Bitxe Rotxa main beach in Vila do Maio, Cape Verde

Vila do Maio beach – Bitxe Rotxa

There are so many lovely beaches to choose from in Cape Verde. On the small, sleepy island of Maio, the beaches are often deserted. This picture is of the main beach, known as Bitxe Rotxa, in Vila do Maio. There are two bars on the beach one of which (Bar Tropikal) stages live music on Saturday evenings. Maio is a lovely, peaceful place for a relaxing holiday, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Santa Maria beach Sal Cape Verde

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.”

Fishing boat on Bitxe Rotxa beach Maio

Maio Fishing Boats

Fishing is a major source of food and employment in Cape Verde. The fishing boats go our early most mornings and then return during the morning. Here, on the island of Maio, you can see them returning and then go to the beach and buy the fresh fish. the colourful boats also look very attractive on the main beach in Vila do Maio (also known as Porto Inglês). The catch will often include tuna, wahoo and grouper.

The green hills of Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Santo Antão – green hills

Many visitors to Cape Verde will have been to the islands of Sal or Boa Vista and discovered that there are areas of desert, especially on Boa Vista. However, this photograph, taken on Santo Antão demonstrates that there are also lush green hillsides in this small country, which is only 1850km from the equator. Cape Verde has a variety of landscapes, so something for everyone.

Tibau Tavares

Movie of the Moment – with Tibau Tavares

A video of Maio in Cape Verde, with music from Tibau Tavares, a local musician.

The sea at Stella Maris, Maio, Cape Verde

The sea at Stella Maris on Maio island

This is the view from Stella Maris, on the island of Maio. The picture was taken during a couple of days of rough seas. The views from Stella Maris are lovely, either looking west over the Atlantic towards the island of Santiago, or looking east along the coast of the island, as in this picture.

China Capital Airlines

Flight connections between Cape Verde and China?

Cape Verde and China have been in discussions about the possibility of an air transport agreement between the two countries. If such an agreement is formulated it will allow both TACV and China’s Capital Airlines to fly between the two countries.

Luís Filipe Tavares, Foreign Affairs minister has stated that this agreement could be completed by the middle of 2018.

This latest potential agreement between the two counties is just one of several other areas of cooperation, such as defence and port security.

Fishing nets on Bitxe Rotxa, Maio, Cape Verde

Hauling in the nets on Maio beach

Fishing is a major source of food in Cape Verde. Here the fishermen are hauling in their nets on the main beach (Bitxe Rotxa) in Vila do Maio. Fresh fish can usually be bought from the fishermen or are available in local restaurants.

Guinness world record for cachupa

Guinness World Record achievement

Cape Verde chefs recently achieved a Guinness World Record by preparing a large pot of Cachupa. Cachupa is the traditional Cape Verde stew.

The Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva was present at the Badja ku Sol festival when the group of chefs made the 14,021 lb (6360kg) pot of stew. The event took place in Praia. The Prime Minister hoped that it would help to promote Cape Verdean food.

In order to make this vast quantity, the chefs used 600kg of corn, 100kg of chicken and 300kg of pork, together with beans and vegetables. The finished product was sampled by more than 30,000 people, each having a small bowl.

Adjudicators were on hand to confirm that the record had been broken.

Santa Maria beach Sal Cape Verde

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 30C 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