Cabo Verde

Sal Island owns a rare natural beauty, in which one must dive in

Sal owes its name to the mineral that abounds on the island, small, flat, arid and with a touch of lunar landscape. Its white sandy beaches, dry tropical climate and warm, clear waters have long won over tourists from all over the world in search of sun and relaxation.

215 km²

Total area

406 m

Monte Grande is the highest point of the island


16,7414° N, 22,9333° W



Paradise for summer lovers

The island of Sal is one of the world's most popular beach destinations. It's easy to see why: crystal-clear turquoise waters, ivory sand beaches, mild climate year-round, a diverse range of water sports activities, hospitable people and comfort food.


Cape Verdeans believe in the power of community, as reflected in the expression "na nôs tera, nôs tudo ê família" - In our land, we are all family.

It is this 'morabeza' that beckons thousands every year, searching for that profound sense of kinship that transcends mere blood ties, creating a collective bond that fosters a spirit of unity and support between the natives of the archipelago and those who arrive.

History, Geography, and Culture of Sal

Unveiled by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, on December 3rd, 1460, the island became a pivotal stopover for ships voyaging between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, which endowed Sal with a melting pot of diversity.

The island's settlement truly burgeoned in the 19th century with the exploitation of the salt pans in Pedra de Lume, commencing in 1804.

The island's volcanic genesis was instrumental for the successful exploitation at Pedra de Lume. Salt and calcite subsequently became pivotal elements driving the economic development of the island


Covering a total expanse of 215 square kilometers, the terrain is predominantly flat, with the highest peak being Monte Grande, rising a mere 406 meters above sea level.

Sal is an island sculpted by the erosive forces of nature.

The southern part, sandier and arid, is characterized by dunes that stretch to the horizon, embellished by pristine white sand beaches, among which Praias de Santa Maria and Ponta Preta stand out prominently.

To the north, in Terra Boa, some areas of marshland enable agricultural endeavors.

Positioned at 16.7414° N, 22.9333° W, it currently hosts a population of approximately 35,000 individuals.

Its capital is the town of Espargos, in close proximity to which lies the Amílcar Cabral Airport.

Source Turisver

A Dash of Heritage and Culture

Espargos and Santa Maria are the cultural heartbeats of the island.

The city of Espargos, the island's capital, though not a major tourist hub, is a beauty with its harmonious squares, vibrantly painted facades, and pedestrian-friendly streets that beckon the visitor to wander.

Within its bounds, one can discover the island's museum, showcasing exhibits on Sal's history and art.

In the town of Santa Maria, caressed by an 8 km stretch of pristine white sandy beach, a visit to the bustling local market is a must. Here, one can immerse oneself in a plethora of fresh produce, authentic handicrafts, and a truly indigenous experience.

Also deserving a mention is the verdant oasis of the Pachamama Eco Park's botanical garden.

The Santa Maria Beach Music Festival held in September is an unmissable extravaganza.

Throughout the year, religious feasts take precedence, such as:

  • Santa Cruz,
  • Santo António,
  • Santa Ana, and
  • Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Source Get your Guide
Viaje Comigo
Balai Cabo Verde

The island's natural treasures are famed and include:

  • Buracona,
  • Serra Negra,
  • Pedra de Lume salt flats,
  • Morrinho de Açúcar,
  • Ponta Preta Dunes,
  • Murdeira Bay, and
  • Rabo de Junco (Lion's Mountain).

Buracona is the gem of the island's West Coast.

The Buracona Lava Pool, flanked by rugged cliffs, adds to the locale's breathtaking and picturesque aura.

Born from volcanic rocks and crystal-clear turquoise seawater that gleams in the sunlight, it's a magnet for those longing for a refreshing dip and to catch a glimpse of the Olho da Buracona.

This underwater tunnel, 22 meters deep, reflects an intense blue hue when sunlit, shaping what appears as a "blue eye", its renowned moniker.

The most opportune time for an "Olho Azul" visit is midday when the sun's direct rays create a mesmerizing illusion.


Serra Negra is not just a nature reserve. It also boasts a marine protection zone extending 300m off the coast and serves as a sanctuary for various bird species.

The viewpoint atop offers a panoramic vision of a large portion of the island.

At its base, fossilized dunes stand as a testament to its geological significance.

Pedra de Lume Salt Flats

This is the source of the illustrious product for which the island gets its name: salt!

Nestled at the base of an extinct volcano crater, it was once the island's primary industry with salt extraction commencing in the 1800s.

Its production and export persist today.

Guided tours offer visitors the unique experience of floating in these medicinal waters. It's noteworthy that these salt flats are among the top national tourist attractions, frequented by both locals and foreigners for therapeutic, tourist, historical, scientific, and heritage reasons.

Since 2003, the Pedra Lume salt flats have been designated a protected national landscape and, from 2014, recognized as a natural, historical, and cultural heritage site of Cape Verde.


Morrinho de Açúcar

A natural monument of volcanic origin, its uniqueness is as captivating as its beauty.

It stands as remnants of a volcanic chimney, soaring amid a vast plain.

