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Blog post updated in May 2024

Capital of Cape Verde and the main city on the island of Santiago, Praia is a lively and joyful city that dances to the rhythm of music. Here, there’s no risk of getting lost amid tourists. Travelers who come to discover the country often prefer Santa Maria on the island of Sal or Mindelo, the cultural heart of the state. Many will tell you that Praia lacks tourist interest. Personally, I liked it a lot. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and observe the daily lives of the Cape Verdeans. And it’s also a perfect starting point for short excursions around the rest of the island. What to do in Praia, Cape Verde?
Things to do in Praia, Cape Verde:
Practical information:

Praia, Cape Verde, in a nutshell

Located in the south of the island of Santiago, Praia is bordered to the south and east by the Atlantic Ocean.

With 130,000 inhabitants, it is a human-sized destination. The commercial port exports coffee, sugarcane, and tropical fruits daily. Fishing is also one of the significant industries.

Established in 1615, Praia became the capital of the country in 1770 and still holds that status today.

What to do in Praia, Cape Verde?

Even though the city of Praia has some points of interest, it is primarily an excellent destination, perfect for observing local life and relaxing. Ideal for slow travelers!


“Praia” in Portuguese means “beach.” And Praia has 5 of them. They don’t particularly stand out for their beauty (for that, it’s better to head to Tarrafal or Sao Francisco), but they are pleasant. The water isn’t cold (though not particularly warm), they are frequented by locals, and most importantly, they are not crowded.
Their names? Quebra Canela, Prainha, Gamboa, Praia Negra, and Praia do Portinho. I only visited the first 2. Despite the very overcast sky, I really enjoyed spending time there, amidst the locals, listening to them sing and speak in their language.



2. Plateau, the touristy area

Plateau is the historical center of Praia. This is where the main monuments are concentrated, as well as bars and restaurants. The likelihood of encountering some tourists is very high, unlike the rest of the city.
From the monument of Diogo Gomes, you have a view of the port and the island. Not far from there, you’ll find the Presidential Palace and the Military Barracks, which are still in operation. Outside, you can see cannons, turrets, and parapets from the colonial era. In the neighborhood, you’ll also pass by the Palacio da Justicia, the Amilcar Cabral Museum, the town hall, and the church Nossa Senhora da Graca.



3. The bustling Sucupira Market.

The Sucupira Market is a real maze where you can find all sorts of products: food, clothing, gadgets, and even poultry and pigs. It’s not the most incredible market in the world, but if, like me, you enjoy strolling through these places and see them as a good way to get a feel for a location, I can only recommend it.

4. Parque 5 de Julho, meeting point

A lovely little park to take a break, rest from your walk, and observe people playing Uri, a very popular African game in Cape Verde. When I was there, it was December 25th, and it was interesting to see the locals coming out of the church and celebrating Christmas.

5. The rest of the city

Do not be afraid to venture away from tourist spots. I walked a lot in Praia during the day and in the evening. Getting lost in its streets is the best way to immerse yourself in the country’s atmosphere. Concerts in restaurants, crowds gathering in squares, children lining up at the ice cream shop, the sound of nightclubs, dust, graffiti, food stalls… Every corner is an immersion into the life of the Cape Verdeans.




Nothing beats visiting Praia by yourself, but if you prefer to be guided, here are 2 excursions that you will likely enjoy:

How to Get to Praia?

Praia has an airport. TACV, TAP, and Royal Air Maroc regularly offer flights from abroad, as does Air Sénégal.

If you are on another island, you can also take a domestic flight with the national carrier TACV.

Finally, it is possible to take a ferry between the islands with the company CV Interilhas. This is recommended for travelers who have time, as delays are often frequent.

Travel responsibly in Praia

It’s impossible to dissociate environmental protection and the well-being of local populations from the word travel.
Here are some actions to be a responsible traveler:
1. Briefly learn the history of the place before going.
2. Respect the customs and traditions of the locals.
3. Do not litter in nature.
4. Respect wildlife and, therefore, do not feed animals.
I hope this article on Praia, Cape Verde, will help you organize your next trip.
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