Sal is an island of Cape Verde.
The main town for tourists visiting Sal is Santa Maria which is at the southern end of the island, approximately 20 minutes drive from the airport and the capital, Espargos. Santa Maria is a developing destination and has many construction projects but looking beyond that, there are beautiful beaches, many restaurants, bars and hotels and a relaxed atmosphere. The main focal points are the pier and the town square, the new residential district is at the eastern end of town which also has a small beach and is the focus of a lot of surfing and windsurfing activity. The larger hotels are at the western end, where you will also find the famous dunes and beach of Ponta Preta. This is also where many new resorts are being built. Further north on the west coast is Murdeira, a residential village. Palmeira is the main port and has a few bars and restaurants but no accommodation. One or two hotels can be found in Espargos which also has larger food shops than Santa Maria. Pedra de Lume is a small fishing village which is earmarked for a golf resort and marina and is also close to the old Salinas which is a candidate world heritage site.
On Sal there is a well organized bus system driven by small private busses. The prices are fixed, so you will pay the same amount as the locals. The busses only rides between Santa Maria to Espargos and Espargos to Palmeira. It you want to see something between the two destination, just ask the driver to drop you off.
- Santa Maria to Espargos: The busses in Santa Maria are located on the third street from the water close to the first roundabout. (16°35'59.2"N 22°54'27.5"W) The ticket fee is 1€ or 100 Escudos.
- Espargos to Santa Maria: The busstation in Espargos is located on the left after the first roundabout in the city. (16°45'13.2"N 22°56'43.4"W) The ticket fee is 1€ or 100 Escudos.
- Espargos to Palmeira: The busses to Palmeira from Espargos are not located at the busstation. The busses are located three streets closer to the center from the busstation. Turn left and walk down until you see the busses. (16°45'15.5"N 22°56'47.4"W) The ticket fee is 0,5€ or 50 Escudos.
You can rent a from several places in Santa Maria. By car you can see the whole island in one day.
By bike / scooter
You can easily walk around in Espargos and Santa Maria. From Espargos you can walk to Buracona and Salinas de Pedra de Lume, but the walk will take around an hour.
- Salinas de Pedra de Lume: At the north east side of the island a salt lake is located in a extinct volcano crater. The salt density is very high, so you can float. There is no busses going to Pedra de Lume, so you need to take a taxi or book a guided tour. The entrance fee is 6€.
- Buracona: The blue eye at Buracona is one of the tourist attractions on the island. At Buracona you can swim in the natural pool or see the blue eye. Buracona is located around 4 km north of Palmeira and has a café.
- Fatamorgana: North of Espargos just past Terra Boa, you can experience a mirage in the dessert.
- Monte Curral: The city of Espargos is located around the mountain "Monte Curral". You can walk or drive to the top of the mountain and get a great view over the island.
- Praia de Santa Maria: The best beach of Sal is located in the west end of Santa Maria. The beach is long and there is a lot of resorts located. The bay is very windy as the rest of the island.
- Kite Beach: Take a walk in the dunes south of Kite Beach or watch the many surfers ride the waves.
Kitesurfing and Windsurfing
Sal has great conditions for kitesurfing. Best wind blow from January to June, and you can get good wind all tear expect August. Main Kiteboarding beach is kite beach, located at the south east part of the island. Main beach for windsurfing is Ponta Leme at the south part of the island.
- In Kite beach wind blows side-on-shore to on-shore. Beach is sandy and large, sea bottom is sandy with reefs. Water is chopy to wavy, with nice wave near the reef. There is a kite club for rentals and lessons at the beach, offering restaurant and a bar.
- The wind in Ponta Leme is side-off to off, gusty and unsteady at the beach. Beach is large and sandy, sea bottom is sandy. Conditions in the sea varies from mild chop to amazing wave with powerful beach break. There is a windsurfing club in Ponta leme with rentals, lessons and rescue boat.
- Ponta Preta is the most famous kite and windsurf spot in Sal. When the swell is right, an amazing 2-4 meter wave is forming near the beach. The wind here is side-off, and the spot is suitable only to advanced riders.
There are many local and italian restaurants in Santa Maria. Espargos and Palmeira have few places to eat. You can find a lot of mini markets and some bakerys, but the supply in the mini markets are very limited.
- Snack Bar K'Pajon. The restaurant serves delicious local food at a low price. Grilled fish and chicken is very popular. For lunch you can buy cachupa rica for 250 Escudos. 400 Escudos. edit
- Strela is a Cape Verdean beer, produced by the Sociedade Cabo-verdiana de Cerveja e Refrigerantes (SCCR).
- Grogue, also known as grogu or grogo (derived from English grog), is a Cape Verdean alcoholic beverage, an aguardente made from sugarcane. Its production is fundamentally artisanal.
- Ponche is a Cape Verdean cocktail which includes grogue, lime and molasses.
- Caipirinha, from the Portuguese caipira for hillbilly, is a cocktail popular throughout the former Portuguese colonies. Made with cachaça (white lightning), sugar and lime. Specifically with cachaça, the alcohol results from the fermentation of sugarcane juice that is afterwards distilled
- You can easily find international beers and other drinks, including some from Portugal.
- Bottled water, most of the islanders drink desalinated water, for those who have a hard time adjusting to this bottled water is available. Please recycle.
- In Cape Verde, . For self catering villa and apartments bookable direct with their owners. edit
- Hotel Morabeza, ☎ (+238) 242 1020 ([email protected]). A pleasant resort with a great beachfront. (16.597906,-22.909284) edit
- Porto Antigo, ☎ (+238) 242 1815 ([email protected]). A grand and professional resort. (16.597010,-22.902990) edit
- Aparthotel Ponta Preta, ☎ (+238) 242 9020 ([email protected]). Great pricing all the modern conveniences. (16.597210,-22.901290) edit