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.”

visitor visa

Visa update

The Government of Cape Verde has announced that visitors from Europe and the United Kingdom will not need to purchase a visa for visiting Cape Verde from May 2018. The inclusion of the UK in this exemption was not certain because of the Brexit vote. This is good news and may speed up the movement through the airport on arrival.

questions about cape verde

Questions about Cape Verde, and Answers

If you have questions about Cape Verde, visit our Questions and Answers page and hopefully you will find the answers there. These lovely islands are varied and interesting and make a great holiday destination.

sal cape verde the telegraph

The Telegraph features Cape Verde

The Telegraph is the latest newspaper to feature Cape Verde in its Travel Destinations section. The article ’10 reasons why Cape Verde is the most underrated winter sun destination on Earth’ by Chris Leadbeater extols the virtues of visiting Cape Verde.

In his article Chris describes how Cape Verde is not a destination that comes to mind when considering a holiday, but he describes the 10 islands that make up Cape Verde as being ‘as beautiful as they are mysterious’.

So why is Cape Verde becoming a popular holiday destination and one that is being featured by the press? Here are just some of the reasons:

It is accessible from much of Europe

There are direct flights to the island of Sal from the UK, from airports such as Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. There are also direct flights from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester to the island of Boa Vista. Airlines that fly there include Thomas Cook and Tui (Thomson). Other islands are accessible via Lisbon with TAP airlines or via Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc. Flights are also available from many European cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Munich, etc.

The weather is good all year round

Flying for an extra 2 hours, people who traditionally have looked at the Canaries for their winter sun, can take advantage of the Cape Verde weather. There you can enjoy the lovely temperatures that rarely drop below 20C and average between 25C and 30 C in January. The sea around Cape Verde is also much warmer than in the Canary Islands.

There is a variety of accommodation

There is a great range of accommodation available from self-catering apartments and villas to guest houses and luxury all-inclusive hotels. Something to suit every tourist. Some links to accommodation on each of the islands are included below.

It has a unique musical tradition

Two types of traditional music can be heard in Cape Verde, morna which was made more famous by singer Cesária Évora and then there is Funaná. Along with their music, cape verdeans love to dance and visitors are more than welcome to join in.

It is a chance to experience Africa

Cape Verde is an African country and Santo Antão island is the continent’s most westerly point. Santo Antão is a mountainous island and roughly half the island is dry and arid, the other half lush and green. Coffee plantations are to be found on the sides of the mountains.

The volcanic landscape

The islands a volcanic and whilst most are inactive, the volcano on Fogo island erupted as recently as 2014. The peak on Fogo reaches 2,829 m above sea level. There is a community living in the crater and the wine is produced there and is certainly worth tasting.

Island hopping opportunities

Cape Verde comprises 10 islands and each has its own distinct character and landscape. The easterly islands of Boa Vista, Sal and Maio are flatter and contain areas of desert. The western islands such as Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Brava are rugged, mountainous and ideal for the more energetic hiker. A holiday in Cape Verde should take in at least a couple of islands.

Water sports galore

There are many opportunities to enjoy water sports, from swimming to kite surfing. The winter season is the windiest and provides excellent conditions for sailing, wind surfing and kite surfing. One beach on Sal island has been renamed Kite Beach, because of its popularity for kite surfing. In addition, there are opportunities to dive and experience the marine life, which is abundant in the waters around these islands.

For accommodation on each of the nine inhabited islands, see the following links:

Boa Vista

Brava

Fogo

Maio

Sal

Santiago

Santo Antão

São Nicolau

São Vicente

visitor visa

European visitors will no longer need Cape Verde Visas

Visitors from Europe will no longer be required to purchase Cape Verde visas when visiting the country. The Cape Verde government is attempting to boost tourism to the islands.

This exemption is expected to start in 2018. The policies also include the improved management of the airports and increasing the growing of crops for exportation. Tourism is a major part of the Cape Verde economy, but the government is anxious to diversify the economy.

The Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva made this announcement. He also announced the intention to implement financial measures as a stimulus for investment in the country. Residency incentives are also to be included.

 

 

 

 

santa maria beach

Visit Cape Verde – Cape Verde Holidays

Cape Verde – Holiday Destination

Both the Daily Mirror and the Sun newspapers recently featured Cape Verde. The Sun’s headline was ‘That’s Sal Folks – Sharks, sandy beaches, salt mines and all-year-round sun is why Cape Verde is a delightful getaway’. The Daily Mirror’s stated ‘Nestled on the coast of northwest Africa, Cape Verde has long been drawing in tourists thanks to its laidback charm’. Visit Cape Verde and find out why it is becoming a popular destination.

These articles are evidence, if evidence was needed, that Cape Verde is fast becoming a destination of choice. The beaches rivalling those of the Caribbean or the Seychelles.

There is a laid-back character to life in Cape Verde, with glorious weather, clear blue waters and long sandy beaches. The approach to tourism is not sophisticated and it varies from island to island. The repeated phrase you will find in Cape Verde is ‘Cape Verde – No Stress’.

You can take to the sea and see turtles, flying fish, dolphins and whales. At the same time you could also be fishing for tuna, wahoo or blue marlin. The same fresh fish are available in many restaurants or to buy on the beach.

Where is Cape Verde?

So where and what is Cape Verde? The country comprises 10 islands, of which 9 are inhabited. Cape Verde is located approximately 350 miles (560km) off the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Each island has its own character, not only in terms of terrain, but also in respect of tourism and sophistication.

Sal Island

Sal is one of the most popular islands for visitors. This is about a 6 hour flight from the UK and many other cities in Europe. Sal is far enough from Europe to feel exotic and charming, while near enough to make it easy to reach.

The bars of Santa Maria, the main tourist destination on Sal, often have live music and before long people are dancing. Furthermore, the beach in Santa Maria is one of the best in the world, with long expanses of soft white sand and the clear blue waters of the Atlantic.

Visit Cape Verde

You should visit Cape Verde it is a great option for a holiday at any time of the year. You have a choice of islands from the flat, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere on Maio, to the mountainous character of Santo Antão or to the lively town of Santa Maria on Sal.