30 Best Things To Do In Sal – Cape Verde

Santa Maria Sal Cape verde


You’ve come to the right place. We visited the island during our roundtrip in Cape Verde and stayed there for many weeks. The best things to do in Sal are listed here.

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.

Zipline Cabo Verde Things To Do In Sal

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Whether you are a thrill seeker looking for high-adrenaline excursions like ziplining 100 meters above the ground, swimming with sharks, or looking for a scenic sightseeing trip around the island, this list contains all the best Sal activities.

Have you ever thought of a sailboat excursion during sunset? Snorkeling in crystal-clear seawater so you get the best views, or just floating on the second saltiest lake in the world? Are you excited yet? Here are the best things to do in Sal Cape Verde to make your trip the most memorable of all time. Let’s go!

Our Top 3 Picks: Things To Do In Sal


Zipline Cabo Verde Things To Do In Sal

Zipline Cabo Verde Serra Negra
✔️ 100-meter high look-out point
✔️ Perfect for families, groups of friends, or solo travelers


Things To Do Cape verde Salt Lake

Salinas de Pedra de Lume (Salt Lakes)
✔️ Float in the world’s second saltiest water
✔️ Small Group Tour


Swim With Lemon Sharks
✔️ Snorkel with Sharks
✔️ Small Groups

1) Go Zipline in Serra Negra (#1 Best Thing To Do In Sal)

Zipline Cabo Verde Things To Do In Sal
Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/zipline.caboverde/

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

The #1 best thing to do in Sal is the new Ziplining Experience in Serra Negra.

The zipline is located on the east side of Sal. Serra Negra 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 since a few years, you can go for a unique Zipline Experience with a panoramic view!

Wow! What a great experience with the most fantastic staff! Highly recommended! We had so much fun, the Zip Line was incredible and the staff were so funny too.


Sal’s Zipline experience is a unique activity that you’ll remember for a long time. It’s one of the most unique ziplines in the world, offering unique views all over the island. Soar through the air and take in stunning views of the island of Sal like never before.

Your booking includes free transportation and offers you one of the best experiences in Sal. Book your zipline experience today.

2) Visit Salinas de Pedra de Lume – Salt Lakes

Things To Do Sal Cape verde Salt Lake

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: approx. 2 hours | 💧 Check Rates and Availability

Are you looking to bathe in thermal water without having to visit a spa? Want to visit one of the most famous landmarks of the island? Book a tour to the Salt Lakes of Sal (you probably get why the island is called Sal by now, right? 😉)

Salinas de Pedra de Lume is Sal’s salt lake. It’s probably the island’s most famous landmark, where Sal Island got its name from. 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 where you can get food and drinks, book massages, and other treatments.

Salt lake was particularly memorable, so much fun! The whole day was great. I would definitely recommend. Amazing value for money.

Lexie_T (See more 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) Swim With Lemon Sharks!

Swim with Sharks Things to do in Sal

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 – 4 hours | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

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” 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 (our #1 pick for the best things to do in Sal). 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 or bring water shoes because of sea urchins.

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 the Sal Shark Bay Experience Tour.

Great trip , great value & great fun

Linda_H (See more reviews)

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.

Book Your Swimming with Sharks Experience in Sal Cape Verde Now

4) Things To Do in Sal – Go Snorkeling

Swimming with turtles cape verde guidelines

⭐️ Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

Witness some amazing marine wildlife of the Cape Verdean islands. 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. We booked a short trip with a local fisherboat who also did short tours. You can easily walk up the pier and ask around.
  • 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 – A 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.

It was a great experience, the instructors were very nice and helpful. We saw lots of animals and a we saw a turtle which was really nice 🙂

Michelle_P (See More Reviews)

You can rent a snorkel set, dive into the ocean, and see what’s happening 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.

5) Buggy/ Quad Desert Adventure

Sal Quad Tour

⭐️ Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: Half day | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

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 where you can 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.

6) Rent A Car To Explore The Island

Rent A Car Sal Things to do

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: All Day (it’s up to you!) | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

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.

When you want to rent a car in Sal, 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.

7) Visit Buracona – The Blue Eye

Sal Blue Eye

⭐️ Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 hours (often combined with other activities) | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

On the northwest side of Sal, you have another popular tourist attraction: Buracona, also known as Sal’s Blue Eye. 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. This is logical because there’s only one moment a day when you can see this spectacular natural wonder.

