Swimming in the sea Cape Verde

Where in Cape Verde Can You Swim in the Sea?

When we traveled to Cape Verde, we wanted to know where it is safe to go swimming in the sea. Because we are swim fanatics and swimming in the sea is awesome! Especially when you’re visiting the beautiful islands of Cape Verde. We made a list of the best places to swim in the sea for every island.

Where in Cape Verde can you swim in the sea? The best Cape Verde Islands to go swimming in the sea are Sal and Santiago. Almost every island has a beach or natural pools where you can take a refreshing dive. But on some islands, like Fogo and Brava, it’s not recommended to go swimming in the sea because of the rough sea conditions. Fortunately, you’ll find natural pools on Fogo and Brava 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. So let’s dive in and take a closer look at the islands for the best places to swim in the sea!

Best Time To Visit Cape Verde

The Best Places to Swim in The Sea in Cape Verde

You might think that swimming in the sea on an island is effortless. But sometimes that’s not the case. Cape Verde islands are all volcanic islands, and some of the islands are having cliffs and strong currents. So it’s not advised to go in the sea for a refreshing dive. We’ll focus on those islands in a moment.

First, let us pay attention to the best places to swim in the sea in Cape Verde. Many of them with those beautiful white sandy beaches, palm trees, and a lot of refreshing coconuts to drink after a great swim in the sea!

The best islands to go swimming in the Sea in Cape Verde are;

  • Sal
  • Santiago
  • São Vicente
  • Boa Vista (however; in some parts, the sea can be rough)
  • Maio


The island of SAL is probably the most famous destination in Cape Verde. Sal is the flattest island of Cape Verde, and therefore you’ll find many different beaches here.

If you’re looking to have a relaxing time on the beach and some fun swim, you’ll need to go to Santa Maria beach.

This beach can be quite busy, though, but that’s also the charm. There’s always something going on! A more quit swims you’ll find on Ponta Preto beach, which is closeby Santa Maria beach. The most significant difference is that you don’t find any beach bars on Ponta Preto, which makes it a more natural environment and much less crowded.

Did you know that SAL is a perfect island for different watersports like kitesurfing and scuba diving? You can read all about in our blog ‘25 best things to do in SAL

Boa Vista

Boa Vista is the neighboring island of SAL and also a top-rated tourist destination. You’ll find a lot of different resorts at Boa Vista. Boa Vista is known for its long sandy beaches, which makes it a perfect island for a beach holiday.

Santa Monica and Praia de Chaves are the best beaches for swimming in the sea.

Praia de Chaves is close to all the resorts, but this beach is also 3.1 miles long, so there’s enough space to share!

The sea conditions in Boa Vista can be very rough depending on the weather, so it’s important to follow up on the local advice when you want to go swimming in the sea. Is it too rough to swim when you’re visiting? Depending on the time of the year, there are many other activities to do on Boa Vista. You can go whale watching, turtle spotting, or do a quad tour and visit the Viana Desert. And because of the tropical winds, this island is an excellent island for kitesurfing as well.

Still urging for that refreshing dive, and you’ll find that the sea conditions are too rough? Almost every resort or hotel has a swimming pool as well, so a refreshing dive is always possible!

Boa Vista is a great island for a beach holiday! Find out more about Boa Vista in our article What Can You Do In Boa Vista?

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. 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 a 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 definitely during the carnival period in February. 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!


You’ll find many beaches on Maio, but not all of them are safe to swim in the sea because of the strong currents.

Praiona and Bitche Rocha are Maio’s best beaches for swimming. Many people say that Maio is still the most undiscovered island of Cape Verde.


The main island of Cape Verde is Santiago. The best places to swim in the sea and thus the best beaches to visit on 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 and 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 Quebra Canela though because here you’ll find more beach bars and other things to do.

Did you know Cape Verde’s capital Praia is located on Santiago? It’s a bustling city with a great music scene! Santiago has it all, a fabulous nightlife, beautiful nature and most importantly, magnificent sandy beaches and places to swim in the sea.

It can be overwhelming to choose which island is best for a visit. We visited many of the islands and wrote a guide where we explain which island in Cape Verde is best to visit

Where Not To Swim In The Sea In Cape Verde

There are many places to swim in the sea in Cape Verde. And even at the islands with beautiful beaches, it’s sometimes advised not to go into the water. The weather conditions can vary, and therefore, also the sea conditions will change. So for your own safety, it’s always important to follow up on the local advice before you go swimming in the sea.

Islands where it’s not always recommended to go swimming in the sea;

  • Santo Antão
  • Fogo
  • Brava

Fortunately, you can take a refreshing dive on these islands. There’s either a natural or swimming pool where you can cool down from the sun.

Santo Antão

Actually, it is possible to swim in the sea at Santo Antão. You’ll find a beach in the village of Tarrafal, but most of the time, the sea conditions are rough. So swimming in the sea is only recommended for the more experienced swimmers.

When you are visiting Santo Antão and planning to go for a swim at Tarrafal beach, make sure to follow up on the local advice for your safety.

Many guesthouses have a swimming pool. And near the village of Paúl, you’ll find a few ponds where you can go swimming.

Santo Antão is actually one of the best islands in Cape Verde to explore beautiful nature and learning more about the authentic culture of Cape Verde. Which is better known as Morabeza. Read more about these experiences in our article Is Cape Verde A Good Holiday Destination

Natural Pools in Fogo

The best place to go swimming in Fogo is at Ponta de Salina near the village of Sao Jorge. Which is north from São Filipe, around one hour drive. Here you’ll find a beautiful natural swimming pool, which is 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.


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.

It’s important to pay attention to the sea conditions because when the waves are too high, it can be dangerous to go in the water because of the currents.

But when you’re in the water, you’ll find that you’ll have a beautiful view over the bay of Faja de Aqua.

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, 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 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

Recommended Articles Cape Verde

We wrote several articles about the Cape Verdean archipelago, so you can easily prepare for your next trip. Many of these articles are related to questions one might ask when preparing for a trip to Cape Verde. You can find the complete list of articles here

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 is by far the best destination for kite and windsurfing, simply because it has more surfing spots where you can go to. Read all about it in our article Best Surf Spots in Boa Vista

Is Cape Verde a Good Holiday Destination? 

When you’re looking for a perfect summer holiday destination, Cape Verde is the place to be! Cape Verde has it all. You can relax on the beach and swim in the sea. But you’ll also find great cultural experiences and beautiful nature. Cape Verde is not that expensive, so that’s a nice extra!

When you’re planning a trip to the island SAL, make sure to read our article Best Things To Do In Sal

What’s the biggest island of Cape Verde? 

The biggest island of Cape Verde is Santiago, where you can find a lot of different things to do. Santo Antão is the second-largest island of Cape Verde.

Can You Island Hop in Cape Verde?

With all those different islands, you might want to go island hopping in Cape Verde. However, this can be challenging if you don’t plan your travels ahead.

Ferry routes between the islands are available, but not very reliable because of heavy sea conditions. And the domestic flights between the islands are only a few times a week. But, when you plan most of your travel plan in advance, you’ll have a great time while island hopping in Cape Verde. Find out more in our articles How Do You Travel Between The Islands in Cape Verde and Is There a Ferry Between Sal and Boa Vista.

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