Are you looking for a destination that combines the serene beauty of island life with the modern convenience of city living?
If so, traveling Cape Verde is the perfect spot to plan your next getaway.
With its stunning beaches, vibrant markets, and diverse culture, this small African nation offers something for everyone. Let me show you where to stay in Cape Verde!
From luxury resorts to tranquil homestays and eco-lodges tucked away in lush nature reserves – there are plenty of amazing places to stay in Cape Verde that will guarantee a memorable trip.
Since my first visit to Cape Verde in 2017, I frequently come back to Cabo Verde islands. I’ve been staying for more than 1 year in Cabo Verde. This allowed me to create much content on traveling to Cape Verde and develop my love for the kriol culture.
To make the most of your time, check the Ultimate Cape Verde Travel Guide Book filled with local, hidden gems.
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Table of Contents
Top Resources to Travel Cape Verde
⚘ Don’t leave without a travel guide. Be prepared and get the Ultimate Cape Verde Travel Guide Book
✈ Book cheap flights to Cape Verde with Skyscanner
✔ Book the best tours in Cape Verde with Viator
➳ Find the best hotel deals in Cape Verde with Trivago
❖ Get the best car rental deals with DiscoverCars
☘ Get the best discounted outdoor gear (outlet) at REI.com
✎ Never leave without travel insurance. I get mine at HeyMondo. It’s easy to set up, cheap, and reliable.
✔ Skip the queue at the airport and get your Cape Verde visa in advance with iVisa
$ Withdraw money without hidden fees and avoid rubbish exchange rates with Wise (You’ll get a card for free!)
Overview: The best places in Cape Verde for holidays
|Sal, Boa Vista, Maio||Beach||Odjo d’Agua Hotel (Sal)|
Royal Horizons Boa Vista (Boa Vista)
Casa Evora (Maio)
|Santo Antao, Brava, Fogo||Hiking||Tiduca Hotel (Santo Antao)|
Djabraba’s Eco-Lodge (Brava)
Casa Alcindo (Fogo)
|Maio, Brava, Santo Antao||Remote, Unwind||Casa Evora (Maio) |
Djabraba’s Eco-Lodge (Brava)
Biosfera Amor do Dia (Santo Antao)
|Fogo||Volcanoes||Casa Alcindo (Fogo)|
|Sal, Boa Vista||Water sports||Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort (Sal)|
Royal Horizons Boa Vista (Boa Vista)
|Sao Vicente, Santiago||City life, culture||Oasis Porto Grande (Mindelo)|
OASIS Praiamar (Santiago)
1. Where to Stay in Cape Verde for Beach Holidays
They have warm temperatures all year round, especially during the winter months the climate is comfortably warm to escape grey Europe.
Sal and Boa Vista have each an international airport which is serviced by major European airlines. Read here about the best beaches in Cape Verde.
The main hub is Santa Maria, in the Southern part of the island, where you’ll find all the resorts and tourist commodities you’re looking for. Sal has a large variety of shops, restaurants, and bars.
However, Sal also holds some natural gems that I totally recommend visiting. The salt mines of Pedro Luma are remains of the island’s former booming salt trade. The inland, the capital Espargos uncover a barren, vast landscape that will impress you for sure.
Sal is quite small (35 x 12km) and is made for those who just want to relax at the pool or the beach. Bar hopping is the main activity to do at night.
However, I seriously missed genuine opportunities to interact and learn more about the Cape Verdean culture as Santa María is all about large hotel resorts, African dance shows, and Italian gelato.
I hardly doubt that this form of tourism is sustainable as Sal island is totally desert and the local population often gets their water cut off, so the tourists in the south may take long, hot showers.
On top, everything needs to be imported, thus prices are not as cheap as you might initially expect.
I don’t want to be a poor sport, but these facts should be kept in mind when booking your holidays in Sal.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that Sal has some of the most gorgeous beaches of the archipelago and is a hub for beach-goers and kitesurfers alike. – Check activities in Sal
Let’s dive into where to stay in Sal, Cape Verde!
Best Places To Stay in Sal
2. Boa Vista
Some are very remote and famous for being nesting sites of loggerhead turtles. The island is flat and covered with dunes.
Apart from relaxing beach days, you can do sailing activities, quad biking through the sand dunes or observe the turtles during nesting season.
