned top end hotels.

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Here’s our compulsory FIVE THINGS TO DO list:

1 – JUMP IN THE VIANA SAND DUNES

Not far from the airport in Boa Vista, you’ll find some pretty amazing natural sand dunes which pretty much offers everything you’d expect to see in the Sahara itself, apart from camels. Good fun for kids of all ages!

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2 – PIG OUT ON LOBSTER

I am sure I am not the only traveler out there who is a self declared lover of lobster… however, whenever you order lobster at a restaurant, more often than not, I end up a little bit disappointed at the small size of the portion. I mean, if I order lobster, I want to eat lobster, not a whole lot of side dishes like salad or potatoes with sauce. It just doesn’t do it for me. And trust me, once you’ve had lobster Cape Verde style, it won’t do it for you either. It comes by the bucket load! Honestly, our supper at the very modest hole-in-the-wall restaurant ‘Naida’ in the capital Sal Rei turned out to be a massive feast. So much so that we couldn’t finish the delicious white meat, and had to leave a lobster tail or two behind. Shame on us, I know!

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3 – JUST DANCE

Boa Vista is a cultural island where traditional dancing is still very popular. But forget boring, old traditional dances which I at least associate with the word traditional dancing. Fanuna is more like tuning into a sizzling hot MTV video where the participants wiggle in ways that are unknown to me. As a tourist you’ll get plenty of opportunities to join in. Either as a true tourist in one of the hotel complexes, or in the container come night club called Masurka just out of Sal Rei. Either way – just dance!

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4 – SPOT THE WHALE!

Whale watching is exciting business, especially when you go out on fancy catamarans where you can enjoy a truly spectacular day at sea.

We saw several humpback whales, and loved every second!Image

5 – GET AN OVERVIEW

You can see the whole of Boa Vista in less than a day, and if you take part in an organized tour, you’ll be taken to the famous ship wreck Santa Maria, then whizzed off by a 4×4 to the Santa Monica beach which is the island’s most spectacular stretch of sand. Along the way you’ll stop off in some remote villages where life just seems to be going by without anybody taking notice. You will also be shown around the capital Sal Rei which has a lovely bay for kiting and sunbathing. Oh, and you’ll see plenty of flat, hard moon like landscapes which is what this island is all about.

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10 comments on “Cape Verde, life’s a beach

  1. Oooohh, it sounds, and looks absolutely fantastic! Great photos, and I must add; as usual. Cape Verde is now on my ever expanding list of places to go.

  2. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some
    advice from an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

    • Hi!
      We are so not technically minded people, and if we can set up a blog, anybody can. Trust me!
      Just follow the directions given here on WordPress, and you’ll be flying!

      Vibeke

  3. Me and my girlfriend are thinking about going for some winter sun this year… Could you possibly give us an idea of the costs of the basics (food and beer basically!) as we cant find this sort of information anywhere. It seems most people go full board which we dont want to do, but we dont want to get caught out by “island prices” as can happen sometimes! Thanks in advance :) Jonny

    • Hi Jonny, I totally see what you mean about island prices, it happened to us in Cuba.
      As far as Cape Verde is concerned, it is not pricy. We grabbed a light lunch at the Boa Vista Social Club beach bar for 8 euros per person. A coffee will set you back a euro. The lobster dinners that the island of Boa Vista is famous for, is slightly more expensive. 20 euros per head.
      A bottle of wine is roughly 10 euros.

      Hope this helps!

      Vibeke

      • Glad to help. Check out jetair from Brussels, if not, I’m afraid charter flights provide an easy and affordable option. TUI or Thomson (depends where you’re from) will fly you there, and they also have options where you can choose non-all-inclusive.

        Happy holidays!

  4. Hello, I’m thinking of going to Cape Verde for their Carnival as a side trip at the end of my stay in Ghana. Do you know of any cheap hotels on the islands & flights from Ghana?

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