Sal or Boa Vista?

Updated on May 08, 2024 by Clarabel Jones

Blog > Sal or Boa Vista?

Sal and Boa Vista are Cape Verde's most visited islands, but which one is best for you? Read on to find out what each island has to offer and which you should choose for your Cape Verde holiday...


Sal and Boa Vista share a lot of similarities: white-sand beaches, shockingly blue shores, watersports galore and also the opportunity to explore beyond the beach. However, they have their differences too.

If you're finding it difficult to decide between the two islands, read on to discover what makes each island truly unique.



Swept with long, white-sand beaches and swashed by bright-turquoise shores, it's not surprising that Sal is the most popular island in the Cape Verde archipelago. But how exactly is it different from its sister island, Boa Vista?


You can choose from a wider variety of hotels

Naturally, Sal's status as the most visited island means it offers a greater selection of hotels to suit every taste and budget, with Santa Maria being the perfect town to stay in during your Cape Verde holiday. Hotels in Santa Maria boast a fantastic location right on the beachfront and within walking distance of plenty of bars and restaurants.

Choose from all-inclusive hotels such as adult-only beachfront Robinson Club Cabo Verde, or the family-run Hotel Morabeza - our number one best-selling hotel in Cape Verde or for a touch more luxury indulge in a stay at the 5-grade Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort 

There are ample Bed & Breakfast options in Sal, for those who'd like to dine away from the hotel.


Santa Maria offers plenty to see and do

Santa Maria, Sal's main tourist resort, and arguably the most well-known town in Cape Verde, is the island's busiest town, cradled by a beautiful white-sand beach and lined with craft stalls, superb restaurants and an 8km stretch of beach bars to hop between.

There's more than enough here to keep you occupied. Santa Maria is also where the majority of Sal's hotels are based, giving the town a bustling and infectious holiday atmosphere.


There are sights to see further afield too

Away from Santa Maria resort, you can also enjoy a yacht trip, quad biking or horse-riding tours through the desert.

There’s history to absorb too; take a trip inland to see the remains of the island’s once booming salt trade - from which the island takes its name.

A must-visit for anyone exploring Sal is the Terra Boa mirage in the northern part of the island. When seen from the right distance and angle, the mirage looks just like an ocean in the middle of the desert!


Boa Vista

While Sal is known for its bustling resort town, Boa Vista takes a more laid-back approach to holidays in Cape Verde. Here are some things to know about the island before you book...


Come here to completely unwind

If you prefer quiet, almost empty beaches, you'll love Boa Vista. Stretching up to 55km, many of the beaches here are virtually untouched, with barely a soul in sight to share them with.

Sink your toes into the sand as you relax in the gorgeous sunshine or lounge by your hotel's pool; your one job in Boa Vista is to recharge.



See turtles and whales

Boa Vista may be known for its unspoilt beaches, but that's not all the island is good for!

Ervatão Beach, located on the south east coast of Boa Vista, is the world's third most important loggerhead turtle nesting site. Book your trip between July and September to witness the turtles nesting and laying their eggs.

The waters around Boa Vista are also a known breeding ground for humpback whales, giving you the chance to book a four-hour catamaran tour to see the mighty mammals for yourself. March and April are the best months to see them, although sightings are possible from late February to May.


Sal Rei is a quieter version of Santa Maria

Boa Vista's biggest town is Sal Rei - home to a handful of good restaurants, shops and bars.

A smaller and much quieter version of Santa Maria, this sleepy town also showcases some intriguing architectural landmarks including a charming landmark church.


See a real-life shipwreck

A visit to Praia de Santa Maria will give you the chance to see the shipwreck of the Cabo Santa Maria, after which the beach is named.

Running aground here in 1968 while sailing to Brazil, today the rusting wreck provides one of the best photo opportunities in the archipelago!

Whichever island you settle on, both Sal and Boa Vista promise an unforgettable and relaxing holiday in the sun. What's more, you don't have to decide; why not travel to both on one of our island hopping tours

Browse our properties in Sal, our accommodation in Boa Vista or our full selection of island hopping tours today.


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