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Trip to the Island of Sal, the free life between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator

What remains in the heart after a holiday on the island of Sal is the Morna and the friendly welcome. La Morna is Cape Verdean music, a bit like tango for Argentina, rumba for Cuba or fado for Portugal. Cesaria Évor, nicknamed the barefoot diva for her habit of walking barefoot, was the queen of this music. She was loved by everyone, also for her generosity, and is remembered with murals with her face in many homes. And also thanks to her, in November 2019 Morna was recognized as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

Cesária Évora ph Gianna Melis

No stress it is the greeting of taxi drivers and shopkeepers, it is the logo printed on T-Shirts and it is written with beads on necklaces and bracelets. Self no stress it is an invitation to take life philosophically, what is most striking is the friendly welcome, in Creole la Morabeza.

Sal Island has a modern and young feel. Thanks to the women. Cape Verdean women arrived in Italy to work as maids starting in the 1960s, but in addition to working and sending money to their families, they studied and developed a political conscience. This has contributed to the construction of a modern and equal culture in the country.

In the'Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index 2020, in fact, Cape Verde it ranked, behind Mauritius, as the most democratic country in sub-Saharan Africa. The «open minded” of the archipelago is witnessed by the ministersgive her manager in leadership positions, from families without marriage certificate And homosexuality is recognized as a right by law.

Church of the Old Lady of Compassion in Sal Island Pedra de Lume Cape Verde

Church of the Old Lady of Compassion in Sal Island, Pedra de Lume, Cape Verde

Gerold Grotelueschen

Ph Gianna Melis

Ph Gianna Melis

Each of the ten islands of Cape Verde, above or below the wind, depending on the origin of the trade winds, is a world unto itself: Sant'Antao it is green and mountainous, Fogo shows off its vineyards, Santa Luzia it is uninhabited, Good a garden of flowers.

For all the islands, however, the entrance door is Sal with the international airport. Another reason to go to Sal Island, in the archipelago of the Cape Verde islands, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator, it is good weather almost all year round. The rains are rare, the sea is always pleasant and the temperatures in October and November are around 28 degrees. The endless beaches alternate with desert landscapes and the excellent services are affordable. All of this can be enjoyed in a week, with a flight from the airports of Milan and Rome.

Trip to the Island of Sal the free life between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator
Philippe Prudhomme – stock.adobe.com

The life of Sal

In the vital center of Sal is the small one village of Santa Maria, with craft shops, restaurants and bistros, the fishing port and above all long white beaches. On Santa Maria, a beautiful bay sheltered from the wind with turquoise waters, some fishermen at the pier offer a boat trip (departing early in the morning) to go fishing with them. To watch the sunset with a good Caipiroska the right place is Quiosque Olà Brasilfor an after dinner with live morna and local musicians, the destination is Buddy Bar. To the shop Djunta mo Art where the association is based Nú Bai the prices are slightly higher, but you help the association to ensure fair compensation for all workers, and you are sure that you are purchasing true Cape Verdean craftsmanship.

Santa Maria Beach Sal Island

Santa Maria Beach, Sal Island


Mitu Monteiro

Mitu Monteiro

Surfers' (and turtles') beaches

When the wind rises the sea is colored by windsurfing And kitesurfing also very loved by the locals, also because the world champion is from these parts Mitu Monteiro, pictured above, who opened a school in Kite Beach. On the island there are centers with serious and friendly professionals for all sea and land sports, from diving And snorkelingto fishing from the beach and offshore, but also ziplines or tour in buggy. The tour with the staff was very fun No Limits in Quad or buggy in the desert.

Ponta Preta, a sand dune lapped by the water, is one of the stops on quad excursions on dirt tracks and along the beach. Excursions can last a few hours or a whole day, also touching the rugged northern coasts, arid plains where it is easy to witness the phenomenon of the Morgan le Fay. On the long beach of Pedra Negra every year they return to lay their eggs the sea ​​turtles Caretta Caretta: under the watchful eye of the volunteers, you may witness the hatching of the eggs and the diving of the baby turtles into the sea.

Volunteers of the Projeto Biodiversidad Ph Gianna Melis

Volunteers of the Biodiversity Project, Ph Gianna Melis

Caves, volcanoes and gardens of Eden

The name of Sal Island is not accidental, here inside a volcanic crater salt was extractedthe disused pylons and the abandoned workers' houses now remain of the salt factory, but the Pedra salt pans de Lume they are now one of the main tourist attractions on the island, even for the salt treatments and the natural mud.

Other places to visit are Buraconaa swimming pool in an underwater cave of volcanic origin, with the so-called Blue eye, a large hole in the rock which at certain times of the day reflects the light creating evocative visual effects. The cave is super popular for diving because you can explore caves and sandbars.

The Botanical Garden Viveiro Caboverdewith beyond 150 species of plantsamong the succulents there is the path of meditationwith the kiosk for a break with a glass of karkade or baobab juice. In the garden they are also housed 200 animals among peacocks, geese, donkeys, parrots and goats adopted after being abandoned. Abandoned dogs and cats are also taken in and cared for by the association Ospa, just outside Santa Maria, where tourists who love animals are welcome to take a dog for a walk or give it a cuddle.

The nature on Sal is very arid due to the strong winds bringing Sahara sand to the island.
The nature on Sal is very arid due to the strong winds bringing Sahara sand to the island.QwazzMe Photo
The eye Blum Buracona Ph Gianna Melis

The eye Blum Buracona, Ph Gianna Melis

Eat and sleep

The island is also interesting for its gastronomy: the cuisine is mainly based on fish, always very fresh, in the restaurants the “catch of the day” is often Beef de Atum, tuna steak, but it is easy to find mackerel, moray eel, lobster, scampi, crabs and mussels. The national dish is la cachupa, a stew of corn, beans, with meat or fish. And at the end of the meal there's no shortage of a glass of grog, the typical liqueur obtained from sugar cane juice, a kind of grappa with an alcohol content of 84 degrees. To the Municipal Market you can taste, for just a few euros, the local cuisine prepared by the students of the hotel school, who are very willing and available to tell their story.

On the beach of Santa Maria il Veraclub Oasis Salinas Sea welcomes its guests in a garden of palm trees and hibiscus. The rooms all have a balcony overlooking the sea, and in the resort's various restaurants you can enjoy a mix of Italian and international cuisine. Athletes can have fun with all sports and lazy people find the ideal situation for a relaxing holiday.

Source: Vanity Fair

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