Sal Cape Verde | Info & Ultimate Travel Guide


If you’re curious about the island of Sal, Cape Verde, then you’re at the right place!

Sal is one of the ten volcanic islands that make up the archipelago of Cape Verde, situated off the coast of West Africa. The island has become a popular tourist destination because of its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, year-round sunshine, and luxury resorts & hotels.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes Sal so special, from its rich cultural heritage, unique landscapes, and everything you need to know for an amazing holiday in Sal Cape Verde. From the best things to do, the best hotels and resorts to stay, where to eat, nightlife, and which beaches to go to. This article is packed with all the information you need. So let’s dive in right away!

About Sal Cape Verde

First, let’s explore a bit more about the history of Sal…

And perhaps you even wonder,

What Is Sal, Cape Verde Known For?

Sal, Cape Verde, in recent years, is known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and year-round sunshine, making it a popular destination for sun-seekers (in winter) and beach lovers. Also, the strong trade winds make Sal an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts, such as kitesurfers and windsurfers. And let’s not forget its

But before tourism, Sal was primarily known for its salt mines. In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers first discovered the inhabited island, naming it after the salt mines Pedra de Lume (you can now visit) they found on its shores. Due to the island’s strategic location in the Atlantic, they forced enslaved Africans to do dangerous mining labor that ultimately became a major income source for the island as well as fishing and agriculture.

Over time, Sal became an important trading hub, with ships stopping by to restock on supplies before continuing their journeys across the Atlantic. This is why the island has a rich cultural heritage, with a mix of African, Caribbean, and European influences that is evident in its music, dance, and cuisine. Today, the island’s main town, Santa Maria, is a bustling hub of activity, with brightly colored buildings and a vibrant atmosphere that continues to celebrate its unique heritage and culture.

Check out our travel guide video, where we take a dive into the Salt mines and do many other unique things in Sal, Cape Verde.

Sal Cape Verde Airport

Sal’s airport, Amílcar Cabral International Airport, is the main gateway to the island and the rest of Cape Verde. It serves many international and domestic airlines, connecting major cities across Europe, Africa, and the Americas. It is named after Amílcar Cabral, a revered Cape Verdean and Guinea-Bissauan independence leader who played a key role in the struggle against colonialism in the 20th century.

The airport is located on the east coast of Sal, about 2 kilometers northeast of the island’s capital and largest town, Espargos. And approximately 18 km north of the tourist town Santa Maria, which is a 20-minute drive by taxi, shuttle bus, or rental car. Many of the hotels and resorts in Santa Maria offer guests courtesy transportation from the airport to their accommodations.

Now when you want to book a holiday to Cape Verde, there is perhaps a question on your mind…

How To Get To Sal, Cape Verde?

You get to Sal, Cape Verde, by flying into Sal’s Amílcar Cabral International Airport through a direct flight from a major European city or a connecting flight via Lisbon International Airport. You can also get to Sal, Cape Verde, via a domestic flight from the islands: Santiago, Boa Vista, or Sao Vicente.

The easiest way to get to Cape Verde is to book a TUI holiday, which includes a stay at one of their 5-star resorts and a direct flight to Sal, Cape Verde. Or you book a direct flight via TUI Airways because they operate direct flights to Sal and Boa Vista from Birmingham, Manchester, and Gatwick airports in the UK and many other major European cities.

When no direct flight is available from your nearest city, booking a connecting flight via Lisbon International Airport is best. For example, the airline TAP Portugal operates direct flights from Lisbon to Cape Verde daily. I recommend using Skyscanner to check for the cheapest flights and best connections.

Discovering Santa Maria, Cape Verde

Santa Maria, Cape Verde

As I mentioned earlier, the main tourist town on the island of Sal is Santa Maria. If you book a holiday to Sal, Cape Verde, you probably wind up in one of the many great hotels in Santa Maria.

