Tourists should imagine this when visiting the archipelagic nation of Cape Verde: the welcoming sun will always accompany them as they island-hop. With a brandy in hand and a camera in another, they will have fruitful moments as they enjoy the Atlantic breeze and the seascape. Taking the perfect shot in this African country is always possible. That is, taking a brandy shot and an Instagram snap.
The 10 islands of Cape Verde, which is located off the tourist attraction-rich Senegal, have stunning beaches and other alluring sites that will impress even picky sun-worshippers. This archipelago is not yet on the radar of many tourists, so those visiting this charming destination can always have a vacay with less crowd.
10 Santo Antao
The mountainous island of Santo Antao is a hiker’s paradise. Upon reaching this destination, some might wonder how this island is packed with such lush greenery and varied landscapes.
Add the pristine Atlantic shore, and a visit to Santo Antao means being one with nature right away every day.
From its river valleys to the plateaus, trekkers will enjoy crossing rivers while appreciating Mother Nature's wonders. They might even spot a critter or two. The trails are challenging but rewarding, and a repeat is a must.
9 Sao Vicente
Those who want to paint the town red should not miss the nightlife in Sao Vicente. It has a thriving nightlife and carnival scene, maybe because its capital Mindelo is the hometown of famous singer Cesária Évora.
In the morning, tourists can stroll around town and observe the hustle and bustle of the fishing village. They can also check out its natural spots, like rivers and Monte Verde.
When the sun sets, it's time to party by the beach and enjoy what it means to live life to the fullest.
8 Sao Nicolau
Sao Nicolau has two main towns: Tarrafal and Ribeira Brava. The former is located by the sea, easily making it a hangout spot for lovers of the ocean. The latter, meanwhile, is hugged by mountains and is known for its colonial structures.
The island has the best of both worlds: sandy shores and scenic trails. There’s something for everyone on Sao Nicolau: sightseers can busy themselves exploring towns, beachgoers can have all the sun, and trekkers will have a solid leg day.
The white-sand beach of Sal looks stunning in photos, more so when tourists are out there. Sun-worshippers flock to this island, enjoying the breeze, the beauty, and the bliss.
Who would not want to visit this place? Its water condition is perfect for surfing, diving, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. Not only will tourists have a splash, but they’ll also have the wind as another friend.
Fishers are welcome, too, alongside sightseers who want to check out a salt crater, lava pool, and botanical garden, among others. Salute to Sal!
6 Boa Vista
Boa Vista is all about sand, sand, and sand because it’s not only famous for its pristine beaches but also a desert.
It has various beaches, like Atalanta, where a shipwreck can be seen; Cabral near an abandoned chapel; and Ervatão, Santa Mónica, Varandinha, and Gatas, which are part of nature reserves.
Those who can’t get enough of the sand can also explore Deserto de Viana, a welcoming desert area where peace is always within reach. Boa Vista is also known for turtles, so tourists should keep their eyes peeled for these shelled friends.
Maio probably has some of the best beaches in Cape Verde, if not the world. They remain safe from intense beachfront development, so sunbathers will have a relaxing time enjoying the sounds of the crashing waves or having a quick read.
Its northern part has dunes and a forest, while the towns are packed with historical buildings.
Its bays and lagoons are the perfect spots to unwind after trekking or sightseeing. On the quiet island of Maio, the sound of nature is a lullaby.
Santiago is Cape Verde’s largest island and home to Praia, the nation’s capital. As such, it serves as a gateway to this African destination. Praia is teeming with historical and cultural spots, like museums. It also has various viewpoints for lovers of the ocean.
Praia, after all, means beach in Portuguese. The island is also proud of the city of Cidade Velha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, praised for its well-preserved colonial settlements, churches, fortress, and town square. The island is always ready to welcome visitors, thanks to hospitable locals.
Tours on the island of Fogo are one of a kind because of the presence of a majestic volcano Pico do Fogo. Though active, the volcano's summit can be reached after six hours of hiking, an enticing prospect for trekkers who want to try something new.
The island produces a unique wine with high alcohol content, something to try when tourists want to end their day reminiscing the stunning sights and sounds of Fogo, which means fire in Portuguese. It’s indeed one hot destination.
Brava is Cape Verde’s smallest island yet probably has the grandest offerings. Its greenery is unmatched, from the valleys to the peaks.
Flowers bloom everywhere, and the isle’s natural pool has crystal-clear waters where a tourist’s reflection can always be seen smiling. As they should because this destination is the superlative form of paradise.
The trails are scenic, and its towns are peaceful, so it’s easy to fall in love with the island. From the shore to its core, Brava is bravo!
1 Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia is Cape Verde’s only uninhabited island and is only open to fishers and biologists. Tourists are not barred from visiting the island as they can join fishing charters near the island. The area is protected, so scientists can study its resident species. Its expansive landscape is composed of beaches, dunes, rugged coasts, and Topona, its highest peak.
Now a nature reserve, Santa Luzia is tentatively listed as a World Heritage Site. Tourists should understand that some destinations should remain free from them. Cape Verde, after all, has other mesmerizing islands.