Cape Verde has been enjoying a second lease of life in recent years with tourist numbers up and the area thriving with atmosphere and character. Originally used as a gateway to explore The Americas, it’s easy to see the appeal of the picture-postcard backdrops and vast diversity in landscapes.
Situated some 570km off the west coast of Africa, Cape Verde is home to 10 islands of breathtaking scenery from pristine beaches to gargantuan volcanoes. The islands are rich in variety making for a great trip for all kinds of travelers.
The blue equatorial waters surrounded the Cape Verde Islands also make for great scuba diving! Scuba diving Cape Verde promises a range of underwater environments as diverse as the landscapes above the surface. You’ll get to enjoy modern wrecks as well as brilliant vibrant reefs and captivating caves.
Given the landscapes that the Cape Verde Islands offer, along with its location, it’s easy to see the appeal. Where the tropical waters meet the Atlantic currents, this is something of a divers paradise. Here are some of our favorite things about Cape Verde diving.
The clear, warm waters surrounding the Cape Verde Islands make for an incredible diving experience as you’ll be able to experience the vast variety of underwater life and terrain with excellent clarity.
There’s something here for all types of divers with varying water temperatures and the different marine life that comes with them.
With its prime location sitting in equatorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Verde boasts a unique set of underwater environments you won’t find anywhere else. The meeting of the tropical warm waters and the Atlantic currents make for a rich diversity in marine life to go with the incredible terrains that the islands of Cape Verde have to offer.
The waters of Cape Verde play host to serveral well-preserved wrecks as well as exciting cave systems and colorful volcanic walls full of character. This makes it something of a divers playground and allows for an abundance of exploration and discovery.
The variation in currents and temperature of the water also brings with it a range of marine life! You’ll have the chance to spot sharks, rays, whales, turtles, and dolphins.
Cape Verde Scuba Certification
There’s no requirement to be a certified diver in order to dive in Cape Verde. In fact, there are many tour operators that cater to those of all levels of ability, no problem for first-time divers. Thanks to the rich variety of the dive sites here, there’s plenty of interesting and exciting dives for beginners and first-timers.
Having said that, it’s always recommended to get scuba certified to give yourself the best, most enjoyable diving experience possible. While you’ll have a great time scuba diving Cape Verde as a first-time diver, there’s a lot you can miss out on without the extra confidence and diving experience, such as the more challenging caves and wrecks.
In addition, becoming scuba certified will help you feel more comfortable and confident underwater. This leads to maximum enjoyment and safety from your diving experience and something worth considering.
Cape Verde Scuba Diving Requirements
There are no specific laws or regulations that you need to keep in mind when diving around the Cape Verde Islands.
As always, tour operators state that you must be in good physical condition and have some swimming ability. Children must be at least 10 years old to scuba dive with a tour operator.
With that said, it’s always highly recommended to have a dive buddy when you’re out scuba diving in the waters of the Aegean Sea, as it is anywhere else. This is particularly the case if you’re out diving without a tour operator or guide. In this situation, it’s also good practice to make use of diver down flags.
Best Dive Sites in Cape Verde
It’s easy to see how Cape Verde is becoming a more popular tourist destination with numbers of holidaymakers growing each year. With stunning landscapes and backdrops, Cape Verde is sure to hold some real gems beneath its surface. Here are some of our favorite Cape Verde dive sites.
With much in the way of diversity, Santa Maria is a bit of a divers paradise with several reefs featuring overhangs as well as swim-throughs and grottos. There’s something to keep all divers happy in this underwater playground.
What’s more, you’ll find 2 wreck dives here with artificial reefs that are brimming with marine life. Resulting in the opportunity to spot a wide range of tropical fish and other marine species.
No diving trip to Cape Verde would be complete until you’ve marveled at the many wonders of Santa Maria!
This is an amazing opportunity for beginner divers to experience brilliant cave systems featuring easy accessibility. Palmeira 4 is a shore dive with a depth range of 15-20m and large openings for ease of navigation.
Upon entering the cave system you’ll be greeted by large, open cathedral-like spaces to immerse yourself in. You’ll also get the chance to spot sharks, rays, spider crabs, as well as an old ammunition cache that was dropped by soldiers many years ago!
If this sounds ideal to you, be sure to check out our recommended diving package experience below!
Boa Vista Island
The most southerly of the Cape Verde Islands and the newest on the Cape Verde diving scene. Boa Vista island boasts a wide range of marine life and shallow reefs that are ideal for all divers.
Known as the world’s third most important breeding ground for loggerhead turtles, you’ll have the opportunity to spot a great variety of marine life. This includes many species of rays and nurse sharks, to go along with the vibrant reefs.
For a unique experience you won’t see anywhere else, check out our recommended diving package below!
Best Time to go Diving in Cape Verde
Surrounded by the warm, crystal clear waters in the Cape Verde archipelago, diving is available here year-round.
However, strong winds in the winter months can make for more challenging diving with stronger currents around the southern islands.
The best of the diving season here you will find between the months of April-November, which is generally considered to be the best time to dive in Cape Verde.
How Much Does Scuba Diving Cost in Cape Verde?
If you’re looking at booking a dive package experience through a tour company in Cape Verde, you’ll find prices between $100-$300. The prices generally include gear rental and levy’s so there are no extra fees.
In addition, a PADI Open Water Certification will set you back around $500, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Scuba Diving Gear in Cape Verde
There are more and more dive shops opening on the Cape Verde Islands as tourism becomes increasingly popular. This means gear rental is always an option.
It’s worth noting, you’re left with one less thing to think about when going with a diving package from a guided tour operator as all equipment and gear are included.
However, buying your own gear might be ideal for you if you’re a more keen and experienced diver!
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