The island of Santiago in Cape Verde is the largest and most populous island, with an area of 991 square kilometers and a population of over 500,000. Santiago is also the island of the capital city, Praia.
Santiago has a long and complex history, as it was originally inhabited by the native Ovimbundu people before being colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century. Since then, Santiago has been through many changes, including periods of intense economic hardship and political turmoil. Today, however, the island is relatively stable and is a popular tourist destination for those looking to experience its unique culture and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in its history or simply want to relax on its sandy beaches, Santiago is sure to have something to offer.
Places to Visit on Santiago – Cape Verde
Cidade Velha, also known as Ribeira Grande, is the old capital of Santiago island in Cape Verde. This colonial town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to some of the most well-preserved Portuguese architecture in the world. The town is situated on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is believed to be where Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World. Today, Cidade Velha is a popular tourist destination, with many visitors coming to explore its history and architecture. If you’re planning a visit, here are a few travel tips to help you make the most of your trip.
First and foremost, be sure to allow plenty of time to explore Cidade Velha. There’s a lot to see, from the charming cobbled streets and colonial buildings to the expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean. If you can, plan to spend at least a full day in the town. Secondly, remember that Cidade Velha is located on an island, so you’ll need to take a ferry or plane to get there. The journey from the mainland can take up to two hours, so factor this into your travel plans. Finally, although it’s possible to explore Cidade Velha independently, we recommend taking a guided tour. This is the best way to learn about the town’s history and see all of the key sights.
Santiago is blessed with some stunning natural scenery, including volcanic peaks, sandy beaches, and lush green valleys. There is plenty to see and do on the island, whether you’re looking to relax on the beach or explore the island’s many hiking trails. Here are just a few ideas for things to do on Santiago:
- Visit the capital city of Praia and explore its lively markets and colonial-style architecture.
- Drive up to the highest point on the island, Pico do Fogo, for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
- Go for a swim at one of Santiago’s many beautiful beaches, such as Tarrafal Beach or Calhau Beach.
- Take a hike through one of the island’s many nature reserves, such as Pedra Badejo Natural Park or Monte Gordo Natural Park.
- Sample some of the delicious local cuisine, such as cachupa (a traditional stew made with beans, corn, and meat) or fresh seafood dishes.
Where to stay on Santiago – Cape Verde
When planning a trip to Santiago, Cape Verde, it’s important to choose the right place to stay. santiago offers a variety of accommodation options, from camping and hostels to luxury hotels. If you’re on a tight budget, camping is a great option. There are several campsites located across the island, and they offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. For those who prefer a more comfortable stay, there are plenty of hostels and guesthouses in Santiago. Many of these places offer basic amenities like Wi-Fi and air conditioning, as well as more unique features like swimming pools and rooftop terraces. If you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience, there are also a number of 5-star hotels in Santiago. No matter what your budget or preferences, there’s sure to be a perfect place for you to stay on Santiago. Check out when best to travel to Cape Verde from our comprehensive weather page.
Santiago Island Tours
Visitors can take island tours from Praia or from the nearby town of Mindelo on the island of São Vicente. Island tours typically last for a full day and include stops at some of the island’s most popular attractions, such as Tarrafal Beach, Assomada Market and Monte Grande. In addition, island tours usually include a stop for lunch at one of Santiago’s seafood restaurants. For those looking to experience the best of what Santiago has to offer, an island tour is the perfect way to do it.