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São Vicente Creole Carnival

São Vicente Creole Carnival (Mindelo, São Vicente) – these festivities, held in February, are undoubtedly influenced by the famed carnivals held in Brazil (given the bright and extravagantly costumed locals that are often seen there). Although revelers can be found throughout the island, the largest gatherings are easily found in the island’s main city of Mindelo.


Santa Maria Festival

Santa Maria Festival (Santa Maria beach, Sal Island) —this musical event is held every Fall season at this popular beach town. Various Cape Verdean and international artists perform at this outdoor beachside concert. Musical genres highlighted there range from youth-oriented, fast-moving rhythms like Kizomba and kuduro, to fado and even reggae.


Morna Fest

Morna Fest (Praça Dom Luis, Mindelo, São Vicente) – held every December, this musical event brings together local and Portuguese artists who perform the soulful morna songs that these islands are famous for. Along with the live performances, there are also workshops, forums and lectures held in various parts of Mindelo dedicated to the advancement of the Morna scene. Artists participating in that event include: Bau, Tito Paris, Jorge Sousa, Voginha, Maria Alice, Fantcha, Carmen Silva, Tó Alves, Morgadinho, Chico Serra, Luís Lobo, and Dudú Araújo, among others.

Kitesurf

Kitesurfing (Salamansa Beach, Mindelo, Sao Vicente) – this is a popular beach for veteran as well as with novice kitesurfers. Local outfits, such as “Kitesurfing Now” (www.kitesurnow.eu), and “Surf Cabo Verde” (www.surfcaboverde.com) at Santa Maria (Sal island) provide lessons to both beginners and advanced kitesurfers, taking advantage of Cape Verde’s optimal wind conditions (providing such travelers with memorable experiences).

Hiking

Hiking – since Cape Verde’s islands have diverse topography, there are various types of terrain for hikers. The tour outfit “Cabo Verde Trekking Tours” (www.caboverde-trekking.com) gives visitors the option of conducting hiking expeditions throughout all of Cape Verde. Mountain bike tours, and even whale watching tours can also be arranged.

Fogo Volcano tours

Fogo Volcano tours – the active Pico do Fogo volcano – standing at a height of 2829 meters, inevitably attracts tourists interested in this unique site. With the original name of this island being São Filipe, it’s no surprise that locals changed its name to “fogo” (fire). Its last major eruption was in 1675 – which triggered a mass migration from there.

Baracuda Tours (http://barracudatours.com) and Zebra Travel (www.zebratravel.net) are among the travel outfits that arrange tours of Fogo’s best-known site: its volcano (Pico Grande). Visitors will see that the soil near the volcano supports local farming – even the production of grapes responsible for making the local Chã de Fogo Vinho Tinto, a smooth country red wine.

Fishing

Fishing (Mindelo, São Vicente) – the excursion outfit “Billfish-Club Cabo Verde” organizes sports fishing trips from Mindelo harbor (www.capeverde-fishing.com). Billfish-Club had the distinction of catching one of the biggest marlin anywhere in the globe (weighing 1,093 lbs.) – astonishing, considering that the average marlin weighs in between 200-350 lbs. Billfish-Club also won the prestigious “AFTCO Captain of the Year Award” for Atlantic Blue Marlin a total of five times. The main season for marlin is from March through to October although marlin are regularly caught during the winter and increasingly we are fishing during these months, weather permitting.
Other fish frequently caught are Wahoo (weighing up to 80 lbs.), and yellowfin tuna (weighing in excess of 200 lbs). Later in the season, visiting fishermen may also catch white marlin, longbill spearfish, shortbill spearfish, Atlantic sailfish, and Dorado. Shark fishing is also good here, especially for tiger shark, and Billfish-Club can make special arrangements for shark fishing trips. Contact captain Berno Niebuhr for details: marlinberno@capeverde-fishing.com or +238 991 5748.

Diving

Diving – due to Cape Verde’s long history of maritime activity, going back to its status as a Portuguese colony for 500 years, there are various shipwrecks for divers for explore, particularly at Sal, Maio, and Boa Vista islands. Diving companies active in Cape Verde include “Scuba Team Cabo Verde” (www.scubateamcaboverde.com), “Sunfish Scuba Diving Academy” (www.capeverdediving.com), “Submarine Center – Dive School” (Boa Vista) (atilros@hotmail.com), Dive Tribe (www.dive-tribe.com), and Stingray diving center (Sal island).

Cabo Verde Safari

Cabo Verde Safari (Mindelo, Lazareto, Sao Vicente) – for those who want to do something different from the beachside activities often found at Sal island, this tour of the barren, rugged island of Sao Vicente (via 4×4 vehicles) is perfect for such visitors. Visitors will be amazed at the vast and beautiful lava fields, spectacular mountains and long empty beaches found here. Click onto its website for details: www.caboverdesafari.com

Shopping options anywhere in Cape Verde

Shopping options anywhere in Cape Verde (be it Sal, Mindelo in São Vicente, Santiago, and elsewhere), are very limited, centering on make-shift open-air shopping strips that are hard to miss when one passes through the center of major towns. The closer one is to a tourist-friendly area, the more likely one will run into street vendors with some form of souvenirs. The lack of pricey mega shopping centers adds a sense of “other worldliness” to Cape Verde.

It is very common in Cape Verde to find crocheted items such as tablecloths, carpets and bedspreads, as well as native paintings, batik fabrics, straw hats and articles made of shells and stones such as necklaces. Also hard-to-miss are sculptures, masks and wooden objects from Senegal. Given Cape Verde’s growing status as a cultural destination (due to its music), it’s no surprise that CDs of the country’s artists (from icon Cesaria Evora, to young chanteuse Mayra Andrade) are found all over, and are among the country’s best souvenirs.