Top Activities for Sal – and is it worth the money?

Observing sharks, floating on water, catching a Fata Morgana, crossing the desert by bike or kite surfing are only a few activities of the Cap Verdian paradise Sal. I share with you the top activities and answer the question if it is worth it.

Most tourists who visit Cabo Verde will either way fly to Boa Vista or Sal. Both islands look similar with long white sand beaches, the blue ocean right in front and a lot of hotel chains. Also, both islands are really dry, with only a few cities and otherwise pretty much deserted. But both islands offer a few more activities and spots you can visit to make your stay a bit more varied. In this blog post, I will share the top activities of Sal.

The island is called Sal for a reason. For years Sal was used to win and export salt. Nowadays, there are two Salinas left. One is the famous Salinas de Pedra de Lume in the North-East, the other one is Salinas de Santa Maria and right behind the city in the South of the island.

The Salinas de Pedra de Lume are a very popular and famous spot to swim in – or better you can let yourself float in the water. You should make sure to not stay longer than 20 minutes inside because of the high salinity. But I can promise you your skin will feel really smooth in the end because of the salt peeling. The entrance fee is 5 €.

The Salinas de Santa Maria are not that famous. You can find them right behind the same named city. They are still used for salt production. You can also have a nice walk around them. They look really spectacular, some of the water fields are even pink and red. But locals told me to only go there during the week and before sunset for safety reasons (because the Salinas are very deserted on the weekend).

Is it worth it?

Yes, definitely. I both liked seeing the Salinas of Santa Maria but also floating in Pedra de Lume. I also think the latter is worth the entrance fee. I would totally recommend it.

Pedra de Lume
Pedra de Lume
Salinas of Santa Maria
Salinas of Santa Maria
Shark Bay

Shark Bay is a popular spot for tourists on the east coast. Here you can find a bay in the ocean with shallow water which is a perfect spot to see baby lemon sharks. Before you enter the water you should make sure to lend some closed water shoes. You will enter the water with a guide. Then you can see the little sharks swimming around your legs.

The little sharks eat fish but are not dangerous to humans. In contrast, the bigger lemon shark could become a danger to humans since they are easily provoked. However, the bigger sharks can not enter the bay because the water is not deep enough.

Is it worth it?

It is a special moment seeing the little sharks so if it is something you can enjoy then go for it.

Terra Boa

The middle of Sal is pretty much like a little desert – a lot of sand. Therefore it is also perfect to see a Fata Morgana and to do fun photos playing with perspectives. A famous spot to do so is Terra Boa. From here you will feel like you can always see water on the horizon but there is none. So you are actually able to see a Fata Morgana. You can use the same effect for photos. Since there is almost nothing else but sand it is actually hard to estimate distances. Maybe you know the funny photos people take in the famous salt desert in Bolivia. Here are similar ideas working (just of course the ground is not reflecting). You should definitely play a bit with perspective here and get creative. For example, I balanced with one leg on my camera.

Is it worth it?

It definitely gives you the Wow-effect and it was fun taking some creative photos but it only makes sense if you actually have someone who can take them for you. It is a little stopover, nothing too big.


The Zipline of Cabo Verde is located in the protected area of Serra Negra close to Santa Maria. The tour includes the pick-up from Santa Maria.

The starting point will be the valley station from where you will be welcomed and get an introduction on how to zipline. There you will also find lockers to leave your belongings behind. I actually brought my phone up with me for photos because you will also get a little backpack from the organisers which you can use to put in your valuables. Do not forget to bring your action cam with you to film the whole ride. Otherwise, you can also lend a GoPro.

After the introduction, you will be driven a bit further up the mountain and walk the rest up by yourself with the group. The starting point of the zipline is in 103 metres ( 337 feet) at the top of the mountain. The flight length is over 1  km (0.62 miles) and can reach over 100 km/h (62 mph). You can ride down sitting or headfirst hanging.

Is it worth it?

The experience itself was great, the guides were really nice and helpful but the ride was with 45 € ( 48.50 US$) a bit pricey. Overall, I enjoyed the ride but it was also pretty fast over. If you always wanted to take a ride on the zipline or just enjoy it in general you can think of doing it otherwise it will be maybe not worth the money.

Bike Tour

In Santa Maria are some bike rentals for normal and E-Bikes you can lend to do a tour. I got a flyer with a map on it but honestly, the way didn’t exist like marked anymore because they started building a house in between. This made it a bit more adventurous for me than I planned in the beginning. In general, the winds in Sal can get really strong. When I was there, the winds mainly always flew in the same direction which made it really hard going from South to North but quite easy the other way. However, it is a special way of exploring the island especially if you do not have a car.

Is it worth it?

It was a nice activity I could do on my own but also pretty exhausting riding against the strong wind. If you enjoy riding a bike you can definitely plan a little nice tour otherwise it is not really on the prior list of activities. I paid 10 € (10,80 US$) for four hours. If you want to lend a bike you can also use Komoot to find a tour or join a group tour of the bike rental.

Kite Beach

Sal is really famous for kite surfing since there are perfect weather conditions from December to April. There is even a beach called Kite Beach on the East side of the island not too far from Santa Maria. The winds are too strong for beginners but if you have already some experience, you can also go kite surfing here. Otherwise, you can just enjoy the colourful kites in the sky. The beach was also used for the latest kite-surf World Cup in 2023.

Is it worth it?

It is totally nice if it is the right weather conditions. You have to check first if it is actually a good day for kitesurfing (aka the right winds) otherwise the beach will be pretty empty.

Blue Eye Cave (Buracona)

Buracona is a natural pool which can be used for swimming if the waves are not too strong. If you are lucky you can also see the Blue Eye from a cliff. If the sun shines on the surface of the water it will change its colour to turquoise. The light is formed by the cliff and has the shape of an eye which brings it its name.

There is also a sightseeing tower nearby from which you can enjoy seeing the natural pools and the wide ocean. Buracona has an entrance fee of 3 €.

Is it worth it?

It was special to see the Blue Eye Cave and to take a look at the strong waves of the ocean (when I was there it was too windy to swim). I would totally recommend a visit.

Snorkelling and Diving Tours

There are several diving schools around the island where you can book different courses and trips. I just did a one-time snorkelling tour to see the underwater world. For these tours, you will not need any previous knowledge but can just join a group. I got snorkelling equipment plus a diving suit. But you can also book classes to learn how to dive and get certificates.

Is it worth it?

I can’t say anything about going diving. I met other tourists who really enjoyed it. But I did book a snorkelling tour. If I am honest the water was not too clear so it was sometimes hard to see something but in the end, we saw a few turtles which was actually nice. But there are definitely better snorkelling spots than this one. Take a look at the video for a better insight.

Where to find the activities
Trip map created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android

You have read the blog post Top Activities for Sal – and is it worth the money? on My Travel Journal-Blog.

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