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.