Can You Get A Ferry From Sal To Boa Vista? Travel Guide

Sal Boats Cape Verde

When staying in Sal in Cape Verde, you probably wonder if it’s easy to travel to Boa Vista by taking a ferry. And that is why you wonder, can you get a ferry from Sal to Boa Vista?

It is possible to take a ferry from Sal to Boa Vista. This ferry leaves several times a week in both directions. Travel duration between the islands is up to 3 hours. However, they’re highly dependent on weather and sea conditions. The ferry gets canceled quite often. The most reliable way to travel between the islands is by taking a domestic flight.

The distance between Sal and Boa Vista is only around 31 miles (50 kilometers). Since 2019 a ferry has been running between the islands. However, air travel is much faster and more reliable. Let’s learn more about the best way to travel between Sal and Boa Vista and explore fun travel tips about both islands! 

Ferry Between Sal and Boa Vista

The national ferry company, CV Interilhas, from Cape Verde, runs ferries several times a week. With an average travel duration of 3 hours, it is not the fastest and most convenient way of traveling between these islands.

Cape Verde Ferry Routes

Also, because this ferry doesn’t run on a daily schedule, it is not recommended to use it for a day trip between Sal and Boa Vista, which would be a multiple days trip anyway because a return trip is not possible on the same day.

So taking a ferry from Sal to Boa Vista is not possible daily. And I think that’s for the better. During our 10-week roundtrip in Cape Verde, where we traveled between the islands, we experienced that most ferries between the islands aren’t reliable. The schedules change quite often, and ferries are often canceled due to rough sea conditions or technical issues.

It makes it a bit more difficult to travel between the islands. But when the sea conditions are too dangerous, it is for everyone’s safety when a ferry gets canceled. However, sailing boats or catamarans are a more reliable type of boat when sea conditions get more intense, and the most convenient way is traveling by plane. 

Best Way To Travel Between Sal and Boa Vista

The best way to travel between Sal and Boa Boa Vista is by booking a domestic flight. The flight time between the islands is around 25 minutes. You can even book a return flight on the same day, depending on the schedule. Or you can take advantage of and explore the beautiful island of Boa Vista and stay at one of the luxury resorts on the island.

Domestic Flights from Sal to Boa Vista

Sal and Boa Vista islands have an international airport where planes from many major European cities arrive daily. For example, TUI Airways offers many direct flights to Sal and Boa Vista from major European cities. The airline Binter Cabo Verde is the national Cape Verdean airline with domestic flights between the islands several times a week. You can easily book these flights using Skyscanner, which helps you to find the best deals.

The flight time between Sal and Boa Vista is around 25 minutes. One ticket costs vary between 3600 Cape Verdean Escudos (32 Euro / 35 US Dollar) and 5700 Cape Verdean Escudos (52 Euro/ 57 US Dollar). 

Sailing Trips between Sal and Boa Vista

Santa Maria is the main town on the island of Sal. It is the place where everything happens, where you find the most restaurants, bars, and shops to book an excursion. 

Many different day trips leave from the dock in Santa Maria—both fishing trips and catamaran trips. Most tours stay close to Sal Island, within the boundaries of the island’s bay. In this part, the sea conditions are often calm, and thus relaxing for a roundtrip with many tourists. 

A few companies offer catamaran day trips from Sal to Boa Vista. You can only book this tour when on the island. Going on this tour and staying in Boa Vista for the whole day is impossible. You set foot on the island for a few hours and sail back to Sal at the end of the day.

This sailing trip between Sal and Boa Vista is highly weather dependent. Because of the tradewinds and warm temperatures, sea conditions on the open sea can be rough. And where most catamarans are made for these conditions, traveling between the islands with people not used to being on a boat is unfavorable. It’s simply too dangerous. That’s why I would say it is not recommended to go on this trip unless the sea conditions are favorable. And don’t count on this option too much since it is not always available. When you do want to visit Boa Vista, we recommend planning it in advance.

To sum it all up, I would always recommend taking a domestic flight when you want to travel between the Cape Verdean islands. It is much faster and more reliable. Unless traveling by plane is not possible. For example, the only way to travel between the São Vicente and Santo Antão islands is by taking a ferry. Because Santo Antão doesn’t have an airport, but that’s more interesting to know when you want to go island hopping between the Cape Verdean Islands.

Santa Maria Sal Cape verde

Highlights of Sal 

Sal is the most famous island in Cape Verde. Boa Vista is the second most visited island of the archipelago. Both islands are similar when you look at the landscape. However, Sal and Boa Vista have both their unique highlights, which are interesting to visit. 

