The Cape Verde archipelago is in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 570 kilometers (350 mi) off the western coast of the African continent, near Senegal, The Gambia, and Mauritania, and is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion. It lies between latitudes 14° and 18°N, and longitudes 22° and 26°W.
The country is a horseshoe-shaped cluster of ten islands (nine inhabited) and eight islets, that constitute an area of 4033 km2.
The islands are spatially divided into two groups:
- The Barlavento Islands (windward islands): Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, Boa Vista; and
- The Sotavento Islands (leeward): Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava.
The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation’s capital, Praia, the principal urban agglomeration in the archipelago.
Three (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy, and dry; the others are generally rockier with more vegetation.