The Turtle Foundation is present on Boa Vista, just email them to get information about the turtles.
As on Sal island, most products need to be imported from Europe or other Cape Verdean islands. However, the island is famous for its pottery.
There are lots of great options for hotels in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, no matter your budget or travel type.
Best Places To Stay in Boa Vista
2. Where to Stay in Cape Verde for Hiking & Trekking Holidays
Did you ever consider Cape Verde as a hiking destination? Not only does its name (Verde = green in Portuguese) suggest lush natural landscapes, but the archipelago also holds some of the most surprising and impressive hiking trails.
Not only does its name (Verde = green in Portuguese) suggest lush natural landscapes, but the archipelago also holds some of the most surprising and impressive hiking trails.
All 3 islands are known for their lush greenery and scenic views over the Atlantic.
1. Santo Antao
Santo Antao is the hiking island per excellence.
I don’t have enough words to express the impressive mountainous landscapes, the breathtaking lush green valleys, the craters, the rough Atlantic coast, and, of course, its warm-hearted people.
Best time to visit Santo Antao is during the winter and spring months as during the rainy season many trails can be damaged.
The ground of Santo Antao is so fertile that it’s also known as the “garden of Cape Verde“ as it’s exporting mangos, potatoes, bananas, papayas and much more to all the other Capeverdean islands.
The island itself is very diverse, with a very rough, mountainous landscape in the East and beaches in the Western part. However be careful not to swim in the Eastern part, as the tides can be extremely dangerous!
Best Places To Stay in Santo Antão
Like Santo Antao, the economy is mostly agricultural and Brava doesn’t have an airport.
As it’s quite remote and doesn’t have a lot of tourist activity, it’s a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and learn more about Capeverdean culture.
In my humble opinion, that’s one of the best things to do in Cape Verde; interact and learn from the locals about creole culture.
The terrain is extremely varied and lush green valleys contrast with high peaks. Brava is also called the “Island of Flowers” as its climate is much more humid and not as hot.
Main towns are Vila Nova Sintra and Furnas which is located in a volcanic crater and is the busiest town of Brava.
Faja d’Agua is located in a gorgeous bay surrounded by fruit trees. Hiking trails mostly start at the main towns.
Best Places To Stay in Brava
3. Sao Nicolau
Sao Nicolau is next to Santo Antao the other green island of the “Barlovento” island group. However, it’s much less inhabited and less visited by tourists. However, it has the advantage of some gorgeous remote beaches.
You can reach Sao Nicolau by ferry or plane.
As Sao Nicolau has very fertile ground, you’ll be constantly surrounded by coffee and sugar cane plantations, banana and papaya trees, and much more.
Monte Gordo is the highest point of the island (1300 m) and the island is only about 45 x 20 km.
Most hiking trails are in the natural park of Monte Gordo. You shouldn’t miss the Carbeirinho, a giant rock with caves shaped by the wind.
The cliffs are of different colors and the area is close to black sandy beaches.
Best Places To Stay in Sao Nicolau
3. Where to Stay in Cape Verde for Secludedness and Remoteness
Like every archipelago, also Cape Verde has some busier islands and others that are a real oasis of peace, secludedness, and tranquility.
Even if the last majority of the Cape Verdean islands always have a more remote and laid-back part, some islands seem to be particularly made to come to inner peace, disconnect from the stress and be close to nature.
If you decide to stay on one of these islands, you’ll get precious and rare insight into the authentic Cape Verdean, creole way of living.
However, you should consider that the way to get there is not always the easiest and that your journey to get there might take 1-2 days.
But, as they say, the route becomes the destination.
1. Santa Luzia, Cabo Verde
Santa Luzia is located only 8 km from the vibrant island of Sao Vicente.
The island is barren, dry with dunes and beaches in the south and a rugged north coast.
The island is dominated by mount Topona with 395 m and is nowadays inhabited. Even though there were a few attempts in the 1960s to make Santa Luzia livable, the soil was just too dry and people had to leave again in the 1990s.
But even if the island is inhabited, more and more visitors come to hike, do bird watching and enjoy the vistas of the desert island and its total silence.
It’s all about reconnecting to the natural surroundings and enjoying the omnipresence of untouched nature and the giant ocean.
