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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Cape Verde

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Things to see and do in Cape Verde

Tourist offices

Cape Verde Tourism

Address: CP.4 , Paúl,
Website: http://www.capeverde.com

Attractions in Cape Verde

Bird-watching

Cape Verde’s islands are home to several rare breeds of African birds like sparrows, swifts and warblers. The islands are excellent spots to see Western Palearctic seabird colonies and land bird fauna. Many species of birds endemic to Cape Verde are endangered, but increased interest from wildlife-lovers promoting conservation may help reverse this trend.

Boa Vista: shop in Sal Rei

Beyond Boa Vista's golden beaches and date-tree lined coasts sits Sal Rei, the island's capital. Experience Sal Rei's swimming bays and boatyards, colonial-style churches and royal salt, then stop at the city's shopping square, Praça de Santa Isabel, for fresh produce and souvenirs like African batik cloth and carved wooden figures.

Cape Verdean rum

Sample Cape Verdean rum or grog, produced on Santo Antão.

Cidade Velha

Wander around Cidade Velha in Santiago, the first European settlement in the tropics and a World Heritage site to boot. City ruins from the 1600s have survived the ravages of both time and pirates, and Fortaleza Real de Sao Filipe, a dramatic cliff-side fort, provides sea views.

Dance barefoot

Dance barefoot on the beach. Cape Verdean's love dancing, and you're sure to pick up some special moves from the locals.

Fogo: ogle at the volcano

The fiery island of Fogo’s beautiful volcanic peak, Pico de Fogo, is visible from craters in the west. Most hotels and guesthouses are in the island’s largest city, São Felipe, which has approximately 20,000 residents. Shop in the busy marketplace, weave through colorful houses and Portuguese-influenced sobrado buildings, and taxi to the craters from there. Pico de Fogo’s influence rules the island, home to black sand beaches and houses built from lava rocks.

Go scuba diving

Go scuba diving around Sal's amazing underwater world. Get up close to Cape Verde's plentiful sea-life.

Sal: soak up the sun and surf

Sal’s white sandy beaches and evaporated salt deposits make it an adventurer’s paradise. Float in a natural salt lake in the salt mines, which were originally built in a dormant volcano. For more extreme sports, Kite Beach is perfect for wind and kitesurfing. Sal is also famous for its scuba dives, which have everything from shipwrecks and stingrays to reefs and overhangs. Santa Maria’s beach town on the island’s southernmost tip also has bars and restaurants where you can finish the day just in time to catch incredible sunsets on the shoreline.

Salt mines of Sal

Explore the famous salt mines of Sal, after which the island is named. The mines were built inside a dormant volcano and are a fascinating and eerie experience.

Santiago: visit World Heritage Sites

Home to more than half of Cape Verde's population, Santiago is diverse in landscape and activity. Cidade Velha, a World Heritage site of ruins from first European settlement in the tropics, is a must-see for its cliff-side views of the sparkling Atlantic. Summer in Santiago is also a hot time for music and cultural pride with the lively Gamboa festival in May and Tabanka In June.

Santo Antão: eat and drink like a local

Get a taste for Cape Verde from Mercado Municipal in Ribeira Grande or one of Santo Antão’s coconut palms. The island’s landscapes vary from lush vegetation to colorful city squares, and a car ride is the best way to see it all. Blend in with the locals and sample Cape Verdean rum, grogue, produced on Santo Antão.

Sao Vicente: dance the night away

Dance to live music in the cultural melting pot of Cape Verde. Mindelo Harbor drew sailors from across the globe to this city, paving the way for sultry Cape Verdean morna folk music and upbeat coladeira. For a taster, try Cesaria Evora, a national icon. Sao Vicente’s annual Baia de Gata festival also attracts thousands of attendees each year.

Surf the waves

Learn to surf or water-ski. Cape Verde has some of the best waves in the world, and most hotels are happy to arrange lessons or board hire.

Watch the sunset

Watch the sunset on Sal Island. Truly one of the most beautiful in the world.