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Property for sale in Cape Verde: Santiago

Of all the islands in the Cape Verde archipelago, it is Santiago (or Sao Tiago) that is most characterised by African, rather than Portuguese influence. It is seen and felt particularly in the music and colourful markets (especially in the town of Assomada), where the atmosphere is distinctly that you would find just 400 kilometres or so to the east in Dakar, Senegal. The African influence is most keenly appreciated at festival time, when the music performed is more skittering African rhythms than intense Latin fire! It is a change from other Cape Verde islands, but then this is one aspect of the archipelago that makes its appeal so far reaching – each island differs from the last, and then again from the next.

At 992 square kilometres, Santiago is the largest island in the group, and was also the first to be colonised, way back in the 15th Century (over half of Cape Verde’s total population lives here today). For the tourist, it is packed with historical interest and magnificent scenery; great nightlife - and adventure, should you seek it! But like all of the other Cape Verde islands, it is the beauty of the place that really grabs you. The interior is formed of two imposing mountain ranges that are dotted with picturesque rural villages, while the coastline is a series of fishing communities and small, sandy beaches edged with coconut palms that bend towards the azure blue bays. Elsewhere, there are gorgeous parks and gardens and lush, deep valleys, but hiring a jeep is the best way to try to see as much as possible of Santiago’s diverse landscapes.

Cape Verde’s lively capital, Praia, is situated on Santiago, and there is much to see and experience here. It is very much a town in which to wander without aim, soaking in the unique atmosphere, mingling with its friendly people, sampling local cuisine and generally getting to know this charming destination. You may wish to visit the excellent marine archaeology museum, wander around the pretty university campus, or poke about in shops? It is of course up to you, but after sundown, however, affairs generally take care of themselves as you are swept along on a tide of pulsating African music and dizzying colour as the locals let their hair down – fully expecting you to join them in doing exactly the same!

Other destinations on Santiago definitely worth a visit include the attractive fishing town of Tarrafal and, 15 kilometres from Praia, the old city of Cidade Velha. The latter is a highly atmospheric, peaceful destination of stone cottages and cobbled streets, set in pretty countryside and presided over by the remains of the 15th Century Sao Filipe fortress. The views of the coastline and surrounding area from the site of the fortress are quite magnificent.

Cape Verde is currently presenting excellent investment opportunities for anyone considering purchasing overseas property. As this is very much an exciting emerging market, the property in Cape Verde is very cheap at present - but is expected to rise as the islands gain more and more recognition as a destination that offers such high quality property and excellent value for money. Whether you are considering purchasing a Cape Verde property as a holiday home or as a rental investment, now is the time to be thinking about it!

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