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Luxury Townhouses in 2009

NEWS ALERT: Exclusive Luxury Townhouses are soon to be built with the most stunning ocean views in Sao Vicente. Spacious 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with 2 En-suite and infinity pool. Be sure to complete the Property Form for more details and read more on Sao Vicente. These Townhouses are believed to double in value by 2011 when the International Airport will be open. Alternatively, you can request a property pack by calling our UK Office on 0208 517 8856.

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Cape Verde Activities

One of the most popular activities on Cape Verde has got to be trekking, with a wide range of locations and levels of difficulty, combining spectacular views and diverse flora and fauna, especially on Santa Antao, where the green valleys and mountainous peaks provide a magnificent landscape for the intrepid explorer. All islands offer guides to take you through the best routes, including, possibly the finest for stunning scenery, the summit of Pico de Fogo, a fantastic volcanic cone, one of the best in the world.

The bird watching on the islands is another popular pastime, as the variety of bird species is legendary, such as the rare, nocturnal ngon-ngon, recently placed on the endangered species list, you can arrange a special tour to take in these fabulous birds, however be prepared for a physically demanding journey up to the crater of Pico de Fogo. The climb is, however, well worth it for the stunning views and birds.

Sal is regarded as the surfers' paradise, with constant breezes blowing from the north making the seas of the island perfect for the champions to train. The Trilogy Windsurfing Competition is held in Punta Preta, renowned as one of the best in the world, get down here for more advanced conditions, however the island has five other locations for those of varying standards, as on Boavista, Santiago, Sao Nicolau and Maio.

Diving is also taking off in Cape Verde, where impressive submerged caves, rock formations and canyons are home to a variety of eels, lobsters and fish species. You may get to experience the dolphins residing in these clear waters, making conditions ideal for discovering the wealth in marine life blessing the archipelago. Shipwrecks are also abundant around the islands, and are fascinating to explore, local dive schools are located in Santa Maria on Sal and Mindelo on Sao Vicente. You can pre-book instruction and equipment.

Santa Maria is also home to one of the worlds best windsurfing sites; the centre is located on the beach. These are ideal for those with windsurfing experience, as the winds and open seas can be dangerous for less experienced sailors; instruction is available to top up your skills. Head off to Boavista or Sao Vicente for beginner friendly centres and equipment available to hire. If you have your own equipment to bring with you, check with the airline for carriage requirements.

Different fishing activities are available, and due to the diverse nature of fish species, it is also a popular pastime. You'll find established centres can be found on Sal, Sao Nicolao and Sao Vicente. Fishing clubs from island bases operate trips of varying duration and styles, however hiring of equipment is limited.

Excursions

Examples of excursions offered by local tour operators include: tours to Tarrafal via Sao Domingos, Picos and Santa Caterina, one day tour of Santiago, half-day or full-day tour of Cidade Velha, trips to Praia Baixo and hiking tours. Generally, organised tours require a minimum number of people and are often more expensive than if you arrange it yourself. Listed below are some tours operators.

Windsurfing and Kite Surfing

Due to the islands position within the winter tradewind belt and reliable winds, Cape Verde boasts near perfect conditions from late November to June so Sal has been a popular spot for windsurfing and kite surfing for years. There are plenty of lessons and courses you can take part in if you are j new to the sport and you can hire equipment locally.

Sal hosted the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Cup in 2007 on the world-class break at Ponta Preta where waves can reach up to 8ft. "It was by far the best conditions I have ever sailed in regardless that it was a contest or not. 1'11p waves were absolutely perfect and if I w ns to dream of the most perfect waves it not be any better than that." Windsurf Magazine April 2007.

Diving

The Cape Verde Islands are a diver's paradise with wrecks to explore, rich tropical underwater flora and a massive array of fish including dolphins, turtles, sharks as well as shoals of rockfish and bream. Cat sharks are frequently seen and with some luck you can also observe tiger sharks, lemon sharks, hammer-head sharks and mako sharks. Sal offers a selection of dive centers on Santa Maria beach which offer instruction, equipment and group dives.

