The attractions of Cabo Verde have mostly to do with nature, as the islands were only colonized in the latter half of 15th century. You will find little historical wonders on the islands, of which the most notable are Cidade Velha on Santiago, a fortress that was the starting point of the colonization of the archipelago and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Pedra de Lume salt pans on Sal, a natural wonder where in the 19th century salt making infrastructure developed, making it a unique combination of nature, history and outdoor spa (as you can bathe in the super salty pans!). In February, it is worth taking part in local celebrations of carnival, comparable to the one in Rio de Jainero on a smaller scale. That said, what are the natural wonders of Cabo Verde?
Beaches of Cabo Verde
There are a few beaches on Cabo Verde where you can relax under tropical sun by the ocean. Santa Maria beach on Sal, the most developed of the island, is known for its fine golden sand and shallow blue waters. In winter, it becomes the perfect place for water sports. Colorful boats of the locals are an additional attraction. Santa Monica beach on Boa Vista is a several kilometers long sandy beach. Praia de Chaves on the same island is bordering a small desert, giving it a unique feel. Sao Pedro beach on Sao Vicente is one of the best destinations in the world for wind surfing. If you prefer typical beach holidays, Laginha beach on the same island has fine white sand, calm blue water, hotels in its immediate vicinity, and a wonderful view on Santo Antao mountains. Between June and October sea turtles are nesting on the beaches of the islands, mostly Boavista, but also Maio and Sal. At this time, parts of the beaches are closed off, but at night you can take part in special excursions to see baby turtles hatching and going to the ocean. In December, whales arrive in Cabo Verde to have babies. You can go on a whale watching voyage from most tourist resorts.
Hiking in Cabo Verde
The volcano on the island of Fogo is one of the symbols of the country. The enormous mountain is nearly devoid of plant and animal life, but the old lava flows are truly impressive. Near the town of Tarrafal on the island of Sao Nicolau you can find a unique natural structure called Carbeirinho. It’s a striped rock structure in wavy shape that is difficult to describe.
Sahara-like Viana desert on Boavista is another place worth visiting. For something completely different, on Sao Nicolau you can visit one of the few forests on Cabo Verde, Monte Gordo National Park protecting 32 endemic species in this surprisingly lush ecosystem. In the valley of seasonal stream of Ribeira do Paul on Sao Antonio there’s enough humidity for developement of agriculture – a visitor can observe how sugar cane, coffee, yams, bananas, papayas and mangos are grown.
What are your favourite places on Cabo Verde? Share your experiences in the comments! Before you go, check out the weather on Cabo Verde!