Santa Maria Sal Cape verde

30 Best Things To Do In Sal – Cape Verde

Sal is known for its stunning beaches with pristine white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it a popular destination for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts. And when you’re planning a trip to Sal in Cape Verde, you probably wonder what are the best things to do on the island.

We visited the island during our roundtrip in Cape Verde, stayed there for many weeks, and made a list of the 30 best things to do in Sal so that you can prepare your trip to Sal in the best way possible!

1) Go To The Beach

Let’s be honest. Most people travel to Sal to chill on the beach, get a little tan, swim in the ocean, and recharge their batteries after stressful work days. You can say: “Beach more, worry less” is a perfect motto for a holiday in Sal.

Sal is known for its stunning white sandy beaches with turquoise waters. It has the best beaches in Cape Verde. So let’s dive into that a little bit more.

Santa Maria Beach

The best beach in Sal is the beach of Santa Maria. It’s called Santa Maria Beach. Santa Maria is the liveliest town of Sal in the south and has a beautiful and long golden sandy beach with various beach bars, hotels, restaurants, and shops along the bay. If you want to book a beach holiday to Sal, stay at one of the amazing beachfront hotels in Santa Maria.

Santa Maria is the perfect beach for swimming, which is rare because not many beaches in Cape Verde are great for swimming. Also, on this beach, you can book fun activities and tours, from jet-skiing, snorkeling, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, massages, flyboarding, and fishing. You name it. It’s there! If you plan your trip to Sal 90% chance you’ll end up in Santa Maria. It’s the town where most of the tourists go-to for shopping, lunch, and dinner, and the best place to stay on the island.

Ponta Preta Beach

Another beautiful beach on Sal is Ponta Preta Beach. It’s also in the south, but on the west side of Sal. This beach is similar to Santa Maria Beach, with soft sand and beautiful turquoise water. But it’s less crowded and has a more natural landscape. If you are looking for more tranquillity, then this beach is perfect. From Santa Maria, you can walk for about 20 minutes or take a taxi for a couple of euros to go to this beach.

Kite Beach

On the east side of Sal, in the south, you have Kite Beach. It’s the beach with the most wind, so it is not really ideal for sunbathing. It’s the best beach to go kite surfing. There are many surf schools on this beach where you can rent your gear and fuel up with good food and drinks. Or you can book a kitesurf lessons with an instructor if you’re up for it.

2) Visit Salinas de Pedra de Lume – Salt Lakes

Salinas de Pedra de Lume are the Cape Verde Islands’ salt lakes. It’s probably the most famous landmark of the Cape Verde Islands, where Sal island got its name. Sal means salt in Portuguese because, in the 18th century, salt lakes were used to exploit salt. The export of salt was the most significant income source for the Cape Verde Islands. Now tourism is the most significant source of income for the island.

So they turned Salinas de Pedra de Lume into a natural spa for tourists where you can get a salt and mud cure. Book massages and experience floating/ swimming in salt lakes because it’s 27 times saltier than the ocean. The water is a maximum of one meter deep, so there isn’t really that much swimming, but it is a fun experience. There is a small entrance fee and a small restaurant to get food and drinks and you book massages and other treatments.

You can visit the Salinas by renting a car or getting a taxi. But if that sounds too much of a hassle, know that almost every island tour has the Salinas on its route. While some tours book enough time for a swim, others are just there for a quick visit. One of the best Sal Tours to book that visit the salt lakes is the Sal: Island Experience Tour, with a certified local guide with a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars and over 600 reviews.

Tip to avoid the crowds!

Most buses with tourists arrive shortly after 10 a.m. If you want to avoid the crowds, visiting at 9 a.m. when it opens is best. Or just before closing time. You can also take a nice walk around the volcano crater or the salt pans within the volcano crater. Few tourists do this, so you can explore the other side of Salinas with almost no one around. It’s like walking on the moon (not that I’ve been on the moon to my knowledge). It has a surreal landscape you don’t often see.

