Before flying to Cape Verde being told it’s the new Caribbean. The horseshoe cluster of 10 islands and eight islets are stunning but they don’t resemble the palm-fringed half moon bay of Sandy Lane, Barbados, or party central Montego Bay in Jamaica.
The good thing is that thanks to Mother Nature’s kindness and its colourful history, Cape Verde doesn’t need to make a claim to be anything other than what it is a West African paradise with aquamarine seas rolling onto stretches of endless pristine beaches, on which tourists join locals chilling in bars playing soulful music.
Discovered by the Portuguese in 1456, the volcanic islands were uninhabited. Now there are international airports two hours' flying time south of the Canaries and around 350 miles from Senegal on Africa’s mainland.
We chose Sal island as the base for our stay, at Thomas Cook’s four-star Oasis Salinas Sea hotel, where our balcony opened up enchanting views of brightly-coloured, fishing boats at Santa Maria.
Waves pound the wide beach without making it too dangerous for a dip, while constant winds keep sunbathers cool and give kitesurfers perfect conditions to skim the Atlantic.