Contrasts of the Canaries and Cape Verde

Resort: Contrasts of the Canaries and Cape Verde
Operator: Saga
Destination: Cape Verde
Price From: £3633.00

Island hop across the Atlantic

This autumnal cruise explores the far-flung Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. It’s an ideal time of year to unravel their tales of Portuguese settlement and Spanish colonial heritage, and explore varied volcanic landscapes, including the ‘floral island’ of Madeira, the lava fields of Lanzarote, and the desert-like islands of São Vicente and Santiago.

Saga price includes…

  • All meals on board, including 24-hour room service
  • Selected drinks#
  • All on-board gratuities
  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a reduction if not required
  • Entertainment and activities
  • Welcome cocktail party and Captain’s dinner
  • All port taxes and visas
  • UK mainland travel service to and from Southampton

Itinerary

Southampton

Embark Saga PearI II. Depart 1600.

Lying near the head of Southampton Water, a peninsula between the estuaries of the Rivers Test and Itchen, Southampton is Britain’s largest cruise port. It has been one of England’s major ports since the Middle Ages, when it exported wool and hides from the hinterland and imported wine from Bordeaux. The city suffered heavy damage during World War Two and as a result the centre has been extensively rebuilt, but there are still some interesting medieval buildings including the Bargate, one of the finest city gatehouses in England.

FactFile

Population

253,651 (estimate)

Language

English

Currency

British Pounds Sterling

Time Difference

N/A

Climate

Southampton experiences an oceanic climate, with cool winters and mild to warm summers. Its sheltered location makes it one of the UK’s sunniest cities.

Ship berths at

Southampton Cruise Terminal

Distance from Centre

300 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Motor vehicles can pick up and drop off passengers immediately outside the Terminal Building.

Useful Information

Shopping

The city’s main shopping mall is the West Quay Shopping Centre, but there are many other shopping streets in the town centre.

Shopping Opening Hours

The West Quay Shopping Centre is open Monday to Friday 0900-2000, Saturday 0900-1900 and Sunday 1100-1700.

Post Office

The main Post Office is at 32-34 Above Bar Street.

Tourist Office

There are Tourist Information Points at the Novotel Hotel on 1 West Quay Road, and also at the SeaCity Museum.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial the full STD code followed by the subscriber’s number.

Emergency Services

Dial 999.

Banks

All main UK banks have branches in the city centre, with 24-hour ATMs.

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Funchal

Arrive 1000. Depart 1800.

Formed by a volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stream, about 500 miles due west of Casablanca. Discovered by Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco in 1419, this beautiful island became part of Portugal’s vast empire and was named for the dense forest which cloaked it – ‘Madeira’ means ‘wood’ in Portuguese. Sugar plantations first brought wealth here, and when King Charles II of England granted an exclusive franchise to sell wine to England and its colonies, many British emigrants were drawn to the capital, Funchal. Today’s travellers come to Madeira for the varied and luxuriant scenery, from mountain slopes covered with vines to picturesque villages and a profusion of wild flowers. The natural beauty of the island has earned it many pseudonyms such as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’, ‘The Island of Eternal Springtime’ and ‘God’s Botanical Gardens’ and our selection of excursions aim to show you why.

FactFile

Population

105,000 (approximate)

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Mild winters and warm summers

Ship berths at

Molhe da Pontinha

Distance from Centre

Approximately two miles

Distance from gangway to coach

Approximately 250 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The main shopping area is located in the city centre around the Sé (Cathedral).

Shopping Opening Hours

Open between 0900-1300 and 1500-1900 Monday to Friday, 1000-1300 on Saturdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located on Avenida Zarco and is open from 0830-2000 Monday to Friday and 0830-1330 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

The Tourist Office is located on Avenida Arriaga and is open between 0900-2000 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1800 at weekends and on public holidays.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open 0830-1500 on weekdays, and 24-hour ATMs are located around the city centre.

