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Cape Verde Family Holidays

Baby turtles in Cape Verde.Baby turtles in Cape Verde.
Learning to kitesurf on Sal.Learning to kitesurf on Sal.
Scuba-diving in Cape Verde.Scuba-diving in Cape Verde.
Horse-riding on Sal.Horse-riding on Sal.
Flying Time 6hrs
Timezone GMT -1
Currency Cape Verdean Escudo

Today

Overview

Cape Verde is a great destination for families who want to combine activities, adventure and discovery (the islands are known for their Creole Portuguese-African culture) with a laid-back beach holiday, all within a six-hour flight of the UK. 

Wild wave-lashed beaches, dramatic volcanic landscapes and mountains dotted with villages characterise this archipelago of 10 islands off the north-west coast of Africa. But there is also an ever-increasing number of family resorts with facilities such as kids’ clubs to lure those with kids, especially on the main tourist island of Sal. 

That said, beyond the picture-perfect beach of Santa Maria, Sal is mainly flat and bare: to fully appreciate Cape Verde and its landscapes, you’re advised to do some island-hopping. 

Things to do with kids in Cape Verde

Go turtle-spotting: Cape Verde has the world’s third-largest nesting loggerhead turtle population. Most nest on Sal and Boavista between July and October, with August the main month for turtle-watching. Both islands also have several smallscale turtle conservation projects that let you visit their hatcheries or even join a ranger on a night-walk to collect data and tag turtles.

Go horse-riding over desert sands, along beaches and past salt mines. On Sal, we recommend Santa Marilha Horse Excursions with their English-speaking guides, rides for beginners and up (including kids), and hotel pick-up and drop-off service.

Windsurf, surf and kite-surf, especially in windy January and February. Try Surf Hub Cabo Verde on Sal, for lessons for beginners and up. There’s also stand-up paddleboarding and snorkelling on offer.

Hike to the rim of the crater of Fogo to peer down at the houses of locals who live in tiny villages inside the caldera itself. This island is basically one periodically active stratovolcano, and you can go caving here to look at volcanic tubes. Other great hiking spots are the islands of Sao Nicolau and Sao Tiago with their lush interiors.

Dive. Sal is the starting point for excursions to explore lava tubes and shipwrecks – try Scubateam Cabo Verde. Other good islands for diving are Maio (Sunfish Scuba Diving Academy) and Boavista (Dive School Submarine Centre).

Go fishing – either from the beach, in-shore or on a deep-sea excursion. Sal Sea Safari is a well-reputed operator for fishing trips, as well as island tours and other sailing trips, during which you may well spot whales and dolphins.

Eat

Restaurants in Cape Verde’s main towns offer local Creole and Portuguese specialities as well as some international favourites. Most host live music on some evenings. On smaller islands, including Boavista, menus are often much shorter. Do try the local dish, slow-cooked cachupa stew (with or without fish or meat) as well as steamed lobster and local fruits including papaya, guavas, mangoes and coconuts. 

When to go to Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a year-round destination and a great place for a winter sun holiday with kids. Temperatures are an average of 24°C in January, rising to 30°C in September. There is a rainy season (July to the end of October) but the effects are generally not enough to have an effect on travel.

Lively festivals (Cape Verde is big into its music, especially morna folk) include Sao Vicente Mardi Gras carnival in February, Gamboa in May and Baia das Gatas in August.

Cost

Cape Verde can be on the expensive compared with other tropical destinations, particularly when it comes to eating out. However, it is generally seen as a good-value destination, especially for some winter sun. Many families keep a lid on costs by choosing an all-inclusive hotel or resort in Cape Verde.

Euros are accepted on the main islands but it’s generally best to pay in local escudo.

By Rhonda Carrier

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