We really enjoyed this tour, and would recommend it. You see a lot in a short time, but we didn’t feel rushed at any point. The island is beautiful and it’s lovely having a guide to get you to grips with some amazing spots (..)

Zoe_B (See more reviews)

Swim In The Natural Pool

The waves carved a natural pool into the rocks. You can swim, relax in the natural pool, and have a beautiful ocean view. 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 a tour where you have enough time for all these activities.

8) Go (Kite)Surfing – Recommended Thing To Do In Sal

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours |🏄‍♂️ Check Rates and Availability

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.

Definitely the best surf and kite lessons in Santa Maria. A wonderful team with skilful and lovely instructors.

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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.

Booking a kitesurf lesson is an amazing experience in Sal, and even when you are an experienced kitesurfer, it’s recommended to book so that you can improve your skills and learn from professionals.

9) Things To Do In Sal – Go To The Beach

Santa Maria Beach Sal Cape Verde

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: All Day | ⛱ Free of Charge! (if you don’t count your beers or cocktails! 🍸

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, there is a 90% chance you’ll end up in Santa Maria. It’s the town where most of the tourists go 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 lesson with an instructor if you’re up for it.

10) Spot Sea Turtles (Recommended Tour!)

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2.5 hours |🐢 Rates and Availability

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. So, when in Sal, it’s a must-do activity to go on a Turtle Experience!

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.

Absolutely amazing experience. To have the privilege of seeing not just the babies make their way to the ocean but to also watch a mother come to shore and lay her nest was simply outstanding, thank you.

Jenny_W (See more reviews)

11) City Tour Santa Maria

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours |🌇 Check Rates and Availability

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.

You’ll get the best experience by booking a city tour with a local guide. With a city tour, you’ll ensure you don’t miss out on the unique things Santa Maria offers.

A great way to escape the beach and tourist areas and increase our knowledge about this beautiful town and wonderful island.

Paul_n (See more reviews)

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 shows you all the best places.

12) Visit Espargos (Guided City Tour)

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2.5 hours | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

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.

It was brilliant! We saw the city’s artwork, heard great stories, experienced where real Cape Verdeans live, and tasted their lovely food and drinks

Paul (See more reviews)

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

The best way to experience Espargos is with a guided tour so that you can learn all about the culture in Sal. During this city tour, you learn all about the relaxed way of life and get to taste some amazing local tapas.

Book Your Espargos City Tour Now

13) Electric Beach Bike – Guided Tour in Sal Island

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 hours | 🚲 Check Rates and Availability

Do you like to ride around on a bicycle? What are you waiting for? This is the thing to do for you in Sal! Riding around the island on an electric bike allows you to really get a taste of local life and slow sightseeing. You can book the tour with a tour guide or ride around the island with a map and explore everything yourself.

A great must do trip on Sal with excellent bikes and great tour guides

Huw_J (See More Reviews)

Explore the southern beaches of Cape Verde’s Sal Island with ease as you explore by electric bike. Join a small group and pedal with ease across white-sand beaches, past hidden salt mines, and through vibrant neighborhoods. Your electric bike allows you to cycle across difficult terrain with ease so you can focus on the scenery without becoming fatigued

14) Eat Cachupa

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: a few hours | 🍲 No Rates available.

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

Make sure to visit a local restaurant and ask if they have Cachupa on the menu. According to TripAdvisor reviews, you can find Cachupa at Cafe Criolo, which is ranked as the #2 best restaurant in Santa Maria Sal.

15) Shop (African) Souvenirs

Souvenir shopping in Sal, Cape Verde, is a joyful and culturally enriching experience that adds extra excitement to your trip. The lively markets and charming boutiques offer a wide array of unique items that beautifully capture the spirit of this island nation.

From intricately crafted ceramics and colorful textiles to traditional musical instruments and locally made crafts, each souvenir tells a story of Cape Verde’s rich cultural heritage.

Choosing these keepsakes becomes a delightful exploration, allowing you to connect with local artisans and discover the passion behind their creations. These souvenirs serve as tangible reminders of the island’s beauty and make for meaningful mementos, ensuring that the memories of your time in Sal stay with you long after you’ve left.

