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.