Holiday & Travel Guide For Santiago, Cape Verde

Sightseeing

Santiago is one of the larger islands in Cape Verde: Cidade Velha has the 15th century ruins of what was once a magnificent cathedral and fort and there is also a delightful museum exhibiting the city’s history. You could possibly explore the whole of Santiago within a couple of days, with its many small traditional villages and wonderful botanical gardens, with cobbled streets and very scenic areas to leisurely explore. The national Maritime museum in the nearby town of Cabo Verde is well worth the visit; it houses treasures that have been retrieved over the years from ship wrecks around its islands. Even though this is a reasonably small island, there are still plenty of activities for tourists such as, but not limited to, bird watching and nature walks. Praia is the capital of the island and is quite a busy, bustling and crowded town. You can hire a small boat and explore the other islands in the Cape Verde if you wish to get out and about, they’re not that far apart and the scenery of these volcanic islands are wonderful.

Beaches

There are many beaches around Santiago Island, but many of them are dark in colour from the lava sand that makes them. They don’t look very appealing and once they are wet they’re very muddy, but you will find two very nice golden beaches with clear waters in Tarrafal and Sao Francisco, these offer water sports like sailing and wind and kite surfing.

Eating

The majority of the cuisine here is mostly Creole and Portuguese influenced. There are many fish dishes, as the islands are plentiful with sea life such as octopus and tuna. Stews and rice meals are the norm, but you will find restaurants serving pizza and Italian restaurants are found in some of the larger villages. Be warned, the islands are very laid back so don’t go to the restaurants expecting to be served quickly, you will need a few drinks before it arrives to the table, but it is well worth the wait.

Shopping

If you’re looking for a shopping heaven then you won’t find it in the Cape Verde Islands, at the most you will find necessary items, and the usual local hand crafted tourist gifts like jewellery, pottery and basket woven items and cloth are available everywhere. If you don’t mind a busy and crowded area, then the open local markets around the island are extremely colourful and the friendly local people do make the market visit quite an experience.

Nightlife

Local live music entertainment is the main attraction and is mostly found in the hotels, there are no lively vibrant nightclubs though, it is very low key and you will mostly people watch whilst having a drink at the local bars. There is music all around the island but there is no techno or upbeat rhythms unless you have brought along your own ipod; you will find the local music is traditional soulful Creole music that is a combination of guitar and violin.

Happy Holidays

YouTube Videos – Double Click Rates For Local Businesses Using Google Local, Yelp and CitySearch

Yelp and CitySearch both maintain that having a YouTube video on their listing for your company doubles the likelihood that visitors to your listing will take some kind of action such as a phone call to you or a click to your website. Many local search engines now allow you to upload your video information to their sites, including the king of local search, Google.local.

The most important marketing challenge for local businesses used to be location. For many such as restaurants, hotels, and dry cleaners, location is still a critical part of the marketing decision. One of my clients, PV Bicycle Center in Palos Verdes, California, moved his shop a few block into a larger and more visible location and has seen his business almost double the first year and the second year is on the way to similar increases… and all of that during a recession. The second most important challenge used to be how big of an ad to take in the Yellow Pages. You know, that book you now use as a door prop.

The internet has changed the equation for both of these marketing moves if you are a small, local business. Today your location on the first page of internet searches is commonly more important than your location on main street, and your listing on local search engines is the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages hard copy edition. The current and future king of local search engines is the map at the top of the page that you see when adding a city or zip code to your business type (e.g. Inglewood marketing consultant or mortgage broker 90025). By sheer force of this map’s location on a Google search, being seen next to the map may be the most important driving force for new business clients.

But Google.local is not the only local search engine (LSE). There are at least 60 general websites that fall into subcategories such as directories and mobile directories, and include such names as Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, Yelp, CitySearch, HotFrog, and MerchantCircle. Your potential customers are using these LSE’s and others to find information and reviews about your business before they decide to visit. If you aren’t listed, they can’t find you. If you are listed and have very little content or that content is not compelling, they may shop with your competitor who has good content. Part of that content is Video.

The methods used by LSE’s to determine how you rank under your category is complex and different for every one of them. Moreover, they don’t tell you what you need to do to have a high ranking other than pay them lots of money for a sponsored position. One thing we do know, the more robust your content the more likely you are to achieve a high ranking. The more compelling your content, the better chance you have that the customer will decide to use you. The obvious conclusion is that you need to have at least one, and preferably more than one compelling YouTube video on the LSE’s that allow you to link videos.

Creating a DIY YouTube video is within the reach of most small businesses. The cost in time and money is not huge. However, using a local marketing company to do the video will generally produce results that are much more likely to create action by the viewer. You may be surprised to learn that the cost of a video may be as low as $300, and even less if you do several at a time.

Your video can be used for much more than just an element on the content of a LSE. Other uses include:

  • Embed in your website
  • Embed in your blog
  • Be found on Google searches
  • Be found on YouTube searches
  • Build trust and authority
  • Share information which may result in loyalty

If you would like to learn more about shooting or marketing YouTube videos for your enterprise, please help yourself to the information contained on my small business marketing blog.

Why YouTube? There are many other video repositories such as DailyMotion. My experience is that YouTube will result in more than double the viewers than all the others combined. The YouTube brand has trust associated with it, and power just from being the biggest and best known brand. Finally, YouTube is owned by Google. ‘Nuff said.

A Local’s Perspective of Cenote Verde Lucero in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

As part of Allan and my Playa del Carmen rental business, it’s advantageous for us to possess expert knowledge of the area in order to pass this knowledge onto our rental guests. Every week we have tried going to a new Cenote while it is still low season in order to increase our familiarity with the region. This past Saturday Allan, I and our friend, Mary Lou visited Cenote Verde Lucero on the “Road of the Cenotes” heading out of Puerto Morelos. For the most part we were quite impressed.

Saturday afternoon we worked until 1pm, the time when most Playa del Carmen management companies close. We then packed the SUV for a day of fun, picked up Mary Lou and headed north to the town of Puerto Morelos for lunch. We have been dying to try this Asian restaurant there, and every time we go it’s closed. This time was no exception. It was 1:30 and they do not open until 3pm. Upon a recommendation from a local, we tried a local Mexican joint right on the water, which turned out to be perfect. We sat facing the turquoise sea, amidst a sea of pink and blue chairs, giving the whole establishment a very cool, beachy feel. I thought “this is the life”. The food was great, and then we were on our way to the Cenote.

About 20 minutes later we arrived at the Verde Lucero Cenote, a veritable hole in the ground that looks almost like a small asteroid struck 1,000 years ago. It was about 100 feet in diameter, 20 feet down to the water and the water was between 10 and 30 feet in depth. Large trees with massive roots protrude out of the depth and into the sky. The best part of the cenote was the zip line. Grabbing onto the handle of the zip line I rode down several times, plunging into the water. After watching a local try it backwards, I did the same, and must admit it is much scarier not knowing where exactly you are heading. There was also a rock ledge with a plunge of about 20 feet, which I also jumped off after gaining enough confidence.

Overall the cenote was a great experience, and is perfect for anyone looking for a bit of action – using the zip line and jumping from high depths into water. The downside is that the water is a bit green, there are no good areas to sit around the cenote, and no snack bar. However, Cenote Verde Lucero is definitely being added to my cenote list, and will be recommended to my Playa del Carmen rental guests. This coming week we are going to try the 7 Bocas Cenote (7 mouths). It’s tough work, but someone’s got to do it!