The Cape Verde islands, or as locals call it, Cabo Verde, is an amazing vacation destination, so if you’re looking for where to stay in Cape Verde, I’ve got you covered!
Spoiler alert: Sal Island is the best area to stay on your visit to Cape Verde, very popular among tourists and for good reasons. The island abounds with beautiful beaches and has more than 350 sunny days per year!
If you want to discover more of these mountainous islands, you’re in the right place. Besides Sal, I talk about 5 other spots in the Cape Verde archipelago that are worth your attention.
To make your quest easier, I added the best hotels for every budget in each area. So, you only need to take your pick from the best of the best and book your stay!
If you are in a hurry
Take a quick look at the best accommodation options in Sal, the ultimate Cape Verde destination!
Best affordable accommodation in the center
You can also study the map of the Cape Verde islands to get an idea of where you’ll be staying.
1. Sal – where to stay in Cape Verde for the first time
Sal Island is the main tourist destination in Cape Verde and has been for quite a while. The reason for the island’s popularity is, believe it or not, the booming salt trade. Salt played a significant role in the island’s rich history and even provided its name.
‘Sal’ is the Portuguese word for ‘salt,’ meaning that Sal Island literally translates to ‘salt island.’
I know that salt is all I’ve talked about so far, but there’s much more to see and do in Sal – the southern tip of the island is particularly attractive. Here, you can explore the city of Santa Maria, visit Shell Cemetery Beach, or go kite surfing on the Ponta Sino (Kite Beach).
Other than the fact you’ll stay near the archipelago’s iconic landmarks and witness the hatching of loggerhead turtles, you’ll also have a hassle-free vacation. Sal houses the Amílcar Cabral International Airport and some of the best Cape Verde hotels so you won’t have difficulties with your travel arrangements.
Sal offers plenty of accommodation options for beach lovers, from luxury hotels to budget lodgings. But if you want to explore more African islands, consider the 6 best areas for a Tenerife vacation.
A luxury resort in Santa Maria, the Hotel Morabeza, has a private beach area and a kids club. However, if swimming in the Atlantic Ocean is not your idea of fun, the hotel has 3 outdoor pools lined with rows of sun loungers surrounded by palm trees. While here, enjoy the sea view or play a game of tennis.
Other accommodation options in Sal
A minute from the beach, Mirabella offers comfortable rooms with a balcony and access to fun activities like horse riding
The rooms at Yacht Club have private bathrooms, and some have a balcony/patio. The accommodation provides free airport transport
The apartment overlooks a private pool and the sea. Guests can use the terrace or walk to nearby beach bars
Sal is one of those regions that offer a blend of Cape Verdean culture and modern amenities, making it quite popular and difficult for people to find available accommodation, especially luxurious stays. That’s why I decided to recommend 2 more luxury hotels in Santa Maria, a city on Sal island. I narrowed down my recommendations to the following:
- Hotel Riu Funana – as an all-inclusive resort, the Hotel Riu Funana provides food and beverages and access to various amenities like a large pool, fitness facilities, swim-up bars, and even on-site nightclubs.
- Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa – the Llana Beach Resort welcomes only adult guests. This is also a non-smoking resort, housing a bar, a restaurant, and an outdoor pool.
Things to do in Sal
2. Boa Vista – best area for water adventures
If you’re a traveler who’s always prioritizing locations based on activities and interests, then Boa Vista is probably a good match for you. The reason is that this is one of Cape Verde’s islands best suited for water sports and marine activities.
Boa Vista offers nearly every type of water sport: scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing! Whale-watching and kite-surfing are popular, too.
When you need a break from your water adventures, you can spend some leisure time exploring the capital, Sal Rei. While in the city, stop by the Museu dos Naufragos and admire the underwater archeological finds, or walk along the beach to discover the hidden areas that offer the most breathtaking views.
It’s also good to know that you’ll be staying in the heart of local festivals and celebrations. Boa Vista hosts several live music festivals per year, but the most famous one is Santa Isabel, named after the patron saint of the island. This festival is held every year on July 4th or Municipality Day.