It is a vibrant town nestled on the southern tip of Sal, just 20 minutes away from Amílcar Cabral International Airport (SID). The coastal town attracts people for its vibrant culture, bustling nightlife, beautiful beaches (Santa Maria Beach), and colorful history. It’s a popular spot for professional kitesurfers and windsurfers worldwide because of the perfect wind conditions from December to March when the island gets its annual trade winds.

Originally, Santa Maria in Cape Verde was a fishing village that can still be seen in its charming harbor and the enduring fishing traditions of its people. Over the years, Santa Maria has evolved into a vibrant hub of tourism, welcoming visitors from around the world.

Today, Santa Maria has earned its reputation as a haven for travelers seeking a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Its lively atmosphere, stunning beaches, and cultural diversity make this place the most popular destination within Cape Verde.

Santa Maria Cape Verde Map

Interesting facts about Santa Maria, Cape Verde

  1. Stunning Beaches: Santa Maria is known for its breathtaking beaches with powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Praia de Santa Maria is the most famous beach in the town, offering perfect conditions for swimming and water sports.
  2. Former Fishing Village: Santa Maria has a rich history as a traditional fishing village. You can still see remnants of this heritage in the town’s charming harbor and the fishing boats that dot the shoreline. Make sure to visit the pier to see fishermen at work.
  3. Kiteboarding and Windsurfing Paradise: The consistent trade winds and flat water conditions make Santa Maria a world-renowned destination for kiteboarding and windsurfing enthusiasts. The town hosts international competitions, attracting athletes from around the globe, especially between December and March.
  4. Lively Nightlife: Santa Maria comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife scene. You can enjoy live music, dance to Cape Verdean rhythms, and sample tropical cocktails at various bars and clubs along the beach.
  5. Local Cuisine: Cape Verdean cuisine is a blend of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian influences. In Santa Maria, you can eat fresh seafood, including grilled fish, lobster, and octopus. Make sure to try out the traditional dish “cachupa”.
  6. Art and Craft Markets: Santa Maria has numerous art and craft markets where you can purchase unique souvenirs, handmade jewelry, and local artwork. It’s an excellent place to pick up keepsakes from your visit.
  7. Cultural Diversity: Cape Verde is known for its cultural diversity, and Santa Maria is no exception. The town’s population includes people of African, European, and Creole descent, creating a rich tapestry of traditions and languages.
  8. Diverse Water Activities: Santa Maria is a hub for a variety of water activities beyond kiteboarding and windsurfing. You can explore the underwater world with scuba diving and snorkeling or simply enjoy the coast by paddleboarding or taking boat trips to nearby islets and diving spots.
  9. Protected Natural Reserves: Sal Island is home to several natural reserves and protected areas, including the Salinas de Pedra de Lume, where you can float in the saltwater crater and the Murdeira Bay Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatching.
  10. Friendly Locals: Cape Verde is known for its warm and welcoming locals who are eager to share their culture and traditions with visitors. Engaging with residents can enhance your experience and provide insight into the Cape Verdean way of life.

Sal Cape Verde Holiday

A holiday to Cape Verde’s most popular islands is an excellent idea. It’s a great summer and winter destination for a beach holiday where you can add adventure filled activities to your roster.

“Is Sal, Cape Verde good for a holiday?”

Without a doubt, Sal, Cape Verde is an excellent choice for a holiday. This captivating island offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and relaxation. Sal is renowned for its stunning beaches, diverse landscapes, and welcoming atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for travelers of all tastes.

The island’s year-round sunshine and pleasant climate provide an excellent backdrop for your holiday adventures. Whether you’re a sun-seeker, an adventure enthusiast, a culture buff, or simply looking to unwind on the beach, Sal has something for everyone.

And there are excellent holiday deals to Sal. From all-inclusive resorts, family holiday packages, honeymoon deals to adult-only holidays.

