Cape Verde Journals

Santa Maria - the Main Tourist Town

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A February 2008 trip to Cape Verde by MichaelJM

Central Square Photo, Cape Verde, Africa More Photos
Quote: Santa Maria is the livliest place on the island and the heart of the tourist industry, but it still seems like a small local village

Santa Maria - the Main Tourist Town

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Overview

A prickly customer Photo, Cape Verde, Africa
Quote:
Sal is one of the smallest of the ten islands that make up the Archipelago of Cape Verde, it was first sighted by Portugese explorers back in 1460. However, it has always been recognised that the Moors had visited the islands regularly before that date with records showing that they would take salt from the naturally formed ‘Salinas’ on the island.The salt crater was certainly one of the high spots of our sightseeing of the island. There is very little vegetation on the island of Sal and its hard to think that only five or seven years ago the people were able to grow many of their own vegetables, including corn, watermelon and some root vegetables.The North Easterly Trade Winds a...Read More

The Movida

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Restaurant

The Movida Photo, Cape Verde, Africa
Quote:
We visited the Movida around 8:30pm after we’d had our abortive visit to Chez Pastis. It had one small table empty and we enquired at the bar if we could have a table for two. There was one of those time lapses (like you see on live satellite television links) before the guy replied ‘can you wait for two/three minutes, until I clear the table?’ ‘No problem’ we replied and looked to grab a seat near the bar to enjoy a pint of Sagres whilst we waited, but this guy could not multi task – he was casually moving into the kitchen. At this point we realised that there was only one bar stool to “rest our wearies” - still a couple of minutes standing wasn’t the ends of the earth. Well this guy (i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 1, 2008

Nha terra

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Restaurant

Beach at Santa Maria Photo, Cape Verde, Africa
Quote:
Right on the edge of town this small restaurant has eight tables on a neatly tiled walled terrace and another eight in a well-lit and well-decorated bar area. It’s linked with the neighbouring boarding house (pension) and what I thought was a decorative feature in the garden turned out to be the smallest hotel swimming pool that I’ve ever seen. Two strokes and you’d be hitting the far end of the pool!We were the only diners - well it was only 7-15pm and people here seem to eat a little later although, generally the last sitting is around 10pm - and initially we thought only the bar was open. However, the two guys in the bar sprang into action and took on the appearance of half efficient w...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 2, 2008

Municipal Market

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Attraction

On route to market Photo, Cape Verde, Africa
Quote:
If you do not like bartering then I’d recommend that you avoid visiting the market. The “business started as soon as we approached the entrance when a middle aged woman in bright African clothing beamed at us “ordering” us to come and visit HER stall in the market. I was ready for her sales pitch and I was well prepared for the negotiations that were sure to follow.We had a very clear understanding what we were looking to buy: a wooden figure of Santa Maria (to accompany a statue that a visitor bought us from his home land in South Africa) and a few bangles for presents throughout the year, some basic jewellery for my wife and a couple of masks to accompany purchases made a few years back w...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 29, 2008

Santa Maria

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Attraction

Central Square Photo, Cape Verde, Africa
Quote:
Surprisingly the glossy Cape Verde magazine suggests that you “find your way to Santa Maria for the best shopping and bargains” it goes on to say that the “charming cobbled streets” are home to “quaint little shops” and that the atmosphere is “buzzing with activity”. I would suggest that there’s a certain amount of “poetic licence” being employed in some of these statements, as I truly don’t recognise all of the words as representative of our experience. To add to the picture the glossy magazine (I think directed at potential investors) describes the Centro de Artisanto as a “large shop bursting with shelves full of leather handicrafts and elegant ceramics - it was a modern shop selling a se...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 4, 2008