BOA VISTA – from Sand Dunes to Endless Beaches
‘‘¡Capitão, Boa Vista!’’. That’s how the island got its name. Passing by sailors on a yacht were so happy to see a piece of land after a terrible storm that, instead of the usual “land a-hoy”, they shouted “capitão, boa vista”.
Boa Vista means good view in Portuguese and this third largest island of Cape Verde more than rightfully bears its name. Moreover, its dry tropical climate with hot summers and mild winters makes it an ideal place to visit all year round.
This place is literally made for relaxation and stress-free moments. You can spend your Boa Vista holiday on one of the beautiful beaches with radiant white sand and turquoise sea, among which Praia de Chaves, Praia de Santa Monica, and Praia de Varandinha are the most popular.
As soon as lounging on the beach stops being fun, be sure to try a new water sport.
Once you get in the mood for a bit of history, you can head to Praia de Atalanta, home to the wreck of the Spanish cargo ship of Cabo Santa Maria, which ran ashore in 1968. You can continue the history tour in the island’s nearby capital, Sal Rei, which is located only 6 kilometres from this shipwreck. Stroll the streets of Sal Rei and soak up the unspoiled charm of the old world. The city comes alive at sunset, when restaurants and waterfront cafés fill up and the sound of music played by African drummers is ever present.
The coastal area is in contrast with the lunar landscape in the interior of the island, which features unique stone walls, sand dunes, sparse vegetation, and black volcanic rocks. Due to the trade winds from the African mainland, which continuously blow in the Saharan sand, the surface of the island is a desert. The Viana Desert (Deserto de Viana) continuously changes, extends, and expands over time, and offers different beautiful sights. Because of the movement of sand dunes towards the coast, it was necessary to build stone walls.
However, it’s the easiest way to experience a great desert adventure!
Cape Verde is the third most important nesting site for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the world. Most of these magnificent creatures lay their eggs on the beaches of Boa Vista, specifically on Ervatão. So, if you happen to visit the island between July and mid-October, you can go on a turtle nesting tour. And who knows? You might get lucky and see a few baby turtles hatch.
Nature lovers can rejoice even more. Whale watching is also possible on Boa Vista, specifically groups of North Atlantic humpback whales or fin whales that come to Cape Verde to procreate, usually in the spring from March to May, but the period can vary depending on how the previous winter weather.