3) Go Snorkeling

The ocean is the best place to be alone with your thoughts and looking for some peacetime. And to witness some amazing marine wildlife of the Cape Verdean islands. And Sal is a haven for snorkel enthusiasts, offering amazing spots to explore the vibrant underwater world. So when you want to get active and come off your beach bed, a snorkel trip in Sal is a great thing to do on your holiday.

And perhaps you might wonder, what are the best snorkel places on Sal?

Best Snorkel Spots

  • Santa Maria Beach – For those seeking a more tranquil experience, Santa Maria Beach offers a serene setting with its calm waters and mesmerizing coral formations.
  • Christ of the Seas – About 200 meters off the coast of Santa Maria, you can find the Christ of the Seas at a depth of about 6 meters. At Odjo d’Agua Hotel, you can enter the water and swim to it if you are an experienced swimmer. You can aim for the boats stopping here during a snorkel trip. Due to the strong current, it can be difficult sometimes.
  • Shark Bay – Another must-visit location is Shark Bay, known for its unique shark population. Snorkeling in this area provides a thrilling opportunity to observe nurse sharks in their natural habitat, surrounded by a breathtaking coral reef.
  • Palmeira – Located on the west coast of Sal, Palmeira offers a fantastic snorkeling experience. Its calm and clear waters are home to various tropical fish, vibrant coral reefs, and even the occasional sea turtle. You can explore the colorful underwater world while enjoying the picturesque coastal views.
  • Murdeira Bay – An protected area, you will surely spot some beautiful fish. You can reach Murdeira Bay independently from the mainland, which means you will have to swim towards the reef on your own, which can sometimes be challenging.

You can rent a snorkel set and dive into the ocean and see what’s going on underwater. But I recommend booking a snorkel tour to get the most out of your snorkel experience during your holiday. There are amazing snorkeling trips you can book, half-day or full-day, that include lunch, gear, transportation to multiple reefs around the island, and even a shipwreck you can’t reach alone.

4) Buggy/ Quad Desert Adventure

Riding a quad or a buggy is the most fun way to explore Sal. The island is filled with desert-like landscapes, and deserted sandy beaches for you to have a great adventure. It’s the best off-the-beaten-track experience you can have on Sal! But make sure you wear glasses and a scarf to protect your eyes and mouth from the sand.

5) Swim With Sharks!

Yes. You’ve read it right. You can swim with sharks in Sal!! Swimming with sharks was the highlight of our trip to Sal and the most adrenaline-filled experience of our time on the Cape Verde Islands. Check out my shark encounter in our travel guide video of Sal below.

On the east coast of Sal is Shark Bay, where you can swim with lemon sharks that can reach a length of 3,5 meters. These sharks are ‘vegetarian sharks’ because they only eat greens and fish. They are more afraid of you than you should be afraid of them. And there are only a few places in the world where swimming with lemon sharks is possible.

Shark Bay is close to Pedra Lume and is ideal to combine with a visit to Salinas. On the road from Espargos to the Salinas de Pedra de Lume, turn right to a dirt road just before Pedra Lume heading south. There isn’t a big sign, but follow the tire tracks for 20 minutes along the coast, and you will get to Shark Bay. You’re at the right spot if you see a small cabin with local guides and parked cars! The local guides will tell you all you need to know about the sharks and where it’s best to enter the water. Make sure to rent their water shoes because of sea urchins.

Or, if this sounds a bit too adventurous, you can book amazing tours that take you to Shark Bay, but not all tours give you the opportunity to swim with the sharks. So the best one to book is Sal Shark Bay Experience Tour.

Secret Tip

Most tours arrive between 11 am. – 3 p.m. This means it can be bustling, which doesn’t make getting close to the sharks easy. The crowds and noise will keep the sharks at a distance, so you will only see some fins popping out of the water.

