Santiago & Sao vicente islands
An island country in the middle of the Atlantic, to the west of Senegal, consisting of 10 islands and islets, with an active volcano called “Fogo” which means fire and 10 airports! The distances between the islands are not very large, however most of the people travel by airplane.
The climate is tropical with temperatures between 25-30 C throughout the year and beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, mainly on the island of Sal which is a rising tourist destination.
Discovered in 1456 by Portugal and independent since 1975, with Portuguese influences and language, but with a character somewhere between Europe, Africa and Latin America.
It’s not a destination for everyone, you can’t like it at first glance, it wins you gradually, once you relax and enjoy its alternative face.
The capital Praia, is built high up on the slope of the largest island, Santiago. The first impression upon arrival by boat may be frustrating as cranes, trucks, open markets in a cloud of dust and people of all ages invite you to buy fish, vegetables, textiles, irons and what else.
Leaving the noisy center behind, take a taxi from the official taxi rank and visit the cidade Velha, the first colonial city built in tropics which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was the Portuguese center for the transportation and trafficking of slaves from Sierra Leone to Brazil and the Caribbean. It has been the cause of serious attacks on trafficking control between the colonists and Europe. Eventually it was looted and was destroyed by pirates in 1712.
At the public execution point, there is a marble column, a symbol of justice, rights and freedom.
While most of the city is under construction -with its castle dominating the top, gorges with palm trees, sheltered harbors, colored boats, fishermen and Rua de Banana, the first European road built in Africa- Praia is a city that excites all the senses.
Our lady of the Rosary church,Cidade Velha
Sao Vicente island
The biggest city in this island is Mindelo, the most beautiful city of all the islands. The heart of the local culture beats to the rhythm of Cesaria Evora’s melancholic songs.
As the Barefoot Diva sang “Sodade”, her voice melted her soul and traveled her mind to the places she loved.
A city with European air, colourful houses, small shops with wooden souvenirs, the museum of the Sea and smiling residents who enjoy the slow daily rhythms.
There are many restaurants and cafes to choose from, the best being the one at the marina, Marina Mindelo floating Bar & Bistro offering the sea breeze, the view of the countless sailing boats and a friendly atmosphere by the sea. You should try grilled tuna and squid with garlic sauce and caipirinha.
Praia da laginha is a beautiful beach with white sand that you come across close to the port and it is a good choice for reinvigorating dip.
Most often a cool breeze blows the heat of the day away increasing your walking endurance and bringing red shades to the sky. The dust coming from the desert changes the atmosphere and even though its only noon the sky darkens.