Noble Caledonian is offering its first trip to Cape Verde, with an eight-island tour, as part of a cruise later this year.
The 13-day cruise departs from Morocco on 24 November; prices start at £4,695 (020-7752 0000; uk).
Specialist operators that go all over the islands include Archipelago Cape Verde (01768 775 684; archipelagocapeverde.com).
Aisling Irwin is co-author of The Bradt Guide to the Cape Verde Islands Uncovering the archipelago * The brown terrain of Sal makes Mars look fertile but the southern beach town of Santa Maria has the liveliest tourist scene, with plenty of watersports centres, hotels and restaurants, many of them good local businesses straining for tourist patronage in the shadow of the all-inclusive resorts.
* Maio is a flat, desolate brown desert broken by unexpected patches of acacia forest, ringed by stunning beaches and beginning to wake up to the tourist trade.
The Cape Verde Experience (08; uk) has been devising holidays in West Africa for 20 years, during which it has developed experience in both package holidays and tailor-made trips.
It uses charter flights from Bristol, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted, and has some seat-only availability for independent travellers who want to fly direct rather than via Lisbon.
Music – or party – chasers might go in February for the Sao Vicente carnival; August for the Baia das Gatas music festival; or May for the Gamboa music festival in Sao Tiago.
Today, holidaymakers often visit on a package trip to a luxury resort on the main tourist island of Sal.
For example, Thomson (08; uk) flies to Sal from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester.
Prices start at around £400, but typical trips are significantly more expensive.
The rainy season is July to the end of October and during this time there can be flooding, restricting walking and travel, in the ribeiras of Santo Antao (but you can take a chance: some years it doesn't rain at all).
The islands are at their greenest from September to January.
Cape Verde can be quite expensive compared with other tropical destinations: a decent hotel costs the equivalent of £50-£100 a night; a three-course meal in a quality restaurant is around £15; and hiring a vehicle and driver for the day might cost £75.