10 Things Do Cape Verde You Cant Afford Miss

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Nicknamed as Africa’s Caribbean, Cape Verde has sun-kissed beaches, lunar-like volcanic landscapes, thrilling watersports, Creole Portuguese-African culture and vibrant nightlife. Located off the West African coast, this group of ten Atlantic islands boast out-of-this-world beaches and year-long sunshine. 


One of the most popular islands is Sal, which boasts some of the most picturesque beaches in the entire archipelago. Boa Vista – another Cape Verdean gem – redefines beach holiday with its 55 kilometres of uninterrupted coastline framed by idyllic white-sand beaches, wind-sculptured dunes and rocky coves. Whether you’re looking for adventurous trips or relaxing vacations, holidays to Cape Verde are full of fun, sun and sand!

Exhilarating beach hopping

Santa Maria beach Cape Verde

Crystal-clear turquoise waters meet swathes of powdery, creamy-white sands – Sal’s beaches are straight out of heaven! Stroll along the idyllic coastline, make a splash in the waters, or simply bask in the golden sunshine. Dotted with fishermen’s boats and sunloungers, the scenic Santa Maria beach is one of best beaches in Cape Verde, and once you've soaked up the sun be sure to grab something to eat in the spectacular Sal Beach Club. For some watersport action make your way to Kite beach for kitesurfing, or head to Ponta Preta beach, an ideal venue for windsurfing.

Planning a holiday already? Don't leave home without our guide to Cape Verde

Pedra de Lume saltpans

Explore the spectacular Pedra de Lume saltpans – natural salt lakes formed in the crater of an extinct volcano. These warm pools are saltier than the Dead Sea, making it practically impossible to sink. Holidaymakers can also visit the Buracona Lagoon along Sal’s west coast. When sunrays hit the waters of this sea-side cave at noon, the entire surface lights up like a big blue eye - it makes the perfect setting for romantic couples holidays!

Watersports in Sal

Things to do in Sal Cape verde

Holidaymakers looking for fun on Cape Verde holidays will find a haven in Sal: choose from surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, diving, snorkelling or scuba diving. Whether you're donning your snorkel or scuba gear there are shoals of fish, manta rays and turtles gliding in and out of colourful corals . Sal also offers great fishing opportunities, such as big game fishing, rock fishing, deep sea fishing and surf casting.

Thrilling quad bike rides

Things to do in Sal cape verde

Explore Sal on quad bikes - the desert landscape covers a vast extent of Sal so chart your trail through sand dunes and the remarkably rugged terrain, before heading towards the famous Pedra de Lume salt pools, where the Serra Negra mountain provides an impressive backdrop.

Vibrant nightlife in Santa Maria

As night descends, action shifts from beaches to the lively streets of Santa Maria, the busiest town in Sal. The island is famous for its upbeat nightlife, especially the reggae bars, where you can dance to live Cape Verdean music while sipping on pontche – the island’s signature drink. For party lovers, the biggest attraction is Sal Music Festival held on Santa Maria beach, featuring an extensive line-up of local bands, international DJs and reggae artists.


Stunning Boa Vista beaches

Boa Vista beach Cape Verde

Boa Vista offers a wide choice of beaches and each of them makes beach hopping here a truly rewarding experience. The island’s most popular beach, Santa Monica, features powder-soft golden sands and clear waters – a picture-postcard panorama! Nature lovers can admire the sand dunes and blonde stretch of Praia de Chaves or saunter along the sweeping white sandy Lacacao beach. If you’re into outdoor fun, try windsurfing, kitesurfing or diving at Estoril and Verandinha beaches.

For more fantastic beaches, we've rounded up 10 stretches around the world that are sure to wow.

Whale and turtle spotting

Spotting humpback whales and loggerhead turtles is one of the top attractions of Boa Vista. Join a whale watching excursion between February and May and (hopefully) you'll spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The island also boasts the world’s third largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles. Visit Ervatao beach between July and September, you’ll be amazed to see turtles coming to lay their eggs in the sand – an unforgettable sight!

Exploring the Viana Desert

Things to do Boa Vista

For a change of scene, drag yourself from the beaches and head interior to the Viana Desert, which covers about 30 per cent of Boa Vista. With miles of windblown sands, dramatic dunes and volcanic rocks, the rugged landscape gives you a taste of Sahara in mid-Atlantic. Explore this lunar-like terrain on an exhilarating 4x4 safari or go quad biking. For the best vista, drive south where the sand dunes reach heights of up to 50 metres.

Island hopping in Cape Verde

What better way to discover Cape Verde than by hopping between its idyllic islands? Find a welcoming contrast from Boa Vista’s beaches in the verdant tropical foliage of Santo Antão. Marvel over the Bay of Faja D’Agua on Brava or get awestruck by Fogo’s spectacular volcano. For a taste of culture spend a day on Santiago, Cape Verde’s biggest island, or hop on to the party hotspot of São Vicente, which is home to upbeat clubs, pubs and restaurants. If you fancy flying, there are return trips between several islands at affordable prices (for example, a return flight from Boa Vista to Sal costs around £88) or check out Giggling Gecko Adventures for an exciting variety of tours across the islands.

Atmospheric Sal Rei

Wander along the streets of Sal Rei, the capital of Boa Vista, and soak up the unspoilt, old-world charm. By sundown, the town comes to life and the waterfront restaurants, cafes and clubs are buzzing. If you’re looking for a laid-back evening, unwind at the beach bars while listening to live music by African drummers. With international DJs taking over the stage, the tempo picks up and you’re all set to dance the night away.


It’s always sunny and breezy in Cape Verde. The archipelago enjoys a balmy, tropical climate and with year-round sunshine and cloudless skies. The temperature oscillates between 26°C and 30°C, and refreshing breezes from the ocean keep the humidity low. During November to March, higher winds generate larger waves, which are ideal for watersport activities. 

If you want to know where's hot throughout the year, take a look at our guide on where to go on holiday and when!

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