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One Week in Sal, Cape Verde

The “capital” Espargos, in the middle of the island

Sal is a small island in the Macaronesia Archipelago, part of a country called Cape Verde, around 700km West from Senegal. It has an all year warm climate and a very laid back “no stress” athmosphere, making it a popular destination for charter tourists coming from Europe.

A map of Sal Island in the “Buracona”

I was lucky enough to book a return flight from Oslo for 180€ and stayed with couchsurfing hosts in Murdeira which was a tiny village close to the airport and Santa Maria where all the tourists seemed to be. That was also where the biggest beach was, with plenty of resorts, a big casino and lots of restaurants were. The nights were danced away in the Reggae Bar, Ocean Café and the Buddy Bar where they played live music every night.

Friday night is live reggae night

The main attraction on the island, and the reason for the name of the island is a salt lake called Salinas. It is located in the North East, only accessible by private taxi, tour or hitchhiking. It is inside a volcano where you have to walk through a tunnel and is even more salty than the dead sea. They sell beers inside and a you can pay for a shower which costs 1 euro for 15 seconds.

The entrance to the salt lake

Just a short ride away was Shark Bay where wild lemonsharks, 2-3 meters long, would come close by and small baby sharks would come swim between our legs. This place we also reached by hitchhiking with one of the many pickups bringing tourists.

Lemon sharks swimming in Shark Bay

The third and last tourist attraction was a small cenote called the Blue Eye, a short drive from the more quiet and local village Palmeira. A couple of years ago the hole was open to the public, but as the land was bought by a company they started charging three euros entrance and require people to walk on paths only. We had to stand in a line to see the whole, which was not that impressive but it was nice to watch the blue colors and see water shoot up from blow holes.

The blue hole was not very impressive

We also hiked to the top of Monte Curral to get a view of the capital of the island and this is also where we would prefer to have some of our meals as the restaurants there were local and cheaper than the ones in Santa Maria.

The view from Monte Curral

It is funny that Sal Island in Cabo Verde, meaning “the green cape” was not green at all. In fact it was all desert with just a few green bushes, but I have heard that some of the other Islands are much more green with more genuine local culture and less touristy atractions. I know I will have to be back to say that I have really visited Cape Verde.

A sunset beer by the beach in Murdeira