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Le Ponant - Cruises


Cape Verde Islands
Praia Round trip
December 7-14, 2013 - 8 days / 7 nights on board

  • At the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Africa and South America, the Cape Verde islands are proud of their blend of cultures that makes them truly unique. Far from the main maritime routes and major tourist destinations, Cape Verde offers its authenticity and its traditions, a region with a thousand faces and a thousand landscapes.
  • Free excursions
  • At the heart of the Cape Verde Islands, Santo Antao, also known as one of the Barlavento or Windward Islands, is of volcanic origin. This has resulted in a landscape of deep, green valleys and steep summits.
  • We invite you discover the two contrasting sides to this surprising island: the unmissable north first, where you can hike from the altitude forest to the luxuriant Paul valley, via the impressive coastal path leading to Ponta do Sol... Next, you will visit the wild west of the island, with its remote tiny villages and encounter the fishing community..

 

Itinerary

Arrival

Departure

Day 1 -Praia (Cape Verde)
Embarkation at 5:30pm.

-

9:00 pm

Day 2 - Maio (Cape Verde)

12:00 pm

6:00 pm

Day 3 - Sao Nicolou
Impressive, almost untouched mountain scenery, the quaint likable capital of "Ribeira Brava", friendly residents, lively traditions - that's Sao Nicolau. Being widely unaffected by tourism, this island has maintained its authenticity and offers tranquility, a recipe for an unforgettable tour.  

From the harbour town of Tarrafal the road leads up to the agricultural high plateau area of "Faja" where you will stop twice for photo stops. Arriving in the small and very neat town of Ribeira Brava, you will be dropped off in the main square. Walking through the small and colorful streets, you will visit the local vegetable market, the statue of Baltazar Lopes, one of the famous writers of the country who is originally from S. Nicolau before you have a coffee break in an open-air restaurant. Enjoy the live music together with a cup of local coffee and capeverdean sweet pastries mostly made of corn & manioc flour. A 10-minute walk after your coffee-break will take you to the old “seminario” - an ancient convent which was the bedrock of Cape Verdean intellect in the 19th century.

On the way back to Tarrafal, you will take a beautiful detour through an almost hidden valley where, in front of a church, you will discover a traditional Mazurka and Square Dance Group.

San Nicolau is not only the island of origin of these 'imported' dances - it is one of the only places that preserves this tradition. On your way back to the ship you will feel privileged to have been able to explore this charming island with its traditional soul. 

This excursion is conducted in English. The buses used are local and do not have air-conditioning nor a PA-system. This tour involves approximately 0.6 mil /1 km of walking over cobble stone streets. Wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun.

9:00 am

Midnight

Day 4 - Mindelo (Cap Vert) 
Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, is both the cultural capital and the liveliest town in all Cape Verde. A superb panorama over Mindelo Bay will allow you to overlook the city with its beautiful houses in pastel colors and the buildings in the colonial Portuguese style.

Leaving the harbour you will be driving to the interior of the 227 km2 small island. Water is very rare and Sao Vicente's landscape is sparse. The island seduces with the Atlantic’s rough beaches and a charming colourful town known as the cultural capital of the country.

Driving up the windy roads to the top of the highest mountain “Monte Verde” you will appreciate the diverse colours that all these rocks and stones on the island have to offer.  

From the top it is possible to oversee most parts of the island: the city of Mindelo, long yellow sandy beaches glued to black volcanic rocks and the bay of 'Baia das Gatas' with its turquoise water - very famous for its yearly music festival bringing great parts of the country together.

You will continue the tour by driving down the windy roads, again making your way towards the coastal road that links Baia das Gatas and Calhau. On the local favorite beach Praia Grande you will make a stop to walk on the sand, appreciate the sound of the rough Atlantic waves and taste some local sugar cane liquor called 'grogue'. 

Heading back towards Mindelo, drive through the formerly important agricultural area of the island, which nowadays inhabits little agricultural production due to absence of precipitation. Back in Mindelo you will be given a quick overview to then explore the town on your own.

