Today, Léonore, surfer from the Landes coast, takes us with her on a surftrip to Cape Verde... A change of scenery is guaranteed!
360° Surf : You just came back from a surf trip in Cape Verde, can you tell us a bit about your trip ?
Léonore : Cape Verde is an archipelago lost in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, composed of 10 islands located off the coast of Senegal. All are different, that's what makes their charm. The people are adorable and also very different: black people with blue or green eyes, blond people with frizzy hair! After 4 hours on the plane, we landed at the "Cesaria Evora" airport, on the island of São Vicente in the middle of nowhere. We then went by taxi to Mindelo, the capital, the city of Fado, the music of the famous singer Cesaria Evora. There are lots of nice and cheap hostels. We spent the night in a small hotel in the heights of the city. The next day, we took a ferry to go to the neighbouring island: Santo Antao. It is the most virgin and green island of the archipelago. It is a paradise for hikers. We decided to take a guide to make us discover this small corner of paradise. We walked with a very cool rasta guide. On the spot, we found a small hotel in Ponta do Sol, a fishing village in the north of the island.
As for surfing, Santo Antao is not known to be the best spot : the currents are particularly dangerous with a lot of rocks... After spending a few days in Santo Antao, we went back to Sao Vicente to have a look at the island's surf spots.
How long were you there? What spots did you wrinkle?
I stayed 10 days there. The main spots I rode are Praia Grande and Calhau on the island of Sao Vicente. There, I could ride all types of waves, with rocky, sandy and reef bottoms.
How did you feel about your trip? How did you organize it?
For the organization, we planned before the departure the corners of the island that we wanted to discover, with the help of the Routard guide, which is full of good addresses.
Why did you choose Cape Verde?
Cape Verde has always been a destination I wanted to discover. My parents had been there several times and they loved it. I also got a lot of positive feedback from friends who already knew the place. It's true that the image of a small tropical archipelago lost in the middle of the ocean makes you want to go there :)
Tell us about the atmosphere in the line-up?
At the spots where I surfed, there were very few surfers in the water. I only found myself with the school instructors and a few local kids who had a good level! I didn't have any worries about localism on the spots I went to. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the locals are smiling. It is with the surf school "Sabura Surf Academy" that I took a course with transfer on the spot. They also offer to rent equipment.
What are your good plans in Cape Verde (spots, to see, to do, where to eat)? In short, life there?
The food! The local dishes are mostly based on fish. There is a small restaurant in a hut on the beach of the Praia Grande spot where you can enjoy a grilled fish right after your surfing session. Also the national dish not to be missed: cachupa!
As far as the local atmosphere is concerned, I advise you to go and drink a grogue (local rum-based alcohol) or to have dinner in the historical centre of Mindelo, the atmosphere is relaxed and the bars/restaurants generally organise small concerts with Portuguese music.
As far as budget is concerned, life there is not very expensive. There are several small hostels/hotels where you can stay for a decent price.
If you are a nature lover, you should definitely go to Santo Antao and discover the island by hiking in the green valleys...
To organize a 100 % surf trip, it is better to go to the neighbouring islands such as "Sal" which have a great variety of spots and are more suitable for surfing.
I would say that the best time to surf is in January-February because the winter swells are more consistent. After that, it all depends on your level... But as a general rule, it's better to avoid summer with all the tourists and the heat...
What will be your next surftrip ?
I would really like to be able to surf in Maldives or in IndonesiaI'm waiting to perfect my surfing skills. It's better to be experienced before surfing this kind of waves... I would also love to do a boat trip in the Mentawaii or in Indonesia, in the tropics...
In one word, how would you sum up your experience ? What advice would you give to a future globe trotter?
What I mainly remember from this trip is the extreme kindness of the people there, their open-mindedness. They have a vision of things totally different from ours. My advice would be to avoid the islands that are too touristy (in the east of the archipelago), unfortunately they are the ones where the surf spots are the best! Unless you have a lot of time ahead of you, the best thing to do is to discover all the islands of the archipelago one after the other with internal connections by plane or by boat.
I hope this little description will make you want to discover this beautiful country!