These geological formations exhibit unparalleled prismatic disjunctions.

Source Wikipedia

Ponta Preta Dunes beckon for serene walks.

They serve as a venue for aquatic leisure activities, like surfing, and host the international windsurfing championship. It's also a nesting ground for turtles.

The Murdeira Bay and Rabo de Junco nature reserves

This natural harbor, with its tranquil waves and slightly warmer waters, serves as a preferred habitat for various marine birds and turtles that feed and nest there (from May to October).

Seasonally (between March and May), the rorqual whales, an endangered species of immense global conservation importance, grace its waters.

This site seamlessly merges the clearest and warmest beaches on the island (ideal for swimming and snorkeling) with the majestic Monte Leão (Rabo de Junco).

A holistic monument of unparalleled natural beauty, it's a must-visit, especially in the evening, to bask in the island of Sal's enchanting sunset.

Beach for those who love the sun

The beaches of Sal fill the soul with sun and serenity!

  • Santa Maria Beach (a natural heritage of Cape Verde),
  • Ponta Preta Beach,
  • Kite Beach,
  • Serra Negra Beach,
  • António Manuel Sousa Beach,
  • Murdeira Beach, and
  • Ponta de Sinó Beach are some of the natural landscape gems this island graciously offers every day of the year.

On the western side of Sal Island, the sea serenely whispers, the sands are pure white, and the water reflects a breathtaking shade of blue.
The crown jewel is the vast Santa Maria Beach, one of the Seven Wonders of Cape Verde.

Santa Maria Beach

A treasured natural heritage of Cape Verde.

Globally renowned, this destination sits in the town that shares its name and stands as one of the most celebrated in Cape Verde, admired for the beauty of its waters, expansive sands, and supportive amenities including bars, terrace restaurants, shops, and a range of water activities and tours.

It offers a splendid chance to explore the island's coast, taking a stroll across 8 kilometers of limestone sandy shores.

From the Santa Maria pier to Ponta Preta Beach, journeying through Ponta do Sinó.

Here, one can witness marine spectacles like playful dolphins, schools of diverse fish, graceful rays, and elusive moray eels.


On the other hand, Ponta Preta Beach is a haven for nature enthusiasts.

With its vigorous currents, this beach beckons one to ponder upon the sea and the sunset, preferably with a glass of grogue in hand as the day bids farewell.

For those with an adventurous spirit and a passion for water sports, set your compass towards Kite Beach.

Undoubtedly, it ranks amongst the world's most famed beaches for sports such as Kite Surfing, WindSurfing, and Surfing.

In fact, the beach hosts the acclaimed World Kite Surfing Circuit from November to March.

To awaken on Serra Negra Beach and witness the sunrise is among the magical experiences Sal bestows.

This serene and hushed beach is a must-visit for those yearning for an escape from the hustle of city life or crowded shores.

Serra Negra's waters are teeming with fish and shellfish, a genuine sanctuary for fishing aficionados.

Shark Bay

A shallow lagoon cradling lava rocks beneath its surface.

Situated on the island's northeastern coast, near the village of Pedra de Lume, it's the sole place on the island where one can behold the magnificent lemon sharks in their natural habitat.

Being harmless and deeply curious, these sharks become a magnet for those eager to swim and connect with marine creatures.

Sea for everyone

With its consistent trade winds and warm waters, Sal Island is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, perfectly suited for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. At Kite Beach, the waves cater to both beginners and seasoned athletes alike.

Worthy of note are the local champions Mitu, Matchu Lopes, and Airton Cozzolino, former world kitesurfing champions.

For something a tad more relaxed, paddleboarding and kayaking are excellent choices, ideal for exploring the island's coast and natural pools.

Given its crystal-clear waters, diving and snorkeling offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the underwater world of Cape Verde.

Across the island, numerous schools and shops rent out equipment and organize lessons for practitioners of all skill levels.

Comfort food

The entire archipelago is renowned for its vibrant and heartwarming cuisine, influenced by African, Portuguese, and Brazilian flavors.

On Sal, fish and seafood form the culinary foundation, traditionally served grilled or stewed, seasoned with spices and vegetables:

  • tuna,
  • swordfish,
  • marlin,
  • grouper,
  • conger eel, and
  • moray eel are among the most cherished fish.

The seafood shines brightly with:

  • barnacles,
  • whelks, octopus, and
  • lobster.
  • The foundation of traditional meals includes locally produced ingredients, often featuring corn.

Dishes with fish or meat (pork, beef, goat, and kid) served plain or garnished with greens, offer a spectrum of colors and tastes.

Cachupa, the most famous Cape Verdean dish, holds a steadfast presence in any of the three main meals.

This stew made with corn, beans, vegetables, and assorted meats, is a treat for anyone who tastes it.

The modje Manel Antóne (kid goat) is one of the most sought-after gastronomic delights in the archipelago

Pocket Guide to the island of Sal

The Isle of Sal possesses an unforgettable ambiance. Perfect for those seeking a tropical haven with a hint of exotic allure, natural splendors, and the warmth of Cape Verdean affection.