When you really want to get as close as possible we recommend going to Shark Bay at around 4 pm. Most tourists are already gone, and the guides have enough time to explain to you how to get close to the sharks. Lemon sharks are reef sharks, so they swim in shallow water. Swimming with these sharks also means that you sort of walk on rocks in shallow water.

6) Rent A Car To Explore The Island

The easiest way to explore Sal is to rent a car. It is so much fun to explore the island on your own and see what spontaneous adventure is waiting for you.

Sal has several paved roads and a few tourist spots that are accessible via unpaved roads. It is sometimes a bit of searching along the way, but if you ask for directions, everyone is always willing to help you. Not many signs refer to all the tourist spots on the island, so it is sometimes a quest to get there. At least, that’s how we experienced it. It may also be our navigation skills 😉. It makes driving on the Cape Verde Islands much more fun and an easy way to contact the locals if you are lost and need help.

And when you want to rent a car you can just walk into a rent-a-car company along the main road in Santa Maria. Or, when you want to make sure there is a car for you available during peak season, we recommend booking your car via Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.

Map Of Sal

Infographic Sal Cape Verde

7) Visit Buracona – The Blue Eye

On the northwest side of Sal, you have another popular tourist attraction: Buracona. It’s a bay 5 km north of Palmeira, which you can reach by an unpaved road along the coastline. At Buracona there are two reasons you want to pay a visit. Swim in the natural pool and see the Blue Eye.

The Blue Eye

At exactly noon (or around noon. Depending on the month) the sun shines directly into an underwater cave and turns it into what looks like a blue eye. Expect a lot of people around this time of day, because many tours arrive around this time, so it can be very crowded during peak season.

Swim In The Natural Pool

The waves carved a natural pool into the rocks. You can swim and relax in the natural pool and have a beautiful view of the ocean. Sometimes the sea can be rough, which makes it dangerous to swim, so always check when you arrive at Buracona. Also, not all tours allow you to swim in the natural pool due to a busy schedule, so the best tour to book is the Salt Lake, Blue Eye, and Shark Bay Tour.

8) Go Surfing

Sal is renowned for its world-class windsurfing and kitesurfing conditions, attracting professionals and amateurs alike to its windy shores. It has one of the best kitesurf hotspots in the world, and even this beach is named Kite Beach (east of Santa Maria), to celebrate its great conditions.

Kitebeach is a 3 km long white sandy beach with turquoise waters—a paradise for kite surfers and windsurfers. Advanced and beginners can go to Kite Beach for a full week of kite surfing or just a day to try it out by booking a kite lesson. Plenty of surf schools offer lessons, rent out gear, and have good food to fuel up and provide drinks after a long day on the water.

The windy season is between November and April, but the wind is the most steady in the months of January, February, and March. You can expect to see professionals show off their skills in these months for sure.

But besides kitesurfing, you can also go windsurfing, golf surfing, or stand-up paddle boarding in Sal as many other amazing water activities in and around the water.

The Cape Verdean island Boa Vista is also a place great place for Kite and Windsurfing. You can read all about it in our article Best Surf Spots in Boa Vista

9) Hike In The Natural Reserve of Sal, Serra Negra

Serra Negra on the east side of Sal is a natural reserve with an altitude of 104 meters. It stretches out for 2,5 km along the east coast. From Serra Negra, you’ll have an awesome panorama over the southern part of Sal, and if you are lucky, you can even see Boa Vista. This island is the closest to Sal from all the Cape Verde Islands. The natural reserve is ideal for hiking and trekking, and you can explore a less touristy side of Sal.

When you’re really into hiking, you might be better off visiting a different Cape Verdean island. Island hopping between the different islands is straightforward, so it is easy to plan a roundtrip. The popular islands among hikers are Santo Antão, Santiago, and Fogo. You can read more about it in the article best island to visit in Cape Verde.

10) Spot Turtles

The Cape Verde Islands is the world’s third biggest nesting point for Loggerhead (Caretta Caretta) turtles. You can spot these turtles on all the Cape Verde Islands, especially on Sal, Boa Vista, São Vicente, and Maio.

