SAL ISLAND FAQ`S
The Amilcar Cabral International Airport is the main airport on the Cape Verde Island also known as Sal International Airport. It is located 1.3 miles west of Espargos, the island`s capital located in the heart of the island. There is no public transportation offered at the airport.
If you have not booked a private transfer through us there are only a few options to reach the main tourist areas on the island including rental cars and taxis or shared taxis known as `aluguer`.What types of transportation can I find at the airport?
The ride from the airport to Santa Maria, the most popular town on Sal Island, takes around 20 minutes by taxi which should cost around 800 CVE.
Many of the hotels and resorts on the island will most likely offer guests courtesy transportation from the airport to their accommodations.
There are buses available in Espargos, which is just over a mile away from the airport. Take a taxi to the bus station in town and connect to your final location. The bus station in Espargos is located on the left-hand side after the roundabout.How do I get around the city using public transportation?
The main form of public transportation on the island is local bus services with fixed prices. The buses travel between Santa Maria and Espargos, and Espargos to Palmeira. The bus stations are as follows; Santa Maria bus station can be found on the third street from the waterfront, close to the first roundabout. Espargos bus station is located on the left-hand side after the first roundabout in the city. Palmeira bus station is located three streets closer to the city center. Bus tickets cost around 100 CVE.
Aluguers are minibusses that come in the form of pick up trucks with wooden benches or comfortable vans that provide shared transportation between the small towns on the island. These rides pick up passengers at unmarked points across town and drop off wherever requested.
There are ferry services on Cape Verde island which allow visitors to travel between the islands of Fogo and Brava with four ferries running per week, Sao Vicente and Santo Antao with two ferries per day, and Sao Vicente and Sao Nicolau two per month.
There is an option to sail between the islands with access to yachts on Sal Island which can be hired and tailored to suit your needs.Should I rent a car on Sal Island?
Renting a car is becoming more available when visiting Sal Island. Having your own vehicle can allow the opportunity to explore at your own pace and travel to other locations on the island. It might be a good idea to rent a car when you arrive at the airport and do some exploring, you can see the entire island in one day. There are several rental car shops found in Santa Maria, but keep in mind they can be expensive.How do I call/hail a taxi?
Taxis can be found in the main towns on the island including Santa Maria and Espargos around the resort areas. Taxis run on a meter with a ride around town costing around CVE300.Is Sal Island a walking city?
The main towns on Sal Island are easily walkable, walking around Espargos and Santa Maria will lead way to the local restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. Walking the beautiful beaches is one of the best ways to relax and adjust to island time when in Sal.Can I ride a bike on Sal Island?
Renting a bicycle to explore Sal is a great idea, this island is relatively flat and it is easy to reach the beaches and main attractions on a bicycle.Is Sal Island a dangerous city, is there anything I should be aware of?
Sal Island is remarkably safe and the Cape Verde archipelago is considered to be one of the safest African holiday destinations. The crime rate is relatively low and crimes against visitors are practically unheard of but petty theft is becoming more common in the built-up areas. Keep your wits about you and practice street smarts when out sightseeing.What are some popular areas for shopping?
The islands are not quite a shoppers destination with most day to day items on land being imported and fairly expensive. It is best to find the local colorful market stalls to pick up some authentic items from your stay in Sal. Local markets are the place to find delicious fresh produce, cheese, and jams, wine, and rum along with artwork, handicrafts, and wooden carvings.
Here are some interesting shops to check out when visiting Sal;
Djunta Mo Art is a premier handicraft store offering beautiful and elegant pieces of jewelry along with handbags, scarves and home decor featuring impeccable designs.
L`Alambic, a chic boutique that promotes artists and island production, there is the artwork for sale and other typical island products including grogue, punch, and coffee.
Perola Do Sal is another boutique selling jewelry and home decor with unique designs using precious stones, pearls, and shells.
A surf shop in Santa Maria owned by World-champion kitesurfer (and three-time world vice-champion) island native Mitu Monteiro. Here Mitu sells his own line of surf gear, clothing, boards, and other accessories.Where can I visit the beaches?
