A Guide to Boa Vista with the best things to do and the best beaches and hotels in Boa Vista, Cape Verde
Boa Vista, Cape Verde, literally meaning “beautiful view” in English, is certainly a place that does justice to its name.
If you are ready to escape your everyday life and explore a world of adventure in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, you will find lots of amazing things to do in Boa Vista!
From stunning sand dunes to crystal-clear lagoons, there’s something for everyone in this fascinating island paradise.
Get ready to dive into the vibrant culture and experience all that Boa Vista has to offer – from secluded beaches and colonial relics to some of the best outdoor activities on the planet.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best things you can do while visiting Boa Vista so you can make sure your trip is one for the record books!
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy via them, I’ll earn a small commission which helps me to keep this blog running. I received services for free for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Best Boa Vista Activities:
Best hotels in Boa Vista, Cape Verde
Casa Sara Boavista
B&B Salinas Boa Vista
Hotel Dunas ***
Cala da Lua apartments
Hotel Riu Karamboa ****
Cala da Lua apartments
Ouril Hotel Agueda ***
Iberostar Club Boa Vista *****
Hotel Riu Karamboa ****
Royal Horizons Boa Vista ****
You can also read my full guide on the best hotels in Boa Vista Cape Verde to find the right fit for you!
What to do in Boa Vista, Cape Verde
1. Explore Sal Rei
Sal Rei, Boa Vista’s capital, is a cozy, sleepy town counting slightly over 6,000 inhabitants, and visiting is easily one of the best things to do in Boa Vista.
Undeniably, the town’s most famous landmark is Igreja da Santa Isabel, a colonial-style church overlooking the square with the same name.
The baroque facade, painted in shades of sand and royal blue, merges perfectly into the colorful landscape of the square, characterized by flowers and pavilions.
Sal Rei, Boa Vista got its name from the saline near the town, where it’s said only the best quality salt was produced.
Other highlights of this small colonial town are the harbor, as well as the colorful districts that impress with their little houses aligned along the streets.
Don’t miss the Boa Vista market where you can stock up on local fruits and vegetables as it’s considered one of the best things to do in Sal Rei, Boa Vista.
If you are looking for the best restaurants and shops in Boa Vista, make sure to check the Ultimate Cape Verde Travel Guide Book.
Book here your island tour of Boa Vista
2. Visit the shipwreck of the Cabo Santa Maria
Undeniably one of the best excursions in Boa Vista is to head to Praia de Santa Maria in order to admire the iconic shipwreck of the Cabo Santa Maria.
Beached in 1968 while sailing towards Brazil, today’s rusting wreck provides one of the most photogenic landscapes on the island.
This isn’t just a great place to visit if you’re eager to get that “Insta-worthy” shot, it’s also considered one of the most important attractions in Cape Verde.
3. Enjoy the music bars of Sal Rei
Boa Vista may be much more tranquil than Sal, but the island still offers plenty of entertainment opportunities.
One of the best things to do in Boa Vista is to enjoy music in one of the many bars in Sal Rei.
A must-visit for music bars is the Morabeza Beach Bar & Lounge Restaurant, which hosts a Reggae Night twice a week.
Located just outside the heart of Sal Rei along Praia Carlota, this trendy beach bar with open seating has the best vibes.
For classic Cape Verdean music, you have to visit Caffè del Porto, and enjoy a delicious seafood dish with your entertainment.
The Cocoa Bar is another nice place with a great atmosphere and good music.
Another one of my favorites is the super-cozy Wakan Bar, renowned for its vibe, friendly staff, and awesome cocktails.
However, it is unfortunately temporarily closed for the time being, although the owners have said they will be reopening in the future – so fingers crossed!
You’ll find a few more suggestions for music bars in the next section, as well!
4. Eat traditional Cape Verdean food
Cape Verde is known for its delicious food that blends a West African heritage with Portuguese influences.
And of course, trying this delicious food is one of the absolute best things to do in Boa Vista!
So, what is some traditional Cape Verde food you must try? The seafood is absolutely exquisite in Boa Vista.
You can choose from many local dishes, including shrimp in a garlic and wine sauce, moreia eel (served fried), laps, a stew made from mussels and peppers, or lobster cooked in a red sauce.
One of the best places to taste all these specialties is the Perola d’Chaves, which offers a range of seafood, Mediterranean, and BBQ options.
If you want to try local Cape Verdean food, the seafood dishes are a must and will definitely make you want to return again and again.
This restaurant also hosts live music some evenings and has the best cocktails on the island.
