Sal, Cape Verde – The hidden Gem in the Atlantic Ocean

Story by: Christine Bailey     Date: 4 September 2020    Image by: Canva | Sam 74100

5 minutes reading time Cape Verde

Sal is a breathtaking island located off the West coast of Africa in the central Atlantic Ocean and is one of the ten volcanic islands in the archipelago country of Cape Verde. The country is known for the famous phrase ‘No Stress’ and this bears testament to the laid back life evident in Cape Verdean society.

This island is a hidden gem that few know about but once discovered can never be forgotten. Sal is a gorgeous touristic island that is a perfect holiday destination and has become home to many expats who after visiting never left. The charm of the island lies in the picturesque beaches with white sand and clear blue waters as well as sunshine all year round.

Sal has often been referred to as an Afro European island due it’s unique blend of cultures and mixture between immigrants and locals. English is widely spoken on the island and due to the diversity of the inhabitants most languages are generally known.

Cape Verde


Espargos is the capital of the island and home to the only airport. It’s predominantly where the locals reside and if you want to experience the true essence of the Cape Verdean culture then Espargos should be your stop.

Espargos contains most official government institutions as well as financial institutions and various stores and local eateries. You will also find authentic Cape Verdean cuisine and various indigenous items for sale at reasonable prices.

Santa Maria, Sal

Santa Maria

Santa Maria is the busiest and most popular town on the island. This is the epicenter of all activity on the island from the vibrant nightlife to the explosion of different cuisines. Santa Maria has a huge offering of activities and tours.

Whatever your desire, Santa Maria is sure not to disappoint. There is so many water sports , boat tours, island tours and the famous turtle watching on offer. Cape Verde is home to the Loggerhead Turtles which is protected and Sal offers the unique experience of viewing nesting season for the turtles from July to November but mostly in August. All tours and activities are offered in English and a lot of other languages are available, The island is so diverse that you are sure to find an instructor in a language of your choice.

The city has modern infrastructure but still retains it’s quaint personality. The buildings are vibrantly colored with colonial buildings still in existence even though new modern structures have surfaced in recent years.

Santa Maria also houses a pier where daily trade of fish can be seen and indulged in as fisherman use this as their point of sale for their daily catch. In addition many boat tours originate from the pier which is a hustle and bustle location in the town.

Restaurants, Bars and Pubs are plentiful and you will be able to experience an awesome nightlife by mingling with locals and other tourists and expats.

Accommodation is varied in Santa Maria from luxury all inclusive hotels to self catering accommodation. The choices are varied according to budget and Sal is best explored staying in a self catering facility.

Pedra De Lume

Pedra De Lume is the oldest inhabited town on the island of Sal. The town is famous for the Pedra De Lume Crater or as it is fondly called Salinas ‘Salt Mine’. This is an extinct volcano which has since become a natural salt lake. This lake is often visited for its natural healing and beauty benefits as well as the amazing sight of the pure white salt.

Other touristic points of interest located to the south of Pedra De Lume is Shark Bay where you can have the pleasure and intrigue to walk with the harmless adult Lemon Sharks in the water.

The first salt mine is also located in Pedra De lume which has been unused for many years but is available to view as well as the first tunnel built. A visit to Sal is not complete without touching the soil in this historic town.

Palmeira, Cape Verde


Palmeira is a small town with just over 1400 inhabitants. The town is historically known to be the fishing town. The main port is also located here. All the major aquatic transport routes start and end here. This port is the main and official port of entry and exit for Sal which is busy with freight and people during most periods.

The town is charming and contains predominantly old colored colonial buildings. The true essence of a small town can still be felt here and fresh seafood is available daily here either uncooked or cooked.

Living in Sal, Cape Verde

Living in Sal

Sal is home to many different nationalities that have had their hearts captured from the first moment they have stepped on to the island. The island is friendly to immigrants with many businesses owned by expats. The warm and welcoming nature of the locals makes life easily adaptable for any person.

As it is an island not everything is always available as items are imported and dependant upon inter island transportation as most imports first reach the capital island of Praia. This is part of the charm of the island as life is at a minimal and the inhabitants lead an easy and laid back lifestyle.

Beach days, barbeques, chats with friends over coffee or a caipirinha sums up the island. Everybody becomes family after a while and this is fast becoming a destination of choice for many. The entire island has a population of just over 20 000 but has grown leaps and bounds to accommodate an ever growing need of tourists and expats.

The island has good stable WiFi, access to international banking and courier services. Most online stores now deliver directly to Cape Verde and this has indeed eased the burden of waiting for exports. Sal is an island of opportunities for those willing to take the risk to move. And yes, I can confirm that the risk is worth it!

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