Several cruise companies stop at the island of Sao Vicente as part of their world tours, including Cunard (08; uk), P&O (08; pocruises.com) and Celebrity (08; uk).
But passengers may be unhappy merely to be taken on a tour of the stony plains of that particular island and then herded back into the ship: you need to disembark for long enough to be taken on the short trip over to Santo Antao, preferably overnight.
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Volcanic islands at various stages of erosion, they range from more than 2,800m high to as low as 390m, and this translates into extremes of landscape between the islands – from brooding volcano to flat desert, and from verdant, mist-strewn mountains to panoramic white and abandoned beaches.
The people are a unique race – part African, part Portuguese, part any race with the temerity to land in this isolated, wave-pummelled place since their discovery in the mid 15th-century.
Music – or party – chasers might go in February for the Sao Vicente carnival; August for the Baia das Gatas music festival; or May for the Gamboa music festival in Sao Tiago.
Today, holidaymakers often visit on a package trip to a luxury resort on the main tourist island of Sal.
For example, Thomson (08; uk) flies to Sal from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester.
Prices start at around £400, but typical trips are significantly more expensive.* Menacing Fogo rises sheer from the ocean to a height of 2,829m — a live volcano whose most recent eruption still smokes gently.Hundreds of locals – most of them descended from one fecund French duke – persist in living inside the crater.In summary, Cape Verde is not a nation for people who expect to be served a dream holiday on a plate.It's for people who have a little bit of the adventurer in them, who are curious about people and place, who will lap up the oddities that island life might throw at them.The rainy season is July to the end of October and during this time there can be flooding, restricting walking and travel, in the ribeiras of Santo Antao (but you can take a chance: some years it doesn't rain at all).