Porto Novo Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Porto Novo port study

More improvements for transportation and travel within Cape Verde are on the horizon. The government of Cape Verde has initiated a tender for a study on the port facilities at Porto Novo on the island of Santo Antão. The study will look into to the feasibility of expanding the port and improving navigation. It will also consider the costs of any works it identifies.

The port was constructed in 1962 and expanded and modernised in 2010. It can currently accommodate cruise ships of medium size. The existing terminal can accommodate up to 250,000 passengers each year. There are also two ramps for roll-on and roll-off ferries.

The authorities on Santo Antão have been asking for a further phase of expansion so that larger cruise ships are able to dock there.

cape verde airport security fee

Airport Security Fee for Cape Verde

It has been reported that from January 2019 there will be an Airport Security Fee introduced for all arrivals at Cape Verde’s airports. It appears that this fee will be applied to all flights, both domestic and international, although the amount varies. The fee is understood will be from 150 Escudos (€1.36) to 3,400 Escudos (€30.8) based on where the flight is from (domestic or international).

Children under the age of 2, Cape Verdean passport holders and diplomats arriving on international flights will be exempt from this new fee.

sal cape verde tourism increase

Tourism in Cape Verde continues to increase

Once again figures for tourism in Cape Verde have shown an increase for the first half of 2018. During the period from January to June there were 383,500 guests recorded in hotels and more than 2.2m overnight stays. The figures represent an increase of about 10% compared with the same period in 2017.

Within those figures it was confirmed that visitors from the United Kingdom formed the majority representing over 25% of the total visitors. Portugal, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands being the next largest in that order. Not only were the highest proportion of visitors from the UK, but they also tended to stay in he country the longest.

Of all the Cape Verde islands, Sal continued to be the most popular island, with Boa Vista second and Santiago coming third. This is perhaps not surprising given that these are the easiest islands to get to from Europe. It is however, a shame that visitors don’t aim to be a little more adventurous and explore some of the other islands, which are all so different in character.

main beach maio

Beach Games on the island of Maio

If you are visiting the island of Maio this summer, you may be interested in a programme of beach games being organised by the Câmara Municipal do Maio. During July and August the local authority will be organising a series of activities including football, volleyball and swimming.

The events will commence on 16 July with a beach football tournament. These beach games have become a regular event and are intended to create a series of fun activities for the young people of Maio. It will give them something to do during the summer and at the same time help the young people develop.

The activities will take place on the main beach (Bitxe Rotxa) in Vila do Maio.

praia casino

Construction underway on Praia casino

Work is now in progress on the new tourist resort and casino being built in Praia on the island of Santiago. The first stage is to build a new causeway out to the island on which the complex in being constructed. The new causeway can be seen under construction in this picture. The finished project will be a 152,700m² complex including accommodation, casino, retail, restaurants, convention centre, museum and marina. The estimated cost is €250m. The project is seen as part of the Cape Verde government’s aim to increase tourism to this island state. The development is being undertaken by Macau Legend Development. The first casino to be opened in Cape Verde was in Santa Maria on the island of Sal.

british soldiers in sal

British soldiers on rampage in Cape Verde

A group of british soldiers has caused a bit of a ruckus in Cape Verde. The 130 men were on their way to the Falkland Islands when their transporter plane stopped to refuel in Sal. The onward journey was delayed because of a technical fault with the plane. The men had to be put up in hotels in Sal, while the problem was fixed.

They found themselves in the ‘all-inclusive’ 5* Melia Tortuga hotel. Holidaymakers, including a number of families, were a bit surprised to see the soldiers behaviour. Some were sunbathing in their underwear and others arguing loudly with each other. It is understood that some of them also swore at the hotel bar staff whilst ordering drinks. Two of the men were arrested by police, appeared in court and were fined £150 each for brawling. The British Army confirmed that those involved would be disciplined. The cost of accommodating the soldiers following the problem with the plane is estimated at £40,000. Main source – Daily Telegraph news paper.

pedra de lume

Visit Pedra de Lume

Salt has been produced in the Cape Verde islands since the 18th Century. Pedra de Lume on the island of Sal (Salt in English) was one of the main areas for production. In 1985 the operations at Pedra de Lume ceased, but the site has become an interesting place for visitors. You can see the remains of the conveyor system, that could transport 25 tons an hour. A bathe in the water, which is only about 600mm deep is an interesting experience. The salt water makes it easy to float, and the experience is similar to bathing in the Dead Sea. So, if you are visiting Sal, include Pedra de Lume on your itinerary and take a dip in the water. Take some suitable shoes to use in the pool because of the sharp salt crystals.

 

 

laginha beach mindelo

Five reasons to visit Mindelo

Cape Verde has become a popular holiday destination in recent years. The majority of visitors by far travel to the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, mainly because of the beautiful beaches. The beauty of Cape Verde as a tourist destination lies in the fact that all the islands have something special to offer, including their diversity.

The city of Mindelo is located on the island of São Vicente, and is known as ‘the cultural capital’ of Cape Verde. About 90% of the island’s population lives in what is the second largest city of the country, after the capital Praia. Here are 5 reasons why you should travel to Mindelo:

The Biggest & Best Events of the Country

Mindelo is very proud of it’s status as the cultural capital of Cape Verde. The city has earned this status because of the many events that it hosts all year long. Mindelo hosts the biggest Carnival celebration in the country, and also the biggest music festival.

Carnival:

The 2018 Carnival celebration will be on the 13th of February, when the 4 official Carnival groups of the island battle for the title of ‘Carnival Champion’. The official kick-off will be on the Friday night with a big music truck parading down the streets of Mindelo. Thousands of people join in over a few days of fun and dancing.

