Posted January 11, 2010 by Amy Westervelt
Personally, thoughts of Cape Verde are always accompanied by a soundtrack from Cesaria Evora, its best-known songbird. In addition to beautiful music, visitors to this archipelago of 10 volcanic islands off the coast of Senegal are treated to beautiful beaches, hikes through emerald valleys, and the lyrical loveliness of West African Portuguese. While the island of Sal offers the most hotels, it has been somewhat overrun with tourists in recent years. For a taste of the "real" Cape Verde, head instead to Sao Vicente, Evora's tranquil and picturesque birthplace.
Music in Mindelo: Sao Vicente's colonial port town of Mindelo is widely considered the most attractive town in Cape Verde. It's also the center of music in islands known for producing terrific musicians. Head to the Mindel Hotel (Av. 5 de Julho), which hosts free live music every night. If you're planning a trip in August, check the almanac to see when the first full moon is and time your trip accordingly to catch the world-famous Festival de Musica da Baia das Gatas.
Nella's: Food in Cape Verde is not unlike Creole cuisine in Louisiana—the mix of West African spices with fresh seafood and Portuguese influences makes for delicious local fare. For tasty grub accompanied by live local music, head to Nella's (Rua Lisboa). Here you'll find everything from traditional cachupa (meat stew with corn and black beans) to delicious grilled, locally caught swordfish, accompanied by wine from the nearby Fogo volcano, all for exceedingly reasonable prices ($10 to $15 per person).
Oasis Atlantico Porto Grande: Located on the main square in Mindelo, just a few minutes' walk from the harbor, the Oasis Atlantico Porto Grande offers all balcony rooms, each with a view of either the square or the hotel's pool. The rooms aren't luxurious, but they are very tidy and cheerful, and the location can't be beat. The hotel's restaurant also hosts live music nightly.
To search for flights and compare prices to Cape Verde, please use our price-comparison tool.(Photo: Ken Sorrie; iStockPhoto.com)
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