Excursions

RIB Adventure

Departs 1015 | Returns 1315 | Duration 3 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

This tour aims to show you whales and dolphins in the sea around Madeira, and is accompanied by a marine biologist and skipper. Before leaving, there will be a short introduction, and then your adventure starts! There will be lookouts on land who will guide your boat towards the marine mammals. The RIBs are fully equipped for observing wild dolphins and whales. On most trips you will have the opportunity to see Short-finned Pilot Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, Atlantic spotted Dolphins and Common Dolphins that will amaze you with their acrobatic moves as they swim alongside the boats. If you are lucky, you may see a Risso’s Dolphin, a Beaked Whale or an Orca, all of which are occasional visitors to Madeira.

Warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy non-slip shoes are required. You may get wet from sea spray. You must be able to climb in and out of the RIB boat unaided. Access to the boat is along a wooden boardwalk that may be wet and slippery, and you will need to walk about 300 yards to and from the pier. The sea can be rough, making the ride very bumpy, so we do not recommend this trip for those with back problems. Each RIB boat has a capacity for 12 passengers. In the event of poor weather, trips may be postponed or cancelled at short notice. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

Four-Wheel Drive Tour

Departs 1315 | Returns 1715 | Duration 4 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

This fun and exciting four-wheel drive tour takes you both on and off road through some of Madeira’s hidden valleys and mountain roads, and will show you some of the island’s most inspiring sights. Discover beautiful scenery and see the many different types of wild flowers which have earned Madeira its name ‘the floating garden’. Your guide will point out the unique and rare native flora and fauna along the way, as well as the island’s varied wildlife, and there will be a short break for refreshments amid the spectacular surroundings.

While this excursion requires minimal walking, you will be required to cross some rough, uneven ground and you must be agile enough to climb into the vehicle unaided. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. The four-wheel drive ride is unsuitable for people with neck, back, hip or knee problems owing to the very bumpy terrain, and these vehicles have no handrails or space to store wheelchairs. The standard of vehicle may vary by make and model, some having steep access steps and no seat belts. Prior to our port call, the Shore Excursion Manager will request a meeting of all participants booked on this tour.

Levada Walk

Departs 1320 | Returns 1650 | Duration 3 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

Following a ‘levada’ trail is one of the most enjoyable ways of seeing Madeira. These irrigation channels were created in the 19th century by the Portuguese settlers, who painstakingly carved them out of the rock by hand. Designed to carry fresh water from the north to the drier southern regions of the island, they helped to create many of the lush landscapes that can be seen today. This guided walk will follow the course of ‘levadas’ for over three miles, allowing you to admire the verdant plants, mountain views and green farmland that cover Madeira. You will first be driven to Vale Paraiso, where you set off for your two-hour walk. The first half will be a gentle stroll over fairly level ground, rising to the Camacha area with its great views. Then take a break for refreshments of either coffee or a soft drink, before resuming your trek – the second stretch will take you all the way to Rochão, where you rejoin the coach for your return journey to the port.

This tour requires walking up to 3£½ miles, over uneven terrain with many steps. This tour may be cancelled in the event of bad weather, or if the levadas are undergoing maintenance.

Scenic Madeira

Departs 1330 | Returns 1730 | Duration 4 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

Madeira is a beautiful island famous for its floral splendour. This excursion takes you on a relaxing drive through some of its most picturesque areas. Your tour begins with a scenic drive via Poiso Pass to Pico do Arieiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, for a glimpse of the region’s natural scenery and fabulous views. Continue to Santa da Serra, a pretty village that stands at an altitude of 2,200 feet and is known for its pine, eucalyptus and wild flowers. Pause briefly here for refreshments at the Estalagem Santo da Serra, before continuing to the viewpoint of Camões Pequeno, overlooking the former fishing village of Machico and its harbour. After stopping here for photographs, your tour continues to Funchal, where you visit Blandy’s Wine Lodge for a taste of some of Madeira’s most famous export. During the Age of the Discoveries it became usual for ships sailing to the New World to pick up casks of wine from Madeira, and it was found that fortifying the wine by adding distilled alcohol would preserve it for the long sea voyage. Madeira’s fortified wines soon gained a reputation that survives to this day.

