Sal is the most developed of all the Cape Verde Islands in terms of tourism and it is certainly an island for beach lovers! There are activities galore, such as swimming, surfing, jet skiing, windsurfing, diving, cave diving, fly-boarding, jetty jumping, sailing, canoeing, whale watching, turtle watching, kite surfing, kite boarding, cycling, deep-sea fishing, quad biking, horse riding, even shark watching and yoga (but not at the same time!). The list goes on and on… Below you will find some of the best activity providers in Santa Maria.
Horse Excursions. Horse Excusions is the only certified Riding Centre offering Horseback riding Excursions on Sal Island. This is a small family business managed in accordance with the European standard. They attach the greatest of importance to the individual care of their guests and loving care of their four-legged personnel. Several kinds of excursions are offered: 1h, 1h30m, and 2h, together with experienced guides. You will ride along the coast of Sal island, discovering the beauty of both the East and West coasts and go sightseeing through the Salinas of Santa Maria. With specific reservation and request, they can also organise half-day excursions to discover the wild land in Sal into the Natural Reserve of Serra Negra.
Turtle Watching. In the summer of 2007 two concerned individuals Juan Blanco and Jacquie Cozens were concerned for the welfare of turtles on the island of Sal. Jacquie started walking the beaches every morning, counting nests and tracks. Juan, in the meantime, started a hatchery project in an effort to save eggs from ‘at risk’ nests. Following their meeting, the idea for SOS Tartarugas was born. Now this work has been taken over by Project Biodiversity.
Cabo Verde Diving. Cabo Verde Diving was opened in 2003 with the goal of providing first class service in all aspects of diving. The instructors will take you on a journey of the most unforgettable experience. They ensure every dive is delivered with comfort and safety in mind. Whether you are an experienced diver or would like to make your first dive, Cabo Verde diving will cater for all needs. Diving in Cape Verde offers a unique mix of diverse tropical and Mediterranean marine life. Discover rays and manta gracefully hovering around local wrecks. Also the shoals of fish swaying in open water or sheltering in coral, or observe turtles lazily swimming nearby.
Cuba Libre Offers sailing around Sal including fishing, snorkeling and surfing. From the boat you can see whales and dolphins at the right time of year. You can enjoy the waves and have fun with the breeze of Cape Verde Islands on your face. CubaLibre is a 40′ Beneteau Oceanis 40cc, an ideal boat for people looking for space and comfort. It has a spacious, elevated saloon, large galley and 2 cabins. Since 2018 trips are also available on board a second boat, a beautiful Dufour 455 Grand Large, limited edition, your best choice for a full day trip and for exclusivity trip!
Yoga Cabo Verde. Yoga Cabo Verde is a studio dedicated to teaching, improving and expanding people’s experience and enjoyment of yoga. They offer group, semi-private, and private lessons. The benefits of yoga are endless because it improves both your physical and mental strength and flexibility. Yoga is also great fun, as your body is like a playground. There so many fun things you can do with it, such as learning to stand on your head. They teach both Vinyasa and Hatha yoga.
No Limits. No Limits makes life experiences that you’ll never forget, and make people’s holidays better. Organising a unique excursion, they offer various types of land excursions for all ages. Just choose your favourite vehicle and then hit the road. They offer a wide range of eco-tours to discover nature and its wildlife. Their main goal is to have happy clients, so they offer unique and high-quality tours at very competitive prices. To make an unforgettable experience just contact them. They are based just at the west end of town, just 100m from our apartment in Tropical Resort.
Surf Zone. Surf Zone is Cabo Verde’s professional Kite and Windsurfing school and has been in operation for 12 years. It is the longest standing independent kite and windsurf school in Cape Verde. Surf Zone schools offer only private and semi-private lessons (2 people per instructor). This is to ensure safety, quality instruction, as well as to allow clients to learn the sport in the shortest time possible. In addition to lessons, they rent a wide range of professional windsurf, kite-surf, and surf equipment. Surf Zone is located on the main Santa Maria beach.
Viveiro Garden Centre and Farm is not only a Garden Centre, but an amazing botanical garden, and petting zoo! Come and meet the furry friends and discover all the species that grow in Cape Verde! They are situated on the main road that leads into Santa Maria. Viveiro is a garden centre, where you can buy plants for your garden or home. The Garden Centre is open to the public weekdays 9-5pm (including lunch time). Saturdays it is open 10-1pm. However, you will need to contact them if you want to look around the gardens so they can arrange for you to join an organised group. You can also bring an organised group to the centre to look around to see what they are doing. Join them on this wonderful journey. They have many different types of plants, furthermore all of them are from Cape Verde and not imported. There are palm trees such as Washingtonia and Tamareira (Date Palms) which are the most common ones. Then in addition Coco Plumosa, Coco Nucifera, Imperial Palm, Royal Palm, Pritchardia Palm, etc. and many different kinds of cactus and succulents.
