The beaches that halo Boa Vista offer up white sands, turquoise waves and Blue Flag prestige as standard. And, because Cape Verde is still largely undiscovered, you won’t be sharing towel space with hundreds of other people. If you want to swim, be sure to pay attention to the beach flag system, as the undercurrents along the coast can be dangerous. If the flag is red, stay out of the water, if it’s yellow, take extra care, and if it’s green you’re safe for swimming.
None of Boa Vista’s beaches could be called crowded, but Estoril Beach pulls in most of the visitors. It’s just south of the capital, Sal Rei, and is a bit more sheltered than others on the island, thanks to the isle of Ilheu de Sal Rei opposite. As such, it’s perfect for having a go at windsurfing, as long as the green flag is flying. There are a few lively beach bars dotted along the sand, as well as diving and submarine centres.
The soft white sands of Santa Monica Beach stretch out for around 18 kilometres, and if you walk out of sight of the big hotels, you probably won’t see another soul for hours. There aren’t any kiosks or beach bars, either, so remember to pack lots of water if you’re planning on wandering far.
For keepsakes and local produce, try the Mercado Municipal on the edge of Sal Rei’s main square. The bottom floor is home to an open-air market, which is crammed with stalls selling beaded jewellery, traditional clothes and fresh fruit and veg. Upstairs, meanwhile, you’ll find a handful of shops flogging rugs and portraits made from sand.
There aren’t many shops on the island of Boa Vista, although the capital, Sal Rei, is home to a few rustic stores selling African-style ceramics, mosaics and hand-carved wooden masks. For branded shampoo, sun cream and make-up, the Boas Compras supermarket won’t disappoint. It’s just around the corner from the Tourist Information Office in Sal Rei.
You won’t see names like Gucci or Cartier in Boa Vista, although some of the four and five-star hotels have onsite boutiques. The Riu Touareg, for example, boasts a couple of good clothes stores, which stock lightweight silk dresses, linen trousers and statement jewellery.
Things are decidedly sleepy on Boa Vista, but that’s all part of the island’s charm. The most noteworthy nightspots line up along the Sal Rei waterfront. Here, you’ll find a scattering of softly-lit restaurants and beach bars that look out over the waves.
The hotels in Boa Vista put on lively entertainment programmes. Expect to see covers of West End favourites, like Chicago, along with traditional folk performances. Some of the hotels have nightclubs, too – the Riu Touareg has a lively Pacha with a resident DJ that’s open until the early hours. If you want to get out and about, head into Sal Rei to catch a morna show. These eclectic performances mix Portuguese fado music and Brazilian beats. Lots take place in the bars near the port.
At island celebrations, locals gather around tables for big bowlfuls of this stuff. It’s a tasty, slow-boiled stew cooked with beans, chorizo and marinated chunks of meat or tuna. There are lots of variations of it, depending on what ingredients are in season.
Fishing is ripe here, which means seafood is present on practically every Boa Vista menu. According to locals, this is the recipe of recipes. Chefs will take freshly-netted tuna, marinate it in spices and lace it with vinegar, before serving it on a bed of butter-smothered boiled potatoes.
Papaya jam is the jam of choice in Cape Verde, and locals spread it on everything from toast to crepes. Most commonly, though, it’s served alongside goats’ cheese for dessert. Think of it as an alternative to brie and cranberry.
This sugar cane brandy is close to the hearts of many islanders – an invitation to try a glass isn’t to be turned down. The locals have grown it in the green valleys of Santa Antao island for centuries. It gets its name from 'grog' – a drink that was a one-time favourite of the British Royal Navy. Be warned, though – it’s 43% proof.
Sip this refreshing, minty liqueur after a big meal, and your food will go down in no time. It’s made by mixing coffee and figs with cinnamon, peppermint and lime. If you’re a little unsure of the taste, try adding a splash of orange juice to dilute it.
Our top deals tailored to you, straight to your inbox Sign up for offers
More from TUI
About TUI MyTUI app Cookies Notice Manage Cookie Preferences Privacy Notice Terms & conditions Ways to Pay Media Centre Travel Jobs Affiliates Discover Google Play Store App Store for Ios Travel Money Holiday Budget Calculator TUI Group First Choice Holiday Brochures Travel After Brexit Holiday Weather
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and National Travel Health Network and Centre have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad.
See gov.uk/travelaware and follow @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter and Facebook.com/FCDOtravel - for the latest general FCDO travel advice, including coronavirus travel guidance, security and local laws, and passport and visa information.
See gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice - for FCDO travel advice about individual destinations.
See Travel Aware page - for travel advice from TUI.
See travelhealthpro.org.uk - for current travel health news.
The advice can change so check regularly for updates.
All the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Some of the flights on this website are also financially protected by the ATOL scheme, but ATOL protection does not apply to all flights. This website will provide you with information on the protection that applies in the case of each flight before you make your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.caa.co.uk. ATOL protection does not apply to the other holiday and travel services listed on this website.