21 Reasons Why Cape Verde Is Worth Visiting
Are you wondering if Cape Verde is worth visiting for your next travel adventure or summer holiday? Let me tell you right away.
Cape Verde is definitely worth a visit! Here’s why:
- Always Sunny and Warm
- White Sandy Beaches and A Crystal Clear Sea
- Many Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts
- Easy to Reach
- 10 Islands: Many diverse landscapes
- Unique Cultural Heritage
- Authentic Music Scene
- To Try Cape Verdean Cuisine
- Cape Verde Is The Most Western Point of Africa
- To Visit A Part of The Sahara Desert
- To Quadbike over Deserted Beaches
- Visit an active volcano
- Taste One Of The Best Coffees In The World
- To Visit A Hiking Paradise
- One of The Most Beautiful Views in The World
- To Experience Morabeza
- Ideal For Kite and Windsurfing
- To Swim With Sharks
- Best Place for Turtle Spotting
- Perfect for Whale Watching
- To Attend Tropical Carnival
We did a roundtrip around many Cape Verde islands for 10 weeks. The archipelago surprised us, and we fell in love with the unique culture, friendly people, and lovely weather. Are you ready to find out more about the reasons why Cape Verde is worth visiting? Let’s dig in!
1.) Always Sunny and Warm in Cape Verde
Cape Verde has a much milder climate than Western Africa. The islands have an average of 10 sun hours a day. Rainfall is at the highest point between August and October when the precipitation is 0.6 inches a month.
The rest of the year, the precipitation is even lower.
Temperatures are, on average, 75 Fahrenheit (24 Celsius). The warmest months are June and July, where temperatures often reach a height of 86 Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) or higher.
The warm and dry climate makes Cape Verde an ideal year-round summer destination.
2.) White Sandy Beaches and A Crystal Clear Sea
The most popular islands of Cape Verde are known for their white sandy beaches and crystal clear seas. The image you see when you think of a tropical island with white beaches and blue seas is like what you get when traveling to Sal or Boa Vista.
Not every island has those tropical beaches. Some islands are more mountainous and have volcanic landscapes. But that’s the beauty of Cape Verde, every island is different.
The best islands for a tropical beach holiday are Sal, Boa Vista, Santiago, and São Vicente. You’ll find the most different beaches on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista.
3.) Many Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts
The travel company TUI offers the most holiday deals and packages to Cape Verde. Most of their accommodations are at the islands of Sal and Boa Vista. But it is also possible to travel via TUI to the other Cape Verdean islands.
The all-inclusive resorts are like a tropical paradise, with many restaurants, swimming pools, and private beaches. Most holiday packages are including flight tickets and local transport from the airport to the resorts.
I think that booking a trip via TUI is one of the best ways of booking a trip to Cape Verde. You’ll have all the luxury you’ll need. Just make sure to explore the authentic Cape Verdean culture as well!
4.) Cape Verde Is Easy to Reach
Most Cape Verdean islands are easy to reach with direct flights from major European cities. Daily, flights to Cape Verde depart from London, Lisbon, and Amsterdam.
There aren’t any direct flights from the United States to Cape Verde. When you’re traveling from the United States, you’ll need at least one transfer, and take a connecting flight in one of the European Cities.
The average flight time from the United States to Cape Verde is around 14 hours.
TUI, the travel company I told you earlier about, offers direct flights from Amsterdam and London several times a week to the different islands. Flight time is between 6 – 8 hours, depending on the island you’ll go to. Check out the latest TUI offers on their website.
5.) 10 Islands: Many Diverse Landscapes
The Cape Verdean Archipelago exists out of 10 different islands, which can be divided into two island groups.
Barlavento Group and Sotavento Group. The name derives of the wind direction, which is standard on the different islands. Barlavento means windward, and Sotavento means leeward.
The islands of Sal, Boa Vista, São Nicolau, São Vicente, Santa Luzia (uninhabited), Santo Antão belonging to the Barlavento Group.
Santiago, Maio, Fogo, Brava are the Sotavento Group.
Each island has its own landscape. And the climate also differs per island. The more mountainous islands like Santo Antão, Fogo, São Vicente, Santiago have green mountains and forests, combined with unique beaches. While islands like Sal and Boa Vista are completely flat and dry. These islands have a more desert-like landscape.
6.) Unique Cultural Heritage
Until the 15th century, Cape Verde was uninhabited. The Portuguese explorers stumbled upon this island group during their ocean explorations in the late 15th century. Santiago was the first island that got discovered, and it took almost a century to discover all the other islands of Cape Verde.
