I know this ‘travel story’ is going to sound like an advert, but that is only because I am totally SOLD to this little pearl found out in the Atlantic, which I’ve now visited twice in the last three months.
Early 2012 I was talking to Josh Angulo during one of the PWA events. Josh who had recently moved to Boston had before that been living for 9 years on Capo Verde; Myself who had never been to the tiny island group, asking him about the place which Josh kept raving about how great surfing they had, that his beach club was the best on the island, the best fish in the world and so on… Being Danish I sometimes take it a bit light when people tell me that they have the best of the best on offer. But I got intrigued and interested none the less. Enough for Capo Verde being put down as a ‘definitely maybe’ for a future a travel destination As it turned out then the Angulo club no more than 80m from our hotel, so the club kind of became our second home. The club has a very relaxed atmosphere, cool ambient which is very surf inspired with the sealing full of old surfboards and it is located right on a seriously beautiful stretch of beach. You can overlook the whole bay of St. Maria. You got waves building and crashing everywhere, a relaxed well humoured staff working in the bar and windsurf rental, fresh fish served with rice and salad, stray dogs begging for your attention.7
Later back home I was telling my girlfriend about the place and we also started looking together on the internet at what CV had to offer and both agreed that the islands could definitely be interesting to visit. Later in the year towards the end of the summer as it got so damn cold in Europe, the girlfriend and I got talking again about Capo Verde, sun, beaches and getting away. It didn’t take us long to find a good flight out of Munich at the end of October and tickets were bought for around 600 euro p/p. Josh recommended us a hotel which was quite cheap and in spitting distance to the beach, so all good! Capo Verde is a group of 10/11 islands somewhere of the coast of Gambia/Africa and we were going to the island Sal and staying in St. Maria in the south, which I would later understand is the central tourist destination on the island. Have to say that I didn’t spend a lot of time looking into what to do or what to attractions there is to visit once we would get there. Did get myself a pocket guide just in case… The plan was just to go, warm up, get a feeling for the place and then swing it according to our mood of the day. Of course we wanted to go windsurfing, which I had been told was world class!
Our first visit to Sal was for 11 day’s unfortunately we didn’t have much wind and only got out on the water a couple of times windsurfing. But you know sometimes even as a windsurfer it is actually surprisingly good to get away also from the windsurfing. The days were spent swimming, reading, walking, talking, talking with the other tourists, wave riding sup and as mentioned a little windsurfing. We were surfing just by the club which was is quite easy as the waves weren’t that big, I took a SUP and caught one wave before doing a scenic trip a bit down the coast (first time on one of those boards!!). We both enjoyed the place so much that we decided that we would come back for New Year holidays a few months later and hopefully windsurf some more.
Having just returned from our second stay in Capo Verde, I have to say that I am sold! Out of 7 days we had wind 7 days, only I was too lazy to go out every day.. Wind was from 15-30 knots every day, so there is no way we couldn’t be happy! We went to check out Ponta Preta, to watch the guys going out in wild conditions. We walked the whole bay from the Angulo club, along the pristine beach of St. Maria around the cape and back up to Ponta preta. We enjoying amazing food at the bars, got through New Year celebrations practically without any hangover as neither of us wanted to waste a day drinking and feeling hammered the next day (very old).
Cape Verde, Sal delivered and it’s a great place to visit as a sunbathing tourist, as a windsurfer, surfer, sup and as a kite thing. The island offers everything thing from flat water bays to world class breaks such as Ponta Preta and Ali Baba up north.
Windsurfing in St. Maria from the Angulo Centre is good. The wind is side off mostly when you have the trade winds during the winter/spring months. There is a bit of a shore break when you have to get out from the beach but it is manageable. On the outside there is a swell so it can be an advantage if you got your water-start down and if you don’t, then no worries it’s still very manageable.. The club is in a good spot for wave sailing and you can easily choose your spot or just go blasting on the outside catching some air. As a Lake windsurfer most of the year, getting on the water in CV is definitely a refreshing difference and brings a easy smile to your lips!
When there is no wind, it’s great to just get on a surf board out and try to catch a few waves or paddle on a SUP board. The water is warm so go swimming in the waves and enjoy to be in the elements! Of course if you are a MAN and you got big balls then you want to go to Ponta Preta and get into the deep end.. I didn’t, and I won’t. The place is amazing and the waves are enormous, but I know my own limitations and this is defiantly one of them. But go there, watch the true watermen who are taking on this spot! It is very impressive
We didn’t travel much on the island, so there are still many bays and historic locations for us to discover still. This we will do next time or the next again.. The island might be small, but it has a lot on offer and is definitely a place that is well worth visiting. Plus there is a whole group of islands which all differ very much in their characteristics. Sal is very barren and doesn’t have a lot of vegetation where as some of the other islands look as they almost have jungle up in the mountains.. Eating out isn’t expensive, but there are some does and don’ts. Fresh grilled fish with rice and salad is around 8-10 euro, Lobster 20 euro, Pizza 6-8 euro, burgers 6 euro. Notice I don’t mention meat/steak.. I ordered steak once and the taste was funky, second time I ordered at a Italian restaurant, the mixed meat plate from the grill and it was terrible. The meat just doesn’t taste right. So save yourself the pain, I suggest you just leave meat out of your menu for the time there. Fish, pizza, burgers, salads, local dishes it’s all good and you will enjoy thefreshness of the produce straight from the sea.
When I was there during our second stay, I asked quite a few people how they had gotten to the island and a few key airports seem to be Milan, Verona, Munich, Hamburg and Amsterdam. I was in Denmark before the holidays and I had checked flight prices from there which were ridicules expensive at over 3000 euro per person so we flew from outside Denmark… But sometimes you get surprised, as I spoke to a couple of Danish elderly ladies who I met there and they had gotten a charter package from Denmark to Sal with hotel for just under 600 euro p/p. Cheap and much easier than the solution we went for, which was to drive to a airport outside DK. Flights seem to be around 300-650 euro and accommodation in a simple hotel is around 20 euro per person in a 2 bed room or upwards for those who want to stay in a resort. Now back in cold Denmark, I could only have wished for a couple of more months on the island, just to have fully escaped the European winter… But for the short time there, it was golden and I would suggest anyone to visit the place themselves.