Best Hotels In Sal Cape Verde

When planning a trip to Sal, you might want to know what the best place to stay is in Sal. So I’ve selected the top 3 best hotels in Sal, Cape Verde, for you below:

1) Hotel Riu Palace Santa Maria

Source: TUI (5-star Hotel Riu Palace Santa Maria – Sal Island)

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

🏩 Best Feature:
All-Inclusive resort & Beachfront location

The Hotel Riu Palace Santa Maria is a luxurious all-inclusive resort situated on the beautiful beachfront of Santa Maria. The hotel is known for its exceptional service, beautiful design, and excellent amenities, making it one if not the best hotel in Santa Maria, Cape Verde.

2) Hotel Morabeza

Photo: Booking, Hotel Morabeza – Sal Cape Verde

⭐️ Rating: 8.7 out of 10 stars

🏩 Best Feature:
Located in the heart of Santa Maria.

The Hotel Morabeza is a beautiful 4-star beachfront boutique hotel in Santa Maria’s heart. The hotel features spacious and well-appointed rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, three outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, and a spa.

3) Hotel Oasis Salinas Sea

Source: Booking (5-star Hotel: Oasis Salinas Sea in Sal, Cape Verde)

⭐️ Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

🏩 Best Feature:
Beachfront & Private Beach

The Oasis Salinas Sea Hotel in Sal, Cape Verde, is a luxurious 5-star hotel that perfectly blends modern amenities and traditional African charm. One of the hotel’s best features is its stunning beachfront location, providing guests with unparalleled ocean views and easy access to the sandy beach. And it is in the heart of the town of Santa Maria.

Best Resorts In Sal, Cape Verde

I’ve listed the top 3 best resorts in Sal Cape Verde for you below:

1) Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort

Photo: Booking (5-star hotel: Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort in Sal, Cape Verde)

⭐️ Rating: 8.9 out of 10 stars

🏩 Best Feature: Private beach

The Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is a luxurious 5-star hotel located on the stunning Santa Maria beach in Sal, Cape Verde. One of the standout features of the Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort is its exceptional location. The hotel is situated on Santa Maria Beach, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Verde. The hotel is also just a short walk away from the town of Santa Maria, where you can explore a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars.

2) Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa

Photo: Booking (5 star hotel: Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa in Sal, Cape Verde)

⭐️ Rating: 8.9 out of 10 stars

🏩 Best Feature:
Adults-Only & Spa

The Melia Llana Beach Resort & Spa is a luxurious 5-star hotel located on the beautiful Santa Maria beach in Sal, Cape Verde. This hotel stands out from the others on the list of the best 5-star hotels in Cape Verde for a number of reasons.

3) RIU Funana

Source: TUI (RIU Funana)

⭐️ Rating: 4.0 out of 5

🏩 Best Feature:
All-inclusive Resort + large swimming pools

The RIU Funana is a luxurious 5-star all-inclusive resort located 1.5 km from the town center. One of the hotel’s best features is its prime beachfront location, which offers stunning views of the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. And a large outdoor swimming pool. And guests can access a waterpark located at the neighboring Riu Palace Santa Maria. The hotel also boasts many amenities, including a spa, fitness center, and numerous bars and restaurants.

Best Things To Do in Sal, Cape Verde

Travelers mostly visit Sal just to relax, enjoy the beach and soak up some sun rays. There are still cool things to do and unique places to visit on the island. Let’s give you a list of fun things to do on the island.

Salinas de Pedra de Lume

Salinas de Pedra de Lume is the Cape Verde Islands’ salt lake. It’s probably the most famous landmark of the Cape Verde Islands. The lakes are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage List nominees. In the 18th century, the salt ponds were used to exploit salt. The export of salt was the most significant income source for the Cape Verde Islands.

Now the most significant income is tourism, so they turned Salinas into a natural spa where you can get a salt and mud cure. And float/ swim in the salt lakes and experience the water that is 27 times saltier than the ocean. There is a small entrance fee, a small restaurant, and a spa where you can book massages and other treatments. Almost every island tour will drop you off at the Salinas. There is enough time for a swim on some tours, while others are just there for a quick visit. One of the best Sal Tours to book for swimming in 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.

