🇨🇻CAPE VERDE TRAVEL GUIDE 🇨🇻


Think back 10 years ago. Had you heard of
Cape Verde? Not quite African and not quite
Portuguese, a vibrant mix of both worlds. The islands of Cape Verde are as
beautiful as they are mysterious. It was the transatlantic slave trades that put
these islands on the map and ten years ago, TUI put them on the tourist trail and the industry boomed. It’s no surprise but
the constant beat of traditional music, turquoise seas, sandy beaches, world-class
surf and surreal lunar landscapes. I’ve been given the opportunity to travel
2,700 miles across the Atlantic to visit Sal, an island steeped in history and
natural wonders, where suddenly there are more tourists than locals.
I want to engage with its people, absorb its unique culture and at this most
critical time in our planet’s history, dig deeper into the reality of tourism
and learn how we as tourists can improve the way we travel to ensure a
sustainable future for an industry we all love. We’ve been guided along the way
by two amazing charities; the TUI Care Foundation and the Travel Foundation who
work closely with local businesses and hotels. This trip was to become one of
the biggest eyeopeners of my travels to date. So let’s go back to the beginning.
At Holiday Extras we believe in making simple choices to improve the way we
travel, to find solutions that benefit the environment and lessen our negative
impact on a destination so our journey began in an airport lounge at Gatwick,
ideal if you’re trying to avoid buying plastic whilst filling up on delicious
food before your flight. We chose to fly direct to Sal with TUI Airways, the
world’s most carbon efficient airline. And upon landing we were met by our
prefect transfer driver who took us straight to our greener hotel on the
southwest coast of the island. So we’re starting our day having breakfast with a
view. It kind of reminds me of what the moon would look like. It’s very rocky but
that view is just gorgeous and we’re not wasting any time, we’re starting today
with an island tour an d this is with the company called Explore CV, and I’m
really looking forward to seeing what today has an offer
Booking an excursion on a trip can be the highlight of any holiday but we want
to emphasize the importance of finding a responsible tour company. Explore Cape
Verde were recommended to us by the Travel Foundation for being passionate
about the island’s wildlife, whilst providing eco-conscious excursions. We
booked on an island tour and our tour guide Jordi was a knowledgeable marine
biologist. The tour started in the coastal town of Santa Maria at the
fishing pier which is the soul of the island. Jordi showed us around and
explained that the fisherman returned around 11:00 a.m. every morning to their
wives who are waiting at the pier ready to sell the catch.
If it’s the locals fisherman’s it is a sustainable fishing we also sell the
rights for the European Union to fish here in Cape Verdean waters. Cape
Verde got its independence in 1975. As a former Portuguese colony, they absorbed
the Portuguese influence and their blood. Mixed with the Africans who settled here,
essentially created their own race Creole. It’s like cultural to jump from the pier.
If you come here and you didn’t jump you cannot say that you’ve been in Sal. The no
stress lifestyle here it seems the whole time. Next up we visited a natural reef, a
popular feeding area for lemon sharks and a place for tourists to safely see
them in the wild. You can rent water shoes to protect your
feet from the rocks and carefully wade in to watch them hunt.
Jordi’s care and consideration for the sharks was very clear, insisting we keep
a fair distance as not to disturb them. Other guides let their groups go as far
as they wanted, some even chased the curious parts which reminded me of the
importance of booking with a responsible company.
This tour also included a lunch stop in the quaint fishing village of Palmeiro
which gave us a chance to sample some of the local delicacies, including tuna
steak and some very strong local rum. Geordie spoke to us about the
tour guide training he’d received from the Travel Foundation. He was telling us
how important the training is to run a conscious tour. Whenever you’re dealing with wild animals you have to have training and know how to behave with the wild animals to keep the guests safe as well, especially with Lemon Sharks you have to know how to behave.