The only way to get to the deserted island is by renting a fishing boat from Calhau, Sao Vicente. The journey lasts 2 hours.
There are no facilities on the island, so make sure to take your provisions.
2. North of Santo Antao
The north-eastern part of Santo Antao is probably one of the most beautiful areas of the entire Cape Verdean archipelago.
As large hotels and resorts are rather rare, you’ll find the calm and secludedness you’re looking for.
Be prepared to be mostly surrounded by fruit trees, coffee plants, and breathtaking views.
The sharp mountainous profile created the unique profile of the island.
The villages located in the mountains are more remote and thus difficult to reach. The main villages in the valley with paved access are Ribeira Grande, Ponta do Sol, Cidade das Pombas, etc.
Some villages don’t even have asphalted road access, thus tourists are not very common.
However, that will be the main reason why you’ll immerse in the beautiful Cape Verdean culture and enjoy the “no stress” vibe at its best (and Cape Verdean food!)
Best Places To Stay in Northern Santo Antão
4. Where to Stay in Cape Verde for Volcanoes
The archipelago of Cape Verde is located on a volcanic hotspot of the West African coast.
Even if most islands have a volcano and some boast several spectacular craters, only Fogo erupted after the fifteenth century when the first settlers arrived.
Fogo has the most active and prominent volcano on the Cape Verdean archipelago, Pico do Fogo (2829m). The almost circular island mostly consists of a single massive stratovolcano. The volcano had its last eruption in 2014.
São Felipe and Mosteiros are the 2 main cities of the island and are great bases to explore Fogo island by hiking or rides.
The terraced hillsides filled with Arabica coffee plants are, along with Pico de Fogo volcano, one of Fogo’s natural tourist sites. The wine of Fogo is one of the most prominent wines of the Capeverdean archipelago and a great souvenir from Cabo Verde.
The volcano can only be visited with a guide.
Staying at Fogo island isn’t complete without visiting the 1000 inhabitants’ village of Chã das Caldeiras. The village is located inside the crater and is famous for the excellent quality of its grapes.
Above Mosteiros, the weather can become more chilly in the northeast, especially at night. The only safe place to swim is La Salina in the north of the island.
Best Places To Stay in Fogo
Inside the volcano crater (!)
5. Where to Stay in Cape Verde for Water Sports
Cape Verde is a very attractive destination for active travelers.
Not only will hikers enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of Santo Antao or Fogo, but also watersport lovers will fall in love with the excellent conditions for all types of surfing or sailing.
From November to March wind conditions are the best for surfing in Cape Verde.
Sal is especially famous among the international kite surfing community for its legendary “Kite Beach” which is located a 5-minute drive from the tourist hub of Santa Maria.
Some of the most famous kitesurfers in the world are training here for upcoming championships. You’ll find specialized surfers hostels that will arrange your lesson, no matter if you are a beginner or an intermediate surfer.
The months between November and March are the best for kitesurfing in Sal as the winds are increasing.
Even if you’re not into water sports, I recommend visiting “Kite Beach” for its laid-back vibe and watching the artistic kite moves.
Sal is also the perfect place to take your first sailing lessons. Several operators are offering their services in Santa Maria, in the south of Sal, and the main tourist hub. – Check activities in Sal
Best Places To Stay in Santa María, Sal for Water Sports
Maio is one of the less-visited islands of the Capeverdean archipelago, but that’s why you can still enjoy the authentic Cape Verdean lifestyle and enjoy pristine beaches with amazing conditions for water sports lovers.
The intact ocean fauna will be a paradise for divers and windsurfers will appreciate the perfect breeze on Maio’s beaches. The island is home to some of the most untouched and best beaches in Cape Verde.
Beaches are mostly desert and hotels are limited. For me personally, Maio is the next top beach destination to be. The beaches are huge and there’s just nobody!
Best Places To Stay in Maio
3. Sao Vicente
Sao Vicente, home to the famous Morna singer Cesaria Evora, is not only the cultural hub of Cape Verde but also a heaven for windsurfers.
The main beach for water sports is in Sao Pedro, at a stone’s throw from the airport of Sao Vicente. But don’t be mistaken, the beach is wide and mostly desert.
