Santiago is the largest and most  
popu­lated Cape Verde island. It has  
very valuable na­tu­ral ecolo­gical and  
land­sca­pe resources, combining pic­tu­
r­es­­que coastal and desert pa­no­­ra­mas  
with cultivated val­leys and inland  
zones. The tra­­di­tional fes­ti­vals and  
day-to-day atmos­phe­re of the whole is­
land 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 hap­
piness and con­tras­ts. It is worth  
making time to visit this fasci­nating  
town, with re­si­­den­tial areas of relatively  
well con­ser­ved colo­nial archi­tecture  
and large ex­pan­ses of un­controlled  
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 com­
merce 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.