Cape Verde is a well known destination for windsurfers from all over the world and the neighbouring island of Sal recently hosted the World Championships. Boavista is just as good a destination for windsurfing with the NE trade winds blowing consistently from October to June.
The main windsurfing club is Boavista Wind Club () run by Francois Guy, a former top windsurfer from the 1970s, which is located on Tortuga Beach just south of Sal Rei. He set up the club in 1989, after initially setting up a club on Sal in 1986. The club monitors wind conditions on a daily basis, using the US Navy website to predict swells. The location of the club in the bay opposite the island of Sal Rei creates ideal circumstances for all abilities, the bay being protected for beginners. The bay is big, yet shallow, rarely over 1.5m deep. There is virtually no current and no coral to cut your feet. There is an off-shore wind, resulting in no choppy water, no matter how strong the wind. There are no sharks; however you need to take care of the whales and turtles from February to May. Activities organised by the club include round island races for the more experienced surfers.
Kite surfing is also widely practiced.
Surfboarding is practiced mostly on Cabral Beach, where the swells are much larger.
The position of Boa Vista Island in the mid Atlantic virtually surrounded by a shallow shelf leads to a huge variety of sea life (see the article on fishing below) that makes the island their home or visit it at various times throughout the year. The presence of many hidden reefs and strong currents combined with the high iron content of the rocks that make up the island, which play havoc with ships compasses, has led to a large number of shipwrecks. This combination of circumstances means that Boa Vista has an amazing variety of opportunities for divers of all abilities.
The island has a well established diving club based on Estoril Beach (Submarine Centre, Tel: 00238 9924865 or 00238 9927866) with fully trained Padi & Naui divers who are multi lingual. The club offers courses at all levels from snorkelling through scuba diving to dive master. All ages are catered for and a full range of professional equipment is available. Activities include snorkelling trips, wreck diving and night diving.
An extract by an article written by Ray Almeida, a prominent American based Cape Verdean, on his home land.
"Off the northern coast of Boa Vista island we sometimes see 100-150 big yellow fin tuna breaking the surface and rocketing skyward like Polaris missiles! In March and April humpback and grey whales often appear off shore. We have large schools of barracuda numbering a hundred animals, strawberry coloured coney, grouper and clouds of beautiful reef fish such as the yellow-tailed snapper. Among our abundant population of eels (four major varieties) we have estimated some individuals to have heads the diameter of footballs"
Boavista is a paradise for the serious fisherman whether line-fishing or deep- sea-fishing. Organised deep- sea-fishing trips can be booked through "Sampeifish" (contact Daniele: 00238 - 9827761 ) .It is also worth talking to Morena Travel Agency in the main square in Sal Rei.
Horse back is a great way to experience the charms of the island. Riding treks can be organised through Morena Travel Agency in the main square of Sal Rei (see map) There are a variety of different treks ranging from a 30 minute tour along the beach costing €8 to a 2 hour trek through an oasis returning to the beach costing €26.
Walking on Boa Vista is a fascinating way to really see the island. There are very few roads and therefore most of the island can only be reached using a 4 wheel drive vehicle or on foot. The size of the island also means that experienced walkers will find reaching most places of interest relatively easy. However caution needs to be taken in order to explore Boa Vista on foot. The island is very hot and very arid, the towns and villages are few and far between and there is currently little mobile phone coverage and few recognisable paths to follow. It is imperative that you are wearing strong walking boots and are adequately protected from the sun, you must carry ample food and especially water with you, and be able to navigate using a compass and map.
A good reference for walkers is the Goldstadt "Wanderkarte" 1:50 000 map (ISBN 3-89550 470-X) which shows hiking tracks, footpaths and other features of interest. This can be purchased at the Shell garage in Sal Rei and Morena Travel Agency in the main square. The map shows 8 "routes" ranging from ¾ hr to 5hrs (2.2km to 18.8km), of varying difficulties.
The Boa Vista Ultra-marathon is an annual extreme race covering some 150km of the entire island, run over 3 days in December each year non-stop. It is organised by the Boavista Ultra Marathon Club which is based in the Crioula Bar on the beach just south of the main square of Sal Rei (see map). Entries come from all over the world. It is run along beaches, over dunes and through an oasis. A ruck-sack with food and a sleeping-bag is obligatory. The organisers provide a map of the route. There are checkpoints every 15km at most, where there is water and facilities to rest. Medics with radios follow the race. For the most part the route is marked out. The maximum time allowed is 60 hours, with a cut-off at the half-way stage of 30 hours.The heat is demanding, resulting in the need to take a lot of water on board.