Santiago island Cape Verde

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

The capital Praia is a bustling, vibrant city built over several plateaus. Half of Cape Verdean live on Santiago and half of them live in Praia city. In Praia we like the Oasis Atlantico Praiamar and also the Pestana Tropico as comfortable hotels on the ocean front of Praia city.

On the south coast you’ll find the archipelago’s oldest settlement Cidade Velha, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2009. Cidade Velha stands as a testament to the dark past of slavery. in the 15th and 16th centuries Cape Verde was a strategically important location between Africa, the Americas and Europe and slavery was a large part of this trade. 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.

Head off into the interior and you’ll find jagged mountain peaks and fertile valleys of manioc and banana. The island’s second largest city Assomada – known by locals as Somada – is in a spectacular location, build on a plateau in between deeply cut valleys and below some of the island’s highest peaks. On a Saturday and Wednesday Assomada’s African market attracts a throng of humanity, locals and visitors alike. Here you can buy anything from chickens (alive or dead) to furniture via herbal remedies and colourful spices.

Stay in the mountains at the Quinta da Montanha and climb Santiago’s highest peak, Pico d’Antonia.

At the northern tip, lovely Tarrafal has the best sandy beaches of the island. Stay at the King Fisher Village or the Oasis Tarrafal Alfandega Suites and get away from it all on a beach holiday away from the crowds. Tarrafal Bay is blessed with shelter so there’s safe swimming and snorkelling, and is the ideal base to relax or perhaps go out with the diving school. Tarrafal is also a great place to stay if you’re taking guided walks in the extensive Serra Malagueta natural park.

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