Santiago is the largest and most popu­
lated Cape Verde island. It has very  
valuable na­tu­ral ecolo­gical and land­sca­
pe resources, combining pic­tu­r­es­­que  
coastal and desert pa­no­­ra­mas with  
cultivated val­leys and inland zones. The  
tra­­di­tional fes­ti­vals and day-to-day  
atmos­phe­re of the whole is­land makes  
Santiago the most Afri­can of all  
the is­lands of the archi­pe­lago.
Cidade da Praia, Cape Verde ca­pital  
and home of the Go­ver­­nment has  
expanded greatly in recent years  
through diplo­matic missions and in­ter­­
natio­nal organi­sa­tions and of­fers the  
visitor an atmos­phere that is full of  
hap­piness and con­tras­ts. It is worth  
making time to visit this fasci­nating  
town, with re­si­­den­tial areas of  
relatively well con­ser­ved colo­nial archi­
tecture and large ex­pan­ses of un­
controlled urban grow­­th, from the  
Sucupira Market whe­re one can buy  
and sell eve­ry­thing, to the Plateau fruit  
and vegetable market, part of the  
town where the public ser­vi­ces and  
com­merce are to be found.
The round-the-island tour takes a whole day - but it is a fascinating experience. Sao Jor­ge dos  
Orgaos, Assomada with its interesting fruit market, Chao Bom - where you can see the old prison  
that has been transformed into a museum - and Baia do Tarrafal, are obligatory stops on this  
trip. The immense plantations of banana and coconut trees that stretch as far as the eye can see  
are also very impressive, and the visitor can enjoy the juice of a coconut, freshly picked and  
opened for the occasion.
A visit to Cidade Velha is an absolute must when in Santiago. It was the first capital of the Cape Verde islands and the first European  
centre to be built in the tropics. The old Ribeira Grande de Santiago is the cradle of Cape Verde culture and a living memory to the past.  
This is a visit of very high cultural interest.