Baía das Gatas:

This music festival, organised in the village of Baía, has been around for more than 30 years. Usually held on the second weekend of August, from Friday to Sunday, with international and local artists performing for a huge crowd.

New Year’s Eve:

The celebration of New Year in Mindelo happens in two famous places in the city centre: main street Rua de Lisboa, and on the boulevard along the Avenida Marginal. People gather to watch the fireworks down at the boulevard. A small group also honours the tradition of going into the water at midnight. Rua de Lisboa is where the party continues until the early morning, with big international artists performing for a huge crowd.

Gay Pride:

Mindelo also hosts an annual Gay Pride event, which is one of the very few in Africa. This is a relatively new development, but to be welcomed. Cape Verde is following Europe and leading the way in Africa on matters of equality and human rights.

Fantastic Beaches

The beaches might not be the no.1 reason why people travel to the island of São Vicente, but it has a few lovely beaches that deserve a visit. Laginha Beach is located just a few minutes outside Mindelo’s city centre. It’s a lovely beach with an amazing view of the iconic Monte Cara (Face Mountain) and the island of Santo Antão. The beach has a brand new beach lounge, where you can hang out all day long.

The villages outside the city have great beaches as well. The beaches of Salamansa and São Pedro (close to the airport) for example, which are known for the watersports activities like kitesurfing. In addition to Laginha and the beaches of the villages, São Vicente also has a few ‘secret’ beaches, such as Jon D’Ebra and Palha Carga.

Nightlife Options

Mindelo is not only popular for the bigger events that it hosts. It is also well known for the many bars and restaurants. The Mindelenses (people from Mindelo) love going out, and have many options. A lot of places in the city have nights with live music, especially at the weekends. Visitors travel to Mindelo to hear the music that Cesária Évora, ‘the Queen of Cape Verde’, brought to the rest of the world.

The bars and restaurants offer a nice mix of traditional music, such as morna and coladeira, and other more international sounds like reggae. Eating Out in Mindelo gives the visitor a lot of choice, because there are many good restaurants. The choice includes Italian, French, European, Greek, Cajun and Creole. Dancing the night away in clubs Caravela or Syrius is an option from Thursdays to Saturdays, where DJ’s play all types of music all night long.

The Bay of Porto Grande

The bay of Porto Grande has often been named one of the world’s most beautiful bays. Mindelo is a harbour city, and it’s harbour is one of the most important in this part of the Atlantic. The island of São Vicente was actually the last of the Cape Verdean islands to be permanently populated. This only happened after an English coal factory was opened in the harbour of Porto Grande.

Much has happened since then, but the bay is as beautiful as it’s always been. Picture the sun shining on the ocean, the many fishing boats on the shore and in the water, the view of the famous Monte Cara (Face Mountain) across the bay. One of the perfect places to see the sunset is along Avenida Marginal, close to the Fish Market, on what the locals call ‘Boat Beach’.

Street Art

Mindelo is a city of creatives, artists and musicians. The Street Art scene is not a very big one, but that is starting to change. In a neighbourhood called Ribeira Bote a team of residents are using the power of Street Art to create new opportunities. This is a part of the city that used to made headlines for negative reasons. It is now an example that other initiatives look at to get the same results.

Together with a Community Tourism Project in the neighbourhood, Sonvela Arte is transforming one of Cape Verde’s most notorious places, and it’s getting ready to do much more. The team is planning projects on other islands, and is working on the first ever Cape Verde Street Art Festival. This should take place towards the end of the year.

Further information:

Mindelo Apartments

Carnival in Cape Verde

Santo Antão

Hiking and Walking in Santo Antão

cape verde visa update

Visa update

The government of Cape Verde is planning to remove the requirement to purchase a visa for visitors from the USA, Canada and the non-Schengen counties of Europe (which includes the UK). The relaxation of visa requirements for visitors from the European Union, which was agreed last year, comes into force in May of this year. The aim of this extension to the visa waiver is intended to encourage more investment, more employment opportunities and more visitors from further afield.

maio sunset

The Daily Telegraph rates Cape Verde.

Once again The Daily Telegraph has featured Cape Verde in its Travel Destinations. This is a second feature in three months on this country from one of the UK’s leading newspapers. It is an indication of the growing importance of Cape Verde as a holiday destination.

The article describes Cape Verde as ‘a year-round sun spot with alluring beaches, volcanic hiking routes, and a lively music scene, not to mention direct flights from the UK at under six hours, and no [significant] time difference – so no jet lag to contend with.’

Online searches increased

The amount of online searching for Cape Verde is showing significant increase. One organisation – Global Travel Search – lists in order the destinations that have the greatest increase in searches over the past 12 years. It states that Cape Verde has shown the largest increase, at 3000% since 2004. In 2017 this small country came second only to Barcelona

Whilst the searches online have increased dramatically, not all searches automatically turn into visits. Tourism to the archipelago is, however, on the increase. In 2016 this small African country welcomed 644,000 tourists, an increase of 13.6% on 2015.

Henry Morley, Founder of True Luxury Travel, says: “A key reason for the increase in search volume for Cape Verde is due to much greater accessibility to the islands.

“Recent years have seen greater availability of direct flights from the UK, which will have brought the country to the forefront of people’s minds as a potential holiday destination.”

The Daily Telegraph’s travel writer Rachel Cranshaw, visited the island of Sal in 2017. She expects its popularity will continue to increase. She writes “Its main selling points are that it’s a six-hour direct flight from the UK, with little or no time difference, and better guaranteed year-round sunshine than the Canaries,” she notes. “But it’s much cheaper – and closer than the Caribbean.”