Another absolute must for local cuisine – again, especially the seafood – is Porton di nos Ilha in Sal Rei.
The views out over Praia d’ Diante, paired with their mouthwatering dishes make this one of the most romantic things to do in Boa Vista.
Like many bars and restaurants on Boa Vista, they also host live music some nights and serve a range of local drinks.
Find more places to enjoy local food and get the Ultimate Cape Verde Travel Guide Book.
5. Relax on Praia de Chaves
One of the best things to do in Boa Vista is hang out at the beach, and many people -including me! – claim that Praia de Chaves is one of the best beaches in Cape Verde.
And flanked by the fanciest hotels in Boa Vista, this white sand beach does impress with its azure waters and wonderful dunes.
The beach includes all modern amenities, from sunbeds and umbrellas to showers and toilets.
The beach is also well known amongst visitors for having some of the best hotels in Cape Verde.
And if you’re after an affordable five-star experience, why not book your stay at the Iberostar Club Boa Vista *****?
This All-Inclusive seafront resort not only has great rooms with a view, but it also offers a wide range of services, from a seafront pool to a bar, spa treatments, an on-site night club, as well as room service.
6. Enjoy a lonely walk at Praia de Santa Monica
While Praia de Chaves could be crowded sometimes, Praia de Santa Monica in the southwestern part of the island is perfect for a lovely afternoon stroll.
It’s about 5 km away from Povoação Velha, a splendid colonial village, and only 16 km from Sal Rei.
Adjacent to the Morro de Areia Nature Reserve, the beach is also the perfect spot for observing the local fauna.
If you’re lucky, you might even spot some sea turtles heading toward the ocean!
7. Visit Viana Desert
Opposite to Praia de Santa Monica, in the north-western part of the island, the Viana Desert is a place like no other.
You can get here easily from Sal Rei or Rabil to admire the ever-changing landscape made up of white sand dunes.
Interspersed with sparse vegetation and black volcanic rocks, the dunes create a surreal landscape.
The unearthly feel is amplified by the lack of any artificial sounds, and no doubt, this is the place to visit to restore your energy or meditate!
What makes it even better is that the desert is located only a stone’s throw from civilization.
You won’t have to worry about deadly animals or quicksands, and walking around here is absolute bliss.
The Viana Desert is part of any Boa Vista island tour as it’s one of the top things to do in Boa Vista!
8. Explore Rabil Oasis
Unlike Sal, which is quite sandy, Boa Vista impresses with a few green places, such as the Rabil Oasis.
Stretching along the River Rabil, the oasis offers a different kind of landscape.
The terrain is quite arid, but you’ll be able to admire lots of palm trees, as well as other desert vegetation.
Perhaps the loveliest spot is the wetland around the mouth of the river, an important natural area.
The Rabil lagoon is home to many species of birds, including Eurasian spoonbills and rufous-backed sparrows.
In addition to birds, you can also spot indigenous lizards, like the Cape Verde leaf-toed gecko.
9. Explore the deserted village of Curral Velho
Have you ever dreamed of exploring a deserted village? Well, you can tick it off your bucket list in Boa Vista.
In fact, visiting this remarkable spot is one of the most unique things to do in Boa Vista.
Curral Velho was once a flourishing fisherman village, but due to its remote location at the end of Praia de Santa Monica, the settlement was too exposed to pirate raids.
All across Boa Vista, Cape Verde, settlements started to build fortifications to ward off unwanted attacks.
As this happened, the inhabitants of Curral Velho started to abandon their homes and move to more secure areas.
Eventually, the village was abandoned completely, but the ruins of the settlement still stand and are proof of its existence.
Not only will visiting this place will allow you to discover a bit of the most authentic Boa Vista, but the village is also home now to birds and sea turtles, who come here to lay their eggs.
10. Watch the windsurfers at Praia de Varandinha
On the southwest coast of the island of Boa Vista, Cape Verde, Praia de Varandinha is a windsurfer’s paradise.
The crystalline waves bathing the shores, as well as the constant winds, create the perfect surfing conditions.
In addition to surfing, the beach itself is a true marvel; mostly deserted, it impresses with amazing caves and coves, as well as the finest sands that are a pleasure to walk on.
Close to the Morro de Areia Nature Reserve, the beach is also the perfect starting point for a hiking excursion in Boa Vista.
11. Go diving or snorkeling
Maybe you’ve always dreamt of snorkeling or diving but never had a chance to try them out.