The Portuguese created a settlement on Santiago, in the village, which we now know as Cidade Velha. This settlement quickly developed as an important stopover for European explorers and seafarers on their way to other parts in Africa and Asia.
A stopover at that time wasn’t only refueling the ships with fresh food and water. One of the most important things was to find new men who could work on the boat. And thus, unfortunately, Cidade Velha became one of the largest slave trade centers in Africa.
It is a horrible part of world history, but there’s also a positive note to discover. Luckily slave trade doesn’t exist anymore, and Cape Verde thanks its unique mixture of cultures thanks to this history.
Over time people coming from Europe and Africa stayed for a longer time in Cape Verde and spread out over the different islands. It created a unique mixture of culture and is one of the main reasons why the vibe on every island is different.
When you’re interested in learning more about Cape Verde’s history, I recommend reading our article What is Cape Verde Famous For?
7.) Authentic Music Scene
The best-known music style from Cape Verde is Morna. Morna is the national music of the country. It is a combination of jazz, blues, with a Latin rhythm. Songs are often monotonous and with a repeated beat. And the lyrics are most of the time in Creole, the unofficial spoken language on the Cape Verdean islands.
Worldwide most famous Cape Verdean singer was Cesária Évora; she won a grammy for her music in 2004 and was known as the barefoot diva. Because she always walked barefoot when she was on stage. Unfortunately, she died in 2011 at the age of 70.
Where most musicians come from São Vicente, which is known as the cultural heart of Cape Verde, the best music bar is located on the island of Santiago. In Cape Verde’s capital Praia. Here you’ll find the restaurant and live stage Quintal da Musica. Many worldwide renowned artists performed at this place.
8.) To Try Cape Verdean Cuisine
Cape Verde is not known for its sophisticated cuisine. You won’t find restaurants with a Michelin star or high recommendations. However, there’s excellent cultural food to find on the islands.
A must-try is Cachupa, which is the national dish of Cape Verde. It is like a mixture of beans, meat, vegetables, fish, cassava, corn, and potatoes. Kind of like a stew, all cooked together in a large pot. Cachupa tastes different on every island, depending on the seasoning they used.
Traditionally it was the dish for poor people. They didn’t throw away anything. When there was something left, it often was re-fried and kept for the next day.
Other popular dishes are often made with freshly caught fish. A great thing to do when in Sal is going on a fishing trip, and have a barbecue on the beach, grilling your own fish.
9) Cape Verde Is The Most Western Point of Africa
Officially Cape Verde is part of Africa. Cultural it is a unique mixture of African, European, and even American culture.
The islands are located around 500 kilometers west from Senegal on the African mainland. Cape Verde, which is officially known as The Republic of Cabo Verde, is named after Cabo Verde, which is the most western point of the African mainland. The closest African countries are Senegal, Gambia, and Mauritania.
Cape Verde is a republic and has one of the most stable democracies in Africa.
The official most western point of Africa is the island Santo Antão, which is the second-largest island of Cape Verde.
10.) To Visit A Part of The Sahara Desert in Boa Vista
Boa Vista is known not only for its long white sandy beaches, and perfect kite and windsurfing conditions. The island is also known for a few natural phenomena. One of which is an official extension of the African Sahara Desert.
There’s a small desert strip in Boa Vista, just a few kilometers long, which is called the Viana Desert. Trade winds coming from the African mainland are carrying Sahara sand, and somehow it drops on the island of Boa Vista, creating this unique desert strip. Exploring the Viana Desert, you’ll have amazing views over the island.
Boa Vista means Beautiful View when you translate it from Portuguese. Probably the explorers were in the Viana Desert enjoying the views when they thought of this name to describe the island.
11.) To Quadbike over Deserted Beaches
When you’re looking for some adventure, Cape Verde is also a fantastic place to go. The islands Sal and Boa Vista are perfect for a quad biking tour over deserted beaches.
Boa Vista is probably the best island for quad biking. You’ll find many different beaches in Boa Vista, and of course, the Viana Desert (you can only drive around the desert at a designated area).
Did you know Boa Vista also has the longest beach in Cape Verde? There are a lot of places to have fun with a quad bike in Boa Vista. It is also the best way to get around the island because most roads are dirt roads.
Read more about the great things to do in Boa Vista in our article “What Can You Do In Boa Vista?“
12.) Visit An Active Volcano in Fogo
The island Fogo belongs to the Sotavento island Group of cape Verde and is home to the only active volcano of the archipelago. The last eruption was in 2014, where luckily, no one got injured. However, this eruption completely destroyed the village Chã das Caldeiras. The village that’ on the foot of the volcano. People from the village rebuilt their houses on top of the lava streams and their old homes. It created a unique environment, and with the lava streams still running through the old houses, it feels a bit like a lunar-landscape.