The biggest chance to spot the turtles is between June and October when they lay their eggs on the beach. And six weeks later, you can spot the little ones trying to reach the ocean. You can book a turtle-watching experience in the evening with a guide on Sal. They know how to spot the turtles and how to approach the animals.

11) City Tour Santa Maria

When you’re a bit tired of lying on the beach, you can always explore the vibrant town of Santa Maria. You really can get a taste of the local culture and art scene by strolling through the charming streets of Santa Maria with pastel-hued buildings, lively shops, and inviting cafes. The town’s rich cultural heritage is showcased in its local markets, where you can explore an array of handicrafts, traditional artwork, and fresh produce. The town also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene, with beachfront bars, live music venues, and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, including fresh seafood delicacies.

You can also book a city tour with a local guide that takes you around town and show you all the best places.

12) Visit Espargos

Another fun and cultural thing to do in Sal is to visit the capital of Sal, Espargos, a bustling town with its unique charm and character nestled in the island’s heart.

Espargos serves as a gateway for visitors to explore the natural wonders of Sal. The town’s streets are alive with activity, offering a vibrant mix of local shops, cafes, and markets where you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and discover the authentic flavors of Cape Verdean cuisine.

This town gives you a glimpse into the local way of life, with residents going about their daily routines and embracing rich cultural traditions.

13) Eat At A Locals House

The best way to discover the Cape Verde Islands’ culture is through the local cuisine. And Resirest, connects travelers with locals worldwide through local home dining experiences. On this platform, you can make a reservation for lunch or dinner at a local family’s house that will prepare a traditional meal for you. You can even give your preference to meat, fish, or vegetarian.

14) Eat Cachupa

You can’t visit the Cape Verde Islands without trying their most traditional dish, Cachupa. It is one the things that Cape Verde is famous for.

Cachupa is a slow-cooked stew of corn, beans, cassava, sweet potato, fish, and meat. Every island of Cape Verde has its variation, and you can order Cachupa everywhere in almost any local restaurant for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It depends on the strength of your stomach 😉

The Cape Verdeans usually prepare Cachupa for dinner, and what’s left over, they keep for breakfast the next day. All the Cape Verdeans love it and want you to try it.

15) Shop (African) Souvenirs

When you walk through Santa Maria 99% chance, someone will come up to you to sell their self-made African souvenirs. Most souvenir shops in Sal are owned by West Africans who have traveled to Sal (500 km from the coast of West Africa) for a better life. They are much more aggressive in approaching tourists compared to the Cape Verdeans. In every shop, they are similar handicraft items, but some shops have beautiful paintings or other African crafts that are really unique.

16) Go Scuba Diving

Diving in Sal is a fun experience for underwater enthusiasts. The island boasts an abundance of diverse marine life and beautiful dive sites. From colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish to impressive underwater rock formations and even encounters with majestic sea turtles and rays. It is even possible to dive with rays, turtles, and sharks all on the same day.

With warm waters, excellent visibility, and various dive centers offering professional guidance, both beginners and experienced divers can immerse themselves in the wonders of the Atlantic Ocean surrounding Sal. Whether you’re exploring the depths of the famous “Buracona Blue Eye” or discovering the underwater caves and tunnels at Ponta Preta, diving in Sal promises unforgettable adventures and the chance to create lasting memories beneath the waves. The best months for diving are between July and December. The underwater visibility is at its best during this time.

You can easily book a beginner-friendly scuba diving excursion with an instructor or get your PADI open-water license by following a diving course. There are many tours available that offer one-day or multiple-day trips, packages, and diving courses.

17) Stay At Sal’s First Hotel

Hotel Morabeza is a four-star hotel and was the first hotel in Sal. To this day, it’s still one of the best hotels in Santa Maria. It was founded by a Belgian couple who were looking for a sunny destination to settle in the sixties. The business expanded, and they now even attached a beach club. It still has a very family-run vibe, so it’s worth paying a visit, drinking a cocktail, or booking your stay at Hotel Morabeza for a couple of nights.

