Boa Vista Cape Verde (Boa Vista means “good view” in Portuguese) is the most easterly island of the archipelago. Situated just 450km west of Senegal on the African mainland. Marine turtles and traditional music, together with extensive sand dunes are some of the main features of the island. Furthermore Boa Vista has 55 km of beaches, which many feel rival those in the Caribbean. Tourism on Boa Vista is a little more authentic than its neighbour Sal. Eating out is relatively cheap compared with much of Europe. Fish is widely available to buy and on menus and the local dish of cachupa (a stew with fish or meat) is popular. There are direct flights from many cities in Europe, so you can be on one of the lovely beaches the same day. Visitors will have the option to try out some of the many water sports. Alternatively, you can simply loose yourself on one of the vast beaches. Boa Vista is definitely worth a visit.
Boa Vista has a lot of lovely sandy beaches. One of these is Santa Monica beach (Praia de Santa Mónica), which has lovely pristine sands and stretches for over 22km. It is on the south west of the island, near Povoação Velha. It attracts a lot of tourists, but the beach is so long it never gets crowded. Many birds can be found here, hunting when the water is lower. Other beaches include Estoril, Chaves, Lacacão and Cabral. At the right time of year it is possible to see the turtles nesting in the sand dunes. These lovely creatures were threatened with extinction, but now they are protected. Visitors should be careful not to damage the turtles’ habitat. Organised turtle watching trips are the best way to enjoy these gentle animals. Whales can sometimes be seen between February and May from the beaches and around Sal Rei. Humpback whales feed around the islet off the town. There is more information on whales on our whale watching page.
Night life on the island includes bars and entertainment in the large hotels as well as smaller more authentic bars in the towns. Sal Rei is the main town on the island and there you will find a selection of bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants. Music is important to Cape Verdeans and many bars have live music and you may well find the locals are soon dancing. In common with all the Cape Verde islands, there are festivals on Boa Vista. There is normally a music festival in August. On 4 July they celebrate Santa Isabel, patron saint of the island, with processionals and other events. Carnival is also celebrated as is Santa Cruz.
Places to visit
Sal Rei is a quiet, sleepy town and is home to approximately half of the island’s people. The Praça de Santa Isabel is the main square, where you will find attractive flowers and pavilions. The church (Igreja da Santa Isabel) is by the square and has a light blue and sand coloured Baroque frontage. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll along the Avenida dos Pescadores, which runs along the waterfront. You can take a tour of the old harbour together with the boatyard. The village of Rabil is in the southwest of the island. Visits to the small pottery and also the church (São Roque) are worthwhile. Nearby, towards Estância de Baixo, you will find a small oasis of date and coconut palm trees in the valley. Also in the south west is Povoação Velha built around 500 years ago and which is the oldest village on the island. There is a small piazza and also an attractive little church (built in 1828) in this village. Povoação Velha is situated at the foot of Rocha Estancia, and was capital of the island until 1810.
Boa Vista is one of the Barlavento (windward) group of islands. The island is mainly flat with desert occupying a large part of the island. There are bare, rocky vistas, with occasional palm trees and deserted villages and ruins. There are, however, some low mountains. The Deserto de Viana is in the north eastern part of the island and is some 20km in length and up to 5km wide. The northern section of the desert is part of a protected area known as Boa Esperança Nature Reserve. There are ferry connections with other islands such as Santiago and Sal.