Sal belongs to the northern group of islands and is one of the three sandy eastern islands. The island was officially named Llana when it was first discovered but then salt deposits were found and it became known as Sal. Vila dos Esargos is the island's main city and home to one of Cape Verde's international airports which has provoked population growth and an economic boost. Tourists are particularly attracted to the beaches in Sal so holiday makers take themselves to the city, Santa Maria where the best beach on the island can be found. Sal has become the most popular tourist destination in Cape Verde and offers the best night life and water sport opportunities.
Santiago is the biggest island in Cape Verde. It has been described as the most cosmopolitan island out of the archipelago and is estimated to house around half the population of Cape Verde. Santiago is home to Praia, the country's capital and one of two international airports. One of Cape Verde's main shipping ports is also found on this island and regularly exports food products such as sugar cane, coffee and fruit.
Investing in Santiago is a wise move; with vast stunning forests, beautiful landscapes and beaches and property prices still low, it should provide strong returns. What is more, Santiago is predicted to become a key tourist destination thanks to its untouched beaches and landscapes.
Fogo is a volcanic island in the Satavento group of the Cape Verde archipelago. The volcano on the island has been active in past years and last erupted in 1995 so precautions have to be taken. There is a small village at the base of the volcano called Cha das Caldeiras which is periodically evacuated during eruptions although the volcano is still the islands main attraction for tourists.
Fogo is mainly an agricultural island and the economy of the island is largely based on agriculture and fishing. Two of the main products produced and exported from Fogo are coffee and wine.
Boa Vista, which means 'good view' is the third largest island out of the archipelago and is the least populated out of all the habited islands. Boa Vista is one of the three desert islands and the easternmost island in Cape Verde. There are plans to extend the airport in Boa Vista to allow it to welcome international flights and in turn, boost tourist potential.
San Vicente offers interesting investment opportunities. It has long been the island of culture and history but is now formulating plans which should transform it into an elite holiday destination and thriving business centre. The west side will become the island's business hub whilst the completion of the grand marina will mean the island has the capacity to welcome a host of flotilla and light craft. An extension to the airport's main runway near San Pedro will allow smaller international charter flights to access San Vicente and should help encourage and cater for the growing visitor arrivals. The island has also signed an agreement with Spain's Canary Islands and the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira to promote and operate cruises in the mid-Atlantic which should again deliver an increased number of tourists to San Vicente's shores.
Santo Antao is the most western and largest of the Barlavento islands that belong to Cape Verde. With its amazing landscape and stunning views the island is completely made up of volcanic material making the hiking and walking routes a mountaineer's paradise. The island is also known as 'Island of the mountains' because of the natural attraction it offers its tourists.
Along the north coast of the island is Ribeira Grande, the island's main town which consists of a small airport welcoming limited flights. Santo Antao receives most of its tourists from a ferry that runs from San Vincent's Mindelo port. Another town which is worth a visit is Ponta do Sol; this little town offers great sightseeing opportunities with significant historic interest.
The main town on Maio is Vila do Maio, situated on one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Maio doesn't have much to offer apart from its natural beauty so isn't very popular with tourists. The island has some spectacular architecture which has a decidedly English influence to it; one building in particular is a small church in Vila do Maio called 'Nostra Senora da Luz' where all the local community still meet.
The second most populated place is Calheta, a small village where the local people live off the agriculture and fishing of the island. Maio is especially well known for its vast amounts of white sandy beaches, making this island a perfect holiday destination for those who enjoy relaxing and mixing with the culture of a humble island.