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Beaches of Cape Verde Islands

Sea to Sahara: Cape Verde, Canary Islands & Morocco

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Island Sky (ZE)
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Join this brand-new 15-day itinerary showcasing far-flung islands and exotic ports of call. Discover Cape Verde’s charming Portuguese villages, dramatic scenery, lush botanical gardens, and endemic birds. Hike through the volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands, including Timanfaya National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Explore magical Marrakech, famous for its intact medieval architecture and bustling souks, packed with vendors touting everything from fresh produce to high-quality leather goods. Experience the undulating Sahara Desert with opportunities to watch for migratory birds, visit with nomadic tribespeople, and hike along the dunes. Conclude your explorations with a two-night stay at a hotel in Marrakech.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Praia, São Tiago Island, Cape Verde | Embark Island Sky
Day 2 : Fogo Island
Day 3 : Brava Island
Day 4 : Santo Antão Island
Days 5-6 : At Sea
Day 7 : Dakhla, Morocco
Day 8 : El Marsa | Laayoune
Day 9 : La Gomera, Canary Islands
Day 10 : La Palma
Day 11 : Lanzarote
Day 12 : At Sea
Day 13 : Casablanca, Morocco | Disembark | Marrakech
Day 14 : Marrakech
Day 15 : Marrakech

Highlights

  • Tour Cidade Velha, Cape Verde's former capital and a World Heritage Site
  • Hike through the spectacular laurel forest of Garajonay National Park
  • Explore magical Marrakech, famous for its medieval architecture and markets
  • Venture into shifting sand dunes to visit with the nomadic Sahraoui people

Ship

Island Sky (ZE)

Places Visited

  • Africa
  • Europe
  • Spain
  • Brava
  • Canary Islands
  • Cape Verde Islands
  • Casablanca
  • Dakhla
  • Fogo
  • La Gomera
  • Laayoune
  • Lanzarote
  • Marrakesh
  • Morocco
  • Porto Novo
  • Praia
  • Santa Cruz de la Palma
  • West Africa
  • Western Sahara

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Beaches of Cape Verde Islands Fishermen in the Cape Verde Islands Colorful towns of the Canary Islands A local market filled with delicious fresh foods. A view of the architecture of Morocco.

Day 1 Praia, São Tiago Island, Cape Verde | Embark Island Sky

Arrive on São Tiago, the largest of the Cape Verde Islands, crowned by Antonia Peak which rises 4,500 feet above fertile farmlands. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then join a guided walk through Cidade Velha, the former capital and a World Heritage Site. After a traditional Batuco performance, return to Praia and embark the Island Sky this evening.

Day 2 Fogo Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Crowned by a massive volcano, which erupted as recently as 2014, Fogo (fire in Portuguese) is a fitting name for this dramatically beautiful island. Begin your explorations in colonial São Filipe and visit a wealthy merchant’s house that has been converted into a museum. Then take a drive through a phenomenal volcanic landscape to the small town of Cha das Caldeiras, situated within the massive crater of Pico do Fogo. Enjoy a traditional lunch, sample local wines, and take an unforgettable walk over the lava fields created by the most recent eruption. 

Day 3 Brava Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cape Verde’s “wild” island of Brava earns its moniker with an abundance of verdant hills and valleys, laced with colorful oleander, hibiscus, and bougainvillea. Take a drive inland, passing plantations of coconut palms and lush meadows dotted with herds of goats. Located high in the mountains, the town of Nova Sintra boasts a lovely historic center with well-preserved colonial architecture and a fantastic viewpoint overlooking the island. Continue to Faja d’Agua for a short hike, a picnic lunch, and the opportunity take a dip in a natural pool. 

Day 4 Santo Antão Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cape Verde’s greenest island boasts a spectacular array of landscapes, from stark volcanic flats to lush green peaks and tropical valleys. Disembark in Puerto Novo for a scenic drive along the coast, and into the mountains to visit the Cova Crater to learn about local agriculture. Enjoy more spectacular views en route to Fontainhas, a picturesque village which clings to a rocky slope overlooking the beautiful coastline. After lunch in the small fishing village of Ponta do Sol, visit a distillery for a tasting of Grogue, the local spirit made from sugarcane. Continue through the lush Paul Valley, visiting small agricultural communities along the way.  

Day 5-6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Join naturalists on deck to search for pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins, while lectures recap your experiences in the Cape Verde Islands and prepare you for what’s ahead.

Day 7 Dakhla, Morocco

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, birders search for a wealth of migrant shorebirds at Laguna of Dakhla. Species commonly found here include greater flamingos, broad-billed sandpipers, pelicans, terns, and oystercatchers. Or, venture into the shifting sand dunes to visit with the nomadic Sahraoui people. Participate in a traditional tea ceremony and trek to the top of White Dune for fantastic views over the desert. Return to the ship in time for lunch and set sail for El Marsa.  

Day 8 El Marsa | Laayoune

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Disembark in El Marsa this afternoon and board 4x4 vehicles for a ride through the Sahara Desert. Make a stop en route for Moroccan tea and amazing vistas of the undulating dunes. In Laayoune, visit the busy dromedary souk; the Place El Mechouar, a large public square; the Moulay Abdelaziz Mosque; and browse a collection of artisanal workshops where you can find fine silver jewelry and local art. Take a walk through the old town for a look at the Spanish cathedral, then drive to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the dam on the Saquia El Hamra River, before returning to the ship in El Marsa.

