14 fun things to do in Sal, Cape Verde
A while ago, I made yet another trip! You may have seen on my Instagram that I went to Cape Verde last November. I needed a break from work and a vacation from the cold and wet weather in the Netherlands.
Cape Verde is a great location for a winter get-away to the sun.
The people are friendly and all advise you to have ‘no stress’, but how can you be stressed on an island like Sal?!
Cape Verde exist of ten island that are inhabited, but Sal is one of the most known island for tourists. This means that you will have a lot of things to do. On the downside, it also means there are a lot of other tourists, so it can get busy.
What you shouldn’t miss in Cape Verde
The water has a very nice temperature, so you can definitely swim in the sea. Be careful though, since it’s very windy and the currents can be strong. If the beach has a red flag, you really should not go in.
2. Boat/catamaran tour
It’s a nice way to relax and escape the heat. Most of the times there’s a snorkeling stop involved, so you can see other fish than the ones close to shore. If you’re lucky you can see flying fish (I did!) and dolphins (I didn’t…).
3. Breakfast with a view
The temperature is already high early in the morning, so get you’re breakfast outside. The view is amazing!
4. Dive in the salt water in Pedra Lume
The water is so salty, that you’ll float. And it’s so nice to just float on the water for a while. Just note that there is an entrance fee of 5 euros, and the shower afterwards is 1 euro, but not compulsory.
This is a big tourist attraction and can be swarmed with people. Lots of people come here on a arranged tour, which means they arrive with a whole bus full of people. We rented a squad (see #6) and arrived around 3 or 4 p.m. It wasn’t that busy when we were there!
5. The top of the salt mines
There is no fee to stand on the ring of the crater in which you can find the salt mines. If you go there, you have a spectacular view that it’s worth the nervous sweat of going to the top.
6. Rent a quad
Sal is mostly just dust and sand, so what’s a better way to explore it than to rent a quad and go? And it’s not expensive either. We saw pretty much the whole island on one tank and filling it up was 5 euros. The rent was 40 euros for three hours. In that time you can see everything (if you don’t take too long in the salt mines, that is). Just make sure you listen to the rental owner on where you can and can’t go and then just go!
7. Walk on the beach to Santa Maria
The whole shore is filled with hotels, but on the beach you can just walk by all of them. Besides, the view is amazing and you count it as a workout as well!
8. Visit the pier in Santa Maria
If you time it well, you can watch the fishermen bring in the caught fish and filet them right there on the dock. Don’t do this if you have a weak stomach though, since there will be blood and… other things coming out.
9. Shark bay
Of all the things, I think I loved this one the most. We did it as a tour, but you can also go by yourself. In the bay you can find baby lemon sharks that will swim around your legs. The adult sharks are a few meters away, so it’s safe.
You will need water shoes, since the bottom of the bay is rocky. There are locals renting them right there for I believe €2 per pair.
10. Holding a sea urchin
In the shark bay there are a few sea urchins you can find and if you’re lucky, one of the guys will one and you can hold it if you dare. It’s a funny feeling, but so cool!
11. Going out in Santa Maria
During our stay, we went with a couple that we know from back home to the town on Saturday night to get some drinks. There are multiple bars, but they fill up fast!
However, they are very friendly. We ended up in the middle of the street with the security guy getting a table from inside for us.
12. Eat fish
A lot of people in Sal depend on fish. It’s their work, they earn their money with it. Since they are fishing everyday, you can get a lot of fresh fish.
My boyfriend and I both aren’t big on eating fish, because – well, to be very honest – we haven’t tried it. So one day we decided to get this tuna steak and it was DELICIOUS.
13. An underwater camera
If you don’t have a camera that is waterproof, I highly recommend getting one before your trip. We bought an action cam with underwater housing at the airport as an impulse buy, but we have made such fun videos and photos while being in the water (like the sharks!).
Plus, it’s a great investment for other trips to come.
14. Soak up the sun
When Cape Verde is your winter getaway like it was for us, there is really one thing you must do everyday and that is enjoying the sun. Whether it’s for ten minutes after breakfast before going on an excursion or the whole day laying on the beach, spend these moments fully aware of all the vitamin D you’re getting.
What place should we travel next?