Cape Verde is a state belonging to the African continent (in front of the coasts of Senegal) composed of 10 islands and with the main Portuguese reference language.
A journey that smells of authenticity, crystal clear sea, endless beaches and good food.
Let’s discover the island of Sal which takes its name from the salt marshes on the island, which is why it was first established (in 1460).
If you missed my first post on Cape Verde and where to stay find it HERE.
Here are the 10 things to do and see in Cape Verde – Sal Island.
Before leaving, I didn’t have a clear idea of what to expect when I arrived. A destination that echoes in the common imagination as an earthly paradise, but of those of which not much is known yet (perhaps because the social networks are not yet invaded of it).
It was a journey that deeply exceeded my expectations, giving me exactly what I needed: relaxation and beauty.
The motto of the state is No Stress and for a lot of reasons it is exactly what you will find.
6 hours of direct flight from Rome and a perfect climate all year (with averages between 23 and 30 degrees) will make you want to never return home.
The Sal Island is very small, 30 km from end to end easily visited in a day.
The appearance is desert and the inhabited centers are mainly fishing villages that can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
A small island that is absolutely safe and where you can safely move anywhere on foot / public transport / taxi.
I think it’s absolutely the perfect time to visit it; having seen how many new hotel and resort buildings are on the horizon it will soon be taken by tourism and it will no longer be possible to live it with a light heart and at absolutely cheap prices.
1) The beach of Santa Maria.
One of the wonders of the whole Cape Verde archipelago.
A long tongue of sand washed by the turquoise ocean water.
Absolutely one of the most beautiful beaches ever seen and our hotel was right here (the Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort).
The main tourist center of the island is Santa Maria.
A village of colorful houses where local fishing traditions merge with souvenir shops, restaurants and attractions.
Certainly what conquered me most is the pier in the morning where to meet the fishermen with the “booty of the day” (from 11 to 14).
2) Pedra de Lume
This explains the reason why the island was first established and the origin of its name.
The salt pans of Pedra de Lume are housed in an ancient crater of a volcano and are still used today for local needs.
You can take a bath among the many colors that water takes on because of the minerals present and float like in the Dead Sea: without having to swim.
3) Buracona: the blue eye
Going north, the landscape of the coast is completely transformed and becomes rocky: ancient lava flows that have created an incredible natural cave.
Only at a specific time of the day (around 12) is it possible to admire the blue eye in the sea (because of how sunlight filters through).
4) Shark Bay – the bay of lemon sharks
I could hardly believe it when they told me that you can swim with sharks on the island.
Only in a precise point can you find the Lemon Sharks: Shark Bay, where the water is particularly warm and hospitable to them.
They told me that they are vegetarian sharks, but in reality it is not true.
In any case, I always have a motto: do what the locals do and you will never find yourself in danger or making mistakes.
We walked among shark puppies and admired the biggest parents in the distance (they can go up to 2 meters).
A truly incredible experience!
Ps you will find some local who will rent you shoes for rock if you don’t already have them (take them absolutely, they are indispensable because of a really sharp backdrop).
5) Palmeira – the fishermen’s village
The village I preferred the most: totally authentic.
A handful of super colored houses where there are no plants today; the last one, however, is the smile.
This is where we have returned several times and it is where for the first time I saw a flying fish (a type of fish that can really fly over the sea, then return to the water).
Here is also where we drank two local beers for a total of 2.20 euros (1 euro = 110 escudos).
Here is where to breathe the heart of Cape Verde.
6) Tour of the island by 4 × 4 jeep
I have told you about my favorite spots on the island so far. But there is much more and the best way to find out is with a 4 × 4 jeep daily tour of the island.
We booked our experience through the hotel (the Hilton) with Morabitur.
Among the stops I haven’t talked about yet and they deserve – but not as much as those already mentioned -: Espargos (the capital of the island), mirages in the desert area (Fata Morgana effect) and some intermediate stops that only a true local will make you known.
An example? The coast of shells where you can find real mountains of them.
7) The sand dune of Ponta Preta
On the opposite side of the tourist beach of Santa Maria is Ponta Preta: a vast expanse of white sand and a desert landscape.
The winds, always very strong in Cape Verde, have formed a veritable sand dune.
Right on its ridge we stopped to admire the sunset and to perceive the true magic of this island.
When the sun was now on the other side of the horizon and we were the only ones over hundreds of meters here is a beautiful sea turtle in the water.
We followed it for miles until the stars started to shine.
8) Water sports / sailing / catamaran tours
For those who do not want to linger too long under the umbrella there are a thousand possibilities for activities and water sports.
Through the Nautical Center in front of the Hilton, we got to experience the skii board.
The island is actually very famous for kitesurfing (the current world champion is at home here).
Along the pier of Santa Maria there are also many desks where you can request your excursions: sailboat or catamaran at sunset.
The coast is not particularly interesting by sea, because there are no unexplored coves or islets to be discovered. So if you optate for this type of excursion take it as a moment to toast at sunset in the company of possible new friends!
9) Culinary experiences
Cape Verde is famous for lobster fishing. This is the right place to taste a real delicacy.
The cost is more or less than 30 euros per kg depending on the center where you are. In Palmeira it will cost less while in the tourist Santa Maria more.
An address to mark in Santa Maria? Lobstar for a lunch in front of the Santa Maria pier.
The Bounty Beach at the Hilton for a super romantic gourmet evening (to be reserved)!
10) Discovering sea turtles
The places in the world where it is still possible to admire Caretta sea turtles have become very rare.
One of the oldest beings in the world that uses a very delicate ecosystem.
Think that the turtles are born recording the coordinates of the exact point of the beach where their eggs has hatched.
After 20 years in the maturity phase they return to the exact spot to lay their eggs.
You will be able to imagine how much man is able to change the environment in 20 years.
Furthermore, the turtles are extremely sensitive to light and noise.
So there are very few outposts in the world that can be a safe place for them.
We asked and requested trying to make use of the best company to live the experience in contact with sea turtles, and finally we made use of Chan of Sal Experience which works in the company of Project Biodiversity volunteers).
In August, in fact, at the rising of the moon they begin to abandon the waves to create their nests (the eggs will hatch after 42-65 days).
Pay attention not to dress in white, not to get close while they are coming out of the sea and above all not to use “white / yellow” lights.
When the turtles begin to deposit the eggs they enter a sort of trance and it is possible to approach them with a red light (which does not disturb them) and admire one of the most incredible spectacles of nature.
Sony Alpha A7R2 – camera
DJI Global Spark – drone
10 things to do and see in Cape Verde – Sal Island