Brava is the smallest island in Cape Verde and is often referred to as the “island of flowers” due to the variety of rare flowering plants. And it is located in the western part of the Cape Verdian archipelago, just 20 km from Fogu. Even geologically, Brava is a continuation of Fogo Island. The depth of the sea in the channel that separates the two islands is only a few hundred meters, while the bottom of the sea around the rest of the island is about 4 km deep. To the north of the island lie two small uninhabited islets. In a word, Brava is a kind of paradise for fans of Robinson Crusoe and all tourists who dream of seclusion on a God-forgotten island of land. According to populationmonster, Brava is one of the largest cities in Cape Verde.
Tourism on Brava is not developed, due to the steep coastline, which does not allow you to enjoy a full holiday on the beaches of the island.
How to get there
The most convenient flight options will still be relatively tiring and long. First, you will need to fly through Lisbon to the islands of Sal or Santiago (flights are operated by TAP, the flight takes about 9 hours, excluding connections). And then get to Brava by ferry from the capital of Praia. In addition, ferries run to Fogo Island by Cabo Verde Fast Ferry.
The airport on Brava no longer exists: it was closed back in 2004.
Local “minibuses” (here called aluguers) run between Nossa Senhora do Monte, the capital of the island of Vila, and the ferry port in Fourna (fare is about 150 CVE). To see all of Brava, it is better to find a car with a driver for the day (about 4000 CVE); search – at the reception desk or by asking one of the drivers of local “minibuses”.
Entertainment and attractions
The capital of the island is the city of Vila Nova Sintra, or simply Vila, as the locals call it. The main local excursion is banal walks around the island. One of the most scenic treks starts from Vila and heads east to the ghostly village of Vignare across Santa Barbara. The second option is to go west to Cova Ioana and then to Nossa Señora de Monte. Be sure to take a walk to the mountain village of Baleia from Mato Grande, which is 4 km from Nova Sintra. The journey will take about 1.5 hours, but it’s worth it: bewitching landscapes and indescribable beauty are revealed to tourists along the way.
The best beach of Brava is located near the port of Fajã d’Água.
It is also worth visiting the village of Furna, which has a trading port. Or swim to Fogo, which is famous for its volcano and caves. The last eruption here was in 1995, due to which the inhabitants of the villages adjacent to the crater were forced to leave their homes for as long as half a year.
The most famous native of the island of Brava is the musician Eugenio Tavares. A statue in his honor is located on the main square of Vila Nova Sintra and is surrounded by a beautiful garden.
The best beach of Brava is located near the port of Fajã d’Água.
Mayu, Cape Verde
Maio is a quiet secluded island located in the extreme eastern part of the Cape Verdian necklace group of islands, at a distance of 25 km from Santiago Island. This oldest island in the archipelago is 24 km long and only 16 km wide. In addition, Mayu is an ancient dormant volcano that has not woken up for thousands of years. The highest point of the island is Monte Penoso (436 m).
There are hotels only in the capital Vila do Maio, in Morro and a few other villages.
How to get to Maio
The airport and port of the island are located in the capital of the island, the town of Vila do Maio. TACV flights from Praia (Santiago) land here, with a flight time of 10 minutes. There are no regular ferry trips from Praia, but once every 15 days you can catch a ferry.
There is a regular bus service between Vila do Maio and other small villages such as Alcatraz and Morinho. However, the best way to see the entire island is by bike (remember to bring plenty of water, sun protection and food).
Renting a car costs about 5800 CVE, with a driver 6500 CVE.
The island is famous for its white sandy shores with the azure blue sea, but many beaches are far from the main roads and can only be reached by off-road vehicles or on foot. The best beaches are not far from Vila do Maio: for example, right at the exit from the city, Bitche Rotcha beach. Further south is Ponta Preta Beach. Other beaches: Santana – one of the wildest, Tartarugas and Cais, Galeao and Real (which offers a wonderful view of the island of Laje Branca), Gonçalo, Pedro Vaz and Boca Ribeira (between Pedro Vaz and Alcatraz). In addition, you can watch wild turtles in Baía de Santana.
