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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Cape Verde > Cape Verde beaches

About Cape Verde beaches

Consisting of 10 main islands and eight smaller islets off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde is an archipelago with a lot to offer tourists, whether they are looking for a relaxing beach holiday, great surfing or a hiking trip in volcanic and mountainous terrain. Sal, the main tourist island, has wonderful sandy beaches to rival any in the world and also fantastic surfing and diving spots.

Beach:

There is no shortage of great beaches in Cape Verde. The stunning long white beaches running in either direction from Santa Maria, the main town on Sal, are a good place to catch the suns rays. Beaches on Boa Vista are ideal for watersports with everything from diving to sailing on offer. The island also boasts one of the largest and best beaches on the archipelago, Curralinho. Sao Pedro beach on São Vicente is also lovely and a good place for windsurfing. Sal is regarded as a surfer’s paradise on account of the breezes constantly coming in from the north.

Beyond the beach:

Trekking is one of the great activities on Cape Verde. The most popular island among walkers is Santo Antao, because of its spectacular landscapes. The island has a vast mountain range offering great views and a wonderfully diverse flora, and in the island’s interior there are green valleys and fertile forests, while the coast is rugged. There are several marked trails on the island, but it is also possible to hire a guide for your walking trip.

Family fun:

The resorts on Sal have plenty of facilities for families and the beaches by Santa Maria are great for kids, with their white, fine sand. On some of the islands it is possible to do a bit of bird and turtle spotting without intruding too much on their habitats, and on São Vicente and Santiago it is possible to go horse riding.

Exploring further:

Fogo, which means ‘fire’ in Portuguese, is a volcanic island to the south west of São Tiago, and its volcano, the Pico de Fogo, rises up 2,839m (9,314ft) above sea level. The cone is one of the finest in the world, and the summit offers fantastic views. There are good trails around the volcano, but it is a good idea to go on an organised tour, not least because the volcano is occasionally active (the last eruption happening in 1995).

Splashing out:

Because of its abundant sea life and dramatic volcanic seabed with caves, canyons, huge rock formations and also shipwrecks, diving is very popular in Cape Verde. You can learn to dive and become a certified diver in the sea just outside Santa Maria with Cabo Verde Diving (www.caboverdediving.net).