Scuba diving near Santo Antão, Cape Verde
Get ready for a wonderful diving vacation on Cape Verde’s westernmost island, Santo Antão. This island, known for its breathtaking landscapes – from high mountains and lush green valleys to vast coastlines – is one of Cape Verde’s jewels, located in the Atlantic Ocean.
Your diving adventure will be led by Ricardo of Green Turtle Diving Center, the only official dive center on the island. Together with his team of local experts, Ricardo will take you to the best dive sites Santo Antão has to offer.
Best travel time: You can dive year-round in Cape Verde. As far as we are concerned, the best periods to go are April, May, June, October, November and early December. Fall is especially nice when the water is already warmed up. Then you also have the greatest chance of spotting large stuff like a manta ray or whale shark.
Diving in Cape Verde means encounters with schools of barracuda, tuna, doctor fish, and many other species of fish. Its impressive biodiversity and reasonable price make it an attractive diving destination just 7 hours away by plane.
Besides the abundance of fish, the underwater landscape with its jagged rocks, wrecks and uninhabited islands offers a fascinating diving experience. The underwater topography, consisting mainly of rocks and white sand, is similar to that of the Azores.
Wetsuit advice for Cape Verde
What will you experience on this trip?
View itinerary here
Day 1 - Departure to Cape Verde
You will fly to São Vicente where you will land at the Cesária Évora International Airport. This airport is named after perhaps Cape Verde’s most important and famous singer.
It is a small airport so you are quickly back in the arrivals hall. Outside you will be met and a transfer will be ready to take you to the ferry hall in Mindelo, São Vicente. From here you will depart by ferry in +/- 1.5 hours to Porto Novo in Santo Antão where you will be met and taken to the Art Resort by Ricardo and his team.
Once you have checked in and unpacked your bags, you can take a moment to visit the dive center which is within the walls of the Art Resort to go over the planning for the next day.
Day 2 to 6 - Diving around Santo Antão
After arriving at Green Turtle Dive Center, you will prepare for your first dives. The crates of diving gear are put into the aluguer (pickup) by the men after which you yourself also climb into the back. Then you will drive a short trip to the boat.
You will sail between 20 min and 1 hour in the upcoming days to sail to the various dive destinations on the coast near Porto Novo.
You will dive here at dive sites such as ‘‘Wish you Were Here,” ”Hanging Garden” and Ponta Tubarão. Many trumpet fish, large schools of fish, turtles, rays and sister sharks are just some of the different species you will see here. If you are very lucky you may also encounter a passing manta ray or whale shark.
You will have a surface interval on the boat between dives. This will be strategically placed in a quiet spot. Crackers and water will be included.
Also, above water, don’t forget to look around you carefully. The rugged-looking coastline and Atlantic Ocean here is brimming with life.
Day 7 - Explore Santo Antão with a guide!
In the morning you will be picked up by pickup by a guide to explore the island of Santo Antão. This is the largest island of the two and has unparalleled natural beauty. Enjoy the small quaint towns along the coast with colorful houses and take a short hike near the crater on the island or visit a rum distillery.
In the late afternoon you will be taken back to the Art Resort for your last evening on Santo Antão.
Day 8 - Return to Mindelo
Today you will depart back to by ferry. You will be taken to the ferry where you will be picked up on the other side on São Vicente by a cab to take you back to the airport. This is about a 15-minute drive.
* Depending on flight times, you will need to return to Mindelo a day early for your last night’s stay. This is due to ferry times.
The stay and surroundings
Art Resort on Santo Antão
The Santantao Art Resort is located in the south of the cozy village of Porto Novo, the base for the most insane diving in Cape Verde! It is an ideal island for if you are an avid diver as well as nature lovers.
The well-appointed rooms at Santantao Art hotel are furnished with ensuite bathroom/WC, air conditioning, satellite TV, mini bar and a balcony. Most rooms at the Santantao Art Hotel have sea views. There are 55 standard rooms, 15 superior rooms and 3 deluxe suites. Wifi is there in the hotel however there is not good connection daily. Prepare for several days of slow Internet connection.
Santantao Art Resort | restaurant
The restaurant serves a nice mix of Cape Verdean, French and Italian dishes. Everything is prepared as much as possible with fresh products from the island itself. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. In Porto Novo they have some great restaurants within walking distance, and with pleasure the diving school will reserve a table at a local restaurant in a mountain village down the road.
Santantao Art Resort | facilities
Santantao Art Resort features a number of additional facilities. So you can use the pool, tennis court and massage. After or in addition to diving, you can also organize several fun excursions and active tours from the hotel.
What is included
This trip is available from €783 per person.
Prices are based on occupancy of 2 persons in a hotel room.
Prefer a different accommodation, excursion or length of trip? You can, of course, do the same. This trip can be customized to suit your needs. We are happy to go over these with you.
Included in this trip, from €783, - p.p.
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Frequently asked questions about this diving vacation
All our dives are boat dives with the exception of night dives, which is shore diving in the harbor.
You sail, depending on the wind and waves in +/- 20 minutes to the dive sites. The farthest dive site is a 50-minute boat ride away.
You will make 2 dives here in the morning, usually returning just after lunch around 1:30 p.m. Depending on weather conditions, it may be possible to make 1 or 2 more dives.
Yes. However, this depends on weather conditions.
No. All dive sites are by boat.
Yes. Green Turtle Diving Center is a certified SSI dive center. Exercises are in the pool and in the sea.
The dive center is located at the Santantao Art resort.
DIN. But adapters are available.
Yes. The cost is €25 per day for full equipment. This does not include dive computer. Renting a dive computer with it costs another €10 euros per day.
Other activities & excursions
This is possible. Depending on weather conditions. This is done with a guide. The cost is €25 euros p.p.
On Santo Antão you can hike beautifully. Furthermore, we recommend taking a tour of the island with a local guide. There are sugar cane, banana, mango and papaya plantations and rum distilleries to visit. Beyond that are inactive volcanoes and stunning coastlines to drive along.
Visit to the valleys of Lagedos/Ribeira das Patas with lunch at an ecological farm called Babilonia or Visit to Tarrafal from Monte Trigo