This excursion involves approximately ½ mile of walking, some over cobble-stone streets. The buses used are local and do not have air-conditioning nor a PA-system. Euros (bank notes only, not coins) are accepted at the souvenir shop of the cultural center, credit cards are not accepted. We recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun.

8:00 am

-

Day 5 - Porto Novo
Start your day with a panoramic drive along the breathtaking coast to the greenest, almost tropical valley on the archipelago the Paúl valley. Here you will start your moderate hike through splendid nature and through different plantations. This valley is another main provider of the archipelago’s produce which includes bananas, potatoes, lettuce, papaya, mangos and breadfruit.
 In the middle of this peaceful scenery we will take a rest for to enjoy some of the fresh fruit that you can readily find in this valley! No visit would be complete if there wasn’t a grogue tasting!

Continuing on the coast through the towns of Ribeira Grande and Ponta do Sol make your way to the romantic mountain village called “Fontainhas.” Fontainhas is a small and colorful village along the North-Western coast close to Ponta do Sol. The town seems to cling onto the mountains which overlook the spectacular coastline. Here you will have a break and take pictures of this special place and enjoy a salty appetizer.
  
 Along the incredible and breathtaking coastline, make your way towards to the fishing village of Ponta do Sol.  Here you will enjoy a two course lunch (main course and desert).
 Your way back to the cruise leads you briefly through the town of Ribeira Grande before making your way along the former trading route where you will have spectacular views into different valleys, and formations of the volcanic mountains. One of the highlights of this road is the view into the Cova crater which is the birthplace of this island. Today, the rich soil found in the former crater is perfect for farming and the crater floor is spotted with different types of agriculture including corn.  After making your way over the mountain ridge we begin your decent onto the other side of the island and back to the cruise. Although the dryness is a great contrast to the spectacular lushness which you discovered today, none the less it is still beautiful.

  • This excursion involves approximately 0.6 miles / 1 kms of walking over uneven terrain. Participants must be in good physical condition. The former trading route as well as the short drive to Fontainhais, is narrow and winding and is not recommended for guests suffering from car sickness.

8:00 am

7:00 pm

Day 6 - Brava
It is just because it is 10 times smaller, that Brava cannot compete with Madeira for the title “pearl of the Atlantic”, but Brava joins the same enchanting landscapes with memorable visits.  

Discover the magic and mystery of this island: majestic cliffs, hidden valleys covered with green, jasmine, hibiscus, and bougainvillea.

Brava, despite its isolation, has an enormous contribution in the history of the country's development being the residence island of the governors in former times and becoming the starting point for emigrants embarking on American Whalers. The isolation of Brava hindered its development in the villages but at the same time also preserved its quaint colonial architecture. The island has also given birth to one of the most respected Cape Verdean writers, it has also transformed the 'morna' (melancholic music about emigration), the Cape Verdean music style that Cesaria Evora later revealed to the world. 

You will drive up the curvy road to approximately 600 m altitude where 'Vila Nova Sintra' the island's capital surveys over the harbour of Furna. This town that you will visit, is a sequence of small little houses neatly painted in white with tiled red roofs, square wooden windows and flowers on the window sill. Old colonial houses that are wildly mixed into this picture give this town a sense of pure elegance. You will understand the melancholy of the island due to its isolation by listening to a “morna” composed by Eugenio Tavares (1867-1930), one of the most famous writers and poets of the country who is originally from Brava. Continuing your journey further up the mountains, you will have a splendid view over Nova Sintra. Arriving in the area of Nossa Senhora do Monte you will understand why Brava is also called the 'flowery island' - hedgerows of pink hibiscuses colour the landscape. The tour continues to Faja d'Agua a valley that opens to the north-western coast. It is a small oasis on the coast - a fishing village with coconut trees around it and white houses beautifully decorated with flowers. After a coffee-break with local sweet pastries you will head back using the one and only road the island has to offer, looking back at today's new discovery.