NB! The shores in the north of the island, such as Real Praia, are dangerous for swimming.
Entertainment and attractions in Mayu
In Vila do Maio (also called Port Inglés), the main square in the British and Portuguese colonial style, the Church of Señora Nossa da Luz, is interesting. In addition, the fort Sao José (18th century), located in the southeastern part of Mayu, is notable on the island. It is worth visiting Ponte Velho (Ponte Velho, “old bridge”), a lighthouse, a beautiful lagoon 5 km long, located in the north of Vila do Maio.
Sal is the most popular island among travelers. Most often, tourists stop here, and go on excursions to other islands only for a short time (usually for a day or two). The active development of tourism has changed the face of the island almost beyond recognition: over the past decade, the number of local residents has doubled, more than 10 first-class hotels have been built here.
Diving and surfing in Sala
The most interesting dive sites of Sal Island: Ponta Do Farol reef (depth up to 40.5 m, underwater visibility from 15 to 40 m), Tchuklasta reef (36 m), Santo Antao shipwrecks (12 m) and Demfior (12 m), Buracona cave (22.5 m), “Blue Room” (30.4 m) – an uneven wall with many holes and reefs, Palmeira caves – Pesqueiro Ti Culao (23 m).
One of the world’s five largest windsurfing centers is open in the town of Santa Maria in the southern part of the island of Sal. Namely – 4 km of sandy coast near the town of the same name. The bay is shallow and therefore ideal for beginners.
Windsurfing competitions are traditionally held on the Punta Preta beach – this is a place for advanced surfers. For beginners, Morabez beach is ideal. Most of the island’s beaches are not suitable for beginners, so those with no experience will need some pre-workout. Now there are 6 surfing clubs in Sala with a wide range of services for clients of any level.
São Vicente is a beautiful island resort of volcanic origin, which has become world famous as the birthplace of the great singer Cesaria Evora. The National Craft Center is open here – a place where the traditional textile craft was restored, as well as the manufacture of jewelry from shells and stones.
The capital is Mindelo; major cities: Baia das Gatas, São Pedro, Callao. The best beach is in San Pedro.
You should definitely try arroz de cabidela de marisco and dadal – clams with rice and guisado de percebes – grilled lobsters.
How to get to São Vicente
In the south of the island there is an international airport located about 1 km from São Pedro and 10 km from Mindelo. The airport receives scheduled domestic TACV flights from Sala, Santiago and San Nicolau. The fare for a taxi from the airport to the city is ~ 850 CVE during the day and 1350 CVE at night.
The prices on the page are for August 2021.
There are buses in the city of Mindelo and the surrounding areas, the fare is ~ 30 CVE. In July and August, buses leave for Baia das Gatas. Public transport also runs to San Pedro.
Taxi fare around the city ~ 30 CVE, to the top of Monte Verde ~ 30 CVE, to Baia das Gatas and back ~ 1400 CVE, to Callao ~ 2000 CVE.
Entertainment and attractions in San Vicente
Mindelo is one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns in Cape Verde, located between the ocean and the mountains: wide streets decorated with palm trees, colonial architecture typical of the 19th century, bright traditional houses. In addition, Mindelo is considered to have the liveliest nightlife in the country. As a rule, night festivities start from the main square and continue in restaurants and nightclubs of the city.
Nightclubs are open from 22:30 to 5:00 am.
The youngest and most popular sport is windsurfing. A lot of international champions have swum up from the beaches of San Pedro. Another form of entertainment is cycling and horseback riding. Europeans brought golf to the island, and now there is a wonderful 18-hole course.
Carnivals in Mindelo are considered the most festive and lively in the entire Archipelago. The Baya das Ghatash festival, held annually in August during the full moon, is one of the largest music festivals on the entire west coast of Africa. The Mindelact Theater Festival is an international meeting of amateur theater companies that takes place annually in September.