16) Go Scuba Diving

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: Full Day |🤿 Check Rates and Availability

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.

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.

Great experience. I highly recommend

Damien_V (see more reviews)

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.

17) Stay At Sal’s First Hotel

Hotel Morabeza Sal Cape Verde
Looking for a luxury stay? Hotel Morabeza offers luxury rooms, 3 outdoor pools, and a private part of the beach area. It is a bit expensive, starting at $200 a night for 2 persons. Book your stay at Hotel Morabeza via Booking.com.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Stay Length: Decide For Yourself | 🛏 Check Rates and Availability

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) Ocean Adventure Full-Day Sailing Trip

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 6 hours | ⛵️ Check Rates and Availability

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.

Sailing trip was an amazing experience! We saw turtles, dolphines and flying fish. The view was amazing.

Review by tripadvisor (See more reviews)

This 6-hour cruise will show you the whole western coast of Sal, from Santa Maria Bay to Mount Lion, passing by Ponta Sino, Ponta Preta, Murdeira Bay, and Cotton Bay. You will be enchanted by the thousands of colors of the water, changing from deep dark blue to emerald colors, transparent close to the extremely white sand

19) Sunset BBQ

Experiencing a sunset barbecue in Sal, Cape Verde, is an absolute must-do activity that captures the island’s enchanting beauty. Picture yourself on the pristine beaches, surrounded by the rhythmic sounds of the ocean waves and the warm, golden hues of the setting sun painting the sky.

As you savor delicious local cuisine grilled to perfection, the breathtaking panoramic views of the sun dipping below the horizon create an unforgettable atmosphere. The tranquility of the moment, combined with the vibrant colors and the delightful aroma of barbecue, makes this experience a sensory delight. It’s a unique opportunity to indulge in Cape Verdean flavors while basking in the natural splendor of Sal, forging memories that linger as the sky transitions from day to night.

20) Visit Odjo d’Agua Hotel

Odjo D'agua Hotel Sal Cape Verde

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Stay Length: Decide For Yourself | 🛏 Check Rates and Availability

Odjo D’agua scores a customer rating of 9.1 at Booking.com, which is amazing. This hotel is next to the beach and offers fantastic amenities. Book your stay at Odjo D’agua.

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.

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: Full Day | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

Embark on an enchanting day exploring Sal Island’s diverse wonders. Begin with the golden sands of Ponta Preta and Murdeira, immersing yourself in the island’s coastal beauty. Traverse the charming towns of Espargos and Palmeira, each offering unique cultural encounters.

The care and attention provided by our tour guide Calu was excellent. He looked after us and made sure the other guides at the various tourist spots took care of us too. Most notable was the paddling with sharks and the Blue Eye.

janetemmanuel – (See more reviews)

Visit Buracona’s Blue Eye shop for a touch of local craftsmanship, then marvel at the surreal landscapes of Terra Boa. Unwind at Pedra de Lume and its iconic salt mines, followed by a relaxing afternoon at Pedra de Lume Beach. This curated tour captures Sal’s essence, blending nature, culture, and relaxation into an unforgettable experience.

22) Monte Leão Sunset Hike

⭐️ Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 5 hours | 🥾 Check Rates and Availability

Embark on an immersive adventure with a guided coastal hike in Santa Maria, Sal. Traverse scenic landscapes, witnessing the beauty of the coastline. Explore the captivating Monte Leão, culminating in a breathtaking sunset experience. This excursion seamlessly combines exploration and tranquility, offering a unique perspective of Santa Maria’s natural splendor.

Nice Walk. Good Views. Good Experience

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This hike stops at the picturesque Ponta Preta, charming Calheta, and serene Murdeira, allowing you to take in the beauty of the island at your own pace.

23) Night Out Excursion In Santa Maria

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 4 – 6 hours | 👯 Check Rates and Availability

As the sun sets, dive into the vibrant nightlife of Santa Maria, Cape Verde. To kick off your evening, take a leisurely stroll along the lively main street, adorned with bustling bars, restaurants, and shops. Submerge yourself in the rhythmic beats of live music at local venues, where the fusion of traditional Cape Verdean tunes and international sounds generates an infectious atmosphere.

