Cape Verde was not in my priority list of holiday destinations. I first came here in 2013 mostly due to the insistence of a friend whose roots are Cape Verdean. We travelled in August and she met me in Sal, coming from her hometown in S. Nicolau. As a world traveller I must confess I had high expectations regarding such popular destination which were not really met while landing as I glimpsed a very dry, arid land with practically no vegetation. From above I could though see the amazing crystal clear waters bathing the island.
I immediately decided to clear my expectations and make the most of my well deserved holiday, putting aside my first impression, after all it was collected whilst still on the plane.
Already during the first days I was struck by the gentleness of the people, the relaxing atmosphere and of course delighted myself by bathing in this amazing mildly warm sea, taking advantage of the sun which was a constant.
Cape Verdeans are happy people, full of rhythm, very helpful and active. The town of Santa Maria is very international and we can hear throughout the day multiple languages being spoken in the various bars, restaurants and coffee places.
The fresh fish and seafood available every day, the nice terraces, the live music often being played, the immense number of children and mixed race couples give it all together a more special touch to this place. The delicious caipirinhas made out of the local rum and the salty popcorn are the queens of the happy hours! The water sports are also a major attraction with diverse possibilities whether one prefers kite, windsurf, diving, fishing or just snorkelling.
I felt at ease and at home!
Above all, I was invaded by this very familiar feeling, as if I belonged here all along. Even though Sal is not the common holiday site of only white villas and spotless gardens it has a lot of character. It is Africa but in a very different way. It is safe, calm, great to spend time in family and bring your children to but its vibrant and it has a busy enough night life for the ones who enjoy music and dancing. Whether one wants to relax, have a romantic holiday or party there is plenty of choice in the island.
It helps us unwind from the busy routine of 9 to 5 jobs, there are no traffic lights and no mass tourism! It has been often compared to the Caribbe which I have visited and can promise it is not a fool’s comparison… It is as authentic and original as its people.
Having said all the above I really just need to add that Sal is now the place I call home! I saw opportunities here, I saw the chance of creating a different and better life for myself far from Europe, a life where I didn’t need to take holidays from and here I am, sharing my experience and telling first hand some of the reasons why I think Cape Verde is worth your visit. Did I mention the delicious tuna, grilled chicken available on the streets, lobster, goat cheese from Fogo, the local handicraft, the Salinas and the loggerhead turtles? >> Learn more about it in other sections of our page.
There are just so many reasons to visit Sal!