Tips for first-time visitors to Cape Verde

Updated on Jul 31, 2023 by Stacey Parsons

Blog > Tips for first-time visitors to Cape Verde

If you’re considering your first trip to the islands, we’ve got some great tips for you...

Are you doing some research around a holiday to Cape Verde? Perhaps you want to know where the best place is to stay for your first visit, or you want to do something a little bit different, and Cape Verde has caught your attention? The beauty of this archipelago is that you can enjoy a traditional beach holiday should you wish, but you can also get well and truly off the beaten track, and explore some of the characteristics that make this group of islands off West Africa so appealing all year round. So, without further delay, here's our top tips for first-time visitors to Cape Verde. 

Tip #1 Visit Santa Maria on Sal for a bit of everything

Santa Maria is a great place to start, as firstly, it's a beautiful beach destination, plus it's on Cape Verde's most developed island for tourism - Sal. Located on the southernmost tip of Sal, Santa Maria offers a long, golden bay, where you can sunbathe, go for a swim in the turquoise water, sip a caipirinha cocktail on the sand, embark on some water sports and even get involved in some exciting wildlife activities.


Where to stay in Santa Maria 

Santa Maria boasts perhaps the most choice for holidaymakers when it comes to hotels and resorts, so if you're struggling on where to choose, we highly recommend the following hotels:

  • Hotel Morabeza | 4.5 grade | upgrade to the Executive rooms & suites for adults-only section and pool. 
  • Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort | 5 grade | opened in October 2017 - perfect luxury escape 
  • Hotel Pontão | 3 grade | a short walk to the beach and town, great for a slightly more budget option 

If none of these quite tick the box, here's our full list of accommodation in Santa Maria, Sal island.

Above: Hotel Morabeza

Above: Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort 

Above: Hotel Pontão 


Tip #2 Choose Boa Vista, for dedicated beach time 

Lots of holidaymakers choose Boa Vista for its incredible sand dunes and never-ending beaches, and once you've seen it for yourself, you're sure to understand why. It's a fantastic choice for water sport enthusiasts too, and you can enjoy some unique wildlife experiences on the island, like whale watching and loggerhead turtle watching. It's the ideal choice for families as there some fantastic all-inclusive resorts along Praia de Chaves, Boa Vista's best beach, however, getting out and about on quad or sand bikes is a pretty memorable day out. 

Above: All-inclusive VOI Praia De Chaves Resort

Above: All-inclusive Royal Horizons Boa Vista


Tip #3 Don't sit on the sand all day, enjoy an excursion

No matter which island you do choose to base your holiday on (there are up to seven to choose from in our programme), you're able to embark on exciting and sometimes adventurous activities, which really enriches your Cape Verde holiday. Getting out and about and actually seeing the destination is such a rewarding prospect, especially when you can do things like this... 

Explore Boa Vista's Viana Desert

Watch the loggerhead turtles hatch at Project Biodiversity, Sal 

Embark on a snorkelling expedition 

Or even visit another island for the day, the choice is yours! 

If this sounds like your kind of holiday experience, visit our complete range of excursions and experiences.


Tip #4 Listen to some live music in Mindelo, São Vicente 

São Vicente is well-known as the archipelago's hub for music and culture. Mindelo, the island's capital, is definitely worth a visit should you wish to experience talented live musicians and grogue, the rum-like national alcoholic beverage. Most cafés, bars and restaurants have a live performer most nights, and you can hop on a flight from the main islands of Boa Vista or Sal to São Vicente and arrive after a 40-minute flight. Find out more about the island of São Vicente.

Above: Casa Cafe Mindelo, São Vicente 

Tip #5 If you like walking, definitely consider Santa Antão

​Blessed by green mountainous peaks, jaw-dropping ravines and extraordinary landscapes, Santo Antão is a true walkers' paradise. You can book yourself a private guide to show you around, or if you're a confident walker, you can just head on out and start exploring! Make sure you take a camera, there's so many picture-perfect moments on this island. Find out more about Santo Antão

If you want to know more about a holiday to Cape Verde, have a look at our website. You can also have a browse of our complete accommodation collection too.


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