Walking

The islands provide spectacular scenery with walks to suit all levels of fitness. Some walks may need a guide whilst others are well signposted.

Santo Antao offers classic walks up and down ribeiras with impressive views of craggy peaks and deep gorges. On Fogo the ascent of the Pica in the crater is a popular and challenging choice. Walks from the top of the crater down its sides are plentiful. The interior of Santiago presents many rewarding hikes that consist of choosing a starting point in the centre of the island and following a ribeira down to the coast.

Other Activities

Quad biking, bicycle hire and horse riding are available on some islands. Please note that rough terrain and cobbled streets on some islands may make cycling an uncomfortable option!

Even if Santiago boasts few surfing spots, most surfers prefer other islands. Well-known spots include: the coast in the southeast, south of Ponte de Lobo and in Tarrafal, in particular at Ponta do Atum and at Chao Bom. The best time of the year is between January and March.

Deep Sea Fishing

The ocean surrounding the islands provides a wealth and richness of many kinds of fish. If you want to experience the odd day fishing with local fisherman using traditional methods then a half day or full day can be arranged through our resort representatives. However, if you are blue water, deep sea fishing enthusiast and are looking for a complete fishing package we recommend you contact the specialists World Sport Fishing who win be able to give you expert advice. We have worked with them for several years in other areas In West Africa and they are currently putting together their Operation in Cape Verde. Tel: 01480 403293

There is some game fishing in Santiago, pay local fishermen a small fee to take you out on one of their trips.

Hiking

The heart of Santiago provides some satisfying walks. The biggest hike is the Pico do Antonio at 1,392m. Other walks consist of finding a craggy spot in the mountain area in the centre of the island and walking down a ribeira, dry river valleys, to the coast or viceversa.

Serra Malagueta-Ribeira Principal, Monte Xota-Sao Domingos and Monte Xota-Pico do Antonio-Monte Xota are just few examples of the available hikes on the island.

Praia

Praia, which in Portuguese means 'beach', is located on the southeastern coast of the island of Santiago and is the capital of the island and of Cape Verde. The city is built on a basaltic platform overlooking the bay, this area is known as the 'Plateau' and its various districts spill on to the land below known as achadas, elevated plains.

The Achada de Santo Antonio, southeast of the Plateau, is where the Government building is, Prainha, the district to the south of the Plateau, is where there are the embassies, upmarket hotels and nightclubs, the districts of Terra Branca and Fazenda lie respectively to the west and to the north of the Plateau. Palmarejo is a new, expensive residential area to the southwest of the Plateau. Praia is a pretty town to visit or spend some of your time. A visit to the market is a MUST!

Beaches

To the east of the Hotel Praia Mar, located in Prainha, there is a small but very popular beach, to the west of the same hotel, you will see Praia da Quebra Canela, another lovely beach but less busy.

Do not miss:

On the main 'Alexandre Albuquerque' square on the Plateau, you will find:

  • The old Catholic Cathedral, the old Town Hall, the Presidential Palace, constructed at the end of the 19th century, the Palace of Justice and the statue of Diogo Gomes, one of the two discoverers of the island of Santiago in 1462.
  • On the Plateau there is also a small museum where you will see relics from shipwrecks and artefacts from Cape Verdean rural life.
  • The colorful Market.

Cidade Velha  (Ribeira Grande)

Cidade Velha, which in Portuguese means 'old city', is a town situated at around 12km west of Praia, the capital of the island of Santiago and Cape Verde. Cidade Velha, which used to be called Ribeira Grande and capital of Cape Verde, is where the history of Cape Verde began; it was discovered in 1462 by Antonio de Noli and Diogo Gomez and it was the first settlement in Cape Verde.

Ribeira Grande flourished rapidly and in 1572 was granted the status of Cidade (City); it received monopoly on slavery, slaves from Guinea-Bissau and from Sierra Leone were shipped from Cidade Velha to Brazil and the Caribbean. But this prosperity ended with the French attack in 1712 which destroyed the city and led to investments in the fortification of Praia, which then became the capital. Today Cidade Velha is just an ordinary village, but its charming and attractive ruins, testifying of its sumptuous past, and the green ribeira, make this a beautiful place to visit.

