Cape Verde is a popular beach holiday destination, but for those who prefer to get out and about there are a number of options available.
Outside your hotel, there’s plenty of things to do in Cape Verde, so get a taste for the local atmosphere and people by dining in local restaurants and browsing the markets. A number of excursions out to other islands are available and on Sal and Boa Vista in particular, the water-sports facilities are fantastic.
Taxis are readily available in the larger towns and resort areas and are generally of a good standard. Although they work on a meter they can at times be ‘creative’, so it's always worth agreeing the cost before setting off. A two to three mile journey should cost around €3.
The most inexpensive way of getting around are the local buses or aluguers, which are easily identified around the town, often full of passengers and packages. You simply shout when you want to get off. These usually operate daily until 7.30pm.
Flying is the most practical way of travelling between the diverse islands. Inter-island flights are operated by BestFly. They have daily schedules; the routes are quick and mostly direct.
Whilst domestic flights are always the preferred option when hopping between the islands in the archipelago, there are a few islands that are accessible only by ferry. Regular ferries operate between São Vicente and Santo Antão. These routes run between the ferry ports of Mindelo (São Vicente) and Porto Novo (Santo Antão) daily. They are punctual can be booked as part of an island-hopping itinerary. Other ferries sail between the islands of Fogo and Brava as there are no airports on Brava.
Shopping in Cape Verde for day to day items can be expensive as most produce is imported, however if browsing colourful local markets for unique local wares such as jewellery, clothing and fresh produce is your idea of great shopping, Cape Verde is the destination for you.
Bartering for goods is only acceptable within the markets or with the 'salesman' on or around the beach or main tourist areas. It is not a custom for the Cape Verdean shopkeepers.
Cape Verdean handicrafts are a reflection of the constraints caused by the drought and the limited natural resources they have on the islands. Basket weaving plays a very important role in the archipelago and together with cloth weaving, characterise the islands’ handicraft heritage.
Clay is an important material resource for the local artisans who often create typical Cape Verdean figures depicting everyday routines, which together with pots and kitchen utensils, are a common sight in shops and markets.
The Cape Verdean alcoholic drink ‘Grogue’, Fogo wine, coffee beans and the abundantly available local sweet make excellent souvenirs, and in Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, where the live music is said to be the best, CDs of local music can be bought to take back home with you.
For essential everyday shopping for things like toiletries, the island capitals are usually well stocked but outside of these towns it’s almost non existent.
Along with superb beaches and a great year-round climate, the Cape Verde islands offer a wide variety of activities and must-do excursions. There is certainly something for everyone whether you fancy a little bit extra on your holiday other than topping up your tan and enjoying the local cuisine.
Discover all kinds of different activities and excursions on the blog.
Chloe Lyttle @lyttlelens
There are many different and exciting activities available on the islands in the form of excursions, day trips, island tours and immersing yourself in the local scene!
Please note: There is a golf course on the island of São Vicente, which is a simple dry course and a little bit windy - Not really recommened for the serious golfer..!
Of course each island does have its own niche and there are better times of year to visit if you wish to partake in a particular activity during your stay. To assist with your decision, we have put together a monthly grid which will help you choose when to travel and which island suits you best.
For more information about our activities in Cape Verde please view one of the following...
Nightlife in Cape Verde generally stems from traditional live music and dance. The native sounds of Africa, combined with European and Latin instruments have resulted in the seductive and upbeat Creole music that is famous within the archipelago.
Much of the Cape Verde nightlife is hotel based, however the locals’ lively spirit is evident in the main resort areas at the weekends, where you can just as easily join them in a local restaurant, music bar or disco shimmying to the local rhythmic beats.
Music making is everywhere, and a visit to the Cape Verde islands would not be complete without experiencing the unique Cape Verdean ‘morna’ music; a combination of guitar and violin music often put to lyrics about love.
Saying this, some islands are livelier than others - Mindelo on São Vicente and Santa Maria on Sal are the livelier towns with a vibrant buzz of music and local dancers and Boa Vista is the quietest, with little nightlife outside of the hotels.