This excursion involves walking approximately 300 yards, partly over cobblestones, with around 40 steps in total. You can avoid some of the steps by remaining on the coach during photo-stops. There are many narrow, winding roads in Madeira with occasional steep drops: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is recommended as it will be much cooler at the top of Pico do Arieiro. Unexpected weather conditions could impact on the views seen, and regrettably no alternative routes are possible.

Tea for Two at Reid’s by Tukxi

Departs 1500 | Returns 1700 | Duration 2 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

Join one of the oldest Madeiran traditions – tea at Reid’s overlooking the Bay of Funchal. Opened in 1891, the hotel has always had a special place in the history of Madeira. Located on the outskirts of Funchal, perched on a clifftop headland above the bay, Reid’s is set in ten acres of lush semi-tropical gardens, and famous guests over the years have included Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd-George, Roger Moore, Gregory Peck and George Bernard Shaw. You will be picked up at the port in a ‘Tukxi’ – a delightful vehicle adapted from an Italian Piaggio Ape – and driven to Reid’s Hotel, where you have time to relax and take in the unique atmosphere before enjoying tea, scones,sandwiches and cakes on the terrace or in the cocktail bar. Savour the elegance and opulence of days gone by before returning to the port on board your ‘dolce vita’ style Tukxi.

This tour involves minimal walking, but you must be able to get in and out of the Tukxi unaided. Owing to the type of vehicle used, we do not recommend this tour for those with back or neck problems. In keeping with the elegant atmosphere of the hotel, no jeans, T-shirts, shorts, sports shoes or sandals should be worn. Admission to the hotel gardens is not included. The venue for the tea – terrace or cocktail bar – will be decided on the day by the hotel management.Please be aware that this tour requires a minimum and maximum of two passengers per Tukxi to operate.

Santa Cruz, Tenerife

Arrive 1300. Depart 2100.

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a beautiful and scenic island which enjoys year-round sunshine and is dominated by Mount Teide. The mountain range runs through the centre of the island, with fertile valleys on the northern side. In the central part of the range is the gigantic natural crater of the Cañadas del Teide, about 14 miles in diameter. Santa Cruz, the island’s pretty capital, was originally a small fishing village but has now grown into a modern city, and also contains 16th-century civic buildings and ornate private mansions. Near the pier is the Santa Cruz Palmetum, a Botanical Garden covering an area of 29 acres, specialising in palms.

FactFile

Population

900,000 (approximate) in Tenerife

Language

Spanish

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Mild winters and hot summers

Ship berths at

Muelle Sur

Distance from Centre

¾ mile

Distance from gangway to coach

There may be a 20-yard walk from the gangway to the coaches.

Useful Information

Shopping

There are shops along Calle Castillo and Calle del Pilar.

Shopping Opening Hours

Shops are usually open between 0900-1300 and 1600-2000.

Post Office

The Post Office on Plaza España is open 0900-1400 weekdays and 0900-1300 on Saturdays.

Tourist Office

There is a Tourist Office on Plaza España which is open from 0900-1400 Monday to Friday.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

A bank is situated on Plaza Candelaria and is open 0830-1400 Monday to Friday.

Excursions

Northern Delights

Departs 1330 | Returns 1800 | Duration 4 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

After leaving the busy harbour of Santa Cruz, enjoy a drive along Maritime Avenue to the charming fishing village of San Andr s, one of the island’s oldest settlements, dating from 1497. The village is renowned for its stunning golden beach, Las Teresitas, which was made partly from 238,000 tons of sand imported from the former Spanish Sahara. Pause for photographs here before driving on to El Bailadero, the highest point in this area, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of a wild landscape. Through a tunnel you then reach the other side of the Anaga Mountains and the hidden village of Taganana, where you stop to sample some local wine and cheese. Once refreshed, continue through the living museum of Mercedes Forest to Pico del Ingles, the Mirador del Carmen and Cantera: all offer outstanding views of the wild countryside and northern coast. You return to Santa Cruz via La Laguna, perhaps pausing to visit the 18th-century ‘Iglesia del Cristo’ (Christ Church) if a service is not taking place.

