At the easternmost point of the Cape Verde Islands lies Boa Vista, which translates to beautiful view, an apt name indeed for this location. Boa Vista is the third-largest island in the Cape Verde group and was, up until recently, one of the sleepiest.
Guardian Liberty Voice reported recently on the Cape Verde Islands, an archipelago lying like a pearl necklace off the western African coast. One of the Barlavento, or windward, islands, Boa Vista is one of these destinations and is characterized by mainly flat lands, consisting of deserts and beaches of sand and scree. There are some low mountain ranges on the island and many beautiful beaches. The landscape is such that little rain falls and Boa Vista offers a comfortable environment of sun, sea and sand all year around.
While the island was initially untouched by the mass tourism hitting other Cape Verde Islands, when an international airport was opened on Boa Vista in 2007, this attracted foreign investors to build major hotels on the island, offering “all-inclusive” stays and increasing tourism to a large extent.
The island’s main city is Sal Rei, where over 50 percent of the island’s 4,000 inhabitants reside. The town is rather sleepy, but very colorful with the main square, the Praça de Santa Isabel offering flowers and other goods sold by local traders. Visitors can buy fruit and vegetables, or carved wooden ornaments and colorful batiks in the square. The town also has the necessary facilities for tourists, including a bank, health center, post office and a travel agency.
Right next to the square can be seen the Igreja da Santa Isabel, a church built in the traditional Portuguese colonial style with an attractive, blue baroque façade.
Close to the beach, the Avenida dos Pescadores takes visitors down to the old harbor and boatyard and in the other direction is lined with shady trees and brightly colored and quaint homes.
The original industry in the Cape Verde Islands was salt mining, and the mines where the original, best quality Sal Rei (or royal salt), was mined are situated outside of the city.
The beaches in the area are great for swimming, especially Praia do Estoril, Praia de Carlota and Praia da Chave, located to the south of Sal Rei along with Praia de Cabral in the north. It is possible to experience a beautiful view from Boa Vista on these beaches, including some of the other Cape Verde Islands.
For a quaint and totally traditional feel, Povoação Velha is worth a visit. Built approximately 500 years ago, the town is attractive with its small plaza, Praceta de Santo António, the perfect place to rest and relax in the center of town.
Another beach worth visiting in the south of the island is the Praia de Santa Monica. Considered to be the best beach in the Cape Verde islands, there is also an observation point here where the neighboring islands of Maio and São Nicolau can be seen.
A fascinating aspect of the beaches on Boa Vista, Maio and Sal is that it is possible at the right time of year to see sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand.
As many species of these turtles are threatened by extinction, the Turtle Foundation is actively protecting the turtles and has launched public awareness campaigns to prevent the theft of their eggs.
All in all, for a sun, sea and sand vacation with water sports, relaxation and fun galore, this is the perfect destination. The video included below, while in Portuguese, gives an idea of the sheer beauty of the island. Boa Vista offers a beautiful view, great hospitality and so much more in the Cape Verde Islands.
By Anne Sewell
Visit Cape Verde
Praia de Chaves, beach at Sal Rei and Boa Vista desert CC-by-SA Zé Pinho
Street scene in Sal Rei showing church CC-by-SA Kojote