18) Sail Away Around Sal

Another fun thing to do is to go on a luxurious Catamaran Cruise to unwind for the day and see Sal from a different side. You can sunbathe on the deck, relax on the comfortable lounge beds and take a refreshing cocktail, a nice glass of (sparkling) wine, or a cold beer while the wind blows through your hair. This catamaran cruise gets a 4.7 out of 5 stars with almost 200 hundred reviews.

19) Sunset BBQ

Cape Verdeans know how to BBQ, so enjoying a nice BBQ dinner while enjoying a beautiful sunset is an absolute must while you’re on the island.

There is a fun Murdeira Sunset & BBQ Trip you can book that included pick-up, snorkeling, and a delicious BBQ on the Murdeira beach with live music.

20) Visit Odjo d’Agua Hotel

While you walk around Santa Maria you can pay a visit to the beautiful Odjo d’Agua Hotel. The hotel’s elegant architecture, inspired by traditional Cape Verdean design, creates a harmonious blend of modern comfort and authentic charm. You can stay in one of the stylish rooms and spacious suites, sip on a tropical cocktail or a glass of wine while enjoying the breathtaking ocean views or have dinner and choose between local Cape Verdean specialties and international cuisine prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

21) Island Full Day Tour

To really get a full glance of everything that Sal has to offer you can book a guided island tour and enjoy Sal’s amazing highlights and activities just in one day. And one of the best Sal Tours to book is the Sal: Island Experience Tour, with a certified local guide with a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars and over 600 reviews.

22) Monte Leão Sunset Hike

With a local guide you can hike up to Monte Leão and enjou a breathtaking view of the island while the sun sets in the ocean.

23) Night Out In Santa Maria

Enjoy a night out in the town, Santa Maria. As I said before Santa Maria is the liveliest town of Sal with enough bars and restaurants to choose from for a great night out on the town.

At night Santa Maria comes alive with live music in almost every restaurant. It’s fun to walk around and feel the vibe on the streets. And there is something for every budget, whether you want a luxurious dinner, grab a burger, or try local food.

Londres Jazzy Bistro is an excellent choice to grab a drink during happy hour or eat one of their delicious hamburgers. And they have good wifi. If you want to go all out, then Baraonda is a good pick. It’s a great Italian restaurant in the middle of Santa Maria after that enjoy a late drink at Buddy’s bar or One Love Reggae or any other bar that pumps up the music after 10 p.m.

The best breakfast or lunch you can get at Cape Fruit. It’s a small and cute restaurant a little bit to the east of the center of Santa Maria. With hammocks, Fatboy’s, and cozy couches, you will start your day in the most relaxing way. They make the most amazing fresh fruit shakes and the best sandwiches in town!

Best Restaurants in Santa Maria

  1. Marea Restaurant – This restaurant serves Mediterranean and seafood cuisine.
  2. Baraonda – This is an Italian restaurant that serves pizza and pasta dishes.
  3. Ocean Cafe – This cafe serves a variety of international cuisine, including seafood, Italian, and Asian dishes.
  4. Hot Spot – This beachfront restaurant serves international cuisine, including seafood and African dishes.
  5. The Dubliner Irish Bar – This is an Irish bar that serves pub food and has a selection of beers and other drinks.
  6. Meky’s Burger Bar – This fast-food restaurant specializes in burgers and sandwiches.
  7. By Valeria – This bakery and cafe serves coffee, pastries, and light meals.
  8. Soul Kitchen Restaurant – This beachfront restaurant serves various international cuisines, including seafood, Asian, and vegetarian dishes.
  9. Sabores – Bar & Restaurant – This seafood and Cape Verdean restaurant also has a bar.
  10. Creparia Sol Doce – This is a creperie that serves a variety of sweet and savory crepes.
  11. Cape Fruit – This is a smoothie and juice bar that also serves light meals and snacks.
  12. George’s is a popular seafood restaurant known for serving fresh, locally sourced fish and seafood.
  13. Nami – This Japanese restaurant serves sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes.
  14. Chez Pastis – This is a French restaurant that serves a variety of French dishes, including seafood and meat dishes.
  15. Americo’s Restaurante – This Cape Verdean restaurant serves traditional Cape Verdean dishes, including seafood, meat, and vegetable dishes.