There is limited walking on this excursion, amounting to about 500 yards, with a steep slope from the refreshment venue to the coach. A few steps may need to be negotiated at the photo-stops. The journey through the Anaga Mountains involves travelling on steep, winding roads – vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration.

Puerto de la Cruz Transfer

Departs 1330 | Returns 1830 | Duration 5 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

This tour will take you to the north of the island, Puerto de la Cruz, a popular resort with a charming atmosphere. However you choose to spend your time in Puerto de la Cruz, you will not be disappointed. Why not start off by exploring the old colonial part of town, where many of the houses still retain their beautiful architecture and distinctive Canarian balconies. Stop for a coffee in the shaded square before exploring the narrow winding streets. Puerto de la Cruz has a wonderful promenade, great for strolling and browsing in the many souvenir shops. If shopping is not for you, there are the Botanical Gardens, situated on the edge of the town, where you can discover plants and trees from all five continents. You are sure to love the Lido Martiánez, which boasts numerous salt water pools, waterfalls and fountains.

This tour is a transfer only and takes approximately 45 minutes each way. All participants will be given a map of the town and all walking is at your own discretion throughout the time given in Puerto de la Cruz. Should you wish to swim, please remember to bring your swimming costume, towel and sunscreen. Any activities on the beach or in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. Please check the time of the return transfer with your Saga ship’s escort, as there may be a choice of departures. Tour participants will need to have an early lunch on board ship.

Gardens of the Valley

Departs 1345 | Returns 1815 | Duration 4 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

The abundant colour and sheer variety of plants, flowers and vegetation that thrive in the Canary Islands is the focus of this delightful excursion. First take a drive along the island’s main highway to Puerto de la Cruz, an old colonial town on the north coast. The first garden you visit is the Jardin Botanico, which was founded by a royal decree of King Charles III of Spain in 1788. He wanted to create a nursery where plants, shrubs and flowers brought by the Conquistadors from the New World could acclimatise to Spanish soil. Many of the plants here are the original specimens, delivered shortly after the opening of the garden. The centrepiece is a huge South American fig tree whose enormous branches and roots have created an outlandish treehouse. From the Jardin Botanico it is a short drive to the Risco Bello Garden. A delightful contrast, this is a water garden with lakes, a grotto, waterfall and Japanese bridge. Your final visit is to the Orchid Gardens of Sitio Litre, which have had many distinguished visitors including the famous crime writer Agatha Christie. These tranquil gardens are bursting with colour and have the largest collection of orchids in the Canary Islands. You will have time here to enjoy tea and coffee with pastries and to browse in the shop before the return drive to Santa Cruz.

This tour involves walking a distance of approximately one mile, some of which is over uneven ground. There are also around 30 steep steps. The journey to Puerto de la Cruz should take around 45 minutes each way.

Mount Teide

Departs 1345 | Returns 1815 | Duration 4 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

Discover Tenerife’s most striking natural feature, Mount Teide volcano. Rising to a height of 12,000 feet, it is the highest peak in Spanish territory and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Your excursion begins with a drive towards the old colonial capital of La Laguna, the cultural and religious capital of Tenerife, situated in the Aguere Valley amidst beautiful surroundings. From La Laguna, journey south along the base of the mountain range, through pine forests and foothills to Teide National Park. Declared a national park in 1954, the park includes an enormous volcanic crater which is over 29 miles in circumference. The park is situated at an altitude of over one mile above sea level: in winter, snow and gale force winds often close roads through it. During the summer months this arid landscape, which gives visitors the impression of having walked onto the set of a western movie, can reach temperatures of over 100£°F. At the heart of the crater you enter the National Parador Visitors’ Centre, and stand in the shadows of the majestic Roques de García. On your return journey to Santa Cruz there will be several photo stops where you can savour the breath-taking scenery.

