1. Pedra Lume Salt Mine
This is a very unique sight on Sal Island. As you walk through the entrance tunnel, you’ll see dozens of salt ponds built on top of a huge crater. The salt lakes were formed through infiltration of water from the sea. Okay so it’s not the Dead Sea, but it’s definitely worth a dip. It’s great fun to float around. It’s 5 Euro entry, and a further 1 Euro to use the shower.
2. Kite Beach
Sal is one of the best kite surfing locations in the world and kite beach is where it all happens! The wind conditions are perfect during the peak season from December to May. Although rest assured, if you don’t kite surf, this is a lovely beach to take a stroll and watch the experts in action. There’s a couple of great spots for lunch also.
3. Shark Spotting at Shark Bay
Located near Feijoal on Sal Island, you can get a close encounter with sharks. Okay, these are lemon sharks, but they can still grow to eight feet in length. You’ll see them dive over the waves showing off their black fins. Two key points - Lemon sharks only eat fish, and the water is barely above waist height due to close proximity to the shore.
4. Project Biodiversity Turtle Conservation Hatchery
If your trip falls between August - Mid December, you have the added bonus of it being ‘turtle season’.
The conservation hatchery is located just behind the Rui Hotel. You’ll be able to observe the excavation of loggerhead sea turtle nests, learn about the species, and often see baby turtles hatch. This is actually a free attraction, although the conservationists do come round with a donation bucket. If you’re feeling extremely generous, you can sponsor a nest for 40 Euros.
5. Buracona - Olho Azul (The Blue Eye)
I wasn’t overly blown away with this place, but it makes the list anyway. The most important aspect of this location is the sun, as you want it shining brightly. The complex as a whole is great. There’s a bar with an open seating terrace, a natural pool to take a dip, and some great landscapes. The reason sunshine is important is for the main attraction. You’re supposed to look straight down into a natural rock tunnel and see a small 10 metre deep tunnel that reflects in the turquoise water to look like a blue eye.
6. Porto Da Palmeira
A colourful fishing village with a local authentic feel. Dotted with colourful colonial houses and impressive street art. This is a great place to walk around, check out the fishing port with the wooden boats reeling in their daily catch, as well as having plenty of handcraft shops to pick up souvenirs.
7. Santa Maria Town Square
Regarded as the hub of the island. Santa Maria is the centra point and has a town square (boulevard) which is lined with restaurants and shops from start to finish. A great place to wander along at night, try some of the local sea food and photograph the local street entertainers.
This is also on the doorstep of Santa Maria Beach which has an open-air gym and is a great spot to catch sunrise.
Ouril Hotel Julia was the small boutique style guest house I chose to stay at. The location is perfect as it's located directly on the town square of Santa Maria. This makes it the perfect base to explore the local area with many attractions within a 10 minute walk. This is the area where most of the day tours depart from too. The price was $55 a night for a twin room, which includes breakfast and in-room WIFI.
Cafe Coloniale is a restaurant I would recommend to try the local cuisine on offer. The restaurant is located in Santa Maria Town Square, has a decent menu with plenty of choice, and is inexpensive compared to other nearby options. The fresh tuna steak was a winner for me!
Note: There is a day tour available on Viator that will cover majority of the above attractions.