& our favorite places in Tarrafal, Santiago, Cabo Verde
We were sitting on a terrace of one the three open restaurants of a bay in Tarrafal, on Santiago island, in the middle of January. It was our last day before leaving Cabo Verde, after a very special vacation. We had our last afternoon ahead of us but already knowing that in the evening we are leaving.
We didn’t choose this restaurant on purpose, anyhow there were not many options, it was full with locals (which is always a good sign!) and they had one free table under the sun. We didn’t need actually more, so we entered and sat down. Right after a local band just appeared with couple of basic and very old instruments with no proper sound system, not having enough place even for themselves and in the middle of the terrace they started to play and sing some local songs. Mainly Cesaría Évora and similar tones. All the locals were super emotional, while actually they were eating their lunch, but suddenly almost all of them started to listen with admiration and also singing a bit, at least the famous lines that they knew. It was amazing, they have created such an atmosphere, the perfect imperfection, the loud, sometimes false music, the unpredictable voice of the guests, but the moment was just breathtaking. Beautiful songs, I knew only one of them, but all were with a melancholic tone and lyrics. One of the last song that we heard from the band had a refrain: adiós Mama, adiós Papa, adiós Cabo Verde… they were singing this song with such a devotion, and based on the lyrics obviously we could figure out, that this song is all about those people who needed to leave Cabo Verde for a potential better future, without knowing that they ever come back to their land, to their islands, to their home, to their families, to Cabo Verde. I was so much under the influence of this performance, of that song, how they were singing, and what happened there was truly beautiful and unrepeatable. I just realized it after, how unrepeatable it was actually, I wanted to google, check on Spotify, Shazam it, typed in the lyrics to many different lyrics sites, and I could never find the song. Till now, I was not able to find this song, that touched my heart so much. It lives in my memory, but with memories I’m also worried, they are fading, but this song and that moment on that terrace, try to hope that I will never forget.
The restaurant is called: Restaurante Sol e Luna, nothing special, but I think one of the most authentic ones. They don’t have a website, but you can find them on google maps.
Tarrafal is a not a small village (approx 6000 people around) but in the middle of January not many options are available for tourists (luckily) and you are somehow inspired to explore things by yourself. I really enjoyed this part. We had couple of days dedicated only for this town, and I can say that after 2 days we knew it all, we found 5 restaurants open – one is above – and all of them gave us a special memory.
Búzio Restaurante: we walked by in one of the mornings when we realized that ah, here is another restaurant, looked very cool with its colorful graffitis and let’s say eclectic design, so we have agreed that if by any chance it opens during our stay we should give it a try. Then we forgot. The next day we were just walking around in the same neighborhood and suddenly heard some music. The streets are there quite empty and if kids are not playing outside it’s mainly silent, you can hear only the ocean an some fishermen yelling to each other. There are few cars that from time to time interrupting the peace. And then suddenly some live music out of the blue! During the day! So we followed the music and tried to find the source, and there we were, the music led us back to the same place, to Búzio. It was one single local guy playing on his quitar and singing. All alone. I don’t need to mention that the place became full in less than 5 minutes. People from the neighborhood appeared immediately to enjoy the performance, his pure and amazing performance.
Santiago Lounge Bar: I have just discovered that this place is temporarily closed. And I do hope they will decide to continue at some point. I could define this place as an oasis in the middle of nowhere. Where I had the best coco cocktail with nice lounge music enjoying it and the breathtaking view from a hammock. Beach-bar-food with fresh cocktails, nothing fancy, all is real and comforting. They are also organize hiking, biking and snorkeling and whatever else you want to do, any kind of activities and basically the owner knows everything 🙂
Ponta Branca: the ultimate favorite spot, with they terrace with one single table for two. We didn’t need more. We have never been inside, what for, if the outside is just that cute?! 🙂 Till now the place doesn’t exist on google maps, neither I could find any review, any online presence. The real hidden gem, that you can find on your way heading to the main beach in Tarrafal 😉
Please keep us posted in the comment section, if you’ve ever been here!