Holidays to Cape Verde show off sweeping beaches with mountain neighbours, and an all-sorts island culture that’s drenched in year-long sunshine.
A three-for-one deal
Thanks to its North Atlantic spot between Portugal, Brazil and West Africa, Cape Verde’s heritage is a mix of all three. Influences from these next-door neighbours have fused to create the unique culture of the islands today. On Cape Verde holidays, olives and wine from the Portuguese region of Alentejo are familiar faces at dinner, while African rice-and-spice stews are popular meals. At markets, you’ll find Portuguese crocheted blankets laid out next to vibrant African-patterned fabrics, while Brazilian samba-style beats play in the background.
The island of Boa Vista’s home to 55 kilometres of the sandy stuff, so there’s plenty and more to go around. Most are of the milky-white variety, and the sea’s a tropical turquoise. The best of the bunch is Santa Monica which, unlike its Californian counterpart, is pretty much untouched. You'll find similar characters over on Sal. The colourful town of Santa Maria rolls out a hotel-lined, golden strip of sand that's sheltered by two headlands.
The country’s well-known for its music, which spans a shedload of genres. Most songs are sung in Creole. In plenty of bars and clubs you’ll hear funana – an upbeat type of tune usually played on an accordion, which never fails to get the locals moving. At the other end of the scale you’ll find the morna. It’s a dramatic piece, and dancers tend to sway to the beat in a rumba-style.
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Ask a room full of people to pinpoint Cape Verde on a map, and you might be surprised at how many are left scratching their heads. It’s not an uncommon reaction – these 10 tiny islands floating in the Atlantic have managed to stay blissfully below the radar. For the record, they’re just off the west coast of Africa, which means sunshine’s a given pretty much year-round.
If you’re not sure where Sal is, you’re not alone. It's one of 10 tiny islands that make up Cape Verde, and as far as tourism is concerned, it’s still early doors for this necklace of rocks in the Atlantic. To give you an idea, they’re 2 hours south of the Canaries, just off the west coast of Africa. Thanks to their history and location, you’ll find an exotic mix of African and Portuguese cultures on each island. And wherever you head, you’re guaranteed untouched beaches – there aren’t many people around here to share them with.
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