Figuring in the top 10 hotspots for diving and snorkeling in the world, Boa Vista stands out with the impressive diversity of its corals and marine animals.
An abundant population of sea turtles makes it possible to admire these beautiful creatures, both onshore and under the water.
Snorkeling tours are possible in Boa Vista at high tide in the shallower waters of the reef.
When under water, you can expect to encounter thousands of colorful fish, as well as some sharks which are relatively small and not dangerous to humans.
Diving enthusiasts can practice both freediving and scuba diving to explore the amazing sea bottom.
Whatever your choice, remember to always go with a mate as the ocean can be a dangerous environment!
But it’s definitely one of the best outdoor activities in Cape Verde and shouldn’t be missed!
Book here your snorkeling experience in Boa Vista
12. Learn a new watersport
The best thing you can do during your holidays in Boa Vista is learning a new watersport, such as windsurfing or water skiing.
Whatever your choice, many resorts, and schools welcome tourists to join their classes and give it a go.
SeaBookings, for instance, offers beginner kitesurf courses and also organizes water excursions by kayak and boat tours.
If you’re not sure what sport to learn or what school is best, ask your hotel in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, to book the classes for you with a trusted provider.
13. Go on a turtle nesting tour
Cape Verde is the world’s third reserve for the Caretta Caretta turtles, and most of these wonderful creatures deposit their eggs on the beaches in Boa Vista.
So, if you happen to visit between July and mid-October, you could embark on a turtle nesting tour.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to see a few youngsters hatching!
While many tour operators include this experience in their Boa Vista holiday packages, the best thing to do is contact the Turtle Foundation in Boa Vista directly.
Through the foundation, you can find out about the most sustainable ways to observe sea turtles in their habitat without disturbing their nesting and hatching.
This is one of the most amazing things to do in Boa Vista and shouldn’t be missed if you are able to see it!
14. Do a quad tour
If you’re looking for a different experience in Boa Vista, then an island tour by quad will undeniably be the best part of your stay.
One of the best companies to check out is Quad Zone, which was established by local individuals.
They offer a variety of tours, including a full-day Boa Vista tour that will take you to the discovery of the island’s best-kept secrets.
If you don’t want to go on an organized tour but still like the idea of exploring the island by quad, know that they also offer quad and scooter rentals to true enthusiasts.
Check here the rates for quad tours in Boa Vista
15. Go whale watching
Have you ever dreamt of a close encounter with humpback whales?
Well then head to Boa Vista as these friendly creatures come to Cape Verde to give birth, normally in spring.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Boa Vista between March and May, a whale-watching boat tour could be the experience of your lifetime!
Tours depart from most of the hotels in Boa Vista and include a short briefing and half an hour of navigation before being able to observe the whales in the company of a marine biologist.
One of the best hotels offering whale-watching tours is the Hotel Riu Touareg *****, an all-inclusive resort that truly knows how to treat its guests.
Check here the rates for whale-watching tours
16. Visit the lighthouse of Morro Negro
Seeing Boa Vista from above is another of those unmissable experiences to live while visiting the island.
And one of the best places to go for this endeavor is Morro Negro, a hill located on the east coast of the island.
Overlooking the surroundings from 156 meters, the Morro Negro Lighthouse is a true landmark.
Built in colonial style in 1930, the now-abandoned edifice stands 12 meters tall and impresses visitors with its beauty.
Easily accessible from Cabeça dos Tarrafes, the Morro Negro hill is also the access gateway to one of the largest turtle nature reserves on the island.
17. Do a sailing tour
One of the most luxurious experiences to live in Boa Vista, and affordable enough for anyone to do, is a sailing tour around the island.
You can pick from a variety of options, including family boat tours, perfect for youngsters, as well as romantic tours for couples.
This relaxing getaway will not only give you a chance to restore your energy levels, but you’ll be able to admire the island from afar and discover some of the prettiest spots along the ever-changing coastline.
If you feel like it, you can even ask the skipper to drop the anchor and freshen up with some swimming or snorkeling.
This is no doubt, an adventure like no other and will be one of the most unforgettable things you do in Boa Vista.
Check here the rates for sailing tours
18. Have a cocktail night in a beach bar
After a long day of sailing, exploring the island on a quad, or diving, you certainly need a fun night.
Sipping cocktails in a beach bar is by far one of the most fun things to do in Boa Vista at night, and there are dozens of interesting bars to choose from.
One of my absolute favorite beach bars in Boa Vista is the Morabeza Beach Bar & Lounge Restaurant, which hosts a Reggae music night twice a week!
