A 16th century map of Cape Verde and the West African coastline.

Discover Cape Verde: A Hidden African Treasure for Digital Nomads

In 1460, mariners sailing under the Portuguese flag discovered the archipelago that would later be known as Cape Verde. This was not the first time the islands had been documented, with African, Islamic, and Phoenician sailors previously visiting the islands.

However, with the Portuguese keen to access the gold and treasures to be found in West Africa, the islands were envisioned to become a vital trading outpost. Two years later, the islands were inhabited for the first time, forming the first European colonial outpost in Africa.

Cape Verde in the 21st century

Over 560 years on, the islands are offering a much different type of treasure to remote workers and digital nomads. Pristine white beaches, verdant mountains and an accessible remote working program mark the islands as a lucrative hotspot for those looking to combine their work with a Cape Verde secret escape.

Let’s dive into some of the hidden treasures that Cape Verde offers digital nomads – we’re sure it won’t be long until you are packing your suitcase!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Cape Verde Secret: A Brave New World for Digital Nomads

The crystal-clear waters of Boa Vista
The stunning waters of Boa Vista.

Introducing the Cape Verde Islands:

Approximately 400 miles off the west coast of Arica lies the beautiful archipelago of Cape Verde. Each one of its ten islands offers a unique experience, with the geography and environment changing from island to island.

As an introduction to the fantastic islands, let’s take a look at some of the most popular islands, as well as the lesser well-known ones, and see what they have to offer.

Sal Island: A Popular Destination for Tourists and Remote Workers

Wandering through the streets of Santa Maria, Sal
Wandering around Santa Maria, Sal.

The island of Sal is a popular destination for tourists from around the world, with resorts, fantastic local food, and access to beautiful beaches bordering the Atlantic ocean. The most popular town is Praia de Santa Maria (Santa Maria), where you’ll find shops, restaurants, and more to explore.

Sal was once the centre of Cape Verde’s salt industry up until the 1990s – you can still see these mines to this day!

For remote workers, Sal offers high internet speeds coupled with a host of activities to try. From windsurfing to diving, there’s a lot on offer here. You’ll also find that Sal is a great entry point into island hopping, something very achievable thanks to interisland travel.

Santa Maria is also home to Ocean Cafe, a café and restaurant that can be used as a coworking space during the day.

Santiago Island: A Mix of Local and City Vibes

Even in the dry season you can find oases of green here!

Where Sal is a relatively flat island, Santiago could not be more different. Sloping mountains dominate the geography of Santiago, home to the country’s capital, Praia.

What’s more, the country undergoes a complete makeover when the rains eventually come, transforming the mountains into a delightfully green landscape.

Praia

If you’re looking for a city environment with all of the amenities that come with city living, you’ll enjoy a stay in Praia. With a rich history and plenty to explore, you can spend time at local markets, or explore the museums found within the city.

Tarrafal

Want to go a bit further afield? Located in the northern part of the island, the city of Tarrafal is a hotspot popular with Cape Verdeans and offers fantastic hiking routes. You’ll find an authentic local feel here.

During the daytime, you’ll find locals taking out their fishing boats from the beach, as people sunbathe or sip tasty drinks from the local beach bar. Tarrafal beach is not a sprawling vista, however there’s plenty of space to enjoy when you visit.

As the evening arrives, you’ll hear the locals taking their evening exercise classes in the street (you’re welcome to join too!). At the weekend there’s also live music played at many of the bars, often the traditional Cape Verdean genre, ‘morna’.

Boa Vista Island: Home to Cape Verde's Desert

The yellow dunes of Boa Vista
Did you know Boa Vista has impressive dunes?

Cape Verde’s beaches are truly breathtaking, however none may be more so than those found on Boa Vista island. A true paradise that embodies the spirit of Cabo Verde, Boa Vista (meaning ‘good view’) in Portuguese, certainly lives up to its name and more.

One of the most laid-back islands of the Cape Verde archipelago, when you are not spending time on the white sand beaches, there are many different types of activities available, including turtle spotting in the summer months as well as quadbiking through the sand dunes.