Buracona – The Blue Eye

On the northwest side of Sal, you have another popular tourist attraction: Buracona. It is one of the 7 wonders of the island. Buracona is 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.

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, so that it can be very crowded during peak season. If you come afterward, there is a big chance you won’t have to pay an entrance fee.

Also, the waves carved a natural pool into the rocks. If the conditions are good, you can swim, relax in the natural pool, and have a beautiful ocean view. 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.

Shark Bay

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. If you haven’t checked out travel guide video of Sal, I recommend you would, as you can see Kirsten’s experience swimming with lemon sharks.

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 that you should be afraid of them. And there are only a few places in the world where swimming with lemon sharks is possible.

Best Time To Visit Shark Bay

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.

Most people come between 11 am. – 3 p.m. It can be bustling, which doesn’t make getting close to the sharks easy. Because of the crowds and noise, the sharks will stay at a distance, so you will only see some fins popping out of the water.

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 swimming/walking in shallow water.

But don’t worry if you don’t want to explore the island without a guide. There are plenty of tours that visit Shark Bay. Not all tours give you the opportunity to swim with the sharks. So the best one to book is Sal Shark Bay Experience Tour.

Snorkeling

A great way to spend part of your day is to go snorkeling. The best months for underwater visibility are between July – December, but the other months are also great for snorkeling.

There are fun tours that take you to different reefs, shipwrecks, and Christ of the Seas, an underwater statue at 6 meters deep and 200 meters off the coast of Santa Maria beach. Due to strong currents and windy days, it is recommended to book a snorkeling tour where you can jump on and off the boat at several places. And the best tour is the Guided Snorkeling Shipwreck and Reef Tour.

Buggy or Quad Tour

A quad bike or buggy tour is a thrilling way to explore Sal’s rugged terrain and discover hidden corners of the island. Many tours take visitors off-road and into the desert, where they can see wildlife, unique rock formations, and stunning panoramic views. One of the best buggy tours in Sal is the 4WD Buggy Desert Adventure.

Explore The Stunning Beaches

Santa Maria Sal Cape verde

Sal is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, which are a paradise for sun-seekers, swimmers, and water sports enthusiasts. One of the most popular beaches is Santa Maria Beach, a long stretch of white sand and turquoise waters that’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing—more about the best beaches in Sal later in this article.

Visit Santa Maria Town

Santa Maria is the main tourist town in Sal, with a charming mix of colorful buildings, lively streets, and delicious restaurants. You can wander the town’s cobblestone streets, shop for local crafts, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of the many waterfront eateries. And you also book a guided tour to explore city highlights, including the beach and pier, and taste Cape Verdean products with drinks.

Catamaran Tour

A catamaran tour is a special way to explore Sal’s coastline and see the island differently. Many tours include snorkeling stops, beach visits, and perhaps you can spot sea turtles and dolphins. The best catamaran tour of the island is Sal: All-Inclusive Half-Day Lounge Catamaran Cruise which includes fishing, snorkeling, sailing, sun, and music. Enjoy a snack, unlimited beer and soft drinks, and hotel transfers.

Surfing

With its warm, clear waters and consistent winds, Sal is a great place to try out a range of water sports, from windsurfing and kiteboarding to snorkeling and scuba diving. Many schools and rental shops are available for visitors looking to learn or rent equipment. If you’re interested in trying out one of the most popular sports on the island, then book a kitesurfing lesson at Kitebeach.

Sal Cape Verde Weather

Sal’s warm temperatures, warm sea water, low rainfall, and high sunshine hours make it an ideal destination for those seeking a sunny, tropical climate. Also, the island is known for its constant trade winds, which provide a refreshing breeze and make it a popular destination for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

What is the best time to visit Sal, Cape Verde?

The best time to visit Sal, 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 or an adventurous getaway.

