Hi, my name is Jeremy. Welcome to my Boa Vista article! I’m a French travel blogger based in Paris. Let me tell you a little secret: I’m passionate about traveling! Thanks to my parents, I have been exploring the world since I was young and had the chance to move to numerous countries. This opened my mind and then I couldn’t stop myself from continuing to explore the world. Today, I can say that I have visited over 50 countries and will share the same passion for travel with my children (if I have some one day).
During 2021, I decided to leave my 9 to 5 to try freelancing in the travel industry. Since 2022, I have been helping other travelers plan their trips with two options. The first is on my social media channel (@jeyxplore) where I share my experiences to my community with tips about travel. I tell stories, recount special moments and talk about the interesting foreign people I meet. I also helped people out during the pandemic – informing them how they could enter destinations with all the restrictions, quarantines, vaccination requirements, testing regimes, etc.
The second is my paid offerings where I organize trips for people. This could be for those looking for the most suitable country, flights, accommodation, a personalized travel guide, visa information, etc. Whatever the need, I’m here to help. I know where to go and what to look for, and use this experience to support my clients. My mission is to assist people in making good decisions when they want to travel the world in their own unique way.
The Inspiration to Visit Cape Verde
Let me start with something important: I have tried to visit Cape Verde for three years now! Every time I tried there was a problem. In 2021, all of the flights were canceled because of the pandemic. Then in 2022, three quarters of our flights were canceled for no reason. We tried again this year and finally made it! When you think of Cape Verde images of Africa, the sun, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten-path destinations come to mind.
We tried to search online for information about Cape Verde but we found that task to be quite difficult. Apart from the touristy islands, there was no helpful content at all. I was very curious to learn more about life over there, what we could do, whether the country is worth visiting and so on. And, as I’m always attracted to destinations that hardly any tourists go to, it was obvious to me that I should have an adventure in Cape Verde!
Two Amazing Weeks in Cape Verde
So in total we spent two weeks in Cape Verde. Initially, we planned to visit four islands but when we arrived we realized that wouldn’t be easy. We went to Santiago island (from north to south) and Boa Vista (north to south). In Santiago, we discovered many places thanks to the travel agency @capvertours owned by Edmundo – a French guy who came back to Cape Verde after the pandemic in order to help people explore the treasures of his beautiful country. He knows everything about the island and we totally trusted him to organize all of our activities in Santiago.
We went hiking, took a cooking class with locals, ventured on a boat trip, had the opportunity to attend the carnival, visited the UNESCO site of Cidade Velha and saw the capital of Praia. In Boa Vista, we had so much fun as we did some quad bike tours and pickup truck tours – we were seated on the back of the car with the sun beating down on us. It was so good! We also went fishing, ate the fish we caught on a small deserted island and enjoyed the beach too. All in all, we had a fantastic time in Cape Verde!
Why Boa Vista is a Cool Destination
Boa Vista is different from Santiago. It’s more touristy, mainly desert (sand dunes), but on the coast you have beaches with crystal-clear waters. This is the oldest island of the archipelago! There is only one city in Boa Vista called Sal Rei, located on the northwestern coast, and some small villages dotted around the island. The main road runs along the west coast. It was surprising to see the difference with its sister, Santiago. The architecture is simple, with colorful houses in the capital and in the villages. There are lots of unfinished hotels which, unfortunately, spoil the scenery.
Culturally speaking, Santiago is more like Africa. In Boa Vista, it felt more occidental: the prices are higher, there are some big hotel chains, TUI tour operators operate everyday and you even have TUI planes landing on the island. As I mentioned, this is a touristy island. Many tourists were here when we visited but it never felt crowded at the beaches or restaurants.
I think most of the tourists that come with TUI are placed in all-inclusive hotels and then don’t move. We were lucky that we didn’t have to compete for space on the beach with the TUI guests! There is also a nice museum in Boa Vista called Museu Dos Naufragos. It tells the story of Boa Vista – the people who arrived there and what it’s like today. It was really interesting!
My Favorite Places in Boa Vista
Personally, I liked a lot of different aspects about Boa Vista but the places that I preferred were Viana Desert and Chaves Beach. There are many unique desert landscapes to explore and those were my favorite. Other than those two, the activity I enjoyed the most was when we went fishing with a local fisherman and his small boat. It was my first time fishing and I caught so many fish that I was shocked! I caught around 10 in less than an hour. Then we visited an island to eat them all. Apologies to all the vegan people out there but it was such an amazing experience!
Best Things To Do in Boa Vista
- Experience a fishing trip from Sal Rei
- Spot whales on a whale watching trip
- Go on a quad bike tour, either on your own or with a guide
- Find the best beaches on the island, such as Estoril or Santa Monica
- Take a tour of the island in a pickup truck as you can visit many places
- See turtles nesting from June to November as Cape Verde has the third-largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the world.
Where to Stay in Boa Vista
Our first accommodation in Boa Vista was a type of airbnb. However, we didn’t like it because we were far from the city center. Then we moved to another place, a hotel called Ouril Hotel Agueda. It was completely different: the room had a beach view and a rooftop to watch the sunset. I definitely recommend this place! Just make sure you get a room with a view. I also heard about four/five star hotels like RIU, but they are too far away and you need to take a taxi to get around. So choosing a place to stay in Boa Vista depends on what you like and your preferred experience.
Need to Know Before You Go
Firstly: if you want to visit several islands during your trip to Cape Verde, book your local flights before arriving. There are ferries but they aren’t reliable. A lot of people miss their international flights because of that. I suggest booking local flights with the only airline called Bestfly. It’s more expensive, yet you have a better chance of nothing going wrong.
About the food: there are plenty of restaurants in Sal Rei, the capital where we stayed. From low cost to high end, you will enjoy a great selection. Porton di nos Ilha or Cafe Kriola are some affordable places with good food. Don’t be surprised if you have to queue because they are quite popular! Most of the dishes on the island revolve around fish but you can also find pizza, french fries or even local food like cachupa (slow-cooked stew).
Like I said, the prices are higher in Boa Vista: 50€/night with breakfast for two at Ouril Hotel Agueda, 85€/day for a quad bike rental, around 10-15€ for a meal at the restaurant or around 40€/person to go on a pickup truck island tour. I made a special video on my Instagram with more details, don’t hesitate to check it out! To get to Boa Vista from Europe you have direct flights from Paris with Transavia, otherwise you can go through Lisbon with TAP Portugal or through Morocco with Royal Air Maroc.
You should also know that everyone uses the Euro in Cape Verde. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find prices in Cape Verdean Escudo. To visit Cape Verde as a foreigner, you need to pay the tourist tax EASE which is around 30€. You can do this when you arrive or online before you go. I recommend the second option so you can avoid the queue. Have a nice trip!