Boa Vista might be tiny in size, but this sand-soaked island is anything but boring. It's something of a haven for outdoorsy holidaymakers, with quad bikes roaring across the sand dunes, miles and miles of quiet beaches and some pretty noteworthy wind and kite-surfing conditions. Boa Vista holidays are also known for their animal-spotting potential, as it's a hotspot for nesting loggerhead turtles and feeding humpback whales. If you find yourself this side of Africa, here are some activities you won't want to miss.
The beaches are the main centres of activity in Boa Vista. The island is largely covered in sand, giving it a desert atmosphere, and those huge expanses of sand give way to perfectly warm waters.
The only thing surrounding these beaches are a few palm trees and the odd resort, though there are only a few scattered around the island. Hotels often come with the use of their own private beach, so you won't have trouble finding a spot to lounge.
But due to Boa Vista's pint-size proportions, exploring the island's 55 kilometres of beach on your Cape Verde holidays isn't too hard, and worth the minimal effort. You'll find everything from watersport centres to the rusted frame of a ship wedged in the sand on Boa Esperanca Beach after it wrecked in 1968.
Boa Vista is renowned for its strong winds, especially between the months of November and March. As a result, it's a top spot for windsurfing, kitesurfing and just regular old surfing, attracting adventurous holidaymakers from far and wide. For watersports at a slower pace, local diving centres will get you geared up for scuba diving and snorkelling in the waves offshore as well.
Because Boa Vista is covered in sand dunes, quad bikes are readily on offer here and the chosen method of transportation for many. On a practical side, they're much better equipped to take you across the dusty landscape than a regular car would be. On a purely fun side, with the wind whisking through your hair and the sandy slopes dipping underneath the wheels, they're an exhilarating way to travel.
Boa Vista is known worldwide as being one of the tip-top places to spot loggerhead turtles. Turtles love calling Boa Vista's shores their nesting place, so much so that the island has many protective measures in place to ensure the little reptiles can nest undisturbed. The turtles generally arrive as early as June all the way to September and October, and night-time excursions will give you a close-up glimpse of these shelled creatures.
Off the coast of Boa Vista is also a great spot to do some whale watching, especially between the months of February and May. There are special whale-watching boat tours you can join that'll take you to humpback whale hotspots near Sal Rei.
Sal Rei is the only town on the island, and therefore Boa Vista's capital. It features a blend of Portuguese and African influences, and has a quiet centre when compared to other capitals.
You can spend the afternoon wandering through Sal Rei's streets, pausing in the street market and watching the vendors at work with fish just brought in. Sal Rei is also where you'll find a collection of bars and clubs outside of your hotel, some of which stay open late into the night.
When it comes to touring the island of Boa Vista, the locals have you covered with guided excursions. The sandy terrain can be difficult to navigate on your own, so tour guides are happy to help show you the best of Boa Vista's sites.
Tours on this island range from quad bikes to jeeps and boats. Many can be arranged directly through your hotel and will take you not just to Sal Rei and the island's top beaches, but local communities that offer an inside look into everyday island life.