Sal; officially the “No Stress” island! The tourism industry in Cape Verde has come a long way in the last five years with brand new, exclusive resorts popping up all along the coastline. As the most popular destination for international tourists, it was my first calling point on my Cabo Verde adventure.
I’m quite obsessed about doing research before visiting any destination, I know, sometimes it can spoil it but sometimes it is also necessary to avoid any nasty surprises. Although there isn’t a huge amount to see here luckily I found a tour that encompassed all the hotspots to visit on the island as I was short on time, so I’ve compiled my top 5 favourite things to see and do on Sal.
My advice is to go with an open mind, it might be a little rough around the edges but don’t forget “no stress”!
Swim with Sharks
Yes, you read that correctly, I said you can swim WITH SHARKS! Thankfully for you, they are baby lemon sharks that are placid and are harmless. This was one of the things I was most looking forward to doing when I booked my trip to Cape Verde, there’s very few places in the world that enable you to get this close.
When you arrive in the rather appropriately named Shark Bay, you’ll be offered to rent a pair of rubber shoes that will protect your feet when walking over the coral to get to where the sharks hang out. Although I still found it pretty uncomfortable, they are well worth the €2 fee as the seller will come out to sea with you to help you spot the sharks.
I was impressed about was the fact that they wouldn’t let you get too close, one tourist was dragged back to avoid disturbing the sharks in their natural habitat.
Take a dip in Salinas de Pedra de Lume (the Salt Lake)
Sal in Portuguese means Salt, the island has been producing it for more than 200 years, although sadly it is no longer exported due to lack of demand. Similar to the Dead Sea, although on a much smaller scale, you can float in one of their salt lakes.
I decided not to take part in this, simply because I’d done it previously, but it will cost you €5 for entry. Other tourists who took part in this mentioned that it much saltier than the Dead Sea
See the Mirage
It’s a cliche I know, but you truly can see an actual mirage that looks like there’s water on the horizon. I think it might have also helped that they offered us free alcohol in the Desert Bar!
Buracona – visit the Blue Eye
So, I was tempted to leave this place off my list for several reasons including the fact that they charge €3 entry and make you queue for ages whilst Senegalese men try to sell you tacky souvenirs!
However, even with that said it was fascinating to peer perilously over the side of the cave to catch a glimpse of the beautiful blue shimmering water. Be aware that if you don’t like heights, it’s not advised as there’s nothing to hang on to, I was really worried I’d trip and fall in.
Walk along the beach in Santa Maria
To be honest, I didn’t really believe the reviews of a perfect sandy beach in a place like Cape Verde but I certainly found it. If you venture out along Santa Maria Beach near the new Hilton Hotel you’ll get to enjoy the truly magical golden sand between your toes.
If you also fancy something a bit more adventurous, which sadly I didn’t fancy, you can try kite and wind surfing.
Fancy climbing an active volcano in Cape Verde? Hike Pico de Fogo, find out how here!
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