Cape Verde is all about colour: the turquoise ocean, lush tropical valleys, beaches of black and white sand, the bright yellow of the bananas, the orange-coloured papayas, green heads of cabbage and red peppers. The village square and the narrow cobbled streets seem to be deserted; only a few children can be seen playing with toys they have made themselves. However, there is a lot of hustle and bustle at the vegetable market – the centre and heart of every village – loud shouting and laughter, friendly faces and mountains of fresh fruit. Women squat on the roadside with baskets full of silvery fish, a group of men sit in the shade of a tree playing cards. Life here is leisurely and relaxed, people have time and they also have patience.
Let Marco Polo show you some unique experiences to be had on Cape Verde:
Travel with the locals
The aluguer is the most common means of transportation on Cape Verde. You should travel at least once with the locals in one of these pickups, such as the trip from São Filipe to Chã das Caldeiras.
Swing those hips
You won’t know what has hit you when the dancers start swinging their hips at a dizzy speed dancing the batuco in the 5al da Música in Praia.
A hearty pleasure
The Cape Verde national dish, catchupa, is a hearty affair. Every cook prepares their
own different version of this stew made of sweet corn and beans – in the Churrasqueira Africana on Fogo they add pumpkin.
Men, women and children wear their hair woven into small braids. If you want to do the same, you can have your holiday hairstyle done in the shop next to the Mariama Restaurant in Vila do Maio.
No matter whether it is freshly distilled or aged, the Cape Verde sugar cane liquor packs a punch! The freshly brewed firewater (grogue novo) that is served in the Pavilhão on the Praça Nova in Mindelo and elsewhere will really take your breath away!
A typical scene: two men sitting in the shade with a wooden board between them pondering over how they can get as many small pieces as possible away from their opponent. The game is called oril and it attracts many players to the row of shops near the sport stadium in Sal Rei and numerous other places on the islands.
At midday everybody runs to see if the fishermen have made a good catch when their colourful boats return to port or are pulled up on to the beach – as they do in Tarrafal on Santiago.
Buy the Cape Verde Marco Polo Guide.