Is Cape Verde A Good Place To Go On Holiday?

Are you wondering if Cape Verde is a good place to go on holiday? The archipelago has 10 different islands, from which 9 are inhabited. So you would expect that there’s a lot to choose from, we tell you all about it in this article. 

Cape Verde is a good place for a holiday. Every island has its own identity and great things to do. It’s almost always sunny, and average temperatures are year-round 24 celsius. Cape Verde is an ideal year-round summer destination. Most popular are the beach holidays in Cape Verde. However, many islands are also ideal for hiking and spotting wildlife.

What makes a country good for a holiday, one might ask. I think its quite simple; good weather, safe, friendly people, exciting landmarks, and enough unique things to do. Cape Verde has all of that. 

We traveled around the archipelago and visited 6 of the 9 inhabited islands during a roundtrip of 10 weeks. It was a unique experience, and I can everyone recommend going island hopping in Cape Verde. So, let’s find out which island is best for which kind of holiday. 

Viana Desert Boa Vista Cape Verde

Cape Verde Islands For A Beach Holiday

You might think that every Cape Verdean island is good for a beach holiday, but that’s not the case. 

The archipelago consists out of volcanic islands, each a different landscape. Some of these islands are mountainous and rocky. There’s even an island that still has an active volcano! 

The islands that are good for a beach holiday are; 

  • Sal
  • Boa Vista
  • Santiago
  • São Vicente

Also, the islands Maio, and São Nicolau are known to have beautiful sandy beaches. However, these two islands are much harder to reach, so I wouldn’t recommend them for a beach holiday. 

Santa Maria Sal Cape verde

Beach Holiday in Sal

Sal is by far the most famous and popular island of Cape Verde. The island is known for its golden sandy beaches, crystal clear seas. You’ll find the most luxurious accommodations on Sal. Often these accommodations are managed by the travel company TUI, which offers complete holiday packages to the Cape Verde Islands. 

When you’re looking for a beach holiday and want to relax most of the time, I definitely would choose Sal as a destination. Santa Maria is the main town on the island, and basically, everything is built around this area. 

There are a few other areas on the island where you also can find hotels or resorts. However, if you want to go souvenir shopping, relaxing on the beach, or eating in a nice restaurant, you still must go to Santa Maria. 

Exciting activities on Sal are visiting the Salt Lakes, exploring the Blue Eye, Swimming with Sharks, Scuba Diving and Snorkeling, and, of course, relaxing on the beach! 

When Sal is the destination you’re planning to go for a holiday in Cape Verde, I recommend reading our article Best Things To Do in SalIt is the complete guide you need to find great things to do on the island. 

Boa Vista beach resorts

Beach Holiday in Boa Vista

Boa Vista is Sal’s neighboring island, and also great for a beach holiday. Actually, Boa Vista has the best beaches in Cape Verde. The island also has the longest beach of the archipelago, which is 22 kilometers long! 

Why is Boa Vista not #1 for a beach holiday in Cape Verde? Simply because the island is less developed than Sal. There aren’t as many resorts as on the neighboring island. So that’s simply the reason why many people are choosing Sal as their go-to destination. 

However, development in Boa Vista is growing quickly, so I think in a few years, both islands are similar as a holiday beach destination. 

Kitesurfing and windsurfing enthusiasts choose Boa Vista as their holiday destination. Boa Vista is known for its perfect wind conditions almost every day. And with many different beaches, there are also a lot of different surfing spots you can go to. When you’re planning a kitesurfing trip to Cape Verde, I recommend reading our article, ‘What are the best surfing spots in Boa Vista?‘ 

Wildlife in Boa Vista

The biggest difference between Boa Vista and Sal is that you can spot wildlife while on Boa Vista. Both humpback whales and sea turtles are finding their way to the bays around the island. Humpback whales come to mate and have their young. While the turtles visit the island to lay their eggs. 

It is a bucket list item for many to spot humpback whales. During the whale season between March and May in Boa Vista, you have a +90% guarantee of spotting whales while going on a whale watching tour! 

When you’re planning a trip to Boa Vista, I recommend reading a few of our articles, so you get a better idea of the interesting things to do on this island. 

Beach Holiday on the Other Cape Verde Islands

Santiago and São Vicente are both islands that are also interesting for a beach holiday. The interesting part of visiting these islands is that they offer much more than just a few beaches. 

Santiago is the main island of the Cape Verdean archipelago. You’ll find fantastic nature and authentic culture on this island. And in the bustling city Praia, you can experience some of the best Cape Verdean music and food. 

