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. View more
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The town of Praia de Santa Maria appeared in 1615 when it settled on a plateau nearby a beach (Santa Maria beach). From the pier, depart via coach for the "plateau" which is the site of Praia's colonial town centre. Here, ancient buildings and monuments attest to its rich history.
Once in the old city centre, begin a short walking exploration making stops at the Post Office building and visiting the Municipal Market. Returning to the coach, travel six miles (10km) west of Praia to Cidade Velha, the original Portuguese settlement and the first city established in the West African region.
Upon arrival in Cidade Velha, take to the historic street on foot once again, led by your guide. Visit the impressive St. Felipe fortress situated prominently at the top of the town and discover the monuments to the slave trade. Listen as the guide proffers insight into the amazing history of this unique Old City, with its history as a slave trading centre between the three continents of Africa, Europe and America. Following your discovery here, begin the return to the ship.
Please note: This tour is a walking tour; extensive walking in Praia's town centre and Cidade Velha is required. Comfortable shoes are recommended. Local conditions may be challenging, therefore we urge flexibility and understanding as we visit these unique, and somewhat remote destinations.