This excursion involves approximately 550 yards of walking, over some uneven surfaces, and a considerable amount of standing; any additional walking will be at your own discretion, and may well be partly over uneven ground and cobblestones. A warm jacket and/or layered clothing is highly recommended, as it can be cold and windy in Mount Teide National Park.

La Laguna and Tasting

Departs 1400 | Returns 1730 | Duration 3 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

Heading north from the port, you will reach La Laguna, Tenerife’s former capital, which is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here you start your walk, passing the Sanctuario del Cristo, a 17th-century Franciscan convent. Head next to the Calle Obispo Rey, a beautiful street lined with noble 18th-century buildings with impressive façades. Returning to your coach, leave La Laguna for Tacoronte, a fertile agricultural area and the island’s wine capital. Here you stop at a local bodega, an old wine cellar, where, surrounded by barrels, with hams and cheeses hanging from the ceiling, you taste the delicious local wine, accompanied by tasty Canarian delicacies.

You should expect to walk up to £¾-mile in La Laguna, most of which will be along cobbled streets, with the occasional step or kerb to negotiate. There is minimal walking at the bodega, although you may need to remain standing for around ten minutes. Casual clothes, comfortable shoes and sunscreen are recommended.

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

Also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the beautiful island), La Palma is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel and fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the gigantic Taburiente crater. The island is dotted with attractive villages, which are a delight to discover, and the capital Santa Cruz also makes for an interesting day of exploration. Perched on the edge of the volcanic crater of La Caldereta, Santa Cruz comfortably blends modern architecture with old colonial buildings. Perhaps visit the fascinating Natural History Museum, stroll around the historic quarters and the Plaza de Espana or travel a few miles outside the city to the exquisite Church of Our Lady. If you enjoy shopping, you can find reasonably priced silver jewellery, leather goods and beautifully embroidered clothes, tablecloths and napkins, a speciality of the Canary Islands.

FactFile

Population

87,000 (approximate)

Language

Spanish

Currency

Euro

Time Difference

UK

Climate

Warm and sunny

Ship berths at

Santa Cruz, La Palma

Distance from Centre

350 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

50 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

Shops are located on O’Daly Street.

Shopping Opening Hours

Open Monday to Saturday from 0900-1300 and 1600-2000.

Post Office

The main Post Office is located at the city entrance.

Tourist Office

Located next to the port terminal building.

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Dial 112

Banks

Banks are open from 0830-1400 on weekdays. 24-hour ATMs are located around the town centre.

Excursions

Volcano and Wine

Departs 1230 | Returns 1730 | Duration 5 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

This tour begins with a visit to the pretty church of Our Lady of the Snows. Here you can view the elaborately decorated images of the patron saint of La Palma, before continuing on to the Mirador de la Concepción, where you can savour magnificent vistas across the town and east coast. Drive on through Brena Alta to Fuencaliente where you stop at the village of Mazo to visit the famous ceramics workshop and museum, ‘El Molino’. Upon arrival at the Volcano San Antonio, you may wish to partake in an optional walk to the volcano rim (weather permitting). Your tour then continues to the Bodegas Carballo, where you can enjoy sampling the local wines – with an opportunity to purchase some bottles – before returning to the ship.

This excursion requires a £¾-mile walk at the volcano. This walk is exposed and will not be possible in high winds. There is also a walk of approximately 165 yards each way to the ceramic workshop, up a steep path, with around 30 steps.