But let’s look closer at the weather in Sal, Cape Verde.

Temperature – Sal, Cape Verde

Temperature Sal, Cape Verde (Source: Weatheratlas)

Average high temperature: The average high temperature on Sal ranges from around 25°C (77°F) in January to 30°C (86°F) in August and September.

Average low temperature: The average low temperature on Sal ranges from around 19°C (66°F) in January to 24°C (75°F) in September.

The hottest months on Sal: August and September, with temperatures often reaching up to 30°C (86°F) are the hottest months.

Rainfall – Sal, Cape Verde

Rainfall Sal, Cape Verde (Source: Weatheratlas)

Average rainfall: Sal is generally quite dry, with average rainfall ranging from around 0mm in February to 35mm in August/ September. The rainy season is typically between August and October.

Rainfall Days Sal, Cape Verde (Source: Weatheratlas)

Sunshine – Sal, Cape Verde

Sunshine Hours Sal, Cape Verde (Source: Weatheratlas)

Average sunshine hours: Sal enjoys plenty of sunshine year-round, with average sunshine hours ranging from around 7 hours per day in December to 11 hours per day in June and July.

Average sunshine days: Sal enjoys many sunshine days throughout the year. On average, the island has around 340 sunshine days per year, with August and September having the least amount and December and January having the most sunshine days.

Wind – Sal, Cape Verde

Wind, Sal Cape Verde (Source: Weather Atlas)

Average wind speeds: Sal is known for its constant trade winds, which provide a refreshing breeze and make it a popular destination for windsurfing and kiteboarding. The average wind speed on the island is around 14-15 km/h (9-10 mph), with the windiest months typically being between November and March with wind speeds up to 30 km/h (18 mph).

Sea Temperature – Sal, Cape Verde

Sea Temperature, Sal Cape Verde (Source: Weather Atlas)

Average sea temperature: The sea temperature on Sal is warm year-round, ranging from around 22°C (72°F) in February to 27°C (81°F) in September.

Sal Cape Verde Nightlife

Sal is known for its lively nightlife scene, with a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. Most of the nightlife is centered around the town of Santa Maria, home to several popular bars and clubs.

Some of the top nightlife spots in Santa Maria include the Ocean Cafe, which serves up great cocktails and has a lively atmosphere, and the Morabeza Beach Club, which offers live music and DJ sets on a regular basis. Other popular spots include the Josh Angulo Surf Center, which hosts regular events and parties, and the Blu Bar, which has a great rooftop terrace and offers stunning views of the ocean.

Overall, Sal is a great destination for those looking to enjoy some lively nightlife in a beautiful tropical setting. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away at a club or enjoy a relaxed drink at a beachside bar, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island.

Sal Cape Verde Restaurants

Most restaurants are located in the town of Santa Maria. And according to Tripadvisor these are the best restaurants in Sal, Cape Verde, ranging from European and Asian food to typical local food.

  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.

Typical Cape Verdean Food & Drinks

Cape Verdean cuisine is a fusion of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian influences, resulting in a unique blend of flavors and ingredients. Here are some of the most famous dishes and foods that Cape Verde is known for:

  1. Cachupa – This is the national dish of Cape Verde and is a hearty stew made with corn, beans, vegetables, and meat or fish. It is typically served with rice and is a staple food in Cape Verdean cuisine.
  2. Grogue is a popular alcoholic drink in Cape Verde, made from sugarcane and typically served as a shot. It is similar to rum and has a strong, sweet flavor.
  3. Grilled fish – Due to its location, Cape Verde is known for its fresh seafood, particularly grilled fish. Tuna, swordfish, and grouper are popular choices.

Sal Cape Verde Flights

The international airport at Sal is served by various airlines from around the world, including TUI Airways, Cabo Verde Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, and Transavia.

There are regular direct flights to Sal from major European cities, such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon, and Rome. The flight time from Europe to Sal usually lasts 5-6 hours. There are also flights from other destinations, such as Brazil and the United States, but these are less frequent.

