Friday, April 29, 2011

The Top 10 reasons Americans should vacation in Cape Verde

Well it only seems fair, given my earlier post on why Americans don't vacation in Cape Verde, to describe the reasons why they should!

So here are the reasons:

  1. The people! Need I say more? Cape Verdeans are quite friendly and welcoming to "strangeros" - the warmth is called "Morabezza."
  2. The history of Cape Verde is rooted in the journeys of the earliest European world explorers and in the African slave trade. Those roots are still very present today in every facet of Cape Verde. You can visit the first European settlement south of the Sahara in Cidade Velha, on the island of Praia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cape Verde even has a Jewish Heritage element via the Morrocan Jews who settled there many moons ago.
  3. The cultural blend of African, Portuguese and Brazilian elements are completely unique to Cape Verde. Now, you won't find reggae, calypso or steel drums here (except if someone is playing them on the stereo or something). Instead the musical traditions native to Cape Verde are Morna, Coladeira, Pasada, and Zouk. Oh yeah ... you'll still be able to shake your tush to Funana and Batuku.
  4. The food! Delicious and definitely not fattening. The staples are vegetable and seafood based. The cachupa (a stew made from corn, beans and other veggies, but may sometimes include meat) is to die for! And how about fish so fresh it's still kicking when it's served on your plate. And if you're into chicken, you'll find a finger-lickin' good meal at any of the churrasquerias.
  5. Talking about moons ... have you ever been to the moon? I swear; visiting some parts of Cape Verde is like going to the moon! Cape Verde presents an arid, volcanic landscape. It is a spectacular sight to behold. In some areas, you would swear you might be on the moon - the scenery is out of this world and looks like time stood still. But the landscape is also quite varied - no, wild is more like it. You can find soaring mountains, lush green valleys, sand dunes, salt flats, sandy white beaches, and rocky beaches to name a few.
  6. Like other tropical islands, you can find some amazing beaches on each of the islands. But, forget about lazing around on some white sand beach sipping on caipirinha. No way! Cape Verde is a place that was made for exploration. It begs you to get off your duff and go see or do something you've never seen or done before.
  7. Special interest tourism. Are you into eco-tourism? Do you like hiking, windsurfing, mountain climbing, or triathlons? How about running in a 12-hour ultra-marathon? Did I mention moon-walking? All of this can be found on the Cape Verde islands.
  8. No matter what your tastes, there is something here for everyone, kids included! Be sure to do your homework and pick your island destination right. There are nine inhabited islands and each one has a different experience to offer.
  9. Have you ever climbed up to the crater of an active volcano? Sure, there is a volcano in the US Hawaiian islands. But guess what? Cape Verde is a lot closer than Hawaii for most Americans. Unless you live on or near the US west coast, you're better option is the volcano on the island of Fogo.
  10. It is very safe. Violent crime directed at foreigners is rare to non-existent (of course you should always take sensible precautions even when you are in your own home-town). But don't leave your personal effects far from sight - petty theft is rampant. Anything not nailed down may be stolen.
  11. It is politically stable. Cape Verde is recognized for having the most stable democracy in Africa.
You only live once and life would not be complete unless you have been to the enchanting archipelago that is Cape Verde!

[Disclaimer: Featured picture is a plug for RIU Hotels & Resorts of which there are 5 on Sal and Boa Vista.]

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