Things to do in Cape Verde
Entertainment in Cape Verde very often involves music. Many bars arrange live music, if not every evening, then very often once or twice a week. The Cape Verdean people like to have fun and so dancing often accompanies the music and in many places it is quite acceptable for visitors to join in; in fact it’s expected – the order of the day is fun! It is not uncommon for entertainment to start fairly late in the evening and around the Christmas and New Year period there tend to be more events to enjoy.
Entertainment varies very much from island to island. If you are looking for regular entertainment and a lively nightlife, then islands such as Sal, São Vicente, Boa Vista and Santiago will offer you the widest selection. In towns such as Santa Maria (Sal), Praia (Santiago) and Mindelo (São Vicente) you will find plenty of bars, restaurants and night clubs to choose from. For those whose preference is for more sedate entertainment, some hotels will hold dances and events of different styles, to suit all tastes.
Festivals are common in Cape Verde – colourful, lively occasions when local people let their hair down. Festivals are dotted throughout the year, the biggest is in Sao Vicente in February when they let rip Rio style and a Gay Pride event in Mindelo (São Vicente) in June. Quiet restful holidays, even within the larger towns referred to above, are possible. If entertainment is not something you are looking for then many of the smaller islands, such as Maio, Fogo or Brava might suit you; you will find occasional music events in local bars, but it is gentle and relaxing. Given the warm climate open air events are quite common.
Activities are varied and many involve the sea, which is not surprising for a country comprising 10 islands. However, water sports are not all that is available to the visitor. Excursions can be arranged on most of the islands, some touring in vehicles, some boat tours, some walking tours and some nighttime tours to see the stars or observe the turtles (turtle tours only between June and September).
Water sports are available on all of the islands and include activities such as swimming, snorkelling, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, jet skiing, fishing, diving and sailing. The diving in Cape Verde is considered to be some of the best in the world. There are wrecks off the isands and of course the waters are teeming with marine life, including turtles, dolphins, whales and a variety of fish. Kite surfing has become a major activity in Cape Verde with Kite Beach on the east of the island of Sal providing excellent conditions for this popular sport.
Walking, hiking and trekking are popular activities on some islands, such as Fogo, Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Santiago, where mountains and ravines, as well as coastal paths offer more challenging hikes. Some of the other islands such as Maio and Sal provide gentler walking. Quad biking is also possible on some islands, but they are banned from parts of the sand dunes in order to protect the turtles and their nests. Hiring a quad bike for half a day or a day can be an excellent and fun way to see the island under your own steam, or with a guide. Don’t wear good clothes because you will probably get rather dusty!
Bicycles can be hired in many places, which is another way in which the islands can be explored. Some companies also hire power-assisted bicycles and tricycles. Tuition for many of the sports, especially the water based activities is available in most places. This is recommended as the sea should be respected and can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Visitors wishing to enjoy an activity based holiday will not be disappointed. There are even outdoor gyms in various locations. However, a little research on each island will help you to choose a holiday destination that provides you with the activities you seek.