Zebrajet. The owners, Maï and Vincent, are both experienced professionals with more than 12 years experience. Having lived and worked in both Guadeloupe and Senegal for numerous years for other companies, they decided the time had come to set up their own family business. They choose Cape Verde because of the beautiful clear blue waters and the varied conditions around the island. Also the warmth and charm of the local people were enough to convince them that this is the place they wanted to call home. Zebrajet chose YAMAHA VX 110 as their vehicles of choice.
Explore Cape Verde Nature Excursions provides professional and educational nature tours for guests staying on the island of Sal. They are the leading providers of a sustainable form of tourism. They explain and explore Cape Verde’s natural beauty and amazing wildlife, while minimising the impact of human activities. Eco-tourism should benefit conservation activities, therefore shares of their profits are donated to the sole conservation project based on Sal, Project Biodiversity.
Funana Restaurant and Museum. Funana is fun for all the family and has a fantastic beach front location. Restaurants on site, include typical Cape Verdean food, seafood, BBQ and pizza. There is also a bar and large seating area. Funana visitors can also use the sun loungers and there is also a playground to keep the children entertained. They also have an interactive museum that is also the only one of its kind on Sal. It is therefore a must do activity during your Cape Verdean holiday. Entry to the museum is not expensive. It includes a guided tour together with an opportunity to sample typical Cape Verdean food and drink. Such delicacies as couscous, grogue and liqueur are available. Highlights of the tour also include Cape Verdean music, and dancing displays. Cape Verdean Souvenirs can also be purchased from the shop at the end of your tour.
Kite Beach is on the east coast of the island of Sal and has become a mecca for kite surfers, hence its name. It is a short distance from Santa Maria, the main resort on the island. The prevailing winds in Cape Verde are from the north east, which makes the east side of ideal for this sport. Kitesurfing Cape Verde offers lessons for beginners, intermediates or advanced; equipment rental; and free transport back to you hotel or accommodation.
Buracona Lagoon. Buracona is a small bay located in the west of the island of Sal approximately 4km west of the island capital of Espargos. One of the best ways to see the hidden treasures is to jump in a 4×4 and go for a ride. Your trip will show you all the sights, from pastel-washed villages and mural-painted caves to the Buracona Lagoon – a sea-side cave whose waters light up to make it look like a big blue eye.
Pedra de Lume. Pedra de Lume is the site of former salt works in a volcano crater. The salt pans were constructed about a natural salt lake, fed by the sea. The sun evaporated the water leaving the salt. You can still see the old conveyor system for removing the salt from the crater. The salty lake can be floated in (similar to the Dead Sea). There is also a restaurant. The industry finished in the 1990’s, but Pedra de Lume has become a tourist attraction.
Shopping. There are a variety of shopping opportunities in Santa Maria, from street traders selling cheap jewellery and trinkets to small colourful artisan shops through to smart shops selling cloths and accessories. If you want a sarong to wear on the beach or around the pool you will find a large variety to choose from. Chinese shops abound and sell all sorts from food to electrical goods and clothes. For self-catering basic items can be purchased in many small shops. Fruit and vegetables can be bought in the market and there is a supermarket selling most of the things you will need.
Exercise. In addition to the variety of water sports, there is exercise equipment in various places around the town. These vary from roadside exercise equipment to a a fully equipped indoor gym in the Hotel Belorizonte. You might like to try Alcindo’s gym on the beach near Josh Angulo’s surf centre. This gym is constructed from flotsam and jetsam found on the beach. The picture below links to a page of movies, which includes ‘The Inspiring Story of Alcindo’, who created the gym in the picture.
Zipline Cabo Verde. This is a new attraction for 2021 and something for all ages – children, teenagers, adults and people with disabilities can fly with Zipline Cabo Verde! Enjoy a mixture of fun, great views, the lovely landscape of the Serra Negra nature reserve and also an adrenaline rush. With Zipline Cabo Verde you fly for more than 1000 meters at a speed of over 100 km/h from the desert down to the ocean!!!