Scenic La Palma

Departs 1245 | Returns 1615 | Duration 3 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

Take in the highlights of La Palma on a scenic drive around the island, beginning in the capital, Santa Cruz de la Palma. From here you continue to the Mirador de la Concepcion, stopping for photos at this wonderful viewpoint before continuing to the Caldera de Taburiente, one of the largest extinct volcanic craters in the world. It is more than five miles in diameter and in places over 5,000 feet deep. Pause for photographs before stopping at the Balcon de Taburiente Caf for refrehments. From here, your coach takes you through the western part of La Palma to Los Llanos de Aridane, the largest town on the island, which has a population of over 20,000. Enjoy wonderful views of Los Llanos, picturesquely surrounded by cacti and banana plantations, before returning to your ship via the town of El Paso.

This excursion requires just a little walking at the photo and refreshment stops. There are eight steps at Concepcion viewpoint and ten steps at the refreshment venue, where the public conveniences are situated. A considerable amount of the travelling is along narrow, winding roads, sometimes with a sheer drop on one side: vertigo sufferers should take this into consideration. A warm jacket is highly recommended as it can be cold and windy at the Taburiente Crater. Views will depend on the weather.

Los Tilos Forest Walk

Departs 830 | Returns 1300 | Duration 4 Hours 30 Minutes
££0.00 Per Person

Walk through Los Tilos Forest, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve home to a profusion of ferns, trees and other indigenous species. The tour begins with a short panoramic drive up into the hills to Mirador de la Concepcion, a spectacular vantage point with views over the city. From here it is a 50-minute drive to Los Tilos, which literally translated means ‘laurel forest’. You then set out on a one-mile walk through this wonderful forest of ancient laurels, lime trees and giant ferns. You will be accompanied throughout by a botanical guide, who will identify specimens and explain points of interest along the way. Emerging from Los Tilos, continue your walk along a beautiful stretch of coast to San Andres y Sauces, and here you will stop to rest and perhaps enjoy a cold beer, a cup of tea or a soft drink, before returning to your ship by coach.

This tour involves a total distance of two-and-a-half miles, including walking up steep inclines and over uneven surfaces. Walking in San Andres y Sauces is over cobbled streets and requires many steps. Good walking shoes and a walking pole (supplied on the gangway as you leave the ship) are recommended. Parts of the forest walkway have a steep drop on one side, protected only by a wooden fence.

La Hacienda and Silk Museum

Departs 915 | Returns 1315 | Duration 4 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

Sit back, relax and enjoy the lush scenery as you travel along mountain roads, passing vineyards and banana plantations en route to the old town of El Paso. Here, a short stroll takes you to the unique Silk Museum where you can witness silk being weaved by a 500-year-old process. This is the only place in Europe where this method is still used. Scarves made from local silk, and a pair of shoes crafted by Manolo Blahnik, the famous Spanish designer, are on display. Afterwards, it is time to visit the beautifully restored 17th-century sugar estate, now the Hotel Hacienda de Abajo. Surrounded by rich vegetation and botanical gardens, the old manor house displays a varied selection of paintings, furniture and porcelain, in addition to a large collection of tapestries. Your guide will take you on a tour of the main rooms, and afterwards tea and pastries will be served, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. On your return journey to Santa Cruz, a short photo-stop will be made at La Glorieta Square, allowing you to view the stunning mosaics by local artist Luis Morera.

Visiting the Silk Museum and Hacienda involves walking several hundred yards with the possibility of a few steps. You should also be prepared to spend periods of several minutes at a time standing while the guide gives a commentary.

Day at sea.

Day at sea.

Porto Grande

Arrive 0800. Depart 1800.

The crescent of volcanic islands which form the Cape Verde archipelago lie 310 miles off the Senegal coast. Despite the name (Green Cape), all the islands are barren, but they offer dramatic mountain scenery and pristine beaches. The Portuguese started colonising the islands during the 15th century and during the 16th century the archipelago became important for the supply of water and rations to boats sailing to America, Europe and Africa, and as a base for slave warehouses. The Cape Verde Islands obtained their independence from Portugal in 1975 and, although the isles may be African geographically speaking, they have retained a strong Latin flavour. Porto Grande, the port for Mindelo, is on the windward isle of São Vicente and covers an area of 88 square miles. Over 90% of the island’s inhabitants live in the capital of Mindelo, where the historic centre is characterised by old colonial houses and commemorative monuments. Please note that most excursions from this port will be operated by rather basic minibuses: these vehicles are the best available locally, but normally lack air-conditioning, reclining seats and seat belts, and have no space for the storage of walkers or wheelchairs.

