Vacation at Cape Verde – Part 1

The week after easter we went on vacation to Sal in Cape Verde, outside the coast of Africa to get some well deserved rest and sunlight. The ten Cape Verdian islands are located close to the equator and a good distance out in the Atlantic ocean. This means that the weather is very stable and warm, but also quite blowy. During a usual year it falls just over 300 mm rain (in a year!), so the sun chances are good. We experienced a mixture of sunny and cloudy skies with quite moderate temperatures of around 23 °C, quite perfect for us coming from the Swedish winter.

This was our first charter and sun-vacation together. Usually we aim for more active vacations where we can explore a city, experience nature, walk or be active. But this time we felt we were in much need for a break and have some time to relax.

Arriving on Sal

The trip started with an early flight from Landvetter airport, that left at 7:35 am. Since we apparently weren’t enough people traveling from Gothenburg to Sal to fill a large plane, we had to stop in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, to refuel. But despite that we reached Sal just around 13:00 local time (UTC-1, so three hours difference from Sweden). From the airport we went with the bus transfer to the town of Santa Maria and our hotel, Porto Antigo. As we usually do we had booked an apartment where we had the opportunity to cook our own meals and not be bound to eating out.

After accommodating ourselves in our hotel room we went to get some groceries at the local super market. Since it is very dry in Cape Verde most of the produce, and indeed products over all, are imported. All but 20 % according to our guide is imported products from the main land. This also meant that the variety of produce was quite limited and the prices were almost at level with our organic produce that we buy at home in Gothenburg.

Next up was a walk along the beach just outside our hotel and we ended the day with a glass of red wine at a restaurant just beside the beach, where we could listen to a local singer-song-writer performing. Perfect start on the vacation. We had to take an early evening though, since we started early and lost three hours due to the time difference.

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Cecilia on the long, 8 km, beach.

Beach yoga

The following day we woke up early and went out to do yoga on the beach before the sun got to high. Such a wonderful experience to yoga to the sound of waves rolling in on the beach. The only downside was that it is really hard to get good grip on sand. There is a reason you do yoga on your yoga mat! But that was definitely compensated by the fact that we had the beach to ourselves.

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Our yoga beach.

Exploring Santa Maria

The rest of the day we spent exploring the town, relaxing, reading and sun bathing. Due to the closeness to the equator the sun was really strong, so we had to watch ourselves. 2×10 min per day in direct sun light, 10 minutes on each side of the body. That was what we dared. Despite that and despite covering ourselves with clothing for the rest of the day, Cecilia still managed to get a slight rash on the shoulders and neck. One could not be careful enough! When sun bathing we do not use sunscreen, since that blocks the skin’s ability to synthesis vitamin D, but when being out walking or reading underneath a parasol we made sure to apply sunscreen to avoid unneeded sun burns. As sunscreen we used either coconut oil or an organic physical filter suncream.

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Cecilia in front of one of the many construction sites in Santa Maria.

Santa Maria was only declared a town two years ago and that was really evident in all the construction that was going on everywhere. In addition the the construction it was also very clear lines between the touristic parts and the native parts where the locals lived. The contrasts were huge with the fancy all-inclusive hotels spread out right beside the long beach and the half finished houses made of concrete blocks that accommodated a whole family. Despite there being areas that were clearly poor, the town itself felt safe and it had a pleasant feeling to it, where the mantra No Stress definitely came across from the locals that we met.

Sunset from the hotel

Let’s end this first part of the trip by showing the sunset that we enjoyed from the four hundred your old harbor that our hotel was built around (hence the name Porto Antigo = Old harbor).

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The sunset from the old harbor.

Be sure to check out the following posts about our trip to Cape Verde.

/Cecilia & Magnus

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