As we prepare to go to London to compete against 9 other finalists for MyDestination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucketlist competition, we’re blogging about the places we’d love to include on our bucket list. We’ll spend this month in constant count-down, researching MyDestination.com’s 65 featured destinations and highlighting one per day. In no particular order, today’s post is on Cape Verde.
Whenever we travel, we set our sights on the cultures that fascinate us – the ones that draw us in on an emotional level but offer enough outdoor opportunities to balance our curiosity with activity. Cape Verde fits the bill perfectly.
Floating way off the Atlantic coast of Africa, the 10 islands that make up Cape Verde weren’t on our map until we found them through MyDestination.com. But after reading up on it’s rich mélange of Afro-Euro-American cultures, verdant landscapes and the beckoning blue waters of the Atlantic, we couldn’t help put put it at the top of our Bucketlist.
Santa Maria, Sal
Cape Verde has a vibrant culture emerging from a turbulent past. Until three decades ago, it was a colony of Portugual, where it originally served as an important center in the slave trade. Today it’s confidently stepping forward and proudly showing the world its two most exceptional exports – music that is uniquely Cape Verdean and the charm of island itself.
It was the music that initially drew us in. Check out Cesária Énora for a classic intro to Cape Verde’s mornas which blend the longing of Portuguese fado music with mellow island rhythms. More recently, a younger generation has taken the islands’ music in new directions, embracing the their mixed heritage and celebrating through festivals such as the “Kriol Jazz” fest and traditional parties like Carnival (see article from The Economist for more). Thanks to our friends at JamAndAHalf.com for putting together the following playlist!
With these tunes in our heads, we imagine whistling our way through Praia, the capital city of Santiago. The Portuguese old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site while the island remains the most African of the isles. Santiago contains enough sites, events, and beaches to make it the perfect starting point for exploring the other nine islands.
Santa Maria Pier
There is no shortage of islands to explore from here. We’d make trips to the gorgeous San Antao, volcanic Fogo, jam to local music in Sao Vincente, or rent quad bikes to explore the deserted island of Boa Vista. Ten islands, an infinite number of ways to relax.
It would be just as easy to spend all our time in the water – from deep sea diving, to surfing, windsurfing, big game fishing or night-diving with Loggerhead turtle. We’d be so busy we’d barely have time to come up for air!
With so many fun activities, it would make us wonder how to give something back to the island. Luckily, there’s an organization called Turtle SOS that lets you do just that. We’d wrap up our time with one of their guided turtle watching tours, which help raise money for the preservation of the indigenous turtles in danger of extinction.
Seven days would hardly be enough for all ten islands, but we’re sure there would be enough to keep us busy, satiate our curiosity and make a nice, relaxing break in the midst of a six month trip.
Comments? Advice? Disagreements? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.