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The best tips for Sal island, Cape Verde

Story from travellers

· Travel

Breany Silva is a 28 year old dive instructor who was trained at the CaboVerde Diving school on the island of Sal, in the town Santa Maria. He has spent over a year of his life living on the island, and was happy to share his best tips about Sal with us.

Breany's quick guide to the island of Sal

"For me, Sal is a unique place. I loved my time living on the island, and of course I go back as much as I can since my mother lives in Santa Maria. I'm happy to share my best tips on things to do:"

Places to visit

One of my favorite places on the island, and a must see for everyone who visits the island is Pedra de Lume. You have some amazing views here. Because of the salt in the water you will float here like you would in the Dead Sea.

Shark Bay is another must see when visiting the island of Sal. It's part of most Island Tours, and for a good reason. Shark Bay is home to many lemon sharks. These sharks can be as big as 2 meters in length, but are no threat to humans. You can get really close to the sharks and learn a bit more about how they live. Very interesting and exiting experience.

Palmeira is a wonderful small fisherman village close to the city of Espargos. I love this place because it's an authentic spot where people can get a better understanding of life in Cape Verde.

The great thing about Palmeira is that every Sunday there's this great vibe around the village with a lot of live music in different places, and also food stalls everywhere.

The colorful houses of Palmeira, Sal island... Photo: Rikke Flodin

Buracona is one of the most popular places on the island. This natural pool, located in the northern part of the island, is also known as the 'Blue Eye', thanks to its shape and the way it looks when the sun shines right on to it.

It's a great idea to visit both Buracona and Palmeira on the same day, since the distance between the two is only 5 km.

Kitesurfing and Diving

Sal is one of the best places for kitesurfing and surfing in Cape Verde. Right outside Santa Maria there is a place called 'Kite Beach', with perfect weather conditions. Mito, a world champion (!) in kitesurfing has his own school there.

"I started diving when I was living on the island. The CaboVerde Diving School is where I went from a complete beginner in diving to becoming a full licensed dive instructor. I highly recommend that anyone interested in doing some diving while on the island to check them out."

Read more about diving here: The magical underwater world of Cape Verde

Nightlife in Santa Maria, Sal Island

"Santa Maria has a fantastic main street with a lot of bars and restaurants. It's always full of life and really fun, especially from Thursday to Sunday. A few of my favorite places are: "

  • The Buddy Bar   

Great live music, usually from Thursday to Sunday.

  • Cafe Kriola

Best 'prato do dia' (day menu) of Santa Maria! For a good price you can get an amazing cachupa or feijoada. A place I always go to when I'm in town.

  • Ocean Cafe  

Great place to hang out and relax. One of the spots where I like to get a drink at night.

From Thursday to Sunday they have dj's and live music.

  • Pub Calema
Famous for it's Happy Hour :)

The best beach of Sal

"The best beach of the island definitely is Santa Maria beach. It was named in a list by Tripadvisor as one of the '25 most beautiful beaches in the world'. "

The famous pier of Santa Maria is one of my favorite spots on the island. This is the place where the fisherman bring in their catch of the day, and where people come together to buy and sell fish.

You can also find traditional Cape Verdean snacks here, such as 'pastel'.

I recommend anyone who's staying in an apartment while on the island to check out the pier and buy (and prepare) their own fish. Next to the fact that you will have a delicious meal, it's also a great way to support the hardworking locals.

On the beach of Santa Maria, there is this little Brazilian kiosk. It's owned by my friend White, and definitely has the best caipirinhas of the island.

Angalu is a beach bar at the end of Santa Maria Beach. I love going there because they have delicious food, great cocktails and tanning beds if you wanna hang out for the day.

Other tips

"I think renting a car is a great way for visitors to get to know the island on their own. Although Sal is not that big, the length of the island is only 35 km's, you can see so much more if you have an off road vehicle.

I would advise people to 'just go with the flow' and see where the adventure takes them."

The people of the island are very friendly and many of them speak another language like English or French, so you can always ask for some help or tips along the way.

I love the view from the tower in Espargos. Of course it takes some energy to get there, but it sure is worth it. You can see a big part of the island from there. One thing I really enjoy is seeing airplanes leaving and arriving at the airport.

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