The Cape Verde islands gained independence in 1975, but remain a seamless mish-mash of Portuguese colonial culture and African influence. Thought to be the new Caribbean or Canary islands, Boa Vista is a topographical treasure. The island boasts a mere 55km of unspoiled, sun-drenched beaches and the wind-carved dunes beckon thoughts of the Sahara. The vegetation mainly consists of palm and coconut trees, but date trees also grow here; harvested from November to December. Along with fishing, date farming is the other traditional surviving industry, but the island mainly relies on tourism as its main source of income. Although the official language is Portuguese, locals speak Crioulo/ Creole.
Although the island's mantra is 'no stress', there is still a plethora of activities to do from quadbiking in the Viana desert to windsurfing to your heart's content. For avid birdwatchers, the island of Curral Velho - accessible by boat - is home to local residents such as albatross, frigate birds, black and larger tropical birds. Thevillage of Povoaçao Velha is also worth visiting, steeped in history it dates back to the 17th century, and embarking upon a nighttime tour to see loggerhead turtles on the east and southern beaches is an opportunity not to be missed.
The sherbet hues of the multicoloured houses and fruit stalls in the island's old capital, Rabil, provide a vibrant feast for the eyes, whilst the capital of Sal Rei and its fantastic fish market are the embodiment of the island's fishing prowess - women gut fish after men bring them back from the boats. The 16km-long Lacacao beach provides unrivalled stretches of sand, whilst in the North, on Santa Maria beach, you can see the rusted frame of a Spanish ship, product of a wreck that happened in 1968.
Surface area : 1557.0 km2
Population : 516733 inhabitants
Although the island is a mecca for keen windsurfers, keep an eye on the tide and strength of the waves to avoid any accidents.
Consider renting a 4x4 - an essential for many of the roads.
Bear in mind the effect of mass tourism on turtle numbers - part of the island's attraction is its sleepy charm, so it's important to always be considerate and respectful of the environment.
Avoid drinking tap water and having ice in your drinks.Any solo exploring for barren or remote areas - a guide is a must.
Going north of Locacao - the ground is red, rocky and lifeless.
The national dish, caechupa, is like a cassoulet, and is based on corn, bacon, and chorizo. Fish, chicken, pork, rice and some vegetables are the basic components local cuisine. You can also find excellent grilled lobster and crayfish. Typical of the archipelago, Grogue is a white or brown rum served like a punch.
In terms of handicratfs, you have pick of the crop from crochet tablecloths and placemats to bedspreads. Brightly coloured artwork and wooden carvings are also great authentic gift ideas, along with straw hats and knick-knacks made from sea shells. Bringing back Grogue and Fogo wine are also a must.
A small charming hotel enjoying a perfect location, which allows ...