Due to its international airport, Sal is the most well-known of the Cape Verdean islands. People rarely travel to Sal for its landscape; its flat terrain is arid and dry. The highest point of the island is Monte Grande (1332 ft). Although Sal's beaches have their own charm, there are no fine white sandy beaches. The island stretches 18 miles north to south and 7 miles from east to west. Today the island has the largest number of hotels but paradoxically, it was also the last to be populated. The first inhabitants arrived in the XIX century to work on the exploitation of salt in 1830. And, yes, "Sal" means salt. The salt mines were exploited until the 1940's, then the Italians settled and built the airport. The latter allowed the island to make progress. The island's beaches and waves attract windsurfeurs and those looking for a little time out from their busy lifestyles. Hotels of all categories have popped up in the area. You may, however, miss the lack of authentic local lifestyle. However, Sal remains a favorite holiday destination for its beaches and watersports.
The island's beaches and waves attract windsurfeurs and those looking for a little peace and quiet.
You can visit the salt pans of Pedra de lume, where nothing seems to have changed since the 19th century. You will discover the tunnel, the rails and the pink water in the basins. Then, go to Buracona, where you will find a pool of natural water (which you can swim in) and a cave with turquoise water. Afterwards, go meet the fishermen returning with their catch in the village of Palmeira.
When swimming, be careful of the strong tides, waves and groundswells, as they are all a common cause of drowning.
Avoid drinking tap water and having ice in your drinks.
The national dish, caechupa, is like a cassoulet, with a base of corn, bacon, and chorizos sausage. Fish, chicken, pork, rice and some vegetables are the basic constituents of local cuisine. You can also find excellent grilled lobster or crayfish. Typical of the archipelago, Grogue is a white or brown rum served like a punch.
Unfortunately, the artisanry here is not very developed, being mainly limited to crochet items (tablecloths, place mats, bedspreads, etc.), naïve-style paintings, some batik items, straw hats, and objects made from sea shells.
There are an increasing amount of Senegalese vendors selling imported statues from Dakar on the island's beaches. It is also possible to bring back shellfish, dried ocean sunfish, shark jaws and swordfish tips.