When you’re going to visit the volcano which is called, pico do Fogo, you’ll first arrive in chã das Caldeiras. There are only a few guesthouses where you can stay. It is a different world, far away from the western rat race, which we’re used to today.
Visiting this part of Fogo is a perfect getaway when you’re looking for some peace and quiet or a unique hiking adventure (or both.)
One might think why people are still choosing to live at the foot of this active volcano. It is not only the tranquil way of life at this location. Agriculture is the other reason, the volcanic soil is extremely fertile. You’ll find a thriving wine-producing company in the village. Producing the best wines of Cape Vere. You can read more about this unique place in our article ‘What Is Cape Verde Famous For?’
You can also watch this video below. It’s an episode of our travel show which we filmed during our Cape Verde roundtrip. In this video, we’re also interviewing the descendants of the French count Montrond.
He played an important role in the development of Fogo, and also introduced the people with winemaking. Montrond also had many children with different women. And because of the unique cultural mix (west European and African), the Montrond family in Fogo is known as one of the best-looking people in the world! With dark skin, light eyes, and blond hair!
13.) Taste One Of The Best Coffees In The World in Fogo
Let’s stay at the island Fogo for this reason, the tasteful reason to visit Cape Verde. If you watched the video above, you also saw us visiting a coffee plantation in Fogo. Fogo Coffee Spirit is known as one of the best-tasting coffees in the world. It is even part of a reserved Starbucks program for unique coffees.
We had the chance to visit the factory and learn how this coffee is made. Because of the volcanic soil and humid climate in the mountains, the coffee beans grow rapidly and get a unique soft taste.
Tasting this coffee is a must-do while you’re in Fogo. Their factory is not open to everyone, but you can go coffee tasting in their shop in São Filipe, which is the main town of Fogo.
14.) To Visit A Hiking Paradise – Santo Antão
Santo Antão is the island that’s the most western point of the African continent. It is probably also the greenest island of Cape Verde and the best place to experience Morabeza. But later more on that.
It is not the island where you go on a beach holiday. Santo Antão is the best destination to explore beautiful nature in Cape Verde. And the best way of doing that is by following the different hiking trails.
Many hiking trails leave from the valley of Paúl, which is one of the most beautiful and green valleys I’ve ever seen. You’ll also cross the Cova Crater, this large green volcanic crater is like walking into a painting! Especially on top of the mountain, you’ll have breathtaking views.
Santo Antão is also great for experiencing a more authentic culture, and to follow some unique road trips. You can read more about these activities in our article “Which Cape Verdean Island is Best To Visit?“
15.) One of The Most Beautiful Views in The World
There’s more to do in Santo Antão. The village Fontainhas, which is the most western point of the island, and thus the most westerly point of Africa, is, according to National Geographic: One of the best views in the world.
To reach the village, you’ll need to hike alongside a beautiful cliff road. Where you already have amazing views. But once you cross a certain point, a village rises on the side of the cill. That village is Fontainhas. Pastel-colored houses, green cliffs, looking over the sea. Do you have a picture in mind?
It is even more breathtaking than the views at Cova Crater. Especially when you visit the village around noon, when the sun just rises over the cliffs, and create unique light over the villages. Or during sunset, which is always a breathtaking moment to visit such amazing places.
16.) Experience Morabeza in Santo Antão
Morabeza is like the Cape Verdean way of life. It is hard to explain the saying Morabeza. When people say they live Morabeza, or when they are talking about it. They often refer to things like coziness, hospitality, friendliness. No stress is another important factor in Cape Verde, which is also a part of Morabeza.
Every island has its own cultural differences and way of life. And thus, different factors that they say are Morabeza.
But everywhere in Cape Verde, it means to relax, friendliness, and no stress. The best way to experience this is also in Santo Antão. I’m not entirely sure why that is, but people are even more laidback at Santo Antão then on the other Cape Verdean islands. It might be because the only way to reach Santo Antão is by taking the ferry from São Vicente.
Life is slow, and the complete opposite from the rat race. It’s a stress-free environment, maybe that’s what they mean by Morabeza.
17.) Ideal For Kite and Windsurfing
Cape Verde is still a relatively new and unknown summer destination. But kite and windsurfing enthusiasts discovered the island many years ago. However, not every island is ideal for kit or windsurfing. There are islands where sea conditions are simply dangerous. It is also not advised to go swimming in the sea on certain islands. We wrote an article about where you can swim in the sea in Cape Verde.
