I came to Cape Verde for the first time a year ago and I wrote about it here. When I left, I was almost certain that I would come back. And when I did, a year later, I just picked up from where I left, like not even a day had passed. That’s the charm of this place, everything is familiar and makes you feel at home. The motto is “no stress” and I don’t know any other place where this would be more appropriate.
Most shops and other businesses have a 2 hour siesta break at lunch. So if you go out between 1 and 3 in the afternoon, you will find a sleepy island, but I say it’s well worth it, if this is the reason why people are kindly smiling during the rest of the day.
Praia Laginha Mindelo
I came back to this view and walked along the shore countless times, refreshed by the slightly cold sea, as my body was getting the much appreciated sun.
When I would post pictures like this on my social media channels, I would often get questions like “Where is this place?”, “How did you find it?”. And I would always be happy to clarify.
One day, I posted this poll on my Instagram account story, asking people where they think I was, just based on this picture:
As you can see, most of them thought I was in the Caribbean and it’s an honest mistake. What I did next was clarify the location.
Cape Verde on the World Map
I am in the Atlantic Ocean, at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and America. Cape Verde is an archipelago of 10 islands. People live on 9 of them. I am in Sao Vicente island and this is what has made me feel good during my stay here:
1. The lovely weather. Sun year round. For real!
And I say “For real” because I have lived in places that brag about having sun year round, but they don’t really do ( Looking at you Lisbon and Malta 🙂 )
This, my friends, is the real deal. No cold, no rainy season, when you come here, the sun is guaranteed. In all my time here, I have not had a single day without sun.
And none of that scorching hotness that kills the whole mood. Just when you think it might get too hot, here comes the breeze. Which leads me to my next point.
2. No mosquitoes.
The breeze takes care of them too. No mosquito bites in here.
Update: I have been told recently that someone did see some mosquitoes here, since September is the only month when rain might appear, along with mosquitoes. So it’s not 100% mosquito free, but it’s really the next best thing
3. The delicious food.
How could I not mention it?
Like this cous-cous for breakfast
Cous-cous in Cape Verde
It comes hot and you can add butter, honey and/or local cheese to taste. Simple yet delicious, for the price of 150 CVE or about 1,5 Euro.
Another breakfast meal is the cachupa
Cachupa with a view of Mindelo marina
This is a slow-cooked stew with corn, beans, meat and some more of the local cheese, quejo de terra. Topped with egg and a side of sausage.
If a full portion is too much, you can have a half, which is what I had in this picture for the price of 180 CVE or 1,8 Euro.
Another breakfast favourite is fresh papaya:
It grows in abundance on the neighbouring island of Santo Antao and the women come here and sell it on the street or in the market for about 200 CVE or 2 Euro a kilo. It’s the best way to start the day.
Another local food that you can try are pastels. While on the beach, you will see women selling homemade pastries similar to samosas, but with fish in them. They are only 5 CVE or 5 cents each.
And since we were speaking about the local cheese, quejo de terra, it pairs well with the homemade papaya jelly that you can find in the shops here. I AM ready for this jelly!
4. It’s safe
Cape Verde has a democratic regime modelled after Portugal and the main religion is Catholicism. With the main language being Portuguese, while the locals speak creole (kriol), it’s easy to see how Europe and Africa mix well here.
Of course, you need to take the basic precautions as in any place, but I never felt unsafe here. No cab driver trying to charge me more, no pushy salesmen on the street. When the ladies with papaya advertise their fruits, I am happy to get some.
5. Morabeza, which means hospitality in creole, the local language.
Whether at the hotel, restaurants or shops, I almost never met a person that was not kind to me. I smile, they smile, just like that.
I stayed at Kira’s hotel and it was a delight. From the moment I arrived, I was kindly welcomed into this beautiful boutique hotel as if I was part of the family.
Welcome letter Kira’s hotel
The hotel has 10 rooms, each room being named after one of the islands of this archipelago. I stayed in room Santo Antao, named after the green island next to Sao Vicente. Therefore, the room is tastefully decorated in vibrant colours such as bright green and yellow.
Here is a sneak peek into what I got to experience at this hotel :
You might recognise the background music sang by Cape Verde’s national treasure, Cesaria Evora. She was actually from this island. Not far from this hotel you can see her memorial house. This song is about Sao Vicente, can you guess what she is trying to say?