24) Eat at Bar di Nos – The best local restaurant in Sal

Sal Cape Verde Bar di Nos

Okay, you can’t leave Sal without having dinner at Bar di Nos. It’s the best local restaurant in Sal and one of our favorite places in the Cape Verde Islands. We spend two weeks exploring Sal, and we probably ate eight times at Bar di Nos because it was so good. It’s also the place where all the locals go to when they have a night out. You will see taxi drivers popping in and out. So that’s always a good radar for us. Do you want great local food? Check out where the locals eat.

Don’t expect a fancy restaurant. It’s a Cape Verdean restaurant with a couple of tables inside, but most plastic chairs and tables are on the streets. Bar di Nos is located just outside the center of Santa Maria. It’s maybe a 3-minute walk from the main roads. What’s so great? The BBQ. We passed this restaurant every day when we walked into Santa Maria around 5 p.m., and we could smell the BBQ from far away. I don’t know the secret ingredient sauce on the chicken and sausages, but it’s great. We don’t eat seafood, but we saw great seafood dishes passing by from the grill so if you’re into that: Bar di Nos it is as well. And fresh seafood always comes from the local fish market in Santa Maria.

And the price is excellent as well. For two dishes and a couple of drinks, you will pay around €15. Now that is fun going out to dinner, right? Plus, you will get a real Cape Verdean experience.

25) Visit Local fish At Santa Maria Pier

In the morning, a fish market is on the dock of Santa Maria. The fishermen return with their latest catches and sell them to the local restaurants. It has become a tourist attraction, so the Cape Verdeans also catch other things like sharks to show to the tourists. And earn money with pictures and stuff. Walking around for a few minutes is fun to experience the vibe.

26) Drink Grogue

Grogue is an alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane, and it’s the national drink of the Cape Verde Island. It’s like a rum.

And the people of the Cape Verde Islands take Grogue very seriously. They love it and don’t want to live without it. For some, it’s better if they do, but that’s a whole different story ;). When you order a cocktail in a bar, they usually use Grogue—so big chance you will drink it without even knowing it.

27) Mirador – Best Panoramic View of Sal

When driving around Sal, you will surely go to Espargos in the middle of the Island. Type in Mirador in your GPS or Phone, and you will end up on a hill in Espargos with a panoramic view of the entire island.

28) Explore Monte Grande

Monte Grande, in Portuguese, means big mountain. And this 404-meter-high mountain is the highest in Sal. Monte Garde is located in the north of Sal and is a protected landscape because of its geological value. Hiking up this mountain is a great idea to get a spectacular view of Sal.

When you go island hopping in Cape Verde, you will notice that they call every big mountain Monte Grande. So Monte Grande in Sal isn’t the only Monte Grande in the Cape Verde Islands.

29) Go Whale Watching (Rare)

In March-May, the humpback whales from Scandinavia use the bay of Boa Vista as a safe place to mate or give birth to their calves. If you are going on a boat trip during these months, then there is a chance you can see humpback whales. The best spotting place is Boa Vista, but sometimes these whales pop up near Sal. You can consider yourself lucky if you’ve spotted humpback whales in Sal.

Many tour operators use spotting humpback whales commercially to get as many tourists on their boat trips without giving them realistic expectations. So if you don’t expect whales, you won’t be disappointed. And if you do, you’re fortunate.

30) Dune of Sal

Right next to the Riu Hotel, you can find the Dune of Sal, the largest sand dune on the island. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sal Cape Verde Known For?

