Away from the traditional world famous sailing itineraries (West Med, Caribbean, East Med, Asia) and the better known islands, Cape Verde is an archipelago of dramatic beauty and cultural vibrancy. This archipelago is one of those few remaining locations where sailing is pure fun. The sailing season is year round, with ideal wind conditions as well as clear, warm water and lots of sun. There are no over crowded ports or beaches and the distances between the islands - 15 all together (9 of which are inhabited) - is a maximum of 135 nautical miles. Cape Verde sailing charters are an ideal solution for your amazing sailing vacation in the hearth of winter maybe to celebrate the new year day: with its warm all year round climate, direct flights from the UK, Italy and all Europe and beautiful beaches, it is quickly becoming a popular sailing holiday destination. There are lots of activities you can do during your Cape Verde sailing charter. You can go canyoning on Santo Antão, try kitesurfing and windsurfing on Sal, quad bike across the dunes on Boavista, take guided walks on Fogo and Brava, have a Capoeira dance class on São Vicente and mountain bike the rugged tracks of Santiago. A good period to visit the archipelago is when the carnival season approaches on Cape Verde. The string of stunning white-sand islands plays host each May to Carnival Tuesday, when the liberation of the slaves is commemorated.
Festivities take place across the islands and include a solemn religious ceremony celebrating the Feast of the Saint Cross. But the liberation ceremonials quickly melt into a joyous unleashing of workaday tensions as parades march by and the central streets pulse to the sounds of drumbeats and whistles. This year's Carnival Tuesday celebrations are set to draw enlarged crowds as the UK marks the three hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade across its global empire. And visitors enticed to prolong their stay for a few days will be treated to the spectacular dances which herald the feast of Santo Rogue and, even more unusually, goat fighting for the festival of Cruz Nho Lolo on May 28th. A special mention is own to the importance of the music in this Islands. Music in Cape Verde is woven into the very fabric of life and it informs and is informed by the often brutal history and culture of the islands; and although it is a ubiquitous presence it never feels stagy or performance based, rather it is part of the very essence of island life. During a stay there the subtle rhythms and the delicate melodies of the mornas and the driving surges of the Funanas seep into you almost imperceptibly, and on your return you'll find yourself humming tunes you didn't know you knew and maybe dancing about for no apparent reason. Cape Verde is the "Last Paradise" a perfect destination for a romantic sailing escape among sea, nature and sun during the cold European winter.
The Island of Sal was the last to be settled, in the first half of the XIXth century. The principal reason for the population to settle here was to explore its large salt reserve in the natural Salinas of Pedra de Lume and Santa Maria, and this eventually led to the island being called “Sal” (salt). The plane topography favoured its choice for the installation of an airfield in the first half of the XXth century, mainly as a scheduled stop for flights to South America. Early in the nineteen sixties, thanks to the installation of an airport and above all, the progress in aeronautics, Sal became the principal center for air travel in the archipelago. At present it is the country’s principal port of entry, and it is soon to be transformed into an important point of reference for West Africa, in air travel. Access to the airport, the ease of internal circulation, and the extension and beauty of its beaches are favourable factors that have contributed greatly to the dynamism of the tourism on this island.
Sal receives more than half of the volume of tourists in Cape Verde. The Town of Santa Maria, formerly the capital, is the principal tourist center on the island, and today it is an important urban center in the archipelago in restaurant and nightlife activity. The village of Santa Maria, located on the southern coast of the island, has developed within 15 years from a "godforsaken nest of fishermen and herdsmen" into a tourist agglomerate with more than 5000 hotel beds, numerous bars, restaurants and discos, where the night turns to day and the effervescent, Creole soul and lifestyle set a spell on all those who love the exotic. Sun, wind, turquoise blue seawater and endless, secluded sand beaches entice sun-hungry visitors and windsurfers from many European nations in all four seasons of the year, Cape Verde is an ideal destination for winter sailing escape away from traffic, pollution, stress and noise at just 5 hours by plane from London Heathrow. Due to its extremely vibrant winds, Santa Maria is also considered to be one of the best surfing areas on the planet.
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The islands of Sao Vicente is one of the island you definitely can’t miss to land during your Cape Verde Archipelago sailing itinerary and also the starting point due to its marina “Marina Mindelo the best Marina in the whole Archiplago”. São Vicente looms out of the ocean like a newly formed island where vegetation has yet to take hold. Its barren landscape is due to its lack of regular rainfall and even with its desalination plants, water is still sometimes shipped in from neighbouring Santo Antão. The islands real gem though is its capital Mindelo, nestled at the foot of two extinct volcanoes and built around a natural deep water harbour, this lovely town is the cultural centre of the archipelago. Every Cape Verde sailing holidays should consider a visit on land in Mindelo town. With its lively café culture and good restaurants, fine colonial architecture as well as its famous music, it holds a special place in the hearts of the locals. If you’re here at the weekend, you might even see a Capoeira performance in the main square. Take a full or half day tour around the vibrant and historical city of Mindelo.
During your tour you’ll visit the markets (the fish one is fascinating!), the historical buildings, visit a workshop where guitars are made and even hear some traditional music. If you take a full day, you’ll be able to walk out to a romantic fishing village and take a swim at the wonderful Baia das Gatas. The town of Mindelo is the cultural centre of the island and one of the preferred in the whole Cape Verde Archipelago. There are bars, restaurants and a complete infrastructure in the European model. Here are the hospitals & Colleges with power stations, desalination plants, sewerage, fiberoptic telecoms and an international airport. The bay of Mindelo in the banner above is recognised as one of the top 10 bay views in the world, with the majestic backdrop of Santo Antao to complete the picture. The airport has undergone a complete change with an entire hill removed, runway extended and a new international terminal built. St Pedro will become the preferred gateway for the leisure visitor and winter resident. With a 5.5hour direct flight time from Gatwick and only 1 hour time difference, the year round sunshine and pleasant 25c to 30c avarage temperatures - Sao Vincente is destined to become the first location to start amazing winter sailing vacation in the Cape Verde Archipelago.
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