Praia, Santiago Island
Santiago is the main island of the Cape Verde archipelago and the first one to be settled by the Portuguese in the 15th century. Praia is the capital city of the islands. Its old town enjoys an imposing setting on a plateau overlooking the ocean.
The Cape Verde Islands are located 300 miles (480 km) off the coast of West Africa. When the first Portuguese arrived in 1456, they found a land rich in vegetation, but no permanent inhabitants. With the colonisation, the Portuguese planted vineyards and brought in slaves from the West African coast. A population emerged of mixed European and African ancestry, forging a distinct Cape Verdean, highly individual culture. The official language is Portuguese, while the local tongue is Crioulo, a Creole dialect consisting of archaic Portuguese mixed with many African elements. The islands became a convenient base for ships transporting slaves to Europe and the Americas. Wine was exported to Portugal, adding to the islands' economy. After World War II, the newly formed African Party began to pressure Portugal for independence, which was finally attained in 1975. Foreign aid and remittances from a large number of the islands' citizens working abroad are ensuring a high rate of economic growth.
The port of Praia is a major trading hub for agricultural products from the other islands. Visitors find Mediterranean-style houses, cobbled streets, Latin rhythm and African inspiration. Cidade Velha is the site of the original settlement and should not be missed.
Please Note: Tour coaches and guides are the best available. The equipment is not air-conditioned and does not have microphones. Guides may have heavy accents.
The ship is scheduled to dock at Porto Praia, Muelle 1. It is about 2 miles (3.2 km) to the centre of Praia City. A very limited number of taxis may be available at the port. It is recommended to establish the fare with the driver before leaving the pier.
Best buys are traditional handicrafts including pottery, baskets and woven articles. Main shopping areas are found in the town centre. Most shops close for lunch between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The local currency is the euro.
Cape Verdean specialties include cachupa, a tasty stew of several kinds of beans and meats. Fish soup is also a good choice, as is pastry filled with a mixture of fresh tuna, onions and tomatoes.
The main sights are covered on the organised excursion.
Silver Shore Privato is unavailable in Praia, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at Concierge@silversea.com for any availability, if even possible, and price.