Cape Verde is a small nation of islands West of West Africa. It was colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century. Today it’s a highly literate country and a stable democracy. Its people are primarily Creole and so is its language, derived from Portuguese. The culture is somewhat similar to that of Portugal, including enthusiasm for soccer and hanging out in town squares. The distinctive music styles of Cape Verde incorporate Caribbean and Brazilian influences. The terrain includes the beach at Calhau, and the highest peak, Pico de Fogo, on the eponymous island of Fogo.
Cape Verdean cuisine features special foods like bolinhos de mandioca com mel (sweet honey-manioc balls with Aguardente liquor), and everyday national dishes like cachupa, which contains freshly-ground corn with beans and vegetables. Some common produce is squash, tomatoes, and sweet or white potatoes. Local papayas and bananas are excellent. You can typically get some vegetarian food at Italian restaurants, but if you’re lucky you might find Mediterranean, South American, or Japanese food.