During the peak tourist season, which runs from November to March, flights to Sal can be more expensive and often sell out quickly, so it is advisable to book in advance.

The easiest way to fly to Cape Verde is to book a TUI holiday, which includes a stay at one of their hotel or resorts and a direct flight to Sal, Cape Verde. Or you book a direct flight via TUI Airways because they operate direct flights to Sal and Boa Vista from Birmingham, Manchester, and Gatwick airports in the UK and many other major European cities.

When no direct flight is available from your nearest city, booking a connecting flight via Lisbon International Airport is best. For example, the airline TAP Portugal operates direct flights from Lisbon to Cape Verde daily. I recommend using Skyscanner to check for the cheapest flights and best connections.

Sal Cape Verde Beaches

Sal, Cape Verde, is known for its stunning beaches, with crystal-clear waters and soft white sand. Here are some of the best beaches to visit:

Santa Maria Beach

This is the most popular beach in Sal and for good reason. The beach is long and wide, with clear turquoise water and soft sand, and many hotels, resorts, and beach clubs are located at Santa Maria Beach. It is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Kite Beach

As the name suggests, this beach is a haven for kite surfers due to the constant wind. The beach is located on the southeast side of the island and is long and wide, with soft sand and clear water. It is also a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Ponta Preta Beach

This is one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in Sal, located a couple of kilometers west of Santa Maria. It is much quieter, with fewer hotels, restaurants, and bars. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the ocean and some great waves for surfing.

Shark Bay

Shark Bay is a small cove located on the northwest coast of Sal, accessible by a dirt road or a guided tour. It is not your typical sandy beach, but it is a unique beach with calm and clear water, and lemon sharks can often swim near the shore. Visitors can choose to swim and snorkel with the sharks with the guidance of experienced local guides. The experience is highly regulated to ensure the safety of both visitors and the sharks.

In addition to swimming with sharks, Shark Bay is also a great spot for snorkeling and diving. The cove is home to various marine life, including colorful fish, sea turtles, and rays. Visitors can also take a boat tour to explore nearby caves and rock formations.

Murdeira Beach

This is a small, quiet pebble beach located in a protected bay. The calm and clear water makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. There are also some great hiking trails nearby too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Swim In The Sea In Sal Cape Verde?

Yes, you can swim in the sea in Sal Cape Verde. The island is surrounded by beautiful beaches and clear waters that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. However, it is important to be aware of the ocean currents and to follow the advice of local authorities and lifeguards.

Some beaches, particularly on the island’s west coast, can have strong waves and currents unsuitable for swimming. And you should also be aware of marine life, such as jellyfish and sea urchins, that may be present in the water at some pebble beaches.

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 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 Sal Cape Verde expensive?

The cost of living in Sal Cape Verde can vary depending on your budget and travel style. Overall, Sal is considered a relatively affordable travel destination when compared to other popular tourist destinations. Accommodations, food, and transportation are generally less expensive than in Europe or North America.

However, imported goods and luxury items, such as high-end restaurants and hotels, can be expensive due to the additional transportation costs. Prices also tend to be higher in tourist areas like Santa Maria. As a result, it is possible to enjoy Sal on a budget, but visitors should plan accordingly and research prices ahead of time.

A 7-day holiday to Sal Cape Verde can range between €500-800 per person up to €2500 per person depending on the season, specific accommodations and activities chosen, and individual spending habits.

Is Sal Nice in Cape Verde?

Yes, Sal is a nice island in Cape Verde. It is a beautiful island with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turouise waters. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its warm climate, relaxed atmosphere, and friendly locals. Sal is also known for its water sports, including windsurfing, kitesurfing, and snorkeling. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities on the island, from exploring the vibrant town of Santa Maria to relaxing on the beaches. With its unique mix of cultures, delicious food, and lively nightlife, Sal is a great destination for travelers looking for a unique and memorable experience.

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, Booking.com 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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