Cape Verde - Island of Sal

Sal is the North-Easternmost of the ten Cape Verdean islands. Its terrain being a desert, it was originally only populated to produce salt, hence its name 'Sal'. Currently, about 20,000 people live on the 30 km long island. Its beaches are made of fine-grained sand. The waves and the wind invite surfers and kite surfers. The main settlements are Espargos, Santa Maria and the fisher village and port Palmeira.

The three galleries below show Santa Maria, locations visited during an island tour (including Palmeira) and Espargos.

Santa Maria is a quiet and pleasant town with long beaches, colourful houses and many bars and restaurants. Only when you get to the town borders, you realise that you are actually in a desert. The impression I got from the landscape was thus striking. My favourite moments were when I walked around on my own as people are always happy to talk to you. 

The island of Sal is only 30km long and 12km wide so there is a limited amount of things to see and do. Main attractions are the Lion Mountain (Monte Leao); Shark Bay where you can see baby lemon sharks; Pedra Lume Salt Crater where you can float on extremely salty water (like in the Dead Sea); a mirage at Terra Boa where you see far-away mirrored water (a fata morgana); the Blue Eye cave (Olho Azul) which shines bright blue when the midday sun hits it; the fisher village and port Palmeira; as well as spectacular beaches. People love to explore these on quads.

Sal's capital is Espargos. You may need to go there for medical matters and you find pretty coloured houses there, but altogether this city with its very small historical center is less attractive than Santa Maria and Palmeira. People, however, are as kind and open as elsewhere.