I guess some guests might get over excited. Yeah exactly, because everybody wants to be once you dive with sharks, want to be close to sharks so whenever
they get there they can get start becoming a little bit excited and try to
get closer and closer and closer but well in the end we are in their natural
habitat so keep a safe distance try to don’t touch them, to not feed them
because that might change their behavior and as well feeding them there are some
diseases they can develop so those are some advice. But the tour wasn’t
over yet. After lunch we entered the inside of an
extinct volcano to learn about the salt mines which used to be in operation. The
reason why we have people here is because of these salt mines. They decided to change the name of this
island to Sal. Sal means salt, it all makes sense! The salt produced here used to be exported to Europe to like Belgium colonies, French colonies but mainly to Brazil.
Nowadays this is a more a tourist point, tourist attraction.
Tourists can come here to have a floating bath and get ten years younger
you know. Similar to the Dead Sea, the water in the lake is dense with salt
allowing you to effortlessly float. The elements in the water are believed to
have healing properties for the skin and so the mines now act as a natural spa. Feeling very relaxed, the sun was setting
and we drove back down the island to make our last stop of the tour at the
famous kite beach. Warm winds from the Sahelian belt sweep across from Africa,
resulting in the eastern isles of Sal, Mayo and Boa Vista being flat and
dry and a mecca for water sports. We were so impressed with the tour that we
decided to book another one with Explore Cape Verde, but this time on sea. We
sailed along the West Coast past the famous Ponte Preta surfing beach to the
waters of Monte Leao. The best part was jumping off the boat and free diving
amongst the colorful fish and shipwrecks. Visibility here is amazing so if you’re
a keen diver I would highly recommend it. We had reached the halfway point of this
trip and everything we’d experienced so far had fueled my interest in the
importance of protecting wildlife from the impact of tourism. Over the next few
days we were to explore the topic further and meet with experts
who are working on the island to make it a better place to coexist. We were
introduced to a charity called Project Biodiversity, a group committed to
conserving and restoring the island’s unique ecosystems. The organization work
heavily to protect the turtles, which lay their eggs on beaches that are now
covered in litter and surrounded by hotels. We visited their hatchery and got
a chance to see their volunteers dig up the nest they had recovered and watched
hundreds of baby turtles being saved. The charity see a great importance in
educating tourists about the turtles to encourage support and donations.They run talks at their hatchery in Ponta Preta. Before taking the baby turtles to a safe release point on another part of the
island. Island life seems idyllic doesn’t it? Secluded paradise with guaranteed
weather, golden sands and exotic flavours, but unfortunately there’s a lot more
behind the perfect Instagram photo and Cape Verde is a great example of this.
Nothing grows on this island, they don’t produce any of their own crops or
anything. Everything has to be imported from the other islands around Cape Verde
or from Europe. Also water, I think the locals will drink water that’s
being purified, you know sea water that’s been purified, but for tourists it all gets
shipped in bottles which is really sad by don’t think there’s any other way
around it. I’m not really sure how else you what else you can do with an island
that has one day of rain a year. The Travel Foundation’s research highlighted
that hotels create almost half the total volume of waste sent to the island’s
landfill, and that strong winds caused that waste
to be blown right across the island, littering the landscape and then at the
ocean. You know they are believed to be nearly 50 thousand pieces of plastic in
every square mile of ocean, which can take up to 500 years to decompose. But it
doesn’t have to be this way, with a little planning you can make a huge
difference when you travel. It can be as simple as packing reusable bottles and
bags and choosing to stay in a responsible hotel that cares about the
environment. The TUI Care Foundation and the Travel
Foundation have together been working on the Greener Hotel project. We invited
Dahlia and Ricardo from the Travel Foundation to talk to us a little bit
more about the project and the importance of choosing a greener hotel
on your travels. So Sal is one of the ten islands of
Cape Verde and 9 have residents on them. Just for you to have an idea, think about 80% of
what we consume is imported. The visitors that you know we receive during
the whole year sums up to the quantity of the population that this whole
country has. Tourism is a very very very important sector and brings a lot of
pressure because the waste is it’s a natural byproduct you can say of tourism. What Ricardo has been doing with the technical staff of the hotels
is finding ways that they can reuse and recycle the waste that is being
generated but especially finding out ways that we can prevent the waste in
first place. So and then the TUI Care Foundation is our major funder for the
Cape Verde program which was a great support, bringing in the majority of
tourists they have such a massive impact on this island so it’s brilliant
that you guys are working together to make this happen. With support of the Travel Foundation but also by themselves they have to come together and stand for
this island and for this mission. So what we’re trying to do
right now is to create the momentum of continuity through the local
stakeholders. You give them like a little leg up. exactly! Amongst everything
I’ve learned about sustainable travel, over our time here I can see why Cape
Verde appeals as a brilliant holiday destination, especially if you’re looking
for some winter sun. So if you’re planning a trip here then here’s a
lowdown on some useful tips to know before you visit. The official currency
is Cape Verdean Escudo but it’s a closed currency which means you can’t bring it
in or take it out. However Euros are accepted everywhere here so we’ve found
this to be the easiest currency to use and you’re going to need to bring it in
cash because not everywhere accept cards. You’ll need a visa to come here and you
can get one of these online at least a week before you fly.Failing that it will
cost you 25 euros at the airport on arrival but just be warned, there might
be a big queue when you get there. Portuguese is the main language spoken
here the locals do also speak Creole which is a mixture between Portuguese
African dialects and some other European languages. Now Sal is a really touristy
island so English is spoken pretty much everywhere especially in the hotels and
on the excursions. When it comes to food a standard dish
that you’ll find in pretty much every restaurant here is fresh fish and a side
of potatoes or rice and it is delicious in fact it’s caught fresh from the
harbor just behind me here. Now if you’re vegetarian there isn’t a great deal of
choice but plenty of restaurants will serve pizza and pasta. As we come to the
end of our journey here in Sal, make sure you hit subscribe; we have loads of
travel guides on our channel and lots more exciting destinations to come. And in Cape Verde they have this saying ‘no stress’ and it’s so evident in the
people and their culture but what is also really evident is the impact that
tourism has had on this island. We can help this beautiful place build its
sustainability movement, help it become a marker for how other tourist
destinations can reverse their negative impacts. So come to Cape Verde and enjoy
what these colorful islands have to offer, sustainably.

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