Overview

Santiago is a wonderful fusion of all the Cape Verdean islands put together.

The capital Praia is a bustling, vibrant city built over several plateaus. But head off into the interior and you’ll find mountain peaks and fertile valleys of manioc and banana.

If you only have one day on the island, then you should definitely visit the archipelago’s oldest settlement Cidade Velha, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009.

Nowadays a charming village along the coast, the area attracts a lot of people, wanting to visit the fort which overlooks the village, the churches and the pelourinho a 16th-century pillory used to punish slaves.

The island’s second largest city Assomada should also not be missed, especially on a Saturday and Wednesday when the African market attracts a lot of locals and visitors alike. Here you can buy anything from chicken to furniture.

Lovely Tarrafal has sandy beaches and is the ideal base to relax or dive.

Highlights

The most African of all the islands, Santiago is a melting pot of cultures and languages and rapidly expanding as it already has more than half of Cape Verde’s population living on the island. Busy and buzzing capital Praia, is a sharp contrast to the rest of the island, which is more like the African continent. Two volcanic mountain ranges dominate the island. In the north pretty Serra Malagueta stretches from the west to east, and in the centre, the highest peak Pico d’Antonia with its jagged peak dominates the countryside.

Assomada is the perfect starting point for walks in both mountain ranges, but also a great place to mix and mingle with the locals as it has two colourful markets, a covered fruit and vegetable market and the massive outdoor market next door where you can buy anything from clothing to household appliances.

From nearby Boa Entrada, walk to the oldest and biggest Kapok tree of the archipelago. In the north, Tarrafal with its’ pretty sandy cove is great for snorkelling, relaxing and diving.

Activities

There is much to see and do when travelling around the islands of Cape Verde. On Santiago we are able to offer experiences which reflect the highlights of the island by allowing you to step off the beaten track or indulge in some of the more active ativities on offer.

Accommodation

Most of the 4-star hotels on Santiago are situated in the diplomatic area of the capital, Praia. However, in the city centre, there are some local style hotels and guesthouses. Further afield around Rui Vaz and Assomada, in the middle of the island, there are a couple of comfortable hotels with great views of the surrounding mountain. In the north, around the coastal town of Tarrafal, you'll find a few B&Bs and Pensions.

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