Africa, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of nowhere, 10 tiny islands, combination of cultures, hidden beaches, unknown places… oh how much I was waiting for getting there!!
In the morning of 17th of January, in Sal Rei, on Boa Vista island, we decided to rent a quad. It was not that simple as it sounds as the quad rental is not that easy. There are indeed couple of places where ideally you are able to rent quads, motorbikes and cars – as they promote, but in reality there are a very few number of vehicles available and most of them are already prebooked or out of town and they need to bring them back, or in the service, etc. So actually we were extremely lucky when on that day in the morning we went to the third rental office (as in the first two they were already out of quads for that day) the guy told us that ‘yes I have a quad’. But we needed to wait a bit as they were fixing it somewhere else but anyhow we were told not more than 30 minutes. Well after 1,5 hours the quad indeed arrived 🙂 If you have ever seen a broken quad, multiply this condition three times. Many scratches, pieces missing, covered with dust and all the lights that were about to sign problems, were blinking on the dashboard. Promising 🙂 We didn’t have any other option, so we took it. The lights on the dashboard were randomly blinking during the whole day but besides that we didn’t have any problem with our quad, actually it was perfect for whichever road conditions.
Our destination of that day was Praia de Santa Mónica, that you cannot really reach with normal vehicles. They are building some roads and for a while it’s possible to go, but if you want to discover the amazing hidden beaches, you need to have a quad.
We rented the quad in Sal Rei on the main square and the desired beach was 20 km far away. While to arrive there took approximately 35 minutes. We have stopped on the way several times, first to check if all is good with our quad, then to explore the little villages where-ever we were driving through.
First little village we reached was Rabil, on which you need to drive through anyhow as the road goes that way. It’s real tiny with some colorful houses, many free dogs randomly on the streets and 2-3 bars – and if you are lucky they are open.
On our way to Santa Mónica we have visited two other beaches too: Chaves and Curralinho, like you can see it on the above map. There were no one, not a single person on these beaches, only us and some ravens. It’s true that it’s not recommended to go there even with a quad because of the road and sand conditions, but we did, and how great that we did. Never ending golden sandy beaches only for ourselves 😍
Not so far from these beaches you can also find some unfinished resort constructions, see half ready roads and abandoned roofless buildings (like in so many other parts of Santiago and Boa Vista islands) so for sure someone else has seen the potential in this place too, but they either ran out of money or just left the project.
And when we finally arrived to Santa Mónica, we got stucked in the sand with our quad 🙂 but we managed with human power and took out the quad 🙂
I have been lucky to visit many beautiful beaches in my life, but I think Santa Mónica is the top 1 for me. There is one resort nearby, that actually functions and it is secured with a big fence, but it’s actually good, you don’t disturb them and they also stay inside the resort territory, and the rest of the coastline is for locals and random visitors like us. But very very few people. We went back one more day later to this beach and basically it’s so long and so empty, so you can hardly find anyone else, it’s so perfect 😍 However you need to take what you want to drink or eat during the day, as you won’t find any beach bars, you won’t find basically anything else besides the breathtaking beach and coastline. Indeed priceless!
On Boa Vista island our second main destination was Praia de Atalanta. It is a beach on the north coast of the island. It is approximately 6 km northeast of the island capital of Sal Rei and 3 km west of Vigía. The wreck of the Spanish cargo ship Cabo Santa Maria, which ran aground on September 1. 1968, is located here.
We came here with a local guy, he drove us there and came back for the agreed time. Actually this is the only recommended solution to get there, because of the road conditions. Or I would say non-existing roads and their whatever conditions 🙂 But of course there are some tourist agencies that are organizing mini van trips there. If you prefer that way.
You can get very close to the wreck, it’s common to snorkel around there too, but better to watch out as you might step into some particles of the wreck. Otherwise you can just sit and enjoy this view with a local beer 😉