I recently came home from Capo Verde, after two weeks’ vacation. For you who don’t know this place so good I can give you a short overview. Capo Verde is a group of islands, ten in fact. They are situated outside the African west coast almost on the equator. This makes the weather very stable, around 24-27 C with a slight breeze and sun basically every day. Pretty nice if you like that sort of thing.
The two main tourist islands are Bona Vista and Sal, and we visited the latter. The problem with these two islands is that they are made of sand and they produce NOTHING!! And when I say nothing I mean nothing! The only thing there is on Sal (and I presume it counts for Bona Vista too) is sand, tourists and tuna fish. The beaches are as you can understand wonderful! Sand…
The tuna that you get yourself on the pier in St Maria is straight from the ocean and super cheap (4-5€/kg), so if you can cook that’s super. You can of course get the same tuna at the local restaurants but to be honest, very few know how to cook it, and it is often fried dry.
My biggest problem was not the lack of everything though, but more to the point the lack of wine. Since Cabo Verde is situated where it is it does not produce good because of the warm climate (it completely lacs acid). The islands that produce wine are mountain islands, but clearly these mountains are not high enough.
So as a self-catering tourist you are completely in the hands of the importers that import EVERYTHING to the island. Except tuna…
And I find the problem to be this; Most people that come to Sal stay at the “All-inclusive resorts” and these import everything by themselves, while the natives are (mostly) very poor and I don’t think they prioritize to buy wine. So the population for whom there is imported wine is the stores, is the few tourists that cater for themselves and for a selected few natives. This group must be very slim indeed since it is very hard to find anything better than a Portuguese table wine that you can afford, or want to buy. We found one bottle of standard Moët on a shelf for 999 €. That might explain the wine situation.
So the question is why you would choose to freely go to an island for two weeks where there is literally no wine, bubbles, red or white… Well the beaches are fantastic and so is the weather, so they are perfect for getting a good tan and reading a book. If you like surfing and kite-surfing you have probably been on these islands already. And there is always tuna and the local beer Strela! Will I go back? Yes probably, but then I’ll stay at a hotel.