Sal and Boa Vista are both islands that are known as a kite and windsurfing paradise. Trade winds from the African mainland, creating perfect conditions almost every day.
Boa Vista is probably a bit better as a kitesurfing paradise. Because the weather conditions are more favorable, and there are more different surf spots you can go to. You can read more in our guide, “Where are the Surf spots in Boa Vista?“
18.) To Swim With Sharks in Sal
Don’t worry! The sharks aren’t dangerous!
At shark bay in Sal, close to the old salt mine, you can swim with lemon sharks. These relatively small sharks (they still can be around 3 meters!) ar like the ‘vegetarians’ among the sharks. They’re known not to be dangerous for humans.
Still, a shark is a shark. So if you’re in for some adventure, head down to shark bay in Sal! Follow the tips from the local guides, and I bet you’ll have a fantastic experience!
We did the same! Well, Kirsten went into the water with the sharks, and I had to fly our drone to film everything (good excuse, right?!) Check out our video below:
19.) Best Place for Turtle Spotting in Boa Vista
Boa Vista is not only known as a kitesurfing paradise but also some unique wildlife finds its way to the island. Between July and October, the endangered sea turtles com eon shore to find a place for laying their eggs.
A delicate process, the turtles, are always aware of surrounding danger from other animals. The slightest change in their environment can make them decide to go back into the sea. It is one of the reasons why it is not allowed to go turtle spotting on your own. You might scar those unique animals! So, always go with a guided tour. Which you can easily book via your hotel in Boa Vista.
20.) Perfect for Whale Watching in Boa Vista
The Gentle Giants, better known as Humpback Whales, are coming to the waters around Boa Vista between March and May. The shallow, and secluded bays and warm waters are ideal conditions for humpback whales to have their young.
During the whale season, there a few research companies wh also offering whale watching tours. Often a marine biologist is on board of the ship as well to explain more about the humpback wheal and why they are coming to Boa Vista.
It is a unique activity, and I feel one of the best reasons to visit Cape Verde!
Read more about the things to do in Boa Vista in our article What Can You Do in Boa Vista?
21.) To Attend Tropical Carnival
Last but not least, on this list of reasons to visit Cape Verde, The tropical Carnival in Mindelo, São Vicente! The island is known as the cultural heart of Cape Verde, and one of the best ways to experience that is during the carnival. Which is annually held in February.
Many people say that São Vicente is like the most authentic place to celebrate tropical carnival. It was for us one of the reasons to visit Cape Verde in the first place.
Of course, Rio de Janeiro is the most famous place, but it is so large you can’t compare it with the festivities in Mindelo.
Mindelo’s center exists roughly out of six streets where the carnival parade crosses. Thousands of people are celebrating during the parade, and with four different carnival groups, the show takes the whole day!
It was one of the best cultural experiences I’ve ever attend. You might want to watch this video below to get a better impression of the tropical carnival celebrations in Mindelo.
Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?
No — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water, so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Cape Verde and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Cape Verde.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?
Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.
🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?
For Cape Verde hotels, Booking.com is the best site. If you’re considering an (all-inclusive) resort, I recommend TUI since they have the best resorts on the islands.
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights? For direct flights from UK and Europe, I recommend TUI Airways. For finding alternative flights to Cape Verde, I recommend Skyscanner.
⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde? For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.
🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?
Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.
😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?
Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.
🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?
Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)
⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?
The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling: July – December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March
Recommended Articles for Cape Verde
After reading all these reasons why Cape Verde is worth a visit, you probably are convinced and eager to book your trip!
Still, it can be overwhelming choosing where to go, because there’s a lot to choose from. And you might, like most people, have like 10 days or two weeks to travel around. I wrote different articles about Cape Verde, which makes it easier for you to choose which island you’re going to visit. You can find the complete list of articles here.
Articles that I recommend reading before making your choice are;
What Is Cape Verde Famous For?
Where I tell you more about the different islands, culture, and history of Cape Verde.
Which Cape Verde Island Is Best To Visit?
A complete guide where you can easily choose which Cape Verdean Islands fits best to your needs. I describe the best activities for each island in this article.
Cape Verde Island Hopping Guide
Many people want to know if they can easily visit multiple islands in one trip. It all depends how much time you have, but with 10 days or two weeks, you can easily go island hopping in Cape Verde. This article contains several islands hopping itineraries, and I’ll explain the easiest way to go around the islands.