Flights of Fancy
If You’re Explorers
Off-the-beaten-path honeymoons have gone mainstream—except for this way, way off-the-path locale.
Poised to be the next vacation spot, Cape Verde, a.k.a. Cabo Verde, is a country on the cusp. Situated off the coast of Senegal, it boasts some of the world’s most spectacular beaches, and teems with loggerhead turtles and humpback whales. For better or worse, the local government is pushing for tourism development, but the area doesn’t quite bustle yet. There’s no single face to this 10-island nation, from Cape Verde’s resort-ready coastline to its lilting, West African–influenced music to the community of European expats who now call it home. Bostonians who venture to Cape Verde land in Praia, the capital, located on the island of Santiago (São Tiago); from there, TACV Cabo Verde Airlines offers short flights to the other islands (617-472-2431).
After landing in Praia, a good night’s sleep is in order. Settle in and take a dip in the pool at Pestana Tropico, a comfortable, albeit not authentically Cape Verdean, hotel (238-261-42-00, pestana.com). When it’s time to explore, head to Boa Vista, a mostly-untouched isle where you’ll find friendly, surprisingly cozy accommodations like the four-room Migrante Guest House, a restored mansion in the port town of Sal Rei (238-251-11-43, migrante-guesthouse.com). Or try the sun-drenched Estoril Beach Resort, which boasts a bar, restaurant, and "beach club" featuring Cape Verdean cuisine and music (238-251-10-78, estorilbeachresort.com). On the island of Sal, the Hotel Morabeza offers the best of both beach and town (238-242- 10-20, hotelmorabeza.com).
Fresh fish and local stews are Cape Verde specialties; none of the best spots are the type to appear in guidebooks. So be spontaneous:
Ask hotel staff for their local favorites. In Boa Vista, one better-known eatery is Riba d’Olte, where you can often enjoy live music as you dine on cachupa, a traditional Cape Verdean stew (238-251-10-15, ribadolte.com).
Enjoying the islands’ natural beauty is the main pursuit for visitors—for now, at least. Covered with beaches, wide open plains, and lush valleys, there’s an incredible number of species that exist only on these volcanic isles. Swim, surf, hike, fish, and corny as it sounds, stop to smell the flowers. –D.G.