Where in Cape Verde Can You Swim in the Sea? Swimming Guide

Swimming in the sea Cape Verde

Cape Verde, a stunning archipelago off the west coast of Africa, is blessed with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it a dream destination for beach lovers and water enthusiasts. And if you’re planning a visit to Cape Verde, you probably wonder, where can you swim in the sea in Cape Verde? 

The best Cape Verde Islands to swim in the sea are Sal, Boa Vista, São Vicente, and Santiago. These islands have nice areas to take a refreshing dive, especially when weather conditions are great. On the islands of Fogo and Brava, it’s not recommended to go swimming in the sea because of the strong currents and rough sea conditions. Fortunately, these islands have natural pools which are suitable for swimming.

With many different islands in Cape Verde, there are many different beaches and, thus, places to swim in the sea. In this blog post, we will explore some of the top spots across the islands where you can dive into the inviting waters and experience the true beauty of the Cape Verdean coastline. So let’s dive in!

The Best Places to Swim in The Sea in Cape Verde

You might think that visiting an island where swimming in the sea is a no-brainer. If you’re on an island, swimming is always possible. Right? Well, sometimes, that’s not the case.

The Cape Verde islands are all volcanic islands, with some islands having cliffs and strong currents. So going into the sea for a refreshing dive is not advised on every island or every beach. So let’s dive into which islands are best for swimming in the sea and which Cape Verdean beaches are the best for swimming.

Best Cape Verde Islands To Swim In The Sea

1) Sal

The most famous destination in Cape Verde is the island of Sal, with many fun activities to do. Sal is the flattest island of Cape Verde, and therefore you’ll find many different beaches here. When you love to go for a swim in the sea, then Sal is the best Cape Verde island to visit. This immediately answers a frequently asked question: Can I swim in the sea at Sal Cape Verde?

You can swim in the sea at Sal, Cape Verde. This island offers magnificent sandy beaches such as Santa Maria Beach, with its calm and clear turquoise waters, providing an ideal setting for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.

Also, the island’s vibrant beach town atmosphere and excellent infrastructure of Santa Maria with beautiful hotels make it a convenient choice for a seaside getaway. Also perfect for small children, as some beaches have very shallow waters for kids to enjoy.

2) Boa Vista

When planning a trip to Cape Verde, many people ask as well, can you swim in the sea in Cape Verde Boa Vista?

Boa Vista is renowned for its breathtaking beaches, including Praia de Chaves and Praia de Santa Monica. These expansive stretches of golden sand offer tranquil waters and pristine beauty, creating a serene environment for swimming and relaxation, especially during summer. However, during the windy season (November – April), you can expect rough sea conditions in Boa Vista, which are not ideal for swimming.

Luckily Boa Vista has many beautiful resorts with multiple pools for you to enjoy. And there are many other amazing things to do in Boa Vista, such as whale watching, turtle spotting, doing a quad tour, and visiting the Viana Desert. And because of the tropical winds, this island is also an excellent island for kitesurfing.

Boa Vista’s relatively undeveloped nature adds to its charm, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a more secluded beach experience.

3) Santiago

Santiago, the largest and most populous island in Cape Verde, also offers enticing options for swimming. The best places to swim in the sea and, thus the best beaches to visit in Santiago are Tarrafal on the northern part of the island and Quebra Canela, Praia’s famous city beach. Both beaches are great to spend a whole day relaxing in the sun and swimming in the sea.

When you’re looking for a more remote experience but still want to stay in the city, make sure to visit Prainha Beach. A small beach close to the city center. Most local people go to Quebra Canela though, because here you’ll find more beach bars and other things to do.

4) São Vicente

São Vicente is known as the cultural heart of Cape Verde. The island has many beaches where you can swim in the sea. The most famous and most accessible to reach is Laginha Beach, located in the capital city of Mindelo. Almost always a calm sea at Laginha Beach, which makes it perfect for a fun time in the water!

