The dunes of Boavista

If Sal was windy, Boavista can be labelled as sandy.

The contrast between the turquoise ocean and the ecru of the beaches is the first thing that I noticed when reaching Sal Rei. It is a rundown town but you’ve got what you need and it has its beautiful areas, too. Just go and search for them. In Sal Rei’s defence, we did catch it under repairs and refurbishment.

Our first apartment was not the best – far away from downtown, not nicely decorated, and quite depressing if you ask me…                                                         

Plus, Marcel started fighting a nasty dysentery right after arriving on Boavista. We weren’t able to do anything for two days because he could barely walk and couldn’t eat anything.

How did he recover? By sleeping a lot, drinking a lot of liquids, and starting to eat little by little. Be careful with ice cubes; the water used for them is usually unfiltered. 


Home away from home

Cà Santa Barbara was one of our two favourite accommodations of the entire trip! The flat is located in a house full of character, near Praia de Diante. It truly felt like home and it was hard to leave it behind. Plus, our welcome was lovely.  

View from our balcony; Sal Rei; Cape Verde

Rate? CVE 17820 (3 nights).

Dinner at Cà Santa Barbara; Sal Rei, Boavista, Cape Verde


Good eats

Pizzas are delicious at Ca’ Baby.

For the rest, Sodade is perfect. It became my favourite restaurant from Cape Verde (and the trip). It won’t be difficult to have breakfast there – the garden is beautiful and there are many options!

Sodade; Boavista, Cape Verde

They are, however, closed for lunch. The place is usually packed at dinnertime, so do book ahead. We only managed to have dinner there once but it was an unforgettable experience, just like in the movies.


There’s always take-out…

Visit the House of Memory for EUR 4. The tour will charm you and you’ll understand the island better.


To do

Lunching and swimming: I’ll only write two words down – Boca Beach. OK, some more on that: the road there may be closed (construction works), so follow the sign that says ‘Boca Beach’. You’ll manage to get there if you’re driving a 4x4; you’ll pass through water and the ‘path’ may disappear at times but your destination will be worth it.

Boca Beach is part of Santa Monica Beach. You can have lunch there (and you don’t even need a reservation) and they have vegetarian options. It’s one of the best restaurant views that I’ve had.

Watch out for those rip tides. A man nearly drowned but got saved by two brave locals. If you do end up too far from the shore and cannot return, swim parallel to the beach and try exiting the water where waves are lighter.
Santa Monica Beach; Boavista, Cape Verde

Walking on the beach: Follow the signs to Fundação Tartaruga, park your car and walk up the dunes. The views are splendid! Curral Velho may still be a bit too far but you can continue on the way there if you feel like it.

The views offered by the Fundação Tartaruga trail; Boavista, Cape Verde

Sandboarding: I love to try it whenever I get the chance. Viana Desert is a good place for that. You can rent a board from Viana Club (EUR 8/30 minutes). The boards are different from what you’d expect. J

Sandboarding in Viana Desert; Boavista, Cape Verde

Driving to Morro Negro Lighthouse: The road is said to be very scenic – and it is. You’ll pass through colourful remote villages. Then, leave the car in the parking lot, take some water with you, and hike up to the lighthouse. The view is extraordinary.

Morro Negro Lighthouse; Boavista, Cape Verde

Visiting the Rabil pottery workshop: The town is old and very basic in terms of services; however, a visit to the potters will make you smile. It was December 1st – Romania’s National Day –, so I managed to ‘create’ our flag from turtles on one of the most beautiful beaches that I had ever seen!

Turtles from the Rabil Pottery workshop on Santa Monica Beach; Boavista, Cape Verde

Checking out the market in Sal Rei: Or Mercado Municipal. You’ll find fresh vegetables for a salad (it will be precious on a long ferry crossing) or even unknown ingredients, like baobab powder.

Special experiences: There are classes of capoeira organised in Sal Rei. Go there to see the children even for a few minutes if you are lucky to get invited, just like we kindly were.


Know before you go

Taking the ferry to Boavista

We bought the ticket online. They usually list their schedule every Thursday, so be ready to purchase it when the sailings go live. It was CVE 2802 for 2 persons; the trip took 3 hours.

Also be ready to face cancellations, delays, or disruptions should the ocean be rough.


Getting a taxi

Flag one (or ask a local to do it for you). Then, ask the price to your destination. Expect to pay CVE 300 for a ride from downtown to the outskirts of Sal Rei (Delfini).   


Renting a car

It is necessary if you wish to properly explore the island.

We had a very good car renting experience with Autovilla – a friendly family business (EUR 120/2 days); we also paid a EUR 300 deposit in cash. It was returned at the end of our rental period and we were also dropped free of charge at the ferry terminal.  



Unfortunately, many of the stunning beaches have turned private, as they have been included in resorts. Research well to avoid disappointment.


When your time on Boavista is up and you’re lucky enough to have working ferries, the journey continues.

Where next? Santiago.  

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