Sal is known for its white sandy beaches, where it’s easy to go swimming in the sea. The island gets its name from the old salt mine, which was once Cape Verde’s most important income source. You can still visit these salt lakes today; they are an interesting thing to visit, plus many other amazing things to do in Sal.

Highlights of the island Sal

  • Beaches – Sal Island has stunning beaches. And Santa Maria Beach, connected to Santa Maria town is the most famous. This beautiful white sandy beach with turquoise water is excellent for swimming, sunbathing, and watersports such as snorkeling – which is a must when you’re on Sal. Santa Maria is also the main area of most hotels and resorts.
  • Water Sports – Sal Island is a hub for water sports, particularly windsurfing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, and diving. There are several schools and rental shops along the beaches where you can take lessons, rent equipment, or book a tour online.
  • Salinas de Pedra de Lume – This saltwater crater lake is one of the most unique attractions of the Island. You can float in the mineral-rich waters and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Espargos – This is the capital city of Sal Island and is near the international airport. It is a great place to explore the local culture and when you want to escape the beach for a couple of hours in your day. The city has several restaurants, cafes, shops, and the nearby Pedra de Lume Salt Mines.
  • Buracona – This natural pool is a must-visit on Sal Island, particularly during sunset, a fun place to visit, and during noon when it turns into the ‘Blye Eye.’ Most Sal island tours will drop by Buracona to watch the ‘Blue Eye’ or have a jump in the pool when the sea conditions are favorable.
  • Shark Bay is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, with the chance to swim with harmless lemon sharks, as shown in our travel guide video below.
  • Nightlife – Sal Island is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with several bars and clubs in Santa Maria offering live music and entertainment.

Highlights of Boa Vista

While the landscape of both Sal and Boa Vista is similar, the islands are different. Sal is still a bit more developed; you find more luxury resorts on the island. But that’s mainly because Sal was a summer vacation destination earlier than Boa Vista. Nowadays, Boa Vista has some spectacular 5-star hotels and resorts and amazing things to do for an awesome holiday.

Boa Vista thanks its name to the Portuguese explorers who discovered the island during the 15th century. They described the island as ‘A Beautiful View.’ If you translate this from Portuguese, Boa Vista means Beautiful View.

Where you’ll find Sal’s more beach and cultural activities, Boa Vista is known as the island that is perfect for adventure activities and has amazing surf spots for windsurfing and kitesurfing and fun activities such as quad biking tours through the local desert and the opportunity to experience marine life like nowhere else in Cape Verde.

Highlights of the island of Boa Vista

  • Beaches – Boa Vista Island is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing all-inclusive resorts.
  • Desert Landscapes – Yes, Boa Vista Island has a desert, the Viana Desert, which is made up of sand from the Sahara Desert traveling by wind from the African continent. These vast expanses of sand dunes are a must-visit and the perfect location for quad biking or sandboarding.
  • Sal Rei is the main town on Boa Vista Island and a great place to explore the local culture. The town is home to several restaurants, cafes, and shops.
  • Marine Reserves – Boa Vista Island is home to several marine reserves. These protected areas are a great place to spot marine life, including turtles, dolphins, and whales. In the months of March-May, you can book a whale-watching tour in Boa Vista to spot humpback whales, which is such a rare and amazing experience.
  • Fishing Village of Curral Velho – This small fishing village is a great place to experience local culture and cuisine. You can watch fishermen bring in their daily catch and try local dishes like fish stew and grilled fish.
  • Water Sports – Boa Vista Island is a popular destination for water sports, particularly windsurfing, kitesurfing, and diving. There are several schools and rental shops along the beaches where you can take lessons or rent equipment.

Recommended Articles Cape Verde

We visited the archipelago for ten weeks and traveled around many islands. During our roundtrip, we experienced that there wasn’t much information about Cape Verde. It was hard to find out more about the best things to do and how to get around the islands. We decided to write several articles about Cape Verde, so you can more easily prepare for your trip to this tropical island group.

Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?

No — It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Cape Verde. While tap water is generally safe for showering and brushing teeth, it may not be suitable for drinking. Bottled water is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Or you can buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water.

🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?

Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.

🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?

For Cape Verde hotels, is the best site. If you’re considering an (all-inclusive) resort, I recommend TUI since they have the best resorts on the islands.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights? 

For direct flights from the UK and Europe, I recommend TUI Airways. For finding alternative flights to Cape Verde, I recommend Skyscanner.

⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde?

For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.

🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?

Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.

😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?

Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.

🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?

Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)

⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?

The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:

  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling and Diving: July – December
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March

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