Praia Grande is another beach that is excellent for swimming at São Vicente. But Praia Grande is not so easy to reach Laginha Beach. You’ll need a car or take an aluguer (local taxi) to enter this beach. But when you’re there, you’ll have a great time. Lovely sea conditions, and most of the time, it’s really quiet. So you could end up having the beach all by yourself!

The best time to visit São Vicente is when they celebrate tropical carnival in February/ March. Celebrating tropical carnival with the local Cape Verdean people is one of the best things you’ll ever do! It’s not as commercialized as in Rio de Janeiro. You’ll find a real authentic and local experience in this carnival celebration!

5) Maio

For those seeking a more tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience, the island of Maio is a hidden gem. Maio is home to stunning beaches such as Morro and Santana, which offer pristine waters and a sense of untouched beauty. Swimming here provides a serene and peaceful experience away from crowds, allowing you to connect with nature truly. Praiona and Bitche Rocha are Maio’s best beaches for swimming.

Best Beaches To Swim In The Sea

  • Santa Maria Beach, Sal – Starting off our list is the iconic Santa Maria Beach on the island of Sal. With its powdery white sand and turquoise waters, this beach is an absolute paradise for swimmers. Take a leisurely dip, feel the gentle waves, or simply bask in the sun while enjoying the stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ponta Preta, Sal – Located on the southwest coast of Sal, it is a picturesque beach known for its natural beauty and fantastic surf conditions. While it is famous among surfers, it also offers a great opportunity for swimming. The pristine waters, sandy shoreline, and stunning surroundings make it a peaceful and scenic spot to take a refreshing dip. However, as the waves can be more powerful here, it is advisable to exercise caution and be aware of the surf conditions before swimming.
  • Tarrafal Beach, Santiago – On the island of Santiago, Tarrafal Beach boasts a tranquil and inviting atmosphere. Its azure waters are ideal for swimming and snorkeling, allowing you to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface. The beach is framed by rugged cliffs and lush vegetation, creating a scenic backdrop for your seaside adventure.
  • Praia de Chaves, Boa Vista – Moving on to the island of Boa Vista, Praia de Chaves is a pristine beach renowned for its untouched beauty. The wide sandy shores, fringed by swaying palm trees, provide an idyllic setting for a refreshing swim in the sea. Don’t miss taking long walks along the shoreline and witnessing the captivating sunsets.
  • Praia de Santa Monica, Boa Vista – Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Verde, Praia de Santa Monica is a true gem. This vast, untouched golden sand expanse offers ample space for swimmers to enjoy the sea. The clear waters and gentle waves make it an excellent spot for both leisurely swims and exhilarating bodyboarding sessions.

Note: The weather conditions can vary, and therefore, also the sea conditions will change. So for your safety, it’s always important to follow up on the local advice before swimming in the sea.

Where Not To Swim In The Sea In Cape Verde

As we’ve mentioned, there are many amazing places to swim in the sea in Cape Verde. But not every beach is suitable for swimming. A few Cape Verde islands are also great to visit but not particularly for their swimming conditions. And these Cape Verde Islands, it’s not always recommended to go swimming in the sea;

Santo Antão

Santo Antão is known for its rugged and mountainous terrain, which often translates into powerful coastal currents and rough seas. While the island offers stunning coastal scenery, it’s generally not recommended for swimming due to the unpredictable nature of the waters.

Santo Antão is actually one of the best islands in Cape Verde to explore beautiful nature and learn more about the authentic culture of Cape Verde, which is better known as Morabeza.

This island is truly a hiker’s paradise, not a swimmers’ paradise. However, it is possible to swim in the sea at Santo Antão. You’ll find a beach in the village of Tarrafal, but the sea conditions are usually rough. So swimming in the sea is only recommended for the more experienced swimmers. Therefore it is best to follow up on the local advice for your safety.

Also, many great places to stay in Cape Verde, and many guesthouses on the island have a swimming pool. And near the village of Paúl, you’ll find a few ponds where you can swim.


