Highlights of São Vicente
Make the most out of your stay on Saõ Vicente by visiting the places of interest on the island. Colourful fishermens villages, rugged coastlines, local beaches, the scenery road along the vulcano hills, the vibrant capital city Mindelo and the highest mountain with its spectacular 360° viewpoint.
Baia das Gatas
The capital of Boa Vista, also the city with the most inhabitants (+/- 15.000) is located in a bay on the North-West coast. The name can be translated as the king of salt, referring to the salt pans which were used in the past for the salt production. In the harbour locals take ferry boats and cargo ships arrive here from other islands. There are different population groups living in town which creates a local, pleasant atmosphere. It's a nice place to visit if you want to get a glimpse of the local activities. Visit the vegetable- and fruit market, the fishermans pier, central square and the fish market. On the white sand beach of Estoril you'll find several beach clubs & (kite) surf schools. The bay is perfect for swmming and snorkeling from the beach, sailing around, spotting whales or trying watersports.
The uninhabited small island in front of the coast of Sal Rei was used to fight against pirate attacks from the fortress that was built here. Today you can still visit its remains. The island is often visited in combination with boat tours, because of its white beautiful beach and clear water. The island protects the coastline from Sal Rei from big waves, which results in relatively calm water in the bay.
Shipwreck Cabo Santa Maria
A Spanish ship on its way to Brazil got stuck in lower water and stranded here in front of the coast in 1968. It took more than a year for the people to get all the cargo on land. The ship is slowly crumbling apart due to dealing with strong winds and waves over the years. The wreck is known as the symbol of Boa Vista and a photo posing next to it is a nice souvenir. The road leading to the ship is bumpy and only accessible with a 4x4 vehicle.
This village is situated in the dry inland on a 30 minute drive from Sal Rei. It's a local place with a central square, a few bars, a football field on the sand and around 150 people living here.
The second largest town on the island is also the former capital. The past inhabitants lived of agriculture and pottery. When they discovered that salt was worth a lot of money, Sal Rei and its salt pans became the new capital and many people moved. These days the town has around 2.500 people living here, because of the central position close to the big resorts and the airport where many work. In the village you can visit the pottery place and see some view points over the inland, the airport and the West coast of the island. In town you'll feel the local vibe in the colourful streets with small bars.
We are in the middle of the ocean but still we have a desert of 5km long. In the middle of the island lays a stretched out area with high sand dunes. The sand is transported by the wind coming from the Sahara desert on the African continent and stays here. A few walls are built to keep the sand here and prevent it from flying to Sal Rei. There is a restaurant, Viana Club built at the beginning of the desert and you have the possibility to go sandboarding.
Praia de Chaves & Morro d'Areia
The idyllic sand beach Chaves is located in the bay of Sal Rei and very popular under tourists. The big resorts are built here next to the ocean. The beach is 5 km long and is ideal to make endless walks on the sand. The bach club Perola do Chaves is used sometimes for wedding parties and is a beautiful place to dream away. Shortly after lay the high sand dunes of Morro d'Areia. The Sahara sand flying over from Africa is stacking up here so you have steep sand dune landscapes next to the coast line.
This road crosses the middle of the inland through the dry landscape and is the easiest connection to arrive in the Northern villages. Starting on top of the hill you have a great view over the rough volcanic area. This lonely road in the middle of the nature looks a little bit like the route 66 in the US.
The translation of this village is 'old settlement'. After the several pirate attacks, people decided to move to a safer place inlands and built a new village here. Povoçao Velha lays next to a mountain who provides the people with water. It's the only village in the South and is often used as a stop for tourists before moving further to Santa Monica and Varandinha.
On the West coast lays the sand- and rocky beach Varandinha. The beach is known for it's beautiful rock formations next to the sea. You can find caves as well and one is accessible for visiting. The access to get to the beach is quite difficult over sand roads and is only possible with a strong 4x4 vehicle.
Santa Monica beach
The most known and beautiful beach of Boa Vista that is named after Santa Monica beach in the US. The pearly white sand beach stretches out for about 25 km and is currently still vacant. The beach is quite known by tourists, but because of the size you'll feel like discovering this place by yourself. The power of the ocean is a lot stronger than in the bay of Sal Rei and the waves and current can be dangerous at times. A big resort is being built at the moment and in the future many more will follow. The access can be difficult when you're touring on your own and is only possible with a strong 4x4 vehicle. You'll find a comfy beach bar/restaurant, Boca Beach with amazing views and hammocks to relax in and dream away.
João Galego, Fundo das Figueiras & Cabeço dos Tafares
These villages on the East side are the agriculture villages of Boa Vista. The inhabitants mainly live of crops that grow here and are sold later in the capital. Together there live around 500 people. The little towns are very colourful with flowers, plants, a lot of local bars and bright painted, traditional houses. You get a nice image of the real Cape Verdian life.
Lighthouse Farol Morro Negro
This lighthouse is located on a mountain top on the vacant East coast of the Island. Morro Negro means 'black mountain' and refers to the volcanic origine and dark colour of the lava rocks. The building was constructed in 1930 and used for a long time, but is now out of service and recently painted again. The place is quite unknown for the mass tourism because of his isolated location. The place can be reached by a steep 10 minute walk mountain up wards. On top you have an amazing view over the coastline and ocean.
Here you will find the remains of the first settlement on the island. In the past there lived fishermen and trademen in the small village. When the pirates invaded and attacked Boa Vista, the inhabitants decided to leave their houses and move to another safer place. The remains of the ruins are still possible to visit.
João Barrosa & Ervatão beach
These beaches are situated on the difficult accessible East coast and are a part of the protected nature resereve for turtles. During the summer turtles come on shore to nest and lay their eggs in the sand. The most turtle tours happen in this area. Camps are built for volunteers who protect the turtles and there are hatcheries for the turtles eggs. The beaches are loved by experienced surfers, kite surfing in the winter and wave surfing in the summer.