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Dream Destination: Cape Verde

As I technically live on an island now, I’m totally digging trips to fellow floating destinations. Of course England and the UK isn’t exactly on par with tropical, sunny islands, but I can pretend, right? Anyways, after spending a lot of time in the Caribbean a few summers ago, I’ve been itching to check out some new island hotspots, such as the Azores, Tenerife and the Greek islands. But one really sticks out to me above the rest – Cape Verde. This 10-island archipelago is a little out there but so worth the journey. Huge volcanic mountain ranges give way to spectacular white sand beaches around every corner. I dabbled with my first trip to Africa in Morocco a few months ago and would love to add Cape Verde to the list.

beach chairs cape verde via flickr

Adventure is so close

I’m used to long-haul fights as it takes about six hours to get between the east and west coast of the U.S. by plane. Cape Verde is about a six-hour flight from London. Once you arrive, you can travel between islands via ferry and over land by public and private mini-vans. It seems a week is sufficient to check out a couple different islands, but of course more time is essential if you want to get off-resort into the villages and mountains.

Culture blends

Cape Verdeans have embraced influences from Creole, Portuguese and African traditions to create something truly unique. The main dish of this nation is cachupa, which is a hearty, flavorful stew made from meat, sweet potato and beans. Much of the cuisine revolves around seafood, mostly fresh shellfish and white fish. However, I’d love to try percebes, which is a squid-like creature that is purple in color. People say it’s delicious! Besides food, Cape Verde is known to throw some great parties. Every August is the Baia das Gatas Festival, featuring local and international music played right along the beach.

market fish cape verde via flickr

Cape Verde highlights

São Vicente is known to have a wild fish market open on Saturday for those who like to rent holiday homes or imply are into people watching. The fish market gives a quick look into everyday life. It’s located in the town of Mindelo, which is known as Cape Verde’s cultural capital. The colonial buildings and funky souvenir shops are well worth a peek as well. The island of Santo Antão has some outdoor experiences for those who like to explore nature. The beautiful Xoxo waterfall has a wading pool at the bottom and is surrounded by tropical banana, mango and eucalyptus trees. It’s a two-hour hike to reach the falls and well worth the trek.

sunset cape verde via flickr

Have you been to Cape Verde before? What’s your favorite island in the world?

EileenCotterWright

Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Faye says:

    @Eileen: I’ve never been in Cape Verde coz no one introduces it to me. For now, I’ll consider this island on my list. Thank you. By the way, Philippines has a lot of beautiful Island, if you have a chance, you can visit there anytime. My friend told me it was beautiful. Tioman Island in Malaysia is my favorite island so far.

  • Char says:

    I just came back from Cape Verde and all I can say is that it is absolutely beautiful, from the people to the food to the scenery. The weather is perfect too as that Atlantic breeze stops you getting too sun-swept!

    Char xo || http://www.memoirsmusings.com

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