The island of Fogo, known for its impressive volcano and unique landscapes, does not have extensive beach areas suitable for swimming. Most of Fogo’s coastline is characterized by steep cliffs and rocky shores, making it challenging and unsafe for swimming activities. The volcanic nature of the island also contributes to strong currents and unpredictable sea conditions. Therefore, swimming in the sea around Fogo is generally not recommended.

But there is one spot where you can go for a swim in a natural pool at Ponta de Salina near the village of Sao Jorge, which is north of São Filipe, around one hour drive. Here you’ll find a beautiful natural swimming pool formed by Lava streams from Pico de Fogo—the only active volcano in Cape Verde. Because of the significant rock formations, the natural pool is almost completely closed off from the rough sea, which makes it a very relaxing place for swimming.

Fogo offers plenty of other attractions, such as hiking opportunities on the volcano and exploring the picturesque towns and villages, allowing visitors to enjoy the island’s natural and cultural wonders.

São Nicolau

São Nicolau, with its rocky coastline and strong currents, is generally not recommended for swimming. The island’s captivating landscapes are best admired from a distance rather than attempting to swim in the challenging coastal waters.


Brava, the smallest inhabited island in Cape Verde, is known for its steep cliffs and rugged coastline. The sea conditions around Brava can be treacherous, with powerful waves and strong currents. It’s advisable to avoid swimming on this island unless you are an experienced and confident swimmer with knowledge of the local conditions.

Depending on the sea conditions, you can take a refreshing dive near the village of Faja de Aqua. Faja de Aqua is not a place where you go for an active swim, but more a relaxing cooldown bathing session..

Sea Temperature In Cape Verde

We’ve covered all the best places to swim in the sea. But what about the sea temperature in Cape Verde? When you’re planning a trip to the islands, you want to know what the best time to visit Cape Verde is. And ask yourself, Can you swim in the sea in Cape Verde in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December?

On average, the sea temperature in Cape Verde ranges from around 22 to 27 degrees Celsius (72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit).

The average sea temperature in Cape Verde is warm and inviting throughout the year, making it a paradise for beach and water lovers. The islands’ tropical climate ensures pleasant water temperatures for swimming and various water activities.

During the peak summer months of July and August, the water temperature tends to reach its highest point. Even during the cooler months, from December to February, the sea temperature remains comfortably warm, making Cape Verde a year-round destination perfect for swimming.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the prettiest beach in Cape Verde?

Santa Monica Beach on the islands of Boa Vista is considered the prettiest beach in Cape Verde. This pristine stretch of golden sand stretches for miles, offering a tranquil and picturesque setting. The beach is surrounded by rolling dunes, dramatic cliffs, and crystal-clear turquoise waters, creating a postcard-perfect scene. However, the most visited and famous beach is Santa Maria Beach on the island of Sal, also a white powder beach with turquoise waters.

Can you swim with turtles in Cape Verde?

Yes, swimming with turtles is possible in Cape Verde, providing nature enthusiasts with an incredible and memorable experience. The Cape Verde islands are known for their rich marine biodiversity, and several locations offer the opportunity to encounter sea turtles in their natural habitat.

One of the popular spots for swimming with turtles is the island of Boa Vista. The beaches of Boa Vista, such as Ervatão Beach and Santa Monica Beach, are nesting grounds for loggerhead turtles. During the nesting season, which typically runs from June to October, you may have the chance to witness these magnificent creatures coming ashore to lay their eggs.

Other islands such as Sal and Maio also have sea turtle populations. However, the opportunities for swimming with turtles may vary depending on the specific location and time of year. It’s important to note that swimming with turtles should always be done responsibly, respecting their natural habitat and following guidelines provided by local authorities or tour operators to ensure the well-being of these protected species.

What’s the Best Island for Kitesurfing in Cape Verde? 

The best islands for kitesurfing in Cape Verde are Sal (kite beach) and Boa Vista (Praia de Chaves, and many other beaches). Both islands have a lot of sandy beaches and always good thermal winds, which makes it awesome to go kitesurfing. Boa Vista has the best surf spots for kite and windsurfing.

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, Booking.com 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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