Indulge in the island’s rich culinary offerings at beachside eateries, savoring fresh seafood and local specialties. As the night progresses, join the dance scene in popular clubs, where locals and visitors unite for a lively and memorable night out under the starlit Cape Verdean sky. 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.

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

Sal Cape Verde Bar di Nos

Okay, you can’t leave Sal without having dinner at Bar di Nos. That is if you love a good BBQ restaurant. It’s the best local BBQ restaurant in Sal and one of our favorite places in the Cape Verde Islands. We spent 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.

Local Experience

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 is recommended 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.

Funny, while updating this post with all the new things to do in Sal, I still think Bar di Nos is a great restaurant. However, we no longer eat meat or seafood, so it feels strange to recommend it as a vegetarian. That said, when we first visited Sal, we still loved to eat our grilled chicken, and what I hear from people who recently had dinner there, it’s still very good! So, if you love your grilled chicken or other meat dishes, make sure to visit it! Find the latest reviews on Tripadvisor here

25) Visit Local Fishermans 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 Cape Verde. Grogue is 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 there is a big chance you will drink it without even knowing it.

27) Jet Ski Adventure on Sal Island

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours | 🚀 Check Rates and Availability

Zip along the coast of Cape Verde’s Sal Island when you book this thrilling Jet Ski tour from Santa Maria. Meet your guide and get a safety briefing before taking off across the waters for your exciting adventure. Choose to ride solo or tandem and spend your time exploring the area as you desire.

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) Horseback Riding Sal Beach

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 1 – 2 hours | 🏇🏻 Check Rates and Availability

Embark on an equestrian adventure with the Horse Riding Centre tour in Santa Maria, Cape Verde. This adventure presents a distinctive chance for riders of all levels to traverse the scenic landscapes of Sal Island on horseback. Guided by knowledgeable instructors, you’ll gracefully meander through sandy beaches, lush terrains, and charming local villages.

Had the best day! Can’t recommend these guys highly enough. They cater for everyone from experienced riders to beginners. A lovely way to see parts of the island.

Mel_P (See more reviews)

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural richness of the island while enjoying a leisurely ride. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, this excursion promises a memorable journey through the captivating sights of Santa Maria’s surroundings.

30) Kite Surf Lessons on Sal Island

Things to do in Sal Kitesurf lessons
Photo Credit; Atlantic Star Nautical Center Sal Santa Maria Beach

⭐️ Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | ⏳ Tour Length: 2 hours | 🌊 Check Rates and Availability

Dive into the excitement of Kitesurf Lessons in Santa Maria, Cape Verde, where wind and waves set the stage for an exhilarating experience for enthusiasts of all levels. Certified instructors lead the way, providing essential skills and safety measures against the breathtaking backdrop of Sal Island’s stunning coastline.

I had a great first experience of kitesurfing. The team is fantastic, very friendly and accommodating the schedule and the price when possible. The instructors are very professional and the material is good quality. I highly recommend this nautical center.

Review from Tripadvisor (See more reviews)

From mastering the basics to refining advanced techniques, this adventure ensures an unforgettable journey of wind-powered excitement, making it an ideal choice for those seeking both adrenaline and the beauty of the Atlantic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sal Cape Verde Known For?

Welcome to the sun-drenched paradise of Sal, the crown jewel of the Cape Verde Islands! Renowned for its dazzling white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, Sal beckons sun, sea, and beach enthusiasts from around the globe.

Picture this: an average of 24 degrees Celsius and more than 8 hours of sunshine daily, creating an idyllic haven for a sun-soaked holiday, especially in the winter months.

Now, Sal isn’t your typical tropical oasis with lush greenery; it’s flat, dry, and boasts a refreshing breeze most days. However, it’s the go-to spot for those seeking a unique blend of African, European, and South American vibes, thanks to the rich cultural tapestry woven into the fabric of the Cape Verde Islands.

Read more in our article; Sal Cape Verde Travel Guide

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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.

Read more; Cape Verde Travel Guide Flight Times

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.

Read more; Where Can You Swim In The Sea in Cape Verde?

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 differs per island. Some islands have a more African vibe, and others are more European.

We spent 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. Read more in our guide, Can You Island Hop In Cape Verde?

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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