Car is the
only main way to get around the island. There are few concrete roads, most being made of volcanic cobblestones. Many beaches are only reachable by off-road tracks (including Santa Monic and the ‘Shipwreck’). There are also few signposts.
Organised excursions with your holiday provider will be using 4X4 Land Rovers or rugged coaches/minibuses. Otherwise, local taxis can be called upon - these are benches bolted onto the back of a pickup. A round trip to Sal Rei from the Riu Touareg will cost around 50€ or 5500 Cape Verde Escudos. Don't expect cheap travel - fuel costs are comparable with the UK. A full day will cost around 10,000 Escudos, a half day around 8,000.
Mile upon mile of stunning beaches, some untouched and remote. Famous as the nesting sites of loggerhead turtles.
The island is a mix of arid volcanic landscape and Sahara like sand dunes (the sand blows across from the Sahara). Two prominent volcanic peaks provide a
back drop. There is little wildlife on land except goats, donkies, cows and bird life.
While on the island it is worth booking excursions with operators as to see the gems of the island, visiting beaches, villages, farmlands and workshops. With certain tours this offers a unique opportunity to see parts of the island that otherwise would be missed on the trip to and from the hotel and airport.
Santa Monica is considered the best beach. Currently remote but with a resort being built.
Praia de Atlanta is famous for a 1950s rusted ship wreck. There are no direct roads and reaching it requires travelling over sand dunes.
Do a nighttime beach patrol during Loggerhead turtle nesting season and watch in amazement as these elegant creatures come ashore in shimmering moonlight to lay their eggs. The Turtle Foundation [http://www.turtle-foundation.org/ProjectCapeVerde/tabid/80/language/en-US/Default.aspx ] is the main charity on the island and may invite you along if you email them.
Whale watching tours at around 60 Euros are available March-October.
Research and make contact prior to departing on your travels - the tour operators will provide similar excursions but at higher cost and in larger group sizes which gives a much less personal experience.
Boa Vista's desert ecosystem doesn't provide for much local produce. There is however a lot of rocks and stones! Traditionally made pottery is made at the pottery school (Escola de Olaria) in Rabil, this is an
intiative designed to re-introduce these old fashioned skills back to the young population.
Almost everything is imported - food and drink included, so expect prices to be
comparible with Europe.
The tourist shops (and the persistent street sellers) sell interesting wooden carvings and general tourist items.Most of these shops also sell artwork.
The food is generally very good, although at broadly European prices. It mixes Italian / Portuguese
and African influences. The seafood is excellent, with tuna, marlin, wahoo being common catches.
The local fish market sells excellent and cheep fresh fish between 8 and 11 am. (Next to bar Pescador).
'Morabeza beach bar - provides freshly cooked fish and steak dishes in a relaxed setting on the Western coast, not far from the Riu Karamboa resort. Ideal for an afternoon lazing away with great beer.
Blue Marlin - located in the central square does fresh seafood and traditional dishes (requiring pr-order). Only four seated spaces so reservation required. Dinner is in 7:30 and 9:30pm sittings.
Cabo Cafe - upstairs
dinning with a lovely atmosphere seafood and traditional dishes.
In Boa Vista, the local rum is called
Grog, this is a sprit that is available across the island. The local beer Strela is reasonably good and cheep avalible accross the island (300E). Cocktails are widely available and cost 5/600E. Caipirinha’s are particularly good.
Wakan bar -boat shaped bar in the middle of the
Santa Barbara street serving cocktails, beer and snacks. Seating is outdoors with views of the sea. Happy hour offers cut price and buy one get one free cocktails . The town square has a bar in its center serving good cocktails and providing local music on weekends.
Pescador - bar providing good views for sunset overlooking the port. Situated next to the fish market.
Tortuga - beach bar with sun loungers. Serving food and drink. 1,000E price or minimum spend required for the sunloounger.