Exploring the Marine Life of Cape Verde Through Freediving

Cape Verde is a hidden gem in the Atlantic Ocean, known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. However, what many people don't know is that Cape Verde is also a mecca for freediving enthusiasts. With its diverse marine life and unique underwater landscapes, Cape Verde offers a one-of-a-kind experience for those looking to explore the ocean's depths.

Humpback Whale and diver

Credits: Scott Portelli, flickr

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the marine life of Cape Verde and offer tips for exploring it through freediving. We'll also provide recommendations on the best freediving spots in Cape Verde and share some techniques for observing marine life while underwater.

The Marine Life of Cape Verde

Cape Verde is home to a diverse range of marine life, from colorful fish to majestic marine mammals. The waters around Cape Verde are teeming with over 500 species of fish, including tuna, barracuda, and grouper. In addition, the islands are a breeding ground for sea turtles, and visitors can often spot these gentle creatures while freediving.

One of the most unique aspects of Cape Verde's marine life is the presence of humpback whales. These gentle giants migrate through the waters around Cape Verde each year, and sightings are common during the winter months. In addition, Cape Verde is home to several species of dolphins, including bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Other unique marine creatures found in Cape Verde include manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and nurse sharks. These creatures are often spotted while freediving and provide a truly unforgettable experience.

Freediving Equipment

Before embarking on a freediving adventure in Cape Verde, it's important to have the right equipment. The most essential piece of gear for freediving is a wetsuit, which will protect you from the cold water and provide buoyancy. In addition, a weight belt is necessary to help you descend to the desired depth.

Other essential gear includes a freediving mask, snorkel, and fins or monofin. When selecting a mask, be sure to choose one that fits snugly and provides a clear field of vision. Fins should be chosen based on your skill level and the type of diving you plan to do.

Safety Tips for Freediving in Cape Verde

Freediving can be a safe and enjoyable activity when done properly. However, it's important to follow certain safety tips to avoid injury or danger. One of the most important safety tips is to always have a safety buddy when freediving. This person should be a trained freediver who can provide assistance in case of an emergency.

It's also important to know your limits and to stop diving when you start to feel tired or uncomfortable. Weather and tide conditions can also impact the safety of your freediving experience, so be sure to check conditions before embarking on a dive.

The Best Freediving Spots in Cape Verde

Cape Verde is home to some of the best freediving spots in the world. One of the most popular spots is Santa Maria Beach on Sal Island. Here, divers can explore a range of underwater landscapes, from rocky outcroppings to sandy seafloors.

Other popular freediving spots in Cape Verde include the Blue Hole on Boa Vista Island and the Ilheu de Sal Rei on Sal Island. The waters around the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antao also offer some of the best diving in Cape Verde.

Techniques for Observing Marine Life While Freediving

Observing marine life while freediving can be a thrilling experience. However, it's important to approach marine creatures with care and respect. One technique for observing marine life is to stay still and let the creatures come to you. This allows you to observe their natural behavior without causing disturbance.

Another technique for observing marine life is to use a dive light. This can help you see creatures that may be hiding in crevices or under rocks. However, be careful not to shine the light directly in their eyes, as this can cause discomfort or harm.

In addition, it's important to maintain a safe distance from marine life. Approaching too closely can cause stress to the animal and may even result in injury. Remember that you are a guest in their environment and should treat them with respect and care.

Freediving Spots on Sal Island with Apnea Boom

Sal Island is one of the best places to freedive in Cape Verde, with its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life. Here are some of the top spots to explore:


Buracona is a natural swimming pool that's located on the northwestern coast of Sal Island. The pool is surrounded by cliffs and has a small opening that connects it to the sea. This is a great spot to observe marine life, including octopuses, sea urchins, and colorful fish.

Attention: this spot avaliable only in the calm weather.

Pedra de Lume

Pedra de Lume is a saltwater crater lake that's located in the center of Sal Island. The lake is home to a variety of marine life, including small fish and sea turtles. It's also a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Ponta Preta

Ponta Preta is a popular surf spot on Sal Island, but it's also a great spot for freediving. The underwater landscape is dotted with rocks and caves, making it a great place to explore. Marine life includes moray eels, octopuses, and schools of colorful fish.

Santa Maria Bay

Santa Maria Bay is a large bay on the southern coast of Sal Island. The bay is home to a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, stingrays, and schools of fish. The clear waters make it easy to observe the marine life while freediving.

Case Study 1: Santa Antao Wreck

During a recent trip to Santa Antao Wreck, a group of freedivers spotted several stingrays hiding in the parts of sinken ship. The stingrays were changing color and shape of their wings to blend in with their surroundings, making for a fascinating sight. The group also saw several schools of colorful fish, including kingfish and pufferfish.

Case Study 2: Ponta Preta

A group of freedivers recently explored the underwater landscape of Ponta Preta, discovering several caves and crevices. In one cave, they found a moray eel hiding in the rocks. The eel was over a meter long and was a rare sight to see. The group also spotted of colorful fish, including snappers and parrotfish.

Refer to: all freediving spots in Sal, Cape Verde


Sal Island is a true paradise for freedivers, with its crystal-clear waters, diverse marine life, and unique underwater landscapes. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced freediver, there's something for everyone to explore. Just remember to use proper techniques for observing marine life, maintain a safe distance, and treat the animals with care and respect. With these tips in mind, you're sure to have an unforgettable experience while freediving in Cape Verde.

About Apnea Boom

Евгений Смирнов - руководитель команды Тритоны

   Founder – Evgeny Smirnoff

  • Moscow Apnea Championship winner (2018, 2019, 2020)
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  • Dynamic Apnea 128 m
  • Dynamic Apnea with bifins 181 m
  • Dynamic Apnea with monofin 204 m
  • Constant Weight Dive 52 m

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