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Cape Verde -- any recommendations?

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I justed booked a trip for next May to Cape Verde (using Star Alliance miles for flights on TAP) and have done some limited research -- I am forced to fly into SAL, but will leave the next morning for Praia (where the country's first UNESCO site, declared earlier this month, is located). I am also considering a visit to Mindelo on Sao Vicente, which is billed as the cultural capital.

Does anyone have any recommendations for Cape Verde -- are Praia and Sao Vicente the two most interesting islands (ie, non-beach destinations).

I am also visiting the Azores and Madeira on the return, but I'll need to ask questions about them in the Europe forum.

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    Hi Michael-

    We docked for a day visit from a cruise ship in Mindelo on Sao Vincente. Even though it was a Tuesdy, it really felt like a Sunday, as there was hardly anybody around town, and even though there was 500-600 passengers on our ship, I would bet only 100 or so even got off the ship here. Plenty of people on the ship were saying 'there's nothing there to see' but my opinion is that there is ALWAYS something to see or photograph & they were being wimps.

    We walked around the town for a bit without really knowing what we were looking at or where we were going, as I could find very little information on Mindelo before we left home. (this was 2003) We came across a 'bottle shop' so we stopped, as it is Jim's duty in life to try the beer in every country in the world. A self imposed duty, you know.... (Coral Beer is the locally made beer if you are into the same 'sense of duty') While there, a customer in the store, a young guy named Manny, asked us if we would like him to show us around. We said, yes, that would be nice. He spoke perfect English, turned out that he grew up in Long Island.
    He took us to the town's market, which is always I feel, a great place to get the feel of the people & their culture - to say nothing of good pictures!
    He also showed us a few buildings, telling us of their significance, and a little bit of their history as they had a bit of a coup, which turned into independence ( I can't remember independence from who though!)
    It was nice afternoon and I would return again, I liked it there.

    We also spent a day on Madeira on the same trip, in the morning we just walked around Funchal and did our own thing - the Mercado dos Lavrodores (market) for some wonderful pictures, and the Adegas de Sao Francisco (where they make 'Madeira') for some insight into how it's made, how to store and of course to buy a bottle, as well as Rue dos Muras to look at their wonderful embroidery - and I do mean look at! It was a little out of my price range at the time, although I'd go back in a heartbeat now to buy a tablecoth!

    After lunch we hired a cab for the afternoon (from the cruise ship dock I beleive) and he took us out and about on the island - the town of Monte (I believe this is where the 'sled rides' downhill were); Pico de Torres which is a viewpoint up a windy road (1851 m); to Ribeiro Frio to see the fish spawning tanks and to try a local brew; to Faial Village, to Santana to see the historic local houses ( a must-do); to Machico (not much there); to Santa Cruz to drive under the airport runway (weird....) and then back to Funchal. Sorry if spellings are wrong on anything, I am going from my memory & my notes which may be mis-spelled.

    Hope this has given you some ideas!

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    Lynda, thanks, this is very helpful. After I posted, I clicked on "Cape Verde" and was led to your helpful information on some other posts.

    PS -- I suffer the same sense of duty. I was in Turks and Caicos this weekend, and had my share of Turks Head Beer (very light, but refreshing in such a hot climate).

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