Cape Verde, made up of 10 islands off the coast of West Africa, boasts the oldest European settlement in the tropics. I didn’t know that. All I knew before I did some searching is that one of my Peace Corps friends went to Cape Verde on vacation once and sent me a post card of its beautiful mountains.
Unfortunately, the reason for Cidade Velha was the slave trade. Back in 1462, the place was hopping. But, pirates ruined the affluence. My son, who at age five has a thing for Jack Sparrow, would love the idea of the pirates. They raided so much the Portuguese quit the town and moved elsewhere. If you head to Cape Verde, you can still see Cidade Velha’s ruins that indicate its history as a trade center.
Cape Verde’s islands also have beaches for lazing about if that’s your thing, or you can put on hiking boots and hit a trail. Because of its location, Cape Verde has both Brazilian and Senegalese cultural trimmings. The music here, in particular, is a fusion of both. Check out Cape Verde Travel. There is a map of the islands. Click on each island for information particular to that one. For several shots of Cape Verde’s landscape, villages and wildlife, ignazw’s photos on Flickr are a great place to start. Detailed descriptions are included.