When thinking about the benefits of coastal versus inland accommodations, consider that this beachfront hotel is also eco-friendly. The rooms are nicely decorated, with a terrace boasting a sea view. There’s an on-site shop, and the hotel allows guests to rent a 4×4, with or without a driver.
Other accommodation options in Boa Vista
Residents at Sereia Azul can enjoy a garden, a terrace, and a continental breakfast each morning
Each room at Salinas has a balcony, a private bathroom, and a desk. Free Wi-Fi and free breakfast are available
Things to do in Boa Vista
3. Sao Vicente – best place to stay in Cape Verde for nightlife
Sao Vicente is the closest island to the West African coast, between Santo Antão and Santa Luiza. Beautiful beaches are scattered throughout the island, and many beach bars and local restaurants make it the ideal spot for a night out.
You can try the cocktails at Chebrica restaurante, grab dinner at Cusinha D’Terra, or stop anywhere you hear Cape Verdean music. You’ll also enjoy the convenience of accommodations near markets and shopping districts. The Mercado Municipal de Mindelo and Mercado de Peixe are the two most well-stocked markets on the island, so be sure to check them out.
Mindelo is one of the island’s main towns, but it’s also an important port. There are daily ferries to the nearby islands, so this is the perfect place for island hopping. I say you hop on the ferry to Santo Antão and cross off another destination off your Cape Verde itinerary.
The Casa da Djedja is situated in Mindelo, at a great location near Praia Da Laginha beach. The guests can order airport transport service upon arrival, get room service, and turn to the 24-hour desk for anything else. It’s also a great starting point for activities like cycling and horse riding.
Other accommodation options in Sao Vicente
One of Mindelo’s best boutique hotels, Prassa 3 offers spacious and air-conditioned rooms, plus a shared lounge and concierge service
Featuring a terrace with a sea view, Maderalzinho provides free private parking, Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and an airport shuttle
The cozy 3-bedroom apartment is equipped with kitchen appliances and can accommodate as many as 4 people
Things to do in Sao Vicente
4. Maio – where to stay in Cape Verde on a budget
If you’re choosing between bustling city centers or tranquil retreats and decide on the latter, you should book your stay in Maio. Besides being the perfect spot for a relaxing holiday, the island offers cheap accommodation options, making this the best choice for budget travelers.
The island is full of sandy beaches, but Praia Ponta Preta and Praia da Vila are the 2 that stand out the most. Play some beach volleyball or swim in the ocean. However, if you’re opting for places with a strong sense of community, pay a visit to the small town of Calheta and walk around the lively, colorful streets.
Looking to spend some time away from the beach? If so, you can go ahead and explore the forested area of Maio. A large portion of the island is covered in forest, and the greater part of it is a protected area, so be mindful when you embark on your adventure.
Just one thing before you book your holiday – there are no luxury hotels in Maio. Most hotels on the island are budget-friendly, so be prepared for a modest stay.
Other accommodation options in Maio
Steps away from Biche Rocha beach, you will stay in comfortable, air-conditioned rooms and enjoy the food at the restaurant
Cozy apartments with terraces overlooking the garden, an open-air apartment, and a daily continental breakfast
Right on Ponta Preta beach, this spacious villa can host four people and provide stunning ocean views
Things to do in Maio
- Enjoy the natural beauty of the island’s beaches
- Explore Porto Inglês, the island’s capital city
- Visit the Maio salt mines
- Have a meal with a view at Forte São José
- Hike up the trail to Monte Penoso
5. Santiago – best neighborhood for local immersion
If the sole purpose of your trip is to experience the charm of traditional Cape Verdean neighborhoods, Santiago is the superb choice. Praia, the capital, offers plenty of cultural hubs for the immersive traveler and allows you to experience city life. Discover traditional African markets and tourist hotspots in Plateau, the city’s oldest neighborhood.
Also, when you’re wondering where to find the best local cuisine on your doorstep, the answer is Praia. Be sure to try the Cachupa Rica, Cape Verde’s national dish, or if you have more of a sweet tooth, order yourself a Bol de Cus-Cus.
Besides being a cultural hub, Praia offers more transportation options than other parts of the island – and there are a few advantages of staying near transportation hubs. You can get around the city by bus or catch a ferry from the port and go on a day trip to one of the other islands.
