Inhabitants: 20,000 - 26,000 (only 20% of the people living on Sal, are originally from this island)
In three words: wind- & kitesurfing, long and magnificent beaches, Pedra de Lume
Geologically, Sal is one of the oldest island in the archipelago and it is considered the epicenter of tourism activities in Cabo Verde. Being a top windsurfing, kitesurfing and surfing destination makes this island very popular by watersport enthusiasts. Add to this a collection of stunning beaches close to Santa Maria, such as Ponta Preta and Kite beach.
The rapid developing tourism on the island has a downside, however. Around 300 endangered loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nest annually on Sal and they are seriously threatened in their existence. Irresponsible use of quad bikes is one of the main factors that historically contributed to a great reduction in viable turtle nests on the beaches. Project Biodiversity is the organization currently working to protect them http://www.projectbiodiversity.org/
Recommended places to visit:
• Pedra de Lume: here you can enjoy a ‘swim’ in the salina, a salt lake in the crater of the now extinct volcano. The salt concentration is more than twenty times higher as in the Dead Sea which means you will float! This is arguably the most fascinating place on the island and it is on the candidate list for designation as a World heritage Site. http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/6106/
Note: you will have to pay 5 euro entrance fee since the salina is currently owned by an Italian firm.
• Espargos: a quiet village, a good place to acclimatize when you just arrive. you can walk up to the top of Monte Curral and enjoy the view.
• Pontão (central pier) in Santa Maria: you can watch fishermen that prepare a variety of fresh fish for the market
• Rua 1 de Junho in Santa Maria: in this neighbourhood you will find a collection of african souvenirshops, colorful painted houses and small cafes (e.g. Café Tam Tam)
Source: Dominicus travel guide Cape Verde, author: Guido Derksen. Bradt Guide Cape Verde.
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AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION part 1