Cape Verde

These volcanic islands off the west coast of Africa have become an increasingly popular vacation spot for sun-seeking Europeans, where you can dive through lava tubes and around rich coral near the beachside city of Santa Maria.

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The turquoise waters of Cape Verde are also ideal for fishing or just laying on the beach, making it an ideal destination for those who just want to relax while away.

But the ten islands that make up Cape Verde offer plenty for the active traveler too. Sal and Boa Vista are the two largest islands, but if you want a rugged adventure, make your way to Fogo. This brown, dusty island has the best hiking in the archipelago, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t hit the Cha das Caldeiras and tour the remains of Pico de Fogo. Cape Verde is also the third most important loggerhead turtle nesting site in the world, and you’ll find no shortage of night tours here to help scope them out from July–September when they come ashore to lay eggs.