Boavista is the most eastern island of the Archipelago, and quite near to the African continent. It has a surface of 620 km2 and is pentagonal in shape with its longest distance, from North to South of 31 km, and 29 km from West to East. lt is made of sedimentary rocks and is basically flat except for the volcanic formations in Rabil and Fundo das Figueiras. Pico d'Estancia at 390 meters is the highest point of the island. Among the typical vegetation of the island is the "date palm" a kind of a palm tree with three or six branches coming out of the same base.
The island is covered with sand dunes, which give it lunar scenery, and it has 55 km of beautiful white sand beaches and emerald green water. All these characteristics make BoaVista an excellent tourist attraction. Today, Boavista occupies one of the four international airports.
It was discovered on the 3rd of May, 1480, after the islands of Maio, Santiago and Fogo, and was first named S. Cristovão. The name Boa Vista has its origin in the exclamation "Captain, good sight (boa vista)", instead of the traditional "Land at sight", due to the joy of a sailor in the dormer window of a sailing vessel which faced a fearful tempest.
Initially dependent on one of the ports under the command of a captain in the island of Santiago, the occupancy of that island started in 1497, when it was given to Captain Rodrigo Afonso for the raising of cattle in the hands of a small number of shepherds. Its adult population began in 1620.
Visiting the island of Boavista
Island of dunes and mornas, paradisiacal and tropical, owner of a rare beauty where the everlasting sands let themselves be embraced by a bluish-green warm sea.
Having wonderful potential for nautical sports, the beaches of Boavista are considered some of the best in the world. Among them, Curralinho, on the south coast of the island, should be highlighted. It is also known as Santa Monica alluding to the similarity to its American homonymous. Almost 10 km long, it is only one of the several beaches the visitor can choose, all of them surrounded by isolated places still unmarked by man. There, the visitor can fully enjoy pleasantly new sensations.
The isolation of this bittersweet paradise has undoubtedly contributed to the birth of many of the Cabo-verdean musicians. Because of that, the island is also known as "nursery of musicians." The morna, main national musical expression, was born here.
The serenades and tocatinas are an essential component in the lives of this warm and welcoming people, full of "morabeza".
The village of Sal Rei displays evident signs of a rich past and a dominant European architecture. The ruins of a salt works of the XVII century, main source of income in those days, are also testimonies of the golden age the island experienced in the past.
In front of the village the visitor can admire the ruins of the ancient Duque de Braganca Fort, which rests on a small islet embraced by clear waters, rich in maritime fauna and underwater landscapes so much appreciated by divers.
The small Jewish cemetery, close to the new Hotel of Cruz beach, is a priceless relic and evidence of the Jewish community that settled on the island.
In Rabil, the closest village to the airport and former head of district, the tourist can admire the old Igreja Matriz de Sao Roque, the oldest church in the island, built in 1801. It is also interesting to note that Rabil is also the name here given to the frigate, a characteristic bird in the archipelago and now close to extinction.
Also worth visiting is the ceramics school-factory where the old distinctly African production methods are preserved.
Between this village and Estancia de Baixo there is an extensive valley where the abundance of Coconut trees and date palms will surprise the tourist. The luxuriant green landscape of this area is due to the existence of a large hydrographic basin, considered one of the largest of Cabo Verde though the water only flows during short periods during the rainy season.
However, the most picturesque villages are the farming villages on the north of the island, such as Cabeca de Tarafe, Fundo de Figueiras and Joao Galego.
The gastronomy of the island is closely linked to its main activity-fishing. Therefore, the visitor must not miss the delicious traditional fish and mollusk dishes.
Boavista is an island of warm people who know how to welcome those wishing to experience a time of discovery and rest there.
The paradise Island
In the 17th and 18th centuries, BoaVista was the economic capital of Cabo Verde and its Sal Rei port located on a sheltered bay was a flourishing trade center. It was in BoaVista that morna was born, a sweet and nostalgic style that informs the archipelago's musical reputation today... Unhappily, the Sal Rei bay inexorably silted up over the years and the colonial authorities decided to establish themselves on the island of Santiago where they founded Praia, today's capital. At the start of the 19th century, English shipping companies who were looking for a better port of call to provide supplies founded the port of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente where the Porto Grande bay could hold up to 50 ocean-going vessels.
At this point, BoaVista gently slipped into oblivion and remained a paradise to be discovered. BoaVista is the second island of Cabo Verde in surface area, but unlike its nearest neighbor Santiago, it is very flat. Its climate is one of the most arid in the archipelago: it is like a piece of the Sahara lost in the Atlantic Ocean.
The goats brought to the island over the centuries devoured vegetation to the roots and today constant wind blasts the earth under the burning sun. Passing tourists admire the dunes, oases and sea - admirably suited to sailing and surfing - but life on the island is a continual struggle. The only living thing able to thrive in these hostile conditions is a plant: the djalunga. Because it stabilizes the soil and feeds flocks of sheep, it has become a symbol of resistance.
A symbol of life, of survival, of tranquility... Known as the island of beaches and dunes with miles of white sandy beaches and emerald green waters, BoaVista offers a tranquil and pristine environment above and below the crystal clear water. If bird watching is your passion BoaVista has unique tropical birds. Scuba dive in an environment accented by sunken ships. Windsurf, dive or snorkel coral reefs and dramatic fishing species.
In the island where "morna" commenced, spend the evenings at the sound of music, in the warm and exotic African atmosphere. Above all, find an offer of friendship and companionship with the hospitable people of BoaVista who are always eager for a good conversation.