One of the most popular activities on the island of Sal is the island tour. These excursions around a big part of the island are the best way to get to know Sal beyond Santa Maria. Go on this adventure around Sal with my friends Gus and Vania, two experienced local tourguides.
Gus has many years of working as a tour guide on the island of Sal. He is very passionate when it comes to his country, and loves to share his love for Cape Verde with his guests. Besides his work a tour guide, he's
involved in community development initiatives, and an active youth football coach.
To use his own words: "I consider myself to be an activist."
For his company 'Paradise Adventures with Gus', he has created a very interesting full day island tour. Paradise Adventures with Gus takes you on a day trip around the entire island of Sal, seeing and experiencing all the highlights. Gus is determined to show and share with you the beauty, but also the reality of the island he calls home.
Palmeira, the charming harbour town of the island, is located close to Espargos. You'll get to see local fishermen at work here, and have the opportunity to taste some pontche and grog at a lovely souvenir shop. Palmeira has some great Street Art in different places worth seeing.
The town has a few very nice bars and restaurants, where on weekends you can enjoy a local 'Noite Caboverdiana' with traditional food, music and dancing. Ask Gus or Vania about how to make your reservation. Palmeira sure is a place worth a visit after the island tour.
Where you don't really get to swim in Buracona, you can make up for it here in Regona. Don't be afraid to jump right into the amazing looking water from the rocks. Be careful for the current after you've jumped in. Just let the current slowly take you to the spot where you can pull yourself out of the water.
The Blue Eye at Buracona is one of the most visited places of the island of Sal. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the magic happen as you look down into the 'eye'. If you want, you can go into the water in of of the caves of Buracona. You'll have to go all the way done to find them.
Next to the Blue Eye and the caves, Buracona has a garden, info center and café for the visitors.
*Entrance Fee: € 3
Espargos, the capital city of Sal, is located close to the airport. It's very different from Santa Maria, with its big hotels and resorts. Espargos looks more like a typical Cape Verdean city. Here Gus takes you up to the view point, where you can see the entire city. The hill and view point are famous for the communication installations of various institutions.
Espargos is also the location of the lunch. Lunch is usually at Nortenha restaurant. It's not included, and of course not an obligation. But since the tour can take up to 6 hours, it probably is a good idea to enjoy a great meal here.
A very important part of the island tour. Terra Boa is considered a 'slum' neighborhood. Many people living in Terra Boa face difficult living conditions. The neighorhood is full of wooden shacks, or casas de tambor, houses without running water and sanitary conditions.
The tour visits an organization that works to better the community of Terra Boa, with different projects. The visit to Terra Boa shows the reality of life for many Cape Verdeans. In this particular case, as on the island of Boa Vista, it has to do with the many workers from other islands of the country who move for the opportunities in the tourism sector.
Pedra de Lume - Shark Bay
The village of Pedra de Lume, the oldest settlement of Sal, is located on the east coast of the island. It's famous for the beach where the Lemon sharks swim very close to the shore. You'll be able to walk up to them to have a look at these beautiful and mysterious animals.
Because of the coral in the water you'll need special shoes to protect yourself. These are available for € 2 p.p.
'The Dead Sea experience' is a good way to describe what you can expect at Salinas, located just a few minutes away from Pedra de Lume. Relax a bit in the water, where you'll be floating thanks to the high concentration of salt. A super interesting stop.
Salinas was a place for salt extraction in the past. This is where the island 'Sal' got its name from. Today the place is only used as a tourist attraction.
*Entrance Fee: €5
The island tour that Gus provides is a fantastic way to spend the day. It might be a good idea to book the excursion on one of your first days on Sal. This way, you can get to know the island, and decide if there are places you would want to visit later on, alone. You can reach places such as Espargos and Palmeira by taking a Hiace from Santa Maria, the small vans which are used as public transportation.
Starting point: Santa Maria
Price: € 25 p.p.
Duration: 5 – 6 Hours