The best beaches in Santiago are Quebra Canela, which is close to Praia. And Tarrafal, a village in the north of the island and a true tropical paradise. 

When you’re visiting São Vicente, you also have a chance for a few perfect beach-day. But São Vicente is also very interesting to learn more about Cape Verde’s culture. The island is known as the cultural heart of Cape Verde. 

If you want to know more about the Cape Verde islands with the best beaches, you might want to read our article Which Cape Verde Island Has The Best Beaches?

Hiking Holidays in Cape Verde

What many people don’t know is that Cape Verde is actually a hiking paradise. The islands Santo Antão, Fogo, and São Nicolau, are all perfect for beautiful hikes through amazing valleys, villages, and mountains. 

São Vicente and Santiago are also known as islands where you can go hiking and exploring Cape Verde’s nature. 

Santo Antao Cape Verde

Hiking in Santo Antão 

Santo Antão is the most western point of Africa, and the only way you can reach the island is by taking a ferry from São Vicente. 

The island is one of the most unique places that I’ve ever visited. There’s such a relaxing vibe on Santo Antão. Probably because there’s no airport on the island, and people are not used to the rat race we know in western Europe or the United States. 

Every island in Cape Verde is very relaxing. Still, Santo Antão is the best way to experience the Cape Verdean Lifestyle, better known as Morabeza. 

Hiking in Santo Antão is the best thing you can do while visiting the island. The mountainous landscape offers beautiful hikes among authentic villages and green valleys. The valley of Paúl, Cova Crater, and the village Fontainhas, are known to be one of the most beautiful views in the world! 

Fogo Volcano Cape Verde

Hiking in Fogo

Fogo is another unique island in Cape Verde, which is fantastic for hiking. It is the only island where you still find an active volcano. And yes, it is possible to hike to the top! This hike has to be done with a local guide for safety reasons, but it is still a unique experience to do! 

The village where the volcano is located is also a unique place to visit. In 2014 the volcano erupted while destroying a large part of the town. Luckily most people got away in time. You would think that the people from the town would leave and find another place to live. But they all returned and rebuilt the town on top of the old lava streams. It feels like walking around in a lunar-like landscape! Chã das Caldeiras is a village you visit maybe once in your life, an experience I would recommend to everyone! 

Both islands, Fogo and Santo Antão are not suitable for a beach holiday. There aren’t many beaches on these islands because of the rocky landscapes, and also the sea conditions are too rough to go swimming. 

In our article, Which Cape Verde Island is Best to Visityou can read more about these unique islands. 

Travel Must-Haves For Every Traveler

These items are must-haves for every traveler, and I can highly recommend them without any hesitation:

Travel Hammock:
This lightweight hammock is made of ultra-light parachute silk material. The hammock fits in a small portable bag and is very-easy-to you use. You can relax comfortably anywhere: on the beach, by the lake, in the forest, campsite, your hotel, Airbnb and even at home! 

The North Face Backpack:
This is a high-quality, versatile, and practical daypack from one of the best brands in the world. It is a perfect choice, no matter what kind of travel plans you have.

Oasis Kindle E-reader:
A waterproof E-reader for unlimited reading while traveling. It is a must-have for every traveler that enjoys reading. This E-reader has an adjustable warm light to shift screen shade from white to amber. It also works with Audible, so you switch effortlessly from reading to listening.

Sony Noise-canceling headphone:
A world-leading noise-canceling headphone to make your travel trip more comfortable and less exhausting. One of the best travel products out there. Either for listening to music, podcasts. Or to block all the noise during traveling, for example, when you’re in an airplane. 

GoPro HERO 8
We’ve been using a GoPro camera since the first generation came on the market. It is our go-to travel camera ever since. Perfect for making the best pictures and memorable videos. It’s easy to use, waterproof and fits in your pocket or daypack. The new generation has a built-in stabilizer so that videos will be even better quality! 

Check out our recommendations page for more travel gear and recourses. 

Tarrafal Beach Cape Verde

The Best Place For A Holiday

Either if your looking for a beach holiday, an active sports vacation for kite or windsurfing, hiking holiday or combining everything. It is all possible in Cape Verde. I think an archipelago is a perfect place for a holiday. 

Best of all, the weather is always lovely on the islands. And with the unique culture and friendly people, you’ll have a good holiday guaranteed. 

Still not convinced? Read our article 21 Reasons Why Cape Verde Is Worth Visiting.” 

Or watch this video below, which is an impression of our roundtrip around the islands;

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 — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water, so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Cape Verde and helps keep you hydrated while traveling to Cape Verde.

🚗 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 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: 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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