Sal Island is best known for its beautiful beaches and sparkling waters that stretch along the stunning shoreline. There are miles of fine white sand beaches to discover on the island including an abundance of watersports most notably windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing.
Santa Maria Beach is situated at the tip of the island boasting a picturesque crescent-shaped bay covered with a long sweep of golden sand and calm azure waters perfect for swimming. This beach is popular for watersports where a lot of professional surfers and windsurfers train during the winter months. The pier at Santa Maria is filled with local fishermen and there are a variety of restaurants, beach bars and shops to explore.
On the west side of Sal Island is Ponta Preta Beach which is very similar to Santa Maria boasting stunning soft white sand and glistening turquoise waters with sand dunes as a backdrop and some rugged natural landscapes.
Kite Beach is the best beach for water sports located on the southeast coast with great wind conditions for all things surf-related in the winter months. Mitu and Djo Kite School are located on this beach where enthusiasts can take lessons or rent equipment.Where can I go to KiteSurfing or Windsurfing?
The island boasts ideal conditions for windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, and sailing from January to June when the best winds blow through. The main beach for Kitesurfing or boarding is Kite beach situated on the southeast coast and Ponta Leme is the main beach for windsurfing in the south portion of the island. These beaches offer rentals and lessons for visitors who want to try out these popular water sports.
Kite Beach is the best beach for water sports located on the southeast coast with great wind conditions for all things surf-related in the winter months. Mitu and Djo Kite School are located on this beach where enthusiasts can take lessons or rent equipment.
The winds on the island are year-round and the climate is tropical with warm water temperatures which make this a surfers paradise.What is the best time to visit Sal Island?
The climate on Sal Island is tropical with over 350 days of sunshine each year. The weather is warm and dry with average annual temperatures ranging from 75 - 93 degrees making it a pleasant tropical destination.I don`t speak Portuguese will there be many people who speak English?
The official language spoken on Sal Island is Portuguese, but everyone speaks 'Criolu'(creole) – a mixture of Portuguese and particular African words and dialects. English is widely spoken throughout the country in hotels, restaurants and other tourist-related areas. We recommend that you get a good English - Portugues guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, excuse me and numbers 1 - 10.What is the currency? Can I pay/tip in US dollars?
The currency of Cape Verde is the Escudo de Cabo Verde (ECV). Dollars are not accepted, we advise you to exchange your dollars for Escudos before arriving on the Island. There are exchange counters at international airports, but not at domestic airports. Banks are available normally from 8 am until 3 pm. And exchange offices can be found in the main towns.What is the food like?
The main cuisine served up on Sal Island is Creole and Portugues specialties. However, there are places serving international fare including pizza and pasta available in many Italian restaurants in Santa Maria. There is plenty of freshly caught fish and seafood around the island with delicacies including lobster, tuna, wahoo, and octopus available on menus. The national dish of Cape Verde is named `cachupa rica` a mixture of maize, beans, sweet potato served with chicken, fish, or meat. `arroz de marisco` is a shellfish dish accompanied by rice. Buzio is a slow-cooked stew with mussels and soy sauce.
Cafes are in abundance on the island which also doubles as restaurants and bars. Pastries are dished up in bakeries all over the island and are made with Portugues traditions. Bol de Cus-Cus is a tasty cake made from sugar and corn served warm with butter and cheese. Local jams (doce) are popularly made from local exotic fruits served with delicious cheese and desserts.What is the nightlife like?
Sal Island nightlife can be found in beachside bars, restaurants, and taverns with sounds of `morna` the music of the islands playing. The nightlife scene here breathes traditional music, and dance a combination of sounds of Africa combined with Latin instruments with a seductive beat, this is Creole music, the music of the islands.
Many of the options for nightlife on Sal Island can be found within the hotels and resorts with dinners served alongside live music and other entertainment such as discos.
Santa Maria is a lively location on the island with plenty of lively vibrant tunes playing in locals bars and beachfront bars and clubs where you can enjoy the locally produced Cape Verdian `Grogue` a strong alcoholic drink made from sugar cane with the locals.What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?
If you need emergency services while in Cape Verde dial 132 for police, 130 for an ambulance, and 131 for a fire.
Hospital Do Sol no contact info available.