Have a look at our recommended list of things you might need to bring with you when visiting island Santiago. This unconventional mini list was created from our own personal experience to help like minded travelers on their journey of exploration of this lovely and unique island!
1. Your own wooden cutlery
Having an interest in trying the delicious street food is a must when you decide to visit Santiago. Freshly prepared barbecued or grilled chicken and fish can easily be found in the afternoon on the streets of Praia (Achada de Santo António) and at the market of Assomada. These market places are the best places to go when you want to enjoy a budget lunch with fresh products brought in from the vegetable gardens in the interior of the island.
2. An interest in rural Cape Verdean life
When you arrive in Santiago, you have got plenty of ways to leave the hectic city life of Praia behind and to experience the life that happens outside of the capital city of Praia instead. The peace and serenity of rural Santiago is something to look forward to. Visit the area around the Botanical Garden, close to village São Jorge dos Órgãos and the National park Serra Malagueta where you will find endemic plants and beautiful scenery. The tranquil Tarrafal in the north of the island is a great place to relax on the beach and drink fresh coconut water. And don't worry about not being able to get up, in the morning the sounds of the the rooftop chickens and rooster provide the wake up-call!
3. Sturdy sandals
It is a good idea to bring sturdy footwear when you travel to Santiago. Whether you are up for a hike in one of the national park or you just want to wander around Praia and enjoy the hectic city life. This city offers a vast offer of restaurants and museums, all within walkable distance of one another. The walk up from Achada de Santo António to the The Plateau, the historic center, requires a bit of a climb so make sure you don't wear your heels on a night out in bustling Praia. Instead, explore the city at night with a decent pair of sandals!
4. Love for arts and colors
When you go to Santiago island, make sure you pay a visit to market places, where you can find colorful costumes that are originally from the mainland of Africa. The Sucupira market is the largest market on the island. It is vibrant and very colorful and located at the heart of the city of Praia. Another great market to visit is the lively Assomada market at the Mercado Municipals. Both market places are fantastic to visit: you will be surrounded by beautiful textiles, friendly people and a lot of animals (including pigs, goats and chickens).
5. History books
Santiago offers people with an interest in ruins and history enough historical places to visit. Cidade Velha (old town) formerly known as Ribeira Grande for instance, the first European settlement in the tropics is a place where you can easily walk around for a full day. This city built in the fifteenth century is the most important historic site in the archipelago and a world heritage site. Another interesting place to visit historically is Campo da Morte Lenta, the concentration camp of Tarrafal and the Museum of Resistance.
Dominicus reisgids Kaapverdie (in Dutch); author: Guido Derksen