The Blu Mery might be a restaurant, but the facility has a bar too and prepares delicious cocktails.
Caffè del Porto, overlooking the old port in Sal Rei, not only offers yummy cocktails and authentic cuisine, but it also organizes live music nights.
Additionally, Bahia the Beach is a fun spot and a great place to make new friends, although their drinks can be a little pricey!
19. Go island-hopping
Boa Vista is only one of the ten islands in the Cape Verde archipelago.
The thing that each of them impresses with is the unique scenery and jaw-dropping landscapes, so it would be a true pity to miss what the other islands have to offer.
Indeed, islands like Santo Antao, Fogo, and Brava are fabulous for hikers, while Sao Vicente offers a lot for cultural travelers.
As such, island-hopping tours are offered by most tour operators as well as locals.
These tours will take you to the discovery of different natural areas, ranging from white sand beaches to mountain peaks, lush tropical forests, natural reserves, and breathtaking cultural cities and villages.
For the adventurers looking to do everything on their own, excellent flight and ferry connections between the major islands also make it possible to organize the island-hopping tour of your dreams.
So, why don’t you give it a try and have a true adventure in Cape Verde?
Check here the flights between the Cape Verdean islands and book here your day trip from Boa Vista.
20. Enjoy Cape Verdean traditional drinks
Undeniably, the only way to end your holiday in Boa Vista is with a sip of the traditional beverage, grogue, one of the most typical drinks from Cape Verde.
Similar to the popular rum up to some extent, grogue is an alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane.
This beverage is also the base for the popular Cape Verdean cocktail ponche, which includes lime and molasses.
Despite being a bit on the sweet side, it’s as refreshing as a mojito and undoubtedly a great choice after a hot day.
Some cocktail bars even use grogue instead of rum for classic cocktail recipes, such as mojito or caipirinhas – so, you have quite a few ways to try it!
21. Go on Day trips from Boa Vista to Sal
If you decide to take a break from all the things to do on Boa Vista, why not consider taking one of the classic Cape Verde Boa Vista excursions?
Sal is the nearest island to Boa Vista, and is easily accessible via the Palmeira-Praia to Sal Rei-Praia ferry. The ferry takes about three and a half hours.
Once you arrive on Sal, you’ll discover a whole new list of answers to the question of what is there to do in Cape Verde.
You can get up close and personal with baby lemon sharks and baby turtles or head underwater for snorkeling or underground to the Pedra de Lume salt mines.
Windsurfing and kite surfing are also very popular on Sal.
Really, there’s something for everyone, which is what makes day trips from Boa Vista to Sal so popular!
22. Enjoy Boa Vista Nightlife
When the sun sets, there are still plenty of things to do in Cape Verde, and Boa Vista has a thriving nightlife scene, especially in the city of Sal Rei on the northwest coast.
Head to Taverna Ka Euclides on a Saturday night for live music, or if you want to dance until well after midnight, make your way to Queens Pub to enjoy their many different DJs.
Looking for a more relaxed evening with friends in this Boa Vista town? Despite the name, the Monster Lounge will be the perfect place for you to unwind.
There are also many restaurants with their own bars attached for you to enjoy across the whole island.
If you spend the day on the beach, dine out on some delicious seafood, then spend the night dancing away until the early hours, your time in Boa Vista Cape Verde will have been well spent!
23. Have a sunset dinner
If you’re wondering what is Boa Vista like in Cape Verde, then one of the first answers is beautiful.
So one of the best things to do in Boa Vista Cape Verde is to enjoy the gorgeous sunset over dinner.
Perola d’Chaves on the west coast has various tables with a great view of the ocean and sky, and down on Boca Beach you can enjoy fresh barbecue lobster and homemade conch dishes with your view.
You can also get some great views of the sunset from the Hotel Riu Touareg on the south coast of Boa Vista.
But one of the best places for a sunset dinner has to be at the Morabeza Beach Bar & Lounge Restaurant, just to the south of Sal Rei.
Here you can dine on the sand and watch the sun slowly dip below the ocean, followed by a live drum and dance show and even a bonfire.
24. Do a catamaran cruise
You may have thought about taking a boat out on the water in Boa Vista, but you should also add a catamaran cruise to your list of what to do in Cape Verde.
Catamaran tours are a relaxing way to travel around the island and see some of the nearby nautical points of interest.
While on the catamaran cruise, you’ll have access to all manner of snorkeling and fishing equipment, plenty of beer, wine, and snacks, plus live entertainment (and wifi of course).
