10 interesting facts about Cape Verde

Updated on Mar 02, 2023 by Clarabel Jones

Blog > 10 interesting facts about Cape Verde

There's much more to Cape Verde than glorious powder-white beaches. Here are 10 interesting facts about Cape Verde that you may not have known...


1. The archipelago is made up of ten islands and five islets

The islands, in order of size, are Santiago, Santo Antão, Boa Vista, Fogo, São Nicolau, Maio, São Vicente, Sal, Brava and Santa Luiza.

It may be one of the smallest islands, but Sal is by far the most popular with holidaymakers, thanks to its gorgeous white sandy beaches, turquoise shores and bustling tourist resort.

Learn more about all the islands of Cape Verde

Santa Maria beach in Sal


2. Cape Verde is the third largest nesting site for loggerhead turtles

Turtles are among the most endangered marine animals, and have been coming to these tiny islands for millennia.

Ervatão Beach, on the south-east coast of Boa Vista, is the third most important loggerhead turtle nesting site in the world. Book your trip between the months of July and September for a chance to witness the turtles laying their eggs!

Find out more on our excursions and experiences page.


3. Only half a million people live here, the majority on Santiago

There are actually more Cape Verdeans living outside of Cape Verde than there are on the islands themselves.

The repeated droughts that the country experienced during the second half of the 20th century led lots of locals to emigrate to the USA, Europe, Africa, and South America.

Visit Santiago on one of our island hopping holidays


4. Santa Luzia is the archipelago's only uninhabited island

The only way to reach the tiny, barren island of Santa Luiza is by chartering a fishing boat from Calhau, on the east coast of São Vicente.

The journey will take around two hours in each direction.

Visit São Vicente on one of our island hopping holidays


5. Boa Vista's waters are a breeding ground for humpback whales

Why not book a four-hour catamaran tour for a chance to spot the mighty mammals for yourself?

March and April are the best months for sightings, although it's still possible to see whales from late February through to May.

Find out more on our excursions and experiences page.


6. Sal was once a centre for salt mining

Pedra de Lume's salt mines have been out of use since the 1990s, but still attract a large number of tourists. It's also from here that Sal got its name!

Lying in the heart of a deep crater, and backed by mountains, the landscape is a sight to behold. The water is thick with salt, meaning you can float on the surface without even trying: Cape Verde's answer to the Dead Sea!

Find out more on our excursions and experiences page.


7. The archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century

Portuguese explorers colonised the islands in 1456, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics.

Cape Verde only gained independence in 1975, which is why Portuguese is still the official spoken language across the archipelago. The independence of the Archipelago is depicted in the Cape Verde flag, the design used colours that best depicted the country, blue, red, white and yellow. Blue signifies the ocean and sky, whilst the bands of white and red characterise the road toward building the nation, in which the colours stand for peace and effort. Finally, the yellow stars represent the 10 beautiful islands of Cape Verde.


8. It has many volcanoes, the highest of which is Pico do Fogo

Thousands of years ago, the island of Fogo rose from the sea in a volcanic eruption, its striking volcano, Pico do Fogo, towering 2,829m over the island’s landscape.

No trip to Fogo would be complete without conquering this active volcano, where you'll be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Chã das Caldeiras.

Visit Fogo on one of our island hopping holidays


9. The country has one of Africa’s most stable democratic governments

Cape Verde boasts West Africa’s highest standard of living, thanks to its stable political and economic system.

This makes it a very safe, welcoming and friendly country to visit, just one of the reasons the archipelago is so popular with holidaymakers.


10. The archipelago is perfect for water sports 

From kitesurfing and windsurfing to sailing and scuba diving, the islands’ range of water sports, primarily on Sal and Boa Vista, are a huge hook for tourists seeking an active holiday by the beach.

Several of our hotels offer rental equipment and lessons, and our local representatives will always be on hand to help you book courses or lessons.

Discover hotels perfect for water sports


Here at Cape Verde Experience, we sell a variety of beach holidays, island hopping tours and cultural breaks to seven of the Cape Verde islands.
Discover our full collection of hotels, or seek inspiration from our holiday ideas.

Posted in Clarabel Jones, Top 10s | Tagged Traditions


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