Explore the mysteries of the Boa Vista desert, blown across from the Sahara for over 20,000 years, or visit the strange shipwreck marooned off the coast.

When you’re feeling hungry, restaurants such as Sodade Casa de Cultura offer fantastic local food.

São Vicente Island: The Cultural Hub of Cape Verde

A harbour city with blue water and a marina
Mindelo's Marina is a popular stop for many international yachts.

While Sal and Boa Vista are among some of the more popular islands for international tourists to visit, São Vicente is a mountainous island that is home to Mindelo, the cultural hub of Cabo Verde. 92.6% of the island’s population make this port city their home.

Every year, Cabo Verde’s largest carnival takes place on the island, which has its roots in Portuguese tradition as well as Brazilian.

São Vicente also has other hidden gems to explore, such as the little fishing village of Calhau, a 30-minute drive away from Mindelo. You’ll want to check out this village on a Sunday, where the excellent local restaurants offer live Cape Verdean music and a generous traditional buffet.

Santo Antão Island: A Hiker's Paradise

A green field on Santo Antao with mountains in the background.
These are real misty mountains!

The westernmost island of the Cabo Verdean archipelago, Santo Antão is a hiker’s paradise with geography similar to that of São Vicente and Santiago.

Lush greenery dominates the landscape, and you’re sure to get a fantastic picture or two for Instagram when you visit.

Take a tour around the island or have an adventure scuba diving in the crystal-clear water. If you’re willing to go a little further afield, Santo Antão has plenty to offer.

What Secrets Will You Uncover?

In our list, we have included a few of the most well-known as well as some of the lesser-known islands of Cape Verde. However, this is not an exhaustive list – each island in Cabo Verde has its own distinct ambience and areas to explore. We encourage you to get out there and explore the beautiful archipelago as you continue your digital nomad journey.

But magical experiences aren’t all that Cape Verde has to offer, for the government has also introduced a remote working program designed to make it easier than ever for digital nomads to explore the islands while continuing their work.

The Remote Working Program

With the goal of attracting digital nomads and remote workers to the sunny shores of the Cape Verde islands, the remote working program is the government’s answer to a long-term digital nomad visa.

The visa offers a 6 months residence permit with the opportunity to extend that for up to a year. Low income requirements and low fees mark this visa as a fantastic opportunity that not many digital nomads know about.

FAQs

  • Is the culture of Cape Verde Portuguese or African?

    From the language to the food, Cabo Verde has a vibrant blend of Portuguese and West African culture. The official language of the country is Portuguese and Creole, however you’ll hear the locals speak Creole from day to day.

    Stretching all the way back to 1462 when the Portuguese settlers founded Cape Verde, Portuguese influences are widespread across the islands. Cape Verde also became a hub for the transatlantic slave trade, introducing African culture to the islands.

  • What is the Cape Verde archipelago best known for?

    A fantastic and famous dish from Cape Verde is cachupa, which blends influences from West African and Portuguese cuisine.

    Cape Verde’s climate is one of its biggest selling points, with almost year-round sun and a consistent temperature of approximately 22-30 degrees Celsius.

    Going hand-in-hand with the climate are the golden and white sandy beaches that attract international visitors year upon year. When you’ve finished a session of tanning on the beach, you’ll be able to fill your stomach with a generous portion of freshly caught fish, cooked to perfection in true Cape Verdean style.

  • What is the best month to visit Cape Verde?

    This does depend on your personal preferences, however for those who love the warm and dry weather, spring and autumn are a fantastic time to visit the islands.

    However, if you’re looking for cooler temperatures, we recommend visiting the islands in December or January.

    Lastly, for the adventure seekers out there, you can spot humpback whales from the islands between February and May.

  • Which is the best island to visit in Cape Verde?

    Again, this is largely down to your personal preferences. Generally speaking, Sal and Boa Vista are the perfect options for those looking for a chilled-out stay, whereas islands such as Santiago, São Vicente, and Santo Antão offer great hiking routes and activities to do.

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