There’s even the option of having a floating swimming pool attached at the rear for extra relaxation.
No Boa Vista travel guide would be complete without adding one of these extremely chill cruise options!
Check here the rates for a catamaran cruise
25. Do an off-road tour
Any adrenaline junkies thinking of visiting Boa Vista can take part in some exciting things to do.
And one of the most exciting things to do Boa Vista Cape Verde offers is taking an off-road tour.
Visitors can be driven around in a 4×4 to various places of interest and local beauty by an experienced tour guide with a wealth of local knowledge.
If you want to take the wheel yourself, why not try out a half-day quad bike tour?
You’ll feel the wind in your hair as you speed along the sand dunes towards places like the Varandinha Caves and Santa Monica Beach.
Don’t worry if you’ve never handled an off-road vehicle before; your tour guide will be able to show you what to do on Boa Vista quad bikes to keep yourself safe and having fun.
Check here the rates for off-road tours
And now that you know what to do in Boa Vista, what the weather is like on the island, what foods to taste and drinks to sip, what are you waiting for?! Pack your suitcase, board that plane, and get ready to live the travel experience of a lifetime!
Getting around Boa Vista
The best way to get around Boa Vista is by private taxi or by aluguer, which is a collective taxi.
Most of the aluguer depart from the main square in Sal Rei, Boa Vista.
What about the weather in Boa Vista, Cape Verde?
Home to a numerous population of sea turtles that come to lay their eggs on its beaches, Boa Vista is an adventurer’s paradise.
Its arid tropical climate with hot summers and mild winters makes it the perfect spot to visit all year long.
The weather in Boa Vista is warm throughout the year, however, if you want to avoid excessive heat, the best time to visit is from November to July.
The hottest months in Boa Vista are usually August, September, and October.
Regardless of when you plan to go, don’t forget to bring reef-friendly sunscreen, a wide-brim sun hat, as well as protective, SPF summer clothing.
This makes the archipelago a perfect place for winter holidays in Cape Verde as well.
Map Boa Vista, Cape Verde
A short FAQ about Boa Vista, Cape Verde
Where is Cape Verde?
The islands of Cape Verde sit in the Atlantic Ocean, around 400 miles from the coast of Senegal on the continent of Africa.
What is there to do in Boa Vista?
Among the many things to do in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, we can mention sunbathing, snorkeling, and diving, as well as hiking and safari excursions.
What is the meaning of Boa Vista?
Boa Vista means “beautiful view” in English.
What is the best time to visit Boa Vista, Cape Verde?
The best time to visit is from November to July
Boa Vista or Sal? That is the question!
They are by far the two most visited islands in the Cape Verde archipelago.
Sal is known for its wide expanses of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and a wide variety of hotels and resorts. The island is perfect for those who want to indulge in a more luxurious holiday experience, or for those looking for endless entertainment and fun. As the main tourist resort, Sal also offers superb restaurants, beach bars, as well as a vibrant nightlife.
Boa Vista, on the other hand, appeals to those who’d prefer a more laid back type of holiday. Those choosing Boa Vista will get empty beaches where to unwind, the joy to observe some marine creatures, and generally a more relaxed travel experience.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t find any entertainment on Boa Vista! From restaurants to bars and shops, the island has it all! Including sleepy towns with an intriguing architecture, amazing beaches, as well as a real shipwreck! What else could you possibly want?!
Where is Boa Vista Cape Verde?
Boa Vista is the easternmost island of Cape Verde, sitting 65 miles to the south of the island of Sal.
Is Boa Vista safe?
Like many of the Cape Verde islands, Boa Vista is a safe destination for tourists.
The crime rates are very low, and the only precautions you should take are ones you would take in most other countries.
For example, when shopping in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, keep an eye out for pickpockets and don’t display large amounts of money too prominently.
Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip
- You’ll snap tons of photos and I love to take my GoPro in order to shoot even in extreme situations.
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and hiking sandals when traveling to warm countries. Consider trying some of these eco-friendly vegan hiking boots.
- Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my eco-friendly sunscreen by Thinksport.
- I always carry a light rain jacket, just in case. Pack smart with these organic cotton clothing companies.
- Be environmentally friendly and get one of these awesome backpacks made from recycled materials.
- Get in the mindset with these amazing wilderness survival books.
- Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel is protected against all odds with HeyMondo.
Hola! I am Paulina, a fervent travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, you’ll find all the tips to make the most of your holiday. Get ready to enjoy outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling or sailing. Let’s hit the road together!