Sal Island

A land of friendly, cheerful, relaxed and beautiful people

The Sal Island has a unique beauty where the turquoise sea and golden sands overlap the arid and barren nature. It owes its name to the huge amount of salt produced there; nowadays the structures used for the extraction of this product are still visible.

In the last years, Cape Verde has established itself as a prime holiday destination coveted by citizens of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Finland, among others. Only 4-5 hours flight from Europe and a small difference in time zone, this archipelago of ten islands (nine inhabited) becomes particularly eligible for those looking for rest, relaxing moments in family, quietly enjoying retirement or for sports and fun.

The mild climate all year round, the paradisiacal beaches, observation of nature, birds and marine animals, the truly fascinating culture, a rich gastronomy, combined with morabeza and friendliness of its people, makes Cape Verde a single tourist destination.

Sal Island emerges timidly from the Atlantic and is the most arid island from all over the Cape Verde archipelago. Its landscapes, devoid of vegetation, remind us that we are on the same latitude of the Sahara desert. The austerity of their land does not suggest at any time that this island one day, as the rest of the archipelago of Cape Verde, was covered by a thick green mantle. The landscape encourages looking at the sea: the beautiful beaches surrounding the island, the numerous water sports available and the great fish that local fishermen catch daily express the intimate relationship the island has with the ocean. There are no large gatherings of people, just quiet towns and a few hotels, which make Sal an ideal place for those seeking peace and tranquillity.
With beautiful white sand beaches, Sal Island offers excellent conditions to practice sea related activities, beach, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, diving, fishing and boat trips.

If you are a diving fan, know that the underwater fauna of Cape Verde has predominantly tunas, swordfish and serranids. You can also find lobsters, several species of moray, conger eels, turtles and even sharks. There are still remains of sunken ships, like St. Antao, which is a 6-10 meters deep and just five minutes by boat from the dive center.

Morabeza: What is it?

The morabeza is taken by Cape Verdeans as something difficult to translate (as the word saudade in Portuguese) and expresses a typical Cape Verdean feeling. Perhaps this is the Creole word that best identifies with the Cape Verdean spirit, a very own philosophy of an affable people who has in the form of receiving its main feature and it is in the islands of Sal and S. Vicente it finds most meaning.

Etimology

The name of the country stems from the nearby Cap-Vert, on the Senegalese coast, which in its turn was originally named “Cabo Verde” when it was sighted by Portuguese explorers in 1444, a few years before the islands were discovered (verde is Portuguese for “green”).

Geography

Known for its Creole Portuguese-African culture and morna music, this strikingly beautiful country is part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, situated in the Atlantic Ocean, about 570km off the West African Coast, close to Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania.

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Useful Information


Time difference: – one hour in the fall / winter and – 2 hours in spring / summer.

Documentation: Valid Passport and visa required. For the handling of the Visa it can be done either through your travel agency ten days before departure or by going to the Cape Verdean Consulate in your country. More information on Cape Verdean embassies` locations available in www.embassypages.com/capeverde

Visa required: 25 Euros.

Electricity: 220 volts.

Currency: Cape Verde Escudo. 1 Euro = 110 escudos, the exchange rate generally applied is 1 Euro = 100 escudos, since the use of euro is accepted in the usual way.

Language: In addition to the Portuguese, the official language, the Cape Verdean Creole is used in day-to-day by the majority of the population of Sal, as there is a local variant of Cape Verdean Creole.

Vaccines: No need, but should pay attention to tap water consumption and raw foods. It is also recommended to take insect repellent and sunscreen.

CapeCape Verde’s national flag

Important area of salt exploration

Sal Island was discovered in 1460 by the Portuguese Diogo Afonso and the Genoese Antonio di Noli. Initially, it was called Llana, but because of the exploitation of salt on the island it became known as Sal. The first area to be explored was Pedra de Lume in 1804 by Manuel António Martins due to the salt found there, thus beginning populating the island. Manuel António Martins founded the town of Santa Maria in 1835. Initially, he gave it the name of Porto Martins, but the village`s name perpetuated itself in time as Santa Maria. A few years later, Manuel Antonio Martins died but his remains are in the mausoleum of the cemetery of the village of Santa Maria.

The flat condition of the island favoured the creation of the first airport of the archipelago, whose construction began in 1939. Later, the Portuguese colonial government acquired the airport to the Italian company, having completed the work in 1949. Thanks to the construction of the airstrips by an Italian company, the village of Espargos was born and after the independence of Cape Verde, the airport was name Amilcar Cabral International Airport. In 1935, Santa Maria became officially a village hosting the administrative centre of the island.

It was only in 1963 Sal`s City Hall was formed. Currently, tourism and airport activity are the main pillars of socio-economic development of the Sal. The history of tourism in the island started with the arrival of the Belgian couple Gaspard Vynckier and Marguerite Massart in 1963. Attracted by the climate and for health reasons, they decided to build a holiday home in the village of Santa Maria. Later, the home of the Belgian couple welcomed the crews of several airlines that were stopping for flight levels on Sal. The house became, a few years later, the first hotel of Santa Maria and baptized later with the name of Hotel Morabeza, considered by many the cradle of tourism in Cape Verde.

Thus, Sal is known to be the Cape Verdean tourism capital, seen as the island of opportunities and a development model for other islands!