Below is a brief overview of some of Sal island's most notable attractions

sun_sea.svgSun and Beach Attractions


  • Ponta Sino (Santa Maria)
  • Doce Beach (Pedra Lume)
  • António Manuel Sousa Beach (Santa Maria)
  • Calheta Funda Beach (Santa Maria)
  • Canoa Beach (Murdeira)
  • Cascalho Beach (Espargos)
  • Igrejinha Beach (Santa Maria)
  • Kite Beach (Santa Maria)
  • Monte Grande Beach (Pedra Lume)
  • Murdeira Beach (Murdeira)
  • Pedra do Lume Beach (Pedra Lume)
  • Ponta Preta Beach (Santa Maria)
  • Santa Maria Beach (Santa Maria)

anture_rural_tourism.svgNature and Adventure Attractions

Source TripAdvisor

  • BTT
  • Buggy, moto quad and 4x4 (Santa Maria, Espargos, Pedra Lume)
  • Hiking from pontão de Santa Maria to praia de Ponta Preta (Santa Maria)
  • Costa da Fragata (Santa Maria)
  • Cratera Pedra Lume (Pedra Lume)
  • Ponta Preta Dunes (Santa Maria)
  • Golf (Santa Maria)
  • Botanic Garden Pachamama Eco Park (Santa Maria)
  • Terra Boa Mirage (Terra Boa)
  • Monte Grande (Espargos)
  • Monte Leão (Murdeira)
  • Pedras Knoll (Espargos)
  • Açucar Knoll (Fiura, Espargos)
  • Filho Knoll (Espargos)
  • Bird Watching (Ponta Sinó, Salinas, Monte Leão, Murdeira)
  • Turtle Watching (Serra Negra, Ponta Preta, Murdeira)
  • Olho Azul de Buracona (Palmeira)
  • Horse ride (Santa Maria)
  • Natural pool de Lava de Buracona (Palmeira)
  • Ponta Sinó (Santa Maria)
  • Nature Reserve of Murdeira Bay (Murdeira)
  • Pedra de Lume Salines (Pedra Lume)
  • Serra Negra (Santa Maria)
  • Terra Boa (Espargos)
  • Zipline (Santa Maria)

aquatic_nautical.svgNautic Attractions


  • Bodyboard (Santa Maria)
  • FlyBoard (Santa Maria)
  • Kiteboard (Santa Maria)
  • Kitesurfing (Santa Maria)
  • Scuba Dive (Santa Maria, Buracona)
  • Jet Ski (Santa Maria)
  • Marine animal watching (Whales, Dolphins, Rays and Sharks) (Baia de Parda, Murdeira)
  • Boat ride (Santa Maria, Palmeira)
  • Sport Fishing (Santa Maria)
  • Snorkeling (Santa Maria, Murdeira)
  • Stand-up Paddle (Santa Maria)
  • Surf (Santa Maria)
  • Lemon-Shark Bay (Baía Parda, Pedra Lume)
  • WindSurf (Santa Maria, Murdeira)

cultural_tourism.svgCultural Attractions


  • Santa Maria Peer
  • Espargos (capital) (Espargos)
  • Santa Maria Festival (Santa Maria)
  • Santa Maria Fort (Santa Maria)
  • Santa Maria Church (Santa Maria)
  • Nossa Senhora das Dores Church (Espargos)
  • Santa Maria Market (Santa Maria)
  • House of Culture Museum (Santa Maria)
  • Ponta do Sinó (Santa Maria)
  • Pedras de Lume Saline (Pedra Lume)
  • Fishing Village of Palmeira (Palmeira)
  • Botanical Garden and Zoo di terra (Santa Maria)

Other informations about Sal Island

Source Experitour

Taxis grace the major cities and airport, while car rentals and scooters await those craving flexibility. For the truly daring, there's always off-road transport.

The Island gifts a lavish array of lodging choices for every pocket, from luxurious beachfront resorts to cozy inns and hostels.

Many of the grand resorts offer all-inclusive packages, blessing guests with meals, drinks, and activities throughout their stay, with direct beach access.

For those seeking solitude, consider renting a private villa or apartment. As a relatively compact island, most attractions are but a short ride away, whether by taxi, bus, or rented transport.


Explore Cabo Verde

Sun and beach, mountain trails, landscapes of a nature that so easily springs up everywhere and a wealth of customs and traditions that does not translate into any price: Cabo Verde is a paradise that rests by the sea.

With the morabeza of the people and the magic that is only found in Islands of sun and sea, this archipelago is a universe of experiences to discover.

Flavors, smells and colors permeate memories and here you can feel the warm breeze on the skin and the sweetness of life.

Travel Wise

Getting to know a new country is synonymous with new adventures. Each country is a country. It is a different culture, with its own laws, customs, tastes and peculiarities distinct from any other part of the world.

Preparing your trip in advance can save you some challenges.

Here you can find the most frequent questions of travelers and some tips so that you can get to know the country smoothly.



Sign up for our newsletter and discover travel experiences you’ll really want to try.