ABOUT THE ISLAND
The largest island in the archipelago and the first to be populated, Santiago is rich in history and culture and known for its lively nightlife. The various mountainous peaks of the island reflect its volcanic origin.
With a unique blend of diverse landscapes, volcanic rocks, green valleys, barren regions and beautiful beaches Santiago is aesthetically pleasing. Hiking is popular here as this is one of the few islands with a refreshing hinterland which can be very rewarding. Ornithologists will be in their element as most of the species endemic to Cape Verde can be spotted here.
Praia is the capital of Santiago, a traditional bustling African town and the trading hub for agricultural products. Live music plays a huge role in the city's culture and can be heard playing in bars and restaurants and is hugely popular amongst the locals and tourists. No visit to Santiago would be complete without a trip to the old capital of Cidade Velha and Forte Real de Sao Filipe, the main slave trading point between Europe, Africa and America.
FESTIVALS IN SANTIAGO
The following are just a couple of festivals that take place on Santiago:
Gamboa Festival - 17/18/19 May - Held in the bay of San Fransisco and arguably the biggest music festival in Cape Verde. Musicians from other countries come to Santiago to participate.
Tabanka - June/July - A celebration of the liberation of slaves which takes place in Assomada.
WALKING & HIKING
The Islands provide some spectacular scenery and there are walks to suit all levels of fitness and experience.
Some of the walks in the islands provide challenges which require previous hill walking experience, a higher than average level of fitness and proper walking footwear. For some walks guides are a necessity and can be arranged and paid for locally where as others are well signposted and there is no need for a guide.
The interior of Santiago provides many beautiful walks that start at a point in the centre of the island and follow a ribeira down to the coast.