However, this beach is recommended only to proficient surfers as currents and tides are very strong. In the twinkling of an eye, it will take you to Brazil.
Also, wind conditions can be literally mind-blowing in the bay of Sao Pedro where speed records of more than 40 knots have been recorded.
The time I visited, there was a shop near the Hotel Foya Branca **** which would rent suits and boards.Other surf spots on Sao Vicente are Praia Grande, Salamansa and Praia Branca.
Best Places To Stay in São Vicente for Water Sports
6. Where to Stay in Cabo Verde for City Life
City life and urban vibes in Cape Verde may be much more frequent than you’d initially think. Music, art, and dance are omnipresent in the streets of any Cape Verdean island.
One of my favorite things in Cape Verdean towns is that you’re never really far from nature whether it’s a gorgeous beach, an impressive mountainous landscape or lush vegetation.
1. Mindelo, Sao Vicente
Indeed Mindelo is not only the hometown of the most famous Cape Verdean singer of all times, Cesaria Evora, but is also home to legendary artists such as Tito Paris, Bau, and Fantcha.
Music in general and especially the “queen’s” songs, Cesaria Evora, is omnipresent in the streets of Mindelo during night and day.
Many bars along Avenida 5 de Julho and Rua de Lisboa offer special music dinners where you can listen to traditional Cape Verdean music like Morna and Coladeira.
My favorite bar was a bit further away, but a very cozy place to listen to Cape Verdean music among locals: Livraria Nho Djunga. Be prepared for seeing some of the best Mindel’ artists who sometimes show up very spontaneously.
Art galleries and local craft shops are sprouting up…The bright blue Praia Laginha beach is the perfect place to spend lazy beach days.
Hence, Sao Vicente is a great idea for the undecided on where to stay in Cape Verde.
The market at Praca d’Estrela and the old fish market is the most vibrant hot spots in town.
I loved just to get there and soak up the atmosphere. Mindelo is also well renowned for having one of the most legendary carnivals right after Rio.
Best Places To Stay in Mindelo, São Vicente
2. Praia, Santiago Island
Praia, on Santiago island, is Cape Verde’s capital and also the busiest city of the archipelago. Praia can be easily reached from all other Cape Verdean islands and has international flight connections to Europe, the United States, and the African continent.
Many of the city doesn’t have house numbers or names yet, but they do in the city center.
The “plateau” in the city center of Praia and is the perfect location to have coffee in its numerous bars, stroll around in town, and visit the local markets.
The town hall of Praia, the Supreme Court, the cathedral, Praça Alexandre Albuquerque, and Palácio da Assembleia are interesting places to visit.
Gamboa (not suitable for swimming), Praia Negra and Quebra Canela are the main beaches of the town. Praia is known for its festive mood and events are taking place all year round.
Please be aware that being the biggest city of Cape Verde, Praia has a higher crime rate than any other island.
You shouldn’t go far from the city center at night, flaunting expensive gadgets and jewelry.
The stairs at the edge of Achada Santo Antonio towards Plateau are unsafe. Avoid that neighborhood, also during the day!
Best Places To Stay in Praia, Santiago
7. Where to stay in Cape Verde for All Inclusive Holidays
Many people visit Cape Verde in order to have a stress-free holiday. Often the preferred option is going for an “all-inclusive” hotel where you don’t need to worry about anything.
Even though this type of traveling will not bring you in touch with the local community, Cape Verde resorts are still a great way to completely unwind.
All-inclusive hotels in Cape Verde can only be found on two islands: Sal and Boa Vista. Both islands are famous for their beautiful beaches and are the best area to stay in Cape Verde for beach holidays.
The laid-back lifestyle is just perfect for those who want to spend a carefree holiday in Cape Verde.
If you are planning to stay in a Cape Verde All-Inclusive Hotel, don’t forget to the local community in order to increase the sustainability of your Cape Verdean holiday.
Visit local shops, do tours with local companies and support local associations (for example turtle protection associations in Sal or Boa Vista). It will make your holiday so much more enriching!
The Best Cape Verde All Inclusive Hotels in Sal
The Best Cape Verde All Inclusive Hotels in Boa Vista
I hope this article helps to find the best place to stay in Cape Verde and decide what is the best island to stay in Cape Verde for your holiday.
