The island of Sal, which in Portuguese means salt and is one of the three sandy eastern islands of the archipelago. It is thought that even before the island was discovered in 1460, it was known by Moorish sailors for its rich saltpans.
Its 14,000 inhabitants live mainly in the town of Espargos, the capital in the centre of the island, and Santa Maria, the village and tourist place on the south coast.
One can take pleasure trips that are offered by different operators either by air, boat , mini cruises or general site seeing around Sal.
Windsurfing mainly occurs in Santa Maria at the Southern end of the Island. Northeast winds blow over Cape Verde without fail from October to June, and from February to June the winds can reach very high velocities. More and more windsurfing and surfing centers are opening up in Santa Maria offering windsurfing, surfing, kite surfing and body boarding lessons and equipment rental.
Game fishing, bottom fishing and pier fishing are all presented in Santa Maria. More than few companies now offer an assortment of fishing experiences. Catches include blue and white marlin, yellow-fin tuna, shark, groupers, spearfish, sailfish, goldfish and morays. The fishing season is at its greatest between July and October. It is also possible to join local fishermen on their voyages out at sea.
Almost all the dive sites are a few minutes boat-ride from the spacious, sandy beaches and dive centers. Even if fish are not as multicolored in Cape Verde as in the Red Sea, Sal proposes the opportunity to watch large fish and huge schools of fish rather close to shore. The dive sites use RIBs or hardboats, different from the other islands, where you will typically dive off a tiny wooden fishing boat. Aquatic life to be witnessed include: surgeonfish, bright yellow polyps, parrotfish, spotted triggerfish, sand tiger ,barracuda, sharks, manta rays, trumpet fish, catfish, humpback and grey whales, (March and April) slipper lobsters, and lots of moray eels. Adventure type of diving consist mainly of The wreck of the "Santo Antao", the steel hulled freighter sunk in 1966, after it stranded on rocks close to shore (13m/40ft. max depth). Salao Azul, a very fascinating wall reef just off the coast of Pedra de Lume (45m/135ft. max.depth). North of the Port of Palmeira, there are good dives at the many small caves and inlets along this rocky coast line on the West Coast of the island. The wreck of the "Demfior", a merchant Danish ship, crashed on the rocks of the eastern coast of Sal island just after World War II (13m/40ft. max depth). Buracona Cave, the entry of the cave is at 20m/60ft.down, divers slowly pass all the way through a tunnel and travel through blackness for about 45m/130ft. until the tunnel turns upwards and you reach an open-topped cave, 10m/30ft. in diameter and Ponta do Farol, a dramatic reef wall dive ending at a large cave.
Espartos is the capital city of the island of Sal and it is situated right in the heart of it. It is just a run of the mill town with schools, churches, banks, a hospital and a few squares. Espartos has good hotels and restaurants. Espargos means asparagus and refers to the wild vegetable asparagus bushes with bright yellow flowers and red berries that grow in sandy parts of the island.
Santa Maria is the most urbanized town and is located in the southern part of the island of Sal. It is the tourist-orientated town in the archipelago. Its few wide streets are lined with pastel single-storey houses and much of the area is flat, dry and sandy with no flora. Surfing, windsurfing, diving and fishing are its key activities. Santa Maria is the best outfitted for beach holiday: its beautiful 4km. long sandy white beach, up market hotels, restaurants with live music, bars and shops tick all the boxes for an exceptional holiday.
Buracona is situated on the west side of the island, at 4 km west of Espargos and accessed by the road linking with Palmeira. It is a natural swimming pool enclosed in black lava rock over which white foam falls every now and then. Its a great and perfect place for diving and swimming. Close by is the renowned Blue Eye, an underground naturally formed lagoon, shaped like an eye, reached through a large hole in the ground. When the sunlight hits the precise spot, it illuminates the underwater cavern in a astounding display of sparkling turquoise.
One should unquestionably visit the Cape Verde Island for the stunning long white sandy beaches and crystal clear blue sea where windsurfing, surfing, diving and deep sea fishing can make this holiday your most treasured one.
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