KITESURFING HOLIDAYS - CAPE VERDE ISLANDS - SAL & BOA VISTA
Two hours south of the Canary Islands and about 500 kilometres west of Senegal lie ten idyllic islands in the Atlantic that make up the Cape Verde's. Stretching four kilometres, Santa Maria Bay on Sal offers ideal kitesurfing conditions for beginners, advanced and expert riders. Cross-shore wind from the left, blowing an average force of 4-5 every day, makes the spot ideal for kitesurfing. Boa Vista island is a much more remote and undeveloped experience with some incredible conditions and a few nice hotels to look after you.
There's something for everyone. Side-onshore wind and small wind waves for intermediate kiters on the windward, east side of the island. Santa Maria in the south is a great beginner cove, also with flat water for freestylers. In the southwestern corner of the bay there is an excellent wave spot, recommended only for experienced riders due to the offshore wind.
For the more adventurous, there are world-class wave spots - Ponta Preta in particular, which is the most famous and infamous of all. The waves here are very fast and can even produce faces of up to eight metres on huge days. Very experienced kiters only. Speak to the locals first, but you should definitely come here to watch good kiters rip through the waves. Otherwise, speak to a local school and get the lowdown on plenty of other excellent wave spots.
Boa Vista is also an all-round destination for flat water and waves and is suitable for beginners and experts. There are a few big hotels all close to the capital of Sal Rei to stay in – the rest of the island is mainly off road tracks and small, basic villages. You can hire a 4x4 and make your way to all sorts of remote spots, but be prepared to get lost and there is no rescue cover... because there's no one else there! But there are a few spots close to the main hotel and in front of the centre, including a 3km x 1km flat water spot for beginners with a superb freestyle area. The second sailing area offers two to four metre waves two hundred metres offshore. Turtle Bay offers waves depending on the swell and a flat speed area parallel to the shore. Check with Sportif for all on Boa Vista.
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
The main kitesurfing season is October - May. North, northeast and easterly trades blow all year but are strongest in winter, averaging 20 knots compared to 15 knots in summer. Winter is wave season but there's nearly always some swell. Flatter water and lighter winds in summer, May - August, but the temperature can push past 30ºC / 86ºF. Water temperatures: 20 – 24°C / 68 – 75ºF. On strong wind days you might need a shorty December – February.
SAL: Santa Maria is one of the only towns on the island and the main place for tourists. Lots of cheap taxis or 'aluguers' - pick-up trucks with a bench in the back that transport kiters around.
BOA VISTA: The vast majority of the island is a sandy desert landscape, perfect for exploring in a 4x4.
CURRENCY: Cape Verdean Escudo (CVE): £1 = 135CVE / €1 = 109CVE / $1 = 83CVE Shops in Sal also accept Euros, but be prepared to pay a premium of about 10 % compared to paying in the local currency.
SAL: Santa Maria is small but has a good choice of hotels and accommodation. There are also several all-inclusive hotels that can be crowded with non-kiting holidaymakers, but may have good deals.
BOA VISTA: Everything is near Sal Rei town centre, with a few guest houses and a few bigger resorts just outside, great for families.
FOOD AND DRINK
SAL: Supermarkets have all you need with prices comparable to UK / Europe and you'll find lots of restaurants. A handful of bars and nightclubs are open late as the locals love to dance and party.
BOA VISTA: The big hotels are all-inclusive. Otherwise Sal Rei has plenty of friendly restaurants and bars. Local lobster is a speciality. Little street lighting in the evening though.
SHOPS & SCHOOLS
Click HERE for shops and schools in Cape Verde or click on the tab above
You can still get your share of salt water on the rare days without wind surfing or SUPing at many spots. Diving is also popular. Otherwise enjoy the beaches, crystal clear waters or take excursions around the island to the famous dormant volcano and grotto on Sal.
Sal / Cape Verde (SID) is serviced by many airlines from all over Europe, including Thomas Cook and TUI fly. Airport transfers take about 15 minutes and can be organised by most agents, otherwise there are plenty of taxis.
Boa Vista (BVB) now has direct flights on a weekly basis from Europe and the transfer to Sal Rei is just five minutes!