This beachfront accommodation is on Tarrafal Beach. On the hotel premises, guests can access a bar and a restaurant, while their rooms offer various commodities like air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and free Wi-Fi across the property. The on-site restaurant, Malagueta, is open throughout the day, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Other accommodation options in Santiago
The rooms at Strela are comfortable, spacious, and nicely decorated. The restaurant serves African and European cuisine
Get direct access to the beautiful white sand beach and enjoy the ocean views from the terrace of Villa Concetta
A luxury apartment with a private outdoor pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a large bedroom and a functional kitchen
NOTE: Check out the King Fisher Village if you’re looking for all-inclusive hotels. Mar di Baxu Beach is close to the King Fisher Village, and the resort offers to organize tours for its guests.
Things to do in Santiago
- Learn about the island’s history on the full-day tour
- Walk around and admire the Presidential Palace
- Go on a nature hike to Cidade Velha
- Look for bars playing morna, traditional Cape Verdean music
- Visit Cidade Velha, a former slave-trade port
6. Fogo – where to stay in Cape Verde for hiking adventures
Wondering how proximity to nature trails can enhance your stay? Book your stay in Fogo to find out! This Cape Verde island has plenty of hiking trails to lead you to the top of the active volcano, Pico do Fogo – an amazing adventure for all nature lovers.
If you take one of the trails to Pico do Fogo, you’ll see cooled lava rivers and magnificent views of the capital, São Filipe.
The capital offers many hidden gems and lesser-known locales worth considering. Don’t miss Bila Baxo, the city center recognizable for its colonial architecture, and Aguadinha, the historic water deposit. Seafood enthusiasts – don’t miss out on the Erica Lounge! If you want something else to eat, the Strella Bar is a good choice, too!
Fogo is great for outdoor activities like hiking, quad biking, and other fun excursions, such as exploring the green valleys and the mango and grape plantations.
La Fora is one of the few eco-friendly hotels in Cape Verde. The property features a restaurant, a garden, a terrace, and an outdoor swimming pool. All rooms have a balcony with a mountain view, stocked with clean and comfortable bedding and linens. Continental, vegetarian, and vegan breakfast is offered to guests daily.
Other accommodation options in Fogo
Just a couple of minutes away from São Filipe Beach, the Savana offers on-site currency exchange and a concierge service
At Casa Helena, guests can enjoy the garden and the bar. Free parking and Wi-Fi are available on the property
The traditional roundhouse situated at the base of Pico Do Fogo offers a comfortable interior and a private bathroom
Things to do in Fogo
- Explore Sao Filipe, the island’s capital city
- Sign up for a volcano hiking experience
- Venture out to the Casa Do Presidente museum
- Climb up to Bordeira de Fogo, the second-highest volcanic peak
- Spend some time admiring Praia da Bila, the black sand beach
- Take an hour to look around the Casa Da Memoria museum
FAQs about where to stay in Cape Verde
🏝️ Which part of Cape Verde is best?
Sal is the best of the Cape Verde island for a tourist visit. The island allows you to experience city life, attend live music events, and stay in large hotels with various amenities like the Hotel Morabeza.
⚖️ Where is best to stay in Cape Verde Sal or Boa Vista?
The island of Sal is a good choice if visiting Cape Verde for the first time because it hosts all the best hotels. Boa Vista is the better choice if you want to engage in water sports and stay within walking distance of the beach.
📍 Where do you stay in Cape Verde?
The Cape Verde archipelago has plenty to offer. You can feel the allure of staying in historic districts or enjoy the vibrant city life in capital cities on these islands. To help you organize your trip, I’ve listed all the best hotels across 6 different islands. But to make it even easier for you, I’ve also picked 2 favorites:
- Hotel Morabeza – there aren’t four pools, but there are three, which is actually amazing. And I love that the three restaurants offer diverse dining options.
- Hotel MiraBela – I like the central location in Santa Maria and appreciate that the hotel offers dry cleaning services.
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, you should have no trouble deciding where to stay in Cape Verde. Decide when you want to go and make your reservations in advance!
If you’re planning a trip to Cape Verde, leave me a comment and let me know.
Have fun and stay safe,
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