Last year I escaped the winter cold and spend Christmas in the sun at Sal, Cape Verde. This island group in the Atlantic Ocean lies 500 km from the west coast of Africa. You can expect African vibes, unlimited sunshine, Portuguese sounds, a very dry landscape and a whole lot of wind. So if you’re into kite surfing, this could be your paradise.
Relax man and welcome to ‘no stress island’. From the airport, it’s a 20 minutes’ drive to Santa Maria the main town on the southern part of the island. Here you will find sandy beaches with turquoise waters, the main pier where Cape Verdean fisherman sell their fish in the morning and lots of possibilities for water sports. The west part of Santa Maria is full of all-inclusive resorts, so I would suggest finding a place on the eastern part as it’s more ‘pure’.
The pastel-coloured streets of Santa Maria are lined with souvenir shops with ‘no stress’ signs and market stalls. Brightly dressed Cape Verdean women walk around with baskets of fruit on their heads, while others try to sell handmade ‘no stress’ bracelets.
It seems almost impossible to experience stress at Sal. It’s a place to be offline, surrender to the beach vibes and enjoy the sunshine. Also, there are limited activities on this island, so it’s not the best place for an active holiday. Apart from the water sports of course.
But if you get tired of the beach days and want to do something else, take a taxi and wander around Palmeira for a day. This town is the main port of the island, has colourful picturesque streets and restaurants with fresh fish on the menu.
On the northeast side of the island, you will find the Salinas de Pedra de Lume. Here it feels like you’re walking on Mars and you can float around in the salt lake. Entrance is 6€ per person.
Cape Fruit was my favourite lunch spot in Santa Maria. It’s all happy vibes with colourful cushions and chill zones with rainbow patterned hammocks, it’s located at R. 15 Agosto. Grab a book and a fresh smoothie and get ready to de-stress!