This excursion is conducted in English. The buses used are local and do not have air-conditioning nor a PA-system. This excursion involves little walking over cobble-stone streets. The former trading route is narrow and winding and is not recommended for guests suffering from car sickness.

12:00 pm -
Day 7 - Fogo
Fire is the element which can be sensed all over Fogo – in the people’s minds, in the deep red of their wine and the lava-landscape of the Cha das Caldeiras. The heart of the volcano is simmering everywhere.

The island of Fogo is a majestic cone reaching out of the ocean having a volcano, the 'Pico de Fogo', as its center. And all over the island until the very near foot of this volcano there are little villages spread out. What appears grey on your first approach will become, at a closer look, the most beautiful spectacle of color the archipelago has to offer.

Fogo being the hottest island of the archipelago, you will use the morning freshness to drive up the road to the crater in 1600 m altitude leaving Sao Filipe behind you in order to start your one-hour hike. With every meter of altitude the beauty of the island shows. Right at the bottom of 'the big one' you will be dropped off to continue your voyage walking through the lava landscape. Climb the 'vulcaozinho' (the small volcano how the local population calls him) that aroused during the 1995's eruption. From 200 m altitude you are overlooking the lava fields of several eruptions from the last century. Listen to the story of the 1995 eruption that most of the guides have witnessed.  

Walking towards the two crater villages you will pass by a lot of plants living in the rich lava soil.

After a hearty local lunch, followed by a wine tasting, it will be time to say goodbye to  this abstract scenery. 

On the way back towards the harbor, visit the charming town of Sao Filipe with its old colonial buildings. Sao Filipe was originally the name of the island until the story tells that sailors came by the island during an eruption and screamed 'fire!' when they saw it - this exclamation gave the new name to the island and it is certainly the one that fits the best.  

This excursion is conducted in English. The buses used are local and do not have air-conditioning nor a PA-system. This tour involves approximately 1.7 mil /3 kms of slow walking hiking. Wear comfortable walking shoes and protect yourself from the sun. Bring along a bottle of water.

7:00 am 11:00pm
Day 8 - Praia (Cape Verde)
Disembarkation
7:00 am

Cruise Fares


Category

Brochure Fare

Marie Galante Deck Cabin

$ 5693

Antigua Deck Cabin

$ 6145

Triple Occupancy

$4115

One Child (8-11 years old) sharing cabin with 2 adults

$842

Safety and port taxes

$543

Single supplement in cabin*

Starting at + 100%


Prices are per person, based on double occupancy and
subject to fuel surcharge. View
deck plan.
 


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Those fares may be subject to Fuel adjustement according to our terms and conditions* On request. Limited availability.

Our fares include:
•Port and safety charges
•Open bar
•Gratuities
•Your cruise including all meals from dinner on the day of embarkation to breakfast on the day of disembarkation
•Welcome aboard and captain’s cocktail parties, gala dinner
•Mineral water, tea, filter coffee, white, red and rosé wines served with meals
•24 hour room service (selected menu)
•Evening entertainments and events, and/or organised shows
•Porterage from the quayside to the ship and vice versa
•English-speaking guest-speaker (when applicable)

 

Our fares do not include:
•Flights and airport taxes
•Transfers, day rooms and other services at arrival & departure, before embarkation and after disembarkation
•Optional shore excursions (sold on board)
•Insurances
•Personal expenses
•Other drinks not included in open bar

*Ponant Bonus Fares:
Special Savings program off published cruise-only fares for select voyages, in all stateroom and suite categories. Ponant Bonus fares are capacity controlled, subject to availability and may change at any time without notice. Ponant Bonus could decrease or be closed for specific stateroom and suite categories or entire cruise.

Ponant bonus fares represent savings from the published fare and may not be combined with certain other promotional offers. Some cruise credits may not be combinable.  The bonus fares represent our best available rate at time of booking.


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