After Santiago’s green beautiful landscapes, Boa Vista was the second destination of my Cape Verde trip (well of course before heading back to Praia again for my flight to Casablanca). Today, when I think about a word to kind of describe the island, all the expressions that pop on the top of my mind involve “sand”: White beautiful sand, silky sand, Soft powdery sand… and I could go on like this for paragraphs!
Well, I know what most of you will say: “Coming from Morocco it’s not like you’ve never seen sand!” Yes I know, and you probably wouldn’t be 100% wrong, I mean we have beautiful beaches with sand in Morocco and we didn’t even talk about the Sahara! But what amazed me the most in Boavista is the fact that every time I visited a beach or a village, It felt like a Christopher Columbus discovering new lands, I know I’m not doing myself a favor here by being that silly, because obviously many people have been there before me, but really, when you step out of Sal Rei (which is the only city in the island by the way!), all you find is wild stuff: wild beaches, wild dunes, small wild forgotten villages.. And it does feel like you’re the first human discovering them! Okay you got my point.
A little bit of information to begin with. Boavista is the 3rd largest island in Cape Verde archipelago and its main attraction is obviously the beaches. It has 55km of them, all untouched with impossibly clear, blue tides and often the only visitors that you’ll meet are a couple of rutting goats. I’ve been told by my guide that when Christopher Columbus arrived on the island many, many years earlier he was a bit disappointed and he didn’t like it (WHAT?!), well when you think about it, may be landing on this bunch of volcanic rocks and sand in the middle of the ocean near Senegal after discovering his so beloved “New world”, felt a little bit like finding some small change in your pocket after winning the lottery. The guy was obviously wrong.
For the 2 days and a half I spent in the island, I chose to go for a guest house called “Migrante Guest House” which I didn’t know anything about, apart from the fact that the owner seemed to be really nice (well you have to be extremely nice with a high level of faith in humanity to buy a flight ticket for a guest without even knowing if she’s going to show up or not, just saying!). Toni if you’re reading this thank you for everything 🙂
Wandering around Sal Rei, you get again that feel for Cape Verde’s unique culture, which is a beautiful mixture between Africa and Portugal. The town also has a port and fish market where the locals still speak in Creole even if the official language is Portuguese. The locals are also really easy going – a very common catchphrase in the whole island is ‘no stress’ and can easily be dropped in a conversation at any stage: “Hey! Where are you from, no stress, do you want to buy a souvenir?’
Since my accommodation was in the town of Sal Rei, which is located on northwestern coast of the island, 4×4 rides to the other parts of Boavista became a daily routine, especially that roads are pretty bad and unfinished, I mean they literally stopped the construction of the main roads in the middle of it, so they ended up with roads looking like take-off runaways!
My first stop out of the city was the Deserto Viana, with its amazing white sand dunes which pretty much offers everything you’d expect to see in our Sahara, well minus the camels of course. Around 20Km South of Sal Rei, there is Povoação Velha, the first village ever discovered in the island (back in the 16th century), where life just seems to be going by without anybody taking notice.
On my last day on Boavista, and for the guided trip to see the beaches on the other side of the island, I wanted to take the dune buggies (how awesome is that!) but apparently everyone else decided to choose them on the same day, bummer! I ended up sharing my ride with an Austrian family on a pick-up truck visiting every single beach and answering questions such as:” do you have water shortage in Morocco?” , the look on the dad’s face when I told him that he can even Ski in our mountains in the winter was priceless though! We visited together the 18km beach of Santa Monica with its vast crashing waves and the beach of Santa Maria with a wrecked ship that is still there from 1968. Last and possibly my biggest regret is not being able to see the loggerhead turtles on the east and southern beaches because apparently in September they’re not there yet, damn you giant turtles!
To sum up, was there anything I didn’t like in Boavista? None. Okay may be one thing; it actually looks like there will be major overseas investment in the island in the next decade and I felt like the wild character of the island might be lost as more hotel companies already started investing there (selfish I know). So you guys should definitely go to ‘no stress’ Boa Vista before mass tourism destroys the beautiful wilderness that it’s hard to find elsewhere. Other than that, I only have one thing to say: “Obrigada Cabo Verde!”
Cheers to the places we yet have to go to!