Do you know much about Cape Verde? If you’re shaking your head, you’ve come to the right place. These 10 teeny islands have managed to stay a secret among globetrotters until now – this volcanic archipelago serves up Instagram-worthy salt lakes, deep-green mountain ranges, and excellent swells for windsurfing. No wonder the crowds are flocking here in their masses. And to help you out in your hunt for a holiday, we’ve pitted Boa Vista and Sal against each other so you can decide which one is best…
Cape Verde in a nutshell
While Cape Verde used to be known as a cluster of forgotten-by-time islands, this stunning chain of islets are now soaring up travellers’ must-visit lists. Why? Because of those coconut-white beaches, craggy peaks, and an unbeatable watersports scene, of course. And because they’ve been below the radar for so long, there are a few things you might not know about them. For the record, you’ll find them around 500km off the west coast of Africa, which means fun in the sun is a given pretty much all year-round.
Beachy Boa Vista
Best for: Escaping the crowds
Don’t miss: Santa Monica Beach
Need a reason to reach for your passport? Boa Vista’s got loads. Just three things worth shouting about include its desert-island feel, rolling sand dunes, and its amazing watersports offering. By the way, did you know Boa Vista is one of the best places in the world for windsurfing? Thanks to its position in the Atlantic Ocean, its lack of strong currents and large swells mean you’ll be able to board to your heart’s content.
And if sunning yourself is more your thing, there are plenty of beaches where you can do exactly that. In fact, this gorgeous island boasts more than 55 kilometres’ worth of honey-coloured sands, where rocky bays and top snorkelling spots aren’t hard to come by. We recommend stretching out on Santa Monica Beach – it’s named after California’s best-looking sands for good reason. Here, the belt of sand stretches out for a whopping 18 kilometres, making it the ideal spot if you want to run by the sea. Plus, because it’s such a huge beach, you’ll likely have it all to yourself. Bliss.
Best for: Sunshine and culture
Don’t miss: Santa Maria
We think the sun-kissed resort of Sal is far too good to leave off your must-visit list. This place basically meets the definition of beach heaven, too – think powder-white sands, diamond-blue coloured waters, and plenty of good vibes. The icing on the cake? A wealth of chilled-out beach bars sidling up to the sands, meaning you’ll never be too far away from those mandatory, ice-cold Caipirinha cocktails.
Look away from Sal’s shoreline, though, and you’ll still find plenty of things to do. The star of the show here is the town of Santa Maria, where you can spend the day wandering through cobbled streets that sidle up to surf shacks, traditional Cape Verdean restaurants, and a handful of al fresco cafés. And you won’t want to miss out on browsing through the market stalls, either, where there’s everything from clay dolls, to coconut shell carvings, and African masks being sold – so it’s perfect for culture vultures.