This is an article about some useful facts for your visit in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde). This facts are based in our own experience around a trip in January 2019.
1) The name of Cabo Verde: Historically, the name Cape Verde has been used in English for the archipelago and since its independence in 1975 for the country. In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese designation Cabo Verde would henceforth be used for official purposes, as at the UN, even in English contexts. So let’s just call this amazing place as Cabo Verde.
2) There are 10 islands and they are very different: Santiago, Boa Vista, Sal, Fogo, Brava, Maio, Santa Luzia, Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau. The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation’s capital, Praia, where you most likely land too if you are coming from Europe, via TAP Airlines. We have visited only two: Santiago & Boa Vista. Therefore 8 more to go. We spent equally the same number of days on both islands, we used the local flight company and flew between the islands on both ways. It’s called: Binter. It’s operating in between the islands of Cabo Verde and on the Canary Islands, as far as I know nowhere else. The flight duration is very short between Santiago and Boa Vista, cca. 40 minutes, the planes are tiny ones and old, but we arrived safely and that’s the most important. The time tables are unpredictable – we bought the tickets online upfront, but on both ways we faced delays and miscommunication about the exact departure time. It’s like that there, better to know this detail upfront and not to worry about, sooner or later it departs anyhow 🙂
Three of the Cabo Verde islands, Sal, Boa Vista and Maio, are fairly flat, sandy, and dry, the others are generally rockier with more vegetation. While on Boa Vista the best and most reasonable vehicle to use was a quad, on Santiago the roads were in much better condition and there was not even a place where we could have rented a quad. It was more into cars and motorbikes.
3) It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles.
4) Cabo Verdeans are very musical people. Where ever you go, you will find locals enjoying their own melodies, singing together for their own joy, and the local restaurants are very often organizing live music performances. Morna is by far the most popular genre of their music, and it has produced an international superstar in Cesária Évora. She had received a Grammy Award in 2004 for her album Voz d’Amor. Nicknamed the “Barefoot Diva” for performing without shoes, and she was known as the “Queen of Morna“.
5) Grogue & Capucha: Sugarcane liquor is the most popular drink on the islands, and it is known traditionally as the Grog or Grogue and is recognized as the national liquor of the country. It has an alcohol content of over 40% and most commonly used in long drinks or cocktails. Capucha is the national dish, a stew principally made of mashed corn, manioc, sweet potatoes, onions, green bananas, squash, and yams. There are slight variations of Capucha. In some cases beans, fish or meat is also added to the slow-cooked stew.