FactFile

Population

434,000 (approximate)

Language

Portuguese

Currency

Cape Verde Escudo

Time Difference

UK-1

Climate

Tropical – the rainy season is from August to October.

Ship berths at

Pier No.2

Distance from Centre

Approximately 1,100 yards

Distance from gangway to coach

Approximately 170 yards

Useful Information

Shopping

The main shopping area is located in Mindelo.

Shopping Opening Hours

Typical opening hours are 0900-1300 and 1500-2000 on weekdays.

Post Office

The Post Office is located next to Praça Goncalves Gones, just off Avenida Marginal. Opening hours are 0800-1500 on weekdays.

Tourist Office

There is no Tourist Office available

How to Phone Home

For the UK dial 00 44 followed by the full STD number, but omitting the first zero.

Emergency Services

Medi Centre: +238-231 85 15

Banks

There are banks located in Mindelo. Opening hours are 0800-1500 on weekdays.

Excursions

Porto Grande 4WD Tour

Departs 815 | Returns 1215 | Duration 4 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

This excursion gives you the opportunity to get off the beaten track and enjoy the unspoilt scenery that is found on the island of Porto Grande. After departing the quayside in your 4WD vehicle your first stop is to Palha Carga, a one mile stretch of undiscovered beach where you can stop for a short while to take some photographs. After passing through the agricultural area of the island you arrive at the valley of Ribeira de Calhau, where to your left you have views of the uninhabited islands of St Luzia, Raso and Banco and to your right the crater of the island’s volcano. Continuing on to the white sandy beaches of Saragaca and Gatchod where you can discover the natural caves which were formed from the lava of the volcano. On your return to your ship enjoy a brief stop at the fishing village of Calhau.

This excursion uses closed-topped 4-wheel drive vehicles: window seats are not guaranteed and there may be limited legroom. If the group is split between two or more vehicles, your guide may change vehicles during the course of the tour so as to give a commentary to all passengers. Vehicles in Porto Grande are not normally equipped with seat belts. You will be travelling along steep, winding mountain roads and the terrain may be bumpy: those suffering from vertigo, motion sickness or back and neck problems should take this into consideration. The weather can be cool in the higher parts of São Vicente, so we recommend that you bring a light jacket. There are no opportunities to use public conveniences.

Scenic São Vicente

Departs 845 | Returns 1245 | Duration 4 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

Sit back and discover the beautiful scenery of São Vicente. Your coach leaves the quayside and passes through the island’s volcanic landscape to reach your first stop, the top of Monte Verde, the highest point on the island. Stop here for the chance to take some photographs of the spectacular views over the island, and, if the weather allows, of the neighbouring islands. Continue along the coast to Praia Grande Beach, where you can admire the contrast of the white sand and black lava flow whilst tasting some of the national liqueur. Re-joining your coach, your guide tell you about the Ribeira de Calhua valley and its agriculture, before you reach a local hotel, where you stop for refreshments and enjoy a display of traditional dancing.

We recommend comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella for shade. There is approximately 100 yards’ walking, over mixed terrain that includes sandy beaches. The only wc facilities available are at the very end of the tour. If the group is split between two or more vehicles, your guide may change vehicles during the course of the tour so as to give a commentary to all passengers. Vehicles in Porto Grande are not normally equipped with seat belts. You will be travelling along steep, winding mountain roads and the terrain may be bumpy: those suffering from vertigo, motion sickness or back and neck problems should take this into consideration. The weather can be cool in the higher parts of São Vicente, so we recommend that you bring a light jacket.

The Charm and Culture of Mindelo

Departs 845 | Returns 1145 | Duration 3 Hours
££0.00 Per Person

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