Tourism has become a major economic driving force in last couple of decades, although most of it is rather of the sun-and-beach variety. Of the nine inhabited islands of the archipelago, the most popular tourist islands are the ones with the least resources in any other respect, namely Sal and Boa Vista. Being the geologically oldest of these islands they are largely eroded down to flat, bare expanses of sand. They are basically just one large beach. That may appeal to a sizeable proportion of tourists, but those islands are hardly representative of the nation as a whole. It is also questionable whether those water-intensive beach-and-pool resorts that form typical hedonistic all-inclusive tourist enclaves really are a sustainable way forward.

Non-beach tourists will stay away from Sal and Boa Vista anyway, with nature lovers mostly heading for the northern islands, or to Santiago, the main island, which is known as having “a bit of everything” of what characterizes Cape Verde, including plenty of hiking options. For the dark tourist it is also Santiago, as well as neighbouring Fogo, that are the focus of attention.