Submitted 9 months 2 days ago by CultureWhiz.
The first island settled in Cape Verde. Santiago, the largest island in the archipelago and home to Cape Verde's capital, Praia, is a historical island that also serves as the main hub for inter-island transportation throughout the country. Green valleys and lush plantations meet rugged mountains and busy African settlements, revealing yet another facet of Cape Verde's remarkable diversity to tourists. There are some good beaches here, but it is probably the least beautiful island. The local culture is friendly, fascinating, and West African. Santiago provides a good mix of beautiful nature in the north and center, modern West Africa in Praia, and historical colonial sights in Cidade Velha. However, Santiago is not really a place to go for a resort experience or a typical beach vacation such as one finds in the nearby Canaries or as advertised for Boa Vista island.
Cachupa is the national dish and a distant relative of Portuguese feijoada; it is available in a variety of restaurants. Canjo is a kind of chicken and rice stew that is more difficult to find. On the island, papaya and bananas are readily available and of high quality. The pastel is a significant morning tradition in the towns, as it is in most other former Portuguese colonies. There are numerous bakeries that make pastel de nata (sweet cream), pastel con peixe (savory fish), pastel de carne (beef/pork mixture), pastel de frango (chicken), and other desserts.
In Praia, Santiago has an international airport that also serves as a domestic hub. It is strongly advised to purchase the evisa online in advance. If you want to purchase a visa upon arrival, you can have to wait in line at the airport.
The port has several boat links to other islands, but the schedules change frequently. Before selecting this choice, it is best to check with a hotel on your destination island for the most up-to-date schedule. Being stranded in Praia while waiting for a boat is not cheap.
The majority of the buses ("aluguer") depart from the bottom of the steps leading from Parque 5 de Julho to Plato's Old Town. Many of the drivers can guide you to the correct bus if you repeat your destination loudly. It's also worth noting that minibuses frequently have destination decals on their sides (Cidade Velha or Assomada or Tarrafal). These black decals aren't always connected to the route they want to take, so it's important to inquire before taking one.
In March 2019, it was difficult to find a direct aluguer from Praia or Tarrafal for the beautiful east coast road (Tarrafal to Achada Fazenda). In both cases, the drivers wanted passengers from Achada Fazenda or Calheta to travel to Assomada and alter, thus skipping the best natural section between Calheta and Tarrafal.
The island is largely made up of steep mountains, which make for thrilling drives and breathtaking views. The historical and cultural attractions are concentrated in Praia, with some noteworthy ruins in Cidade Velha and the former dictatorial prison in Tarrafal.
Just a few small green gorges break up the yellow and red landscape on the island, which is dry and dusty. The east coast's cliffs are beautiful, and the west coast's black beaches are ideal for walking and picnicking. The friendly locals make travel enjoyable, and there is almost always cold water or grog to be had along any path.