The final trip of 2022 after already many great experiences from the earlier get -aways: Cape Verde, Africa. Cabo Verde as they say locally can be found in the Atlantic, about 500-900 Km west of the Senegal, and it is an African country even though feels a bit African light. Well, an interesting and versatile set if islands, with some similarities between them but also many differences in especially nature, local culture and their level of tourism.
My focus is mainly on Bao Vista and a bit on Sal, two Eastern islands of Cape Verde. Nine out of a total of officially ten islands are inhabited, all in variants of what they offer for both their visitors and locals. Bao Vista offers an ultimate contrast of stunning sea & beaches right next to sand dunes & deserts and some smaller mountains. That island just started to become a bit touristy since the 2010s which sets it apart from the Northern island of Sal which seems to be the primary tourist spot with the usual bar culture. Sal also is more densely equipped with hotels and resorts. Bao Vista is not a small island as it is actually bigger and rounder then Sal, it has vast nature with great to phenomenal views offered, thus the name which is Portuguese and translates to “Beautiful View”! Cape Verde has Portuguese heritage but is an independent country. Yet, the EUR currency and the Portuguese language are common here and the official administration as well as most embassies are found in Portugal, actually. Other languages spoken throughout the island are English and Creole as well as some Italian. Crime rates are in fact at 0.0%, believe it or not. And there are no dangerous animals either, except for creepy spiders almost at Australian size. Therefore, hyper-cute wild donkeys can as well be spotted across the island.
After all, the population is not massive, this can’t be Nigeria or some other African country. And that makes it even more interesting as the islands allow for a comparison to the Canary Islands, but of course in clearly an African way. A truly global blend of African, Eurasian, and also European people, cuisine, and culture. People came from Senegal over or from Europe generations ago. After all, it is island life here dependent on Tourism, Fishing, and local Ceramic product manufacturing. So this is why tourism is expanding with the usual pros and cons. A reason for Bao Vista again, some Tourism standards that feature fun and relaxing days exist with even 2-3 big luxury hotels, but also more adventure awaits as there are still many corners to be explored. I loved that and made my way barefoot and in big offroad 4×4 rides. There is one main road on the island, but it has not found its way around the island, thanks to a protected part in the East of the island. You have to rely on locals and off road skills often. You can ride taxis or rent one of the few smaller cars, but not a must in my opinion and not recommended. Roads are a mix of dirt, cobble stone made from volcanic stones and the main road is paved with gigantic round abouts that tell you they plan to build more in the future. Whilst many locals live in old out of use sea fright containers that some cargo lines “dispose” here for free. But it is Africa after all, where people make use of everything. Because they can and must.
The wide country side with mostly only bushes here and there and nice mountain lines that appear higher than they actually are featured on Bao Vista, too. But once you made it to a beach, you realize this is a paradise on earth, still. Turquoise waters, perfect sand, always a slight breeze, and stunning views. Everywhere. Really! I was impressed most of my time here. My long stretch of beach here was Carquejinha. I think it is rougher yet nicer than Santa Mónica. Locals consider beaches with small waves to be more beautiful, I disagree plus only small shore waves, not rolling Surf Waves will mostly be found. Mostly, as one day I was faced with 3m waves that did not really allow for a morning swim. The Eastern part of the island is the non-touristy, ruff and real part of the island. To me, a must on Bao Vista when you seek adventure especially also to find some loneliness. E.g. on Sal, it is already too packed to find dream beaches for yourself like possible still on Bao Vista. But you will need to walk for an hour or rent a dune buggy. I hope most people stick to the quads and buggy, as turtles nest on this island.. Away from their nests you can sandboard, do watersports or swim and kite or windsurf. Or explore the capital of Sal Rei or many of the more rural villages spread across the island. NO STRESS is the people’s chosen motto to live by here.
Sal is bigger and has established touristy infrastructure that has seen things already since >30 years. But clearly not as many mountains. Of course, it also features the beaches and an even wider range of cuisine, bit more European or Westernish reflecting the longer touristy experience. I did not spend too much time here, so I am sharing more pics and thoughts from Bao Vista. On “Beautiful View” it is a must to visit a local restaurant or even a local family that is open for tourists joining them at their lunch or dinner table. The local stew or typical dish of Cachupa is a blend of taste and mild spices and everything that nicely reflects the group of islands that Cape Verde represents. It was super yummy and delicious at both my hotel restaurant and excellent at an island restaurant that local host Franca showed off. She offers tours in Italian/ German/ English language east of the island where no other guides will get you to! And fresh fish is obviously always a fantastic option here, too, as they fish a lot around here from tuna to hake.
Do check out the Cabos one day, they are worth it and mostly not too touristy yet. Bye Bye Bao Vista this time.
Have a great start into 2023, all, and off to many more trips and the global lifestyle.
Cheers & best,