Do you still have doubts? Please do not hesitate to contact me, I am sure there will be a place on Cape Verde that perfectly meets your needs. Just remember that Cape Verde’s got it all!
Have you already been to Cape Verde? I would love to hear about your favorite places to stay.
Quick FAQ about Cabo Verde travel
Why travel to Cape Verde?
Because Cape Verde has so much to offer that you’ll be wondering why you didn’t think of visiting earlier!
From stunning mountains and hiking trails in Santo Antao, to the vibrant music scene in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, pristine sandy beaches in Sal or wine culture in Fogo: there are 1001 reasons to visit Cape Verde as soon as possible.
On top, the country boasts a very stable democratic regime and you are generally safe when visiting as a foreigner. However, you should avoid certain parts of Santiago, the capital of Cape Verde.
Apart from islands like Sal or Boa Vista, Cape Verde is a relatively cheap holiday destination where you get extremely good quality & quantity for your money.
Another reason why I loved Cape Verde so much and would go back, like tomorrow, is the vibrant cultural mix and the Cape Verdean people. They are just the sweetest and most generous people I met in a long time.
Of course, you always need to be careful and can’t trust anybody blindly, but I only had extremely positive experiences (except in Mindelo, where I was a bit scared to walk alone in the streets in the beginning).
The cultural creole mix is breathtaking and the multifaceted music culture is just everywhere. I can’t remember a day in Mindelo where I didn’t hear music in the streets.
4. Pristine Beaches
Cape Verde is still not very known as a tourist destination. However, the “beach holiday islands” like Sal or Boa Vista are becoming increasingly popular thus I recommend visiting as soon as possible.
Maio is the island with probably the highest potential to become the next top beach destination.
5. Spectacular hikes
The “hiking islands” of Cape Verde are a particularly great destination for winter holidays in Cape Verde.
Where is Cape Verde and how many islands are there?
Cabo Verde, also called Cape Verde, country comprising a group of 10 islands that lie 385 miles (620 km) off the west coast of Africa. Praia, on Santiago, is the capital.
Even if I got to visit only 3 of them for a longer period, I learned a lot about the other islands by talking to locals, sailors, and other travelers.
Choosing the “best” island to stay in Cape Verde, heavily depends on your expectations and plans for your holiday.
First of all you have to distinguish between the “barlavento” (windward) islands, referring to Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista; and “sotavento” (leeward) islands, including Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava.
A Hard Choice: What is the best island of Cape Verde for your holiday?
If you are looking for crystal-clear beaches and a relaxing time on the beach, then the islands of Sal and Boa Vista are made for your holiday. However, in my opinion, those islands were not very interesting from a cultural point of view.
Large hotel complexes and resorts prevent a genuine exchange between locals and tourists.
If you are hiking and outdoor activity lover, then you’ll be the happiest on Santo Antao or Fogo, boasting the highest mountain of the archipelago. Culturally interested people will fall in love with Mindelo, Sao Vicente, the hometown of Cesaria Evora.
So before you head to Cape Verde, first decide if you want party holidays, quieter locations, amazing hiking trails, nature, city life or remote beaches.
What is the Best Time to Visit Cape Verde?
…is all year round!
A pleasantly tropical destination, the Cape Verde islands benefit from average annual temperatures of between 26°C and 30°C. January is the coldest month which is perfect to experience the mountainous islands of Fogo, Santo Antao, and Sao Nicolau.
This makes Cape Verde a perfect winter holiday destination and I can only recommend making a trip to Cape Verde at Christmas.
Mindelo on Sao Vicente as it hosts one of the most important carnivals after Rio de Janeiro. There are daily events during carnival season and percussion and dance groups start rehearsing already in early December.
However, you can expect over 180mm spread during summer months (August – October) Autumn and spring are dry with very little rainfall, making them the best time to go to Cape Verde for sunny and dry weather.
I created a list of the best things to do in Cape Verde.
Where are the best places to stay in Cape Verde?
The best place to stay in Cape Verde largely depends on your holiday plans.
For hiking: Santo Antao, Sao Vicente, Fogo and Brava.
For beaches: Maio, Boa Vista and Sal
For volcanoes: Fogo
For city life: Sao Vicente and Santiago island
Cabo Verde Accommodation Map
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!