Having purchased a holiday home property in 2007 and a regular visitor to the archipelago ever since, today I receive regular requests from friends and acquaintances alike asking for information and my recommendations of where and when to visit the islands. With one recent friend commenting that she thought Cape Verde was a single island and my RSI from replying to a plethora of emails, I felt the time was right to commit some of my experiences to the web.
With a spike of more than 3,000 percent since 2004 (According to the Global Travel Search Index, which ranks the holiday destinations), the term “Cape Verde” has shown the greatest increase in Google search interest over the past 12 years. Earlier this year the islands were named the second most searched-for spot on Earth for Britons.
With an increase in search queries, coupled with the scenic bustle of tourist websites punting idyllic landscape photos, during a visit to our holiday home in December 2017 I conceived the idea of the Real Cape Verde website, publishing and documenting information and personal accounts of my visits to Cape Verde.
My first exposure to the Cape Verde archipelago was 2006, when a TV travel show was promoting RIU hotel on the Caribbean island of Dominica. Recalling a RIU hotel in Mallorca, a little Internet research into the hotel group saw an orange blob on their hotel map, smack bang in the Atlantic ocean. Intrigued as to the destination, more research exposed the Cape Verde islands.
From limited information available at the time, flight and accommodation information was limited and it was in 2007 that we made out first visit to the island of Sal, at the all inclusive RIU Funana.
After a few days of the same buffet bun fights associated with such all inclusive resorts and corny cabaret shows by the Animation team, it was time to escape into Santa Maria while the children played with new kindled friends in the hotel pool.
I was first exposed to the myriad of estate agents, punting their off plan investments and as we were looking for a holiday home at the time, it was not long before I was being whisked away to various corners of the island on visualisation trips. That’s when I got to know a few of the ex-pats at the time, many today are still continued friends.
We rented a car one day and explored other areas of the island, being told to keep away from the palm tree forest, west of the airport, between Mont Leon and Palmeira for fear of crime. Fantastic, our small Suzuki Jimmy, bouncing all over the moonlike surface of a rocky and dusty tracks. It was easy to explore, visits to the Buracona Blue Eye and the Pedra Lume salt flats being free entry!
Since those early days, I have visited the islands of São Vicente, São Nicolau, Fogo. Each with fantastic memories. Boa Vista and Maio are next on the route map for a special project, together with a return visit to Fogo, carnival in Mindelo and of course Santo Antão.