Cape Verde Diving: Where and When to Visit

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Cape Verde is known for its wealth and variety, plus the location of the islands and current of the Atlantic Ocean provides highly diverse marine life. You’ll find colorful fish and rays that like to swim around the reefs and wrecks. Turtles and sharks are also found within the caves.

Cape Verde diving is something that everyone should experience once in their lifetime. We provide you with the information you need to make the right decision for your vacation.

Animals to See

Though it depends on where you go and the time of year, you are sure to see a variety of marine life. Yellowtail fish enjoy the coral, and you can find whales and dolphins during the right season. It’s not just about the animals, though.

This area is rich with rock formations, shipwrecks, and caves. You’ll also find underwater rock walls and coral reefs, which means divers have many things to do and see.

The Cape Verde Islands are home to many dive sites, and you can also find professional diving facilities. Beginners can dive without fear, while experienced divers will also find things to do.

If you’re interested in finding the right place for a diving holiday, this location is perfect. Since it doesn’t have a rainy season and experiences warm temperatures year-round, you are sure to enjoy your trip.

When It’s Best to Go

The rainy season is what it’s called when it rains every day for a few months. Luckily, Cape Verde doesn’t have this issue, making it ideal for divers. When it does rain, it’s limited.

You might have a better chance of rain from August to October, though the amount won’t be much. Even so, a little water never hurt anyone, and it won’t impact visibility underwater.

Generally, Boavista and Sal islands have the most diving locations. These islands have less vegetation, which means there’s less rain than in other areas.

You’ll also find that the sea temperatures range from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius, so you can dive any time of year. However, the best conditions tend to be between November and July.

When to See Specific Reptiles and Fish

Most people have already had their fill of colorful fish by diving the areas near home. Therefore, you may want to see reptiles or large fish such as sharks, dolphins, and turtles.

There is always a chance that you will see these animals in Cape Verde, but there may be specific times to encounter them during your dive. You can also talk to a local diving center to determine the likelihood of seeing something in particular.

  • Turtles: March through November
  • Dolphins: Any time of year
  • Whales: Any time of year (best times are February through May)
  • Rays: Any time but September through November (best chance is in June through August)
  • Nurse Sharks: Throughout the year
  • Whitetip Reef Sharks: Any time of the year
  • Hammerhead Shark: March through November
cape verde diving

Cape Verde Diving Site Options

There is an extensive range of dive sites. For example, the island of Sal has over 20 official dive sites. You can also find diving centers.

Often, it will only take a boat ride to be at your desired destination. Many of these places allow you to rent equipment, as well. That said, you may want to consider buying your own travel fins.

When you’ve got the right equipment, it’s time to decide which location or locations you’d like to visit. It might be best to consider multiple trips throughout the year so that you can experience more of these areas.

1. Choclasse in Sal

Choclasse is a highly-recommended dive spot. It is situated three kilometers off the coast of Santa Maria. This location has a depth between 13 and 30 meters, and there is a large plateau that has schools of fish and coral polyps.

2. Farol Baiox in Sal

If you’re interested in a shallow dive, this is the perfect place. You’ll see a variety of unusual species. Plus, there are rocks, shipwrecks, and a variety of marine life.

3. Kwarcit Shipwreck in Sal

For those who want a little something extra, you need to visit the Kwarcit shipwreck. This was a Russian fishing boat that sunk in 2006, and biologists used it to create the artificial reef.

It’s only down a depth of 28 meters, so almost any diver level can enjoy it. You’ll find many fish and coral. You may also see lobsters, scorpionfish, and others.

4. Cavala in Sal

Santa Maria is also home to another dive site called Cavala. It’s got a depth of around 25 to 40 meters, so it is designed for more experienced divers. If you can make it to 30 meters, you’ll find a special cave full of rays.

5. Tres Groutas in Sal

Those who want to dive but are afraid of deep water will like Tres Groutas. It only has a depth of nine meters and features three caves. They are full of soft corals and yellow coral polyps.

You can also swim underwater in each of the caves. This allows you to see the micro life hidden in the crevices.

6. Atlantida in Boavista

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, the Atlantida reef is ideal for everyone. It is just about nine meters deep, and you can find moray eels, scorpionfish, and lobsters in the small caves. If you’re more experienced, go to 30 meters to possibly see a nurse shark.

7. Shark Bow in Boavista

This reef is found at a depth of 22 meters. There is a small opening at 25 meters down, which takes you to a beautiful space. You may see giant rays and sand tiger sharks.

There are also many surrounding caves where you will see turtles, nurse sharks, and more. If you’re lucky, you could see amberjack (Seriola) swim by you.


We know how challenging it is to find the perfect dive spots, especially if you’re traveling on vacation. Cape Verde diving is plentiful, and this list isn’t exhaustive. Thus, you’re sure to find what you desire and can see many beautiful animals underwater.

You may also want to learn a bit more about diving before you head to your destination. We offer a variety of tips, advice, and reviews on various products. That way, you get the most out of your trip.

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