Sao Tiago



The beautiful and rugged island of Sao Tiago (sometimes written on maps as Santiago) in the southern (leeward) part of the chain is the largest and most populous Cape Verde island. It has the most African feel of the islands. Praia (pronounced PRY-ah) is the country's capital, and we found it a little dirty, especially in contrast to the beautiful interior and the lovely beach areas. The town has a small market and energetic nightlife—if you get a chance, listen to morna, Cape Verde's most distinctive style of music, in much the same way as blues is in the U.S., reggae in Jamaica and the samba in Brazil. Visit the nearly deserted beaches in Tarrafal at the north end of the island and then the nearby Cidade Velha (Old City), where you can walk through the abandoned slave-trade headquarters and see the beautifully restored Old Fortress, as well as Africa's oldest and largest Catholic cathedral. More restoration projects are underway. A botanical garden is in the interior of the island near Sao Jorge. Praia is 130 mi/210 km south of Sal.

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