Day 9 La Gomera, Canary Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Take a hike through the spectacular laurel forest of Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Often shrouded in a magical mist, this area is known locally as “the witch’s forest.” Keep an eye out for the endemic white-tailed and dark-tailed laurel pigeons as you stroll through the lush vegetation. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive through the Valle Gran Rey and discover terraced farms and tiny towns clinging to the steep walls of the valley. 

Day 10 La Palma

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Venture high into the hills for a hike through La Caldera de Taburiente, a national park whose centerpiece is a five-mile-wide crater caused by erosion. Enjoy stunning, top-of-the-world scenery and take a walk through stands of indigenous Canary pine trees. After working up a good appetite, stop for a snack of cheese and macaroons, accompanied by local wines. Or, choose to explore Los Tilos, an enchanting subtropical rainforest that is home to hundreds of plant species, many unique to the Canary Islands. Cool off at Charco Azul (Blue Pool), a natural seaside pool created by ancient lava flows. Then make a stop at a rum distillery to learn about the production of this beloved liquor, with a chance to sample the delightful results.   

Day 11 Lanzarote

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Timanfaya National Park and its stunning volcanic landscape, a legacy of the 1824 eruption. Search for some of the 177 species of rare plants, many of them unique to the Canaries, while birders keep a keen eye out for houbara bustards, Berthelot’s pipits, and other species. On the nearby coast, view natural geologic formations where water rushes dramatically into a sea-eroded volcanic cave at Los Hervideros. Then soak in fantastic views as you drive along the rugged coast to Mirador del Rio, the island’s most famous viewpoint. Then immerse yourself in the world of famed local artist César Manrique, with a stroll through the unique Cactus Garden, which displays over 1,000 species of cactus from all over the world, and the Jameos del Agua, a spectacular lava-tube cave transformed into a delightful series of pools, gardens, and a natural amphitheater. 

Day 12 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The lecture series continues during a relaxing day at sea.

Day 13 Casablanca, Morocco | Disembark | Marrakech

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, disembark in lovely Casablanca. Begin your exploration with an excursion to the colorful Central Market, followed by a stop at the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest religious structure in the world after Mecca. Its 700-foot-high minaret is visible for miles. Continuing on, pass through the elegant Corniche district which spreads along the Atlantic coast; the Anfa Quarters, where Roosevelt met with Churchill during World War II; the impressive Law Courts; and the Habbous Quarters, built by the French in the early 20th century. Then depart overland to magical Marrakech; this romantic rose-red city perches on the edge of the pre-Saharan Plains along ancient Berber trade routes. Explore sites such as the opulent 19th-century Bahia Palace, the medina—a World Heritage Site—the Koutoubia Mosque, the imperial Saadian tombs, and Djemaa El Fna Square. Check in to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 14 Marrakech

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today explore the Majorelle Gardens; the Palmeraie, a vast area of date palms; and the bustling souk. Or join a full-day birding excursion in the Atlas Mountains. Winding up into the mountains, make several stops to search for a variety of birds including the scarce and localized Barbary falcon, black wheatear, Atlas chaffinch, and flocks of aerobatic red-billed chough. With a great deal of luck, you may also encounter one of the great raptors of the world, the massive lammergeier. Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner.

Day 15 Marrakech

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight.

Island Sky (ZE)

Per person starting at
$13,980
Island Sky's Category 1 Magellion Deck.
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Category 1
Magellan Deck. 230 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and four portholes.
Island Sky's Category 2 Columbus Deck.
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Category 2
Columbus Deck. 240 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.
Island Sky's Category 3 Marco Polo.
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Category 3
Marco Polo Deck. 225 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.
Island Sky's Category 4 Marco Polo.
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Category 4
Marco Polo Deck. 240 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and a large picture window.
Island Sky's Category 5 Erikson Cabin.
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Category 5
Erikson Deck. 270 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and patio doors which lead to a private balcony.
Island Sky's Category 6 Explorer Cabin.
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Category 6
Explorer Deck. 325 square feet and feature beds that are configurable into two twins or one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, and patio doors which lead to a private balcony.

Notes

- Rates are per person based on double occupancy.
- Singles may be available at 1.6 times the share rate.

For most activities a moderate level of exertion is required. You must be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, over rough terrain, including rocky beaches, lava fields, desert sands, and cobblestone streets. Some stairways will be uneven and may not have handrails. Temperatures throughout the voyage will range from the high 70s°F to the low 80s°F, with cooler temperatures at high elevations. Though we will travel during the dry season, occasional rain showers should be expected. 

Included:
  • Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises
  • All gratuities
  • All accommodations
  • World-class lecture and expedition team
  • All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges
  • Arrival and departure transfers on group dates
  • Gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials
  • Medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance

Excluded:
  • Airfare from your home city/Praia and Marrakech/home city
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Airport arrival and departure taxes
  • Transfers for independent arrivals and departures
  • Passport and/or visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), and other incidentals
  • Email/Internet/fax/telephone charges
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Reid R

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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