How to get to Cidade Velha

There are hourly aluguers from the Sucupira Market or from Terra Branca in Praia to Cidade Velha. The journey lasts approx. 30 minutes and from Cidade Velha, aluguers leave from the centre of the square.

Do not miss:

  • Fort Real do Sao Filipe, built after the attack to the city in 1585 by Francis Drake.
  • The remains of Grand Cathedral, completed in 1693.
  • The Pelhourinho, found in the square, a 16th century pillory used for the punishment of slaves.
  • The church of Nossa Senhora do Rosario, which is over five hundred years old and was used as the settlement's main place of worship until the cathedral was built.

Tarrafal

Tarrafal is located on the northwestern coast of the island of Santiago. It has little coves and a magnificent beach and is bursting with life. Diving, fishing, surfing can be done here; it is also a good starting point for few hikes. Situated 3 Km away from the town centre, there is the old concentration camp, also known as the Campo da morte lenta (slow death camp), built in 1936 to house Portuguese antifascists and used as a prison for political prisoners afterwards. It was closed in 1974. today it is open to the public to visit.

How to get to Tarrafal

Aluguers leave all day from the Sucupira Market in Praia to reach Tarrafal. The journey lasts approximately two hours. From Tarrafal, aluguers leave from where the Praia road joins the main square of Tarrafal, they run until early evening. If you don't want to take the central road from Tarrafal to Praia, you can come back along the coastal road: take an aluguer from behind the church in the main square of Tarrafal to Calheta de Sao Miguel and from Calheta to Praia.

Assomada

Assomada, a very old town, is the capital of the municipality of Santa Catarina, which comprises the central western portion of the island of Santiago.

How to get to Assomada

Aluguers leave all day from the Sucupira Market in Praia to reach Assomada. The journey takes approx. one and half hours. Aluguers leave Assomada for the return trip to Praia until late at night.

Do not miss:

  • The market of Assomada is one of the largest on the island of Santiago with a huge variety of agricultural and other products. It is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • The Museu de Tabanka, which sits outside the city square, incorporates the history of Assomada and Santa Caterina and it is also dedicated to the traditional musical form of Tabanka. It often hosts exhibitions by Cape Verdean artists and poets, traditional concerts, and other cultural events.
  • From Assomada going north, the road goes to Boa Entrada, a village sets in a green valley, where one can admire a magnificent centuries-old kapok tree, dominating the valley, in which nests one of the only two known colonies of Cape Verde heron, known locally as garca-vermelho.
  • Set back from the main road that goes north from Boa Entrada, there is a yellow-coloured house where the national hero, Amilcar Cabral, lived when he was a child. Unfortunately the house is not open to the public.
  • Ribeira da Barca, a beautiful beachside village on the west coast, where you can take a boat trip to the Grotto d'Aguas Bellas, a cave with a beach inside.

Sao Domingos

The main reason to stop at Sao Domingos is to use it as a base for drives or hikes up to the west into the hills.

It is worths visiting:

  • The Artisan Centre, where you can watch Cape Verdeans exercising traditional crafts and have the chance to buy hand made products.

How to get to Sao Domingos

Sao Domingos is situated north west of Praia, aluguers leave Sucupira Market all day for Sao Domingos. From Sao Domingos, aluguers go back to Praia until the evening. Aluguers going to Tarrafal or Assomada will also stop in Sao Domingos.

Calheta De Sao miguel and Sao Fransico

The main reason to stop at Calheta de Sao Miguel is to use it as a base for hikes up into the interior. Calheta de Sao Miguel is situated on the northeastern coast. To get to Calheta de Sao Miguel take an aluguer from the Sucupira market in Praia travelling up the castal road, from behind the church in the main square in Tarrafal and from Assomada.

To the east of Praia and not too far from there is Sao Francisco with its magnificent beaches and little bays. There are no public aluguers to take you there. Use a taxi or rent a car.

At the moment, diving is only possible in Tarrafal.