Difference between revisions of "Boa Vista (Cape Verde)"
Revision as of 20:54, 17 March 2019
Boa Vista is the third largest island of the Archipelago Cape Verde. Similarly to the island of Sal, it is flat and has a surface of 620 Km2. The Peak of Estância is the highest point of the island measuring about 390 meters. It is covered with white sand dunes, including the Deserto Viana which was (and still is being) formed by Saharan sand blowing over from mainland Africa. Oases of date palms are found here and there and are the typical vegetation of the island. Boa Vista has 55 Km of white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Circa 20,000 people live on the island.
In summary, fantastic beaches and hot sunshine - with some interesting culture and music and good food. The downside is the prices you'd expect of a developed country with the infrastructure of a low-income country.
Boa Vista is primarily a tourist destination with little other economy. Sal Rei is the largest town and the main place to stay other than major all-inclusive resorts.
The airport is in Rabil, approximately 5 minutes drive from the West coast hotels, 10 minutes from Sal Rei, and 30 minutes from the Southern coast resorts. Taxis await all flights outside the entrance.
The TUI travel group provide flights. This means from the UK Thomson are the provider, flying to Boa Vista from Manchester, Gatwick and Birmingham airports. While the airport is currently small and can only handle one aircraft at a time, there are plans for an expansion and increasing the capability of the airport.
Airlines that fly into Boa Vista International Airport: Thomson TAP Cabo Verde Airlines TUI TUIfly Netherlands TUI Nordic
Ferry services to/from the other islands are not generally a viable option. Flights are available but do not go every day and are relatively expensive. They can be booked from travel agents in Sal Rei near the main square.
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.
Apart from enjoying the beaches, the holiday providers will upsell their excursions; ranging from relaxed afternoons sailing on a catamaran to exciting quad biking along the many dirt trails and through the sand dunes of the Deserto Viana.
These excursions can also be provided by local companies, who also make sure to donate to local projects to give back to the Boa Vista communities.
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  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.
Apartments are available to rent in Sal Rei.