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Where to stay in Cape Verde – an island guide

Find a place to stay

The 10 diverse islands of Cape Verde boast an equally varied selection of hotels and guesthouses. From four star luxury with private palmed beaches to homely bed and breakfasts in the heart of town, a tranquil paradise is waiting for you on this sun kissed archipelago. Santiago and Sal are home to the most tourist-orientated accommodation, while the smaller island of  São Vicente is ideal for a quiet break experiencing the local Cape Verdean way of life.

Sean Coleman

My Destination local expert on

Cape Verde

Sal

 

With this island featuring the country’s main international airport, it is likely you will fly into Sal to begin your holiday in Cape Verde. Dry, desert-like and pancake flat, this island may not be the most attractive of the bunch, but it is the most developed, with the coastal town of Santa Maria featuring lively beachfront bars and eateries. Watersports such as jet skiing and kite surfing are big here.

 

Hotels on Sal

 

Being the most tourist-ready island, Sal offers the largest choice when it comes to accommodation. There are plenty of all-inclusive four star resorts – often with their own piece of secluded golden beach. Apartment complexes are also available for longer stays.

 

Boa Vista

 

The third-largest island, Boa Vista closely resembles the classic palm island, with 55km of deserted white sand beaches. Perfect for travellers wanting to relax and unwind, Boa Vista is tranquil and less touristy than sister island Sal, and offers magical opportunities to spot visiting loggerhead turtles and humpback whales.

 

Hotels on Boa Vista

 

Boa Vista offers a similar choice in hotel accommodation to Sal, with beachfront resorts a popular choice. Three stars are more prevalent than four here, with locally-owned guesthouses providing a genuine Cape Verdean alternative.

 

Santiago

 

Larger and greener than both Sal and Boa Vista, this diverse island was the first to be populated and therefore boasts a rich colonial history. Bustling capital Praia is a city with European flavor; find chic cafes, upmarket restaurants and sophisticated shops here, while nearby Cidade Velha provides insight into Cape Verde’s slave trade past.

 

Hotels in Santiago

 

Without the numerous beachfront resorts of other islands, Santiago is the perfect choice for travellers wishing to stay in the town and soak up the local way of life. There are several historic hotels located in the old part of Praia.

 

São Vicente

 

This island is the ideal choice for those interested in music, art and architecture; the harbour town of Mindelo is considered the cultural hub of Cape Verde, home to many of its famous musicians and boasting a vibrant local nightlife and two lavish annual festivals. A stroll around Mindelo will take in elegant colonial architecture painted in some surprising shades - including olive green and lilac!

 

Hotels in São Vicente

 

São Vicente gives you the option of more intimate accommodation: a ‘pension’ – a European-style guesthouse or boutique hotel. These are often beautiful, intricate establishments, run by a local family and tending to offer all meals inclusive of the price.