Hello from Cape Verde, or, more, Ilha do Sal (Salt Island). I was relieved to find some rest and disengage from the world after crossing the Atlantic Ocean for 5 days. Despite its small size, Sal, Cape Verde offers a variety of activities. Sailing is more difficult than I anticipated, and those night shifts were brutal! Sal is the most touristic resort in Cape Verde and a fantastic place to start if you’re new to the archipelago. I can only advocate visiting this relaxed part of the archipelago before it is completely overrun by mass tourists.
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By boat, I landed in Palmeira, home to the main harbor of Ilha do Sal. Because Ilha do Sal is a small fishing community, you can explore all the key attractions in a few hours. But first, I needed to get my visa at the local police station, and it was there that I realized Cape Verde operates on a different timetable. To begin, in Cape Verde, 5 minutes might equal at least 1 hour! For a “quick” coffee, expect for no less than 30-40 min! So it’s no surprise that the archipelago’s unofficial motto is “No Stress!”
Palmeira to Santa Maria
It takes around 40 minutes to travel from Palmeira to Santa Mara. To get there, take an aluguer (an unscheduled bus that leaves whenever it is full) to Espargos (0,50 €) and then another to Santa Mara (1 €). It is a pleasant trip to enjoy the wind in your hair while watching the desert beauty of Santa Maria; I felt rather brave. A road trip by aluguer or a guided tour is a necessity if you’re seeking activities to do in Sal.
Santa María, the final station of Sal’s main road, is a sparkling and colorful community and is on the way towards becoming a popular tourist attraction. Large hotels are being built, and tour companies are increasing their numbers season after season. Prices are expensive, equal; to those seen in Northern Europe. The magnificent sandy beach with turquoise sea and ideal kitesurfing opportunities are its key draws. Some of the nicest beaches in Cape Verde can be here, and you may never want to leave. Please pay a visit to the Senegalese tailor; he is a great artist!
Pedra de Lume Salt Mines
Guess what Sal’s main attraction is? The mines of salt! Any island trip from the town of Santa Maria (25 €) or aluguer to Espargos and taxi to Pedra-de-Lume hamlet will take you there. This area appears to be a sentient ghost town, where ships come to perish. The “village” has deteriorated from the richest location on the island to an abandoned one. I like relaxing underneath the salty water. Even when standing on both feet, you are not sinking! Its mud will restore your newborn skin, and all my skin imperfections have vanished!
You will experience true Capeverdean life in Espargos. Take your time and have a coffee and popcorn on the main square while watching life go by. Indeed, most locals live in Espargos or Palmeira rather than Santa Maria. Shop at tiny, independent businesses to support the local community. It’s an excellent way to spend a sustainable vacation in Cape Verde. The administrative capital contains the island’s most significant viewpoint: a peak hidden by US-controlled cameras from where you can see the entirety of the island (just 216 km2!).
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