The sunny island Sal of the Cape Verde Islands attracts a lot of sun, sea, and beach seekers. It is the most famous island of the Cape Verde Islands, and it’s known for its spectacular white sandy beaches and clear blue sea. But Sal has much more to offer. Did you know you can swim with sharks? The vegetarian ones but still an awesome experience 😉. Or explore the island on a quad bike or go kitesurfing? It is all possible on Sal!

Okay. Let’s be clear. Do not expect a tropical island with beautiful green oases. Sal is flat, dry, and windy most days. But with an average of 24 degrees and more than 8 hours of sunshine a day, Sal is an ideal place for a sunny holiday. Especially during wintertime. The weather is great year round!

In the last 10 years, Sal has become very popular for Europeans who were looking for a sunny destination during summer and wintertime and wanted to travel a bit further than the “average” Greek or Spanish islands. On Sal, you feel African, European, and South American vibes because of the beautiful mix of cultures on the Cape Verde Islands.

How To Get To Sal?

You can book an all-inclusive holiday to Sal with TUI. Everything from flights, transfers, and accommodation is arranged for you.

If you rather book your flights and accommodation, then it’s easy to fly to the Cape Verde Islands. From a lot of European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and Portugal you can fly directly to Sal. A transfer from the airport with a taxi to your accommodation anywhere on Sal is around 15 euros.

Can you swim in the sea in Sal Cape Verde?

There are multiple beaches in Sal where it is safe to swim in the sea. Santa Maria Beach is the best and safest beach at the southernmost tip of Sal. It is a long, crescent-shaped bay of soft golden sand with calm, azure waters, ideal for swimming.

Can you walk around in Sal?

Yes, it is possible to walk around in Sal, especially in the main town of Santa Maria. Many of the island’s attractions, restaurants, and shops are located within walking distance of each other. However, visitors should know that the island can be quite hot and humid, particularly during summer. Staying hydrated and protecting yourself from the sun is important by wearing sunscreen and a hat.

Additionally, some areas outside of Santa Maria may be less pedestrian-friendly, and taking a taxi, renting a car, or booking a tour to explore these areas is recommended.

Is Santa Maria Sal Cape Verde Safe?

Yes, Santa Maria in Sal Cape Verde is generally considered safe for tourists. The island has a low crime rate and is known for its friendly and welcoming people.

However, like anywhere else in the world, you should still exercise caution and use common sense. Petty theft can sometimes occur, so it is important to keep valuables secure and avoid displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.

Can You Go Island Hopping In Cape Verde?

It’s incredible to travel to multiple islands of Cape Verde. Every island is so different from the other. From flat islands with white sandy beaches to lush green islands with mountains and beautiful valleys. And even the vibe is more African or more European than the other on the different Cape Verde Islands.

We spend 2,5 months on six different Cape Verde Islands, and we can recommend you to go island hopping. When you’re in for a couple of beach days but also want to explore more of the Cape Verde Islands, then you can easily combine your beach holiday with a visit to other Cape Verde Islands.

Explore the more cultural island-like São Vicente and visit the most beautiful island of them all: Santo Antão at just a 1-hour ferry away from São Vicente. The most historic and busiest island of Cape Verde is Santiago. Or travel to the more unexplored islands like Brava or Maio. Drink the most delicious coffee on Fogo. Find out more in our articles What is Cape Verde Famous For? & Which is The Best Cape Verdean Island To Visit?

Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide

🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?

100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?

No — It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Cape Verde. While tap water is generally safe for showering and brushing teeth, it may not be suitable for drinking. Bottled water is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Or you can buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water.

🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?

Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.

🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?

For Cape Verde hotels, is the best site. If you’re considering an (all-inclusive) resort, I recommend TUI since they have the best resorts on the islands.

🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights? 

For direct flights from the UK and Europe, I recommend TUI Airways. For finding alternative flights to Cape Verde, I recommend Skyscanner.

⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde?

For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.

🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?

Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.

😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?

Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.

🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?

Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)

⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?

The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:

  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling and Diving: July – December
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
  • The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March

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