It is just a eight-hour flight from Boston, but many Americans have never even heard of the African nation of Cape Verde–let alone visited. The former Portuguese colony–comprised of 10 islands–is well worth the trip. And a Cape Verdean vacation would be incomplete without a visit to Boa Vista (Portuguese for “good view”).
It is the easternmost island of Cape Verde, located in the Barlavento group of the archipelago islands, and is the country´s third largest island.
Where to stay: The 750-room RIU Riu Karamboa (http://www.riu.com/en-pt/Paises/cape-verde/boa-vista) is unlike any hotel found in Africa–or North America, for that matter. The all-inclusive hotel resort, not only has a unique look–patterned after traditional African styles such as Moroccan–but a stay there will make you never want to leave the property. And, they would love to have more Americans visit. “Most of our guests are from Europe, with the English at 50 percent and Germans visiting most often,” says general manager Ruth Gonzalez. “We would love to host more Americans and to help them discover Boa Vista and Cape Verde. It is a quick flight from the states. We are an island resort will all the amenities, and the weather is almost always perfect. And the Cape Verdean people are extremely welcoming.”
The hotel encourages its guest to venture out by offering several off-site excursions. One of the most popular trips is Turtle Beach, which is a good late night trip. Boa Vista is the second most important site in the Atlantic Ocean for the reproduction of eggs from loggerhead turtles. Between July and January, you’ll find the most eggs.
The hotel will also arrange windsurf and “kite-surf” excursions, among other things. In fact, Cape Verde is one of the most important destinations in the world for windsurfing and “kite-surfing”; Boa Vista is ideal for both.
On the property itself there are endless distractions. The hotel offers shopping, traditional “funana” dance lessons, games on the beach, water aerobics and volleyball in the huge pool (which also has a swim up bar), a late night disco, live entertainment among other activities. There are various restaurants to choose from, including Asian (with great sushi) and Cape Verdean. It is nearly impossible to every dish, as the food offerings are seemingly endless.
Then, of course, is the hotel beach with its sparkling turquoise waters and soft white sand. And during certain times of the year, the beach offers great whale watching.
A spa treatment is also a must. The spa offers various services, including incredible hour-long massages, facial and other pampering.
After you rest up from your journey, head out to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world–Santa Monica Beach. The 18-km-long stretch of sand offers total tranquility. Later, hit Ilheu de Sal Rei (literally the ‘islet of Sal Rei’), where you will find the fortress of the Duke of Bragança complete with the huge cannons that were once used to fend off pirates. Next, check out the dolphin cemetery where remains of dolphins and whales fill the area.
Since occupancy hovers year-round around 85 percent and 100 percent in July and September, it’s best to book the hotel early. And the language won’t be a problem. While most Cape Verdeans speak Creole and Portuguese, nearly all the hotel staff is fluent in English. ” We have 498 employees. 87 percent are Cape Verdean and we offer English classes to our employees,” says Gonzalez.
A vacation in Boa Vista will be a once in a lifetime venture.