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My many short trips
20th Jun 2018 - 23rd Jun 2018 - Cape Verde
Mindelo, Santa Maria

As the most barren of the islands, Sal provides a completely different landscape to that which we had just been experiencing. In fact, there is a small hill near the airport that you can see from Santa Maria, some 10 miles away. The hill is only a few hundred metres high! There is nothing to block that view – the ground is flat as anything and there are no trees or shrubs of any kind. The island instead is known for its miles and miles of beaches, along with water sports due to the wind.

Our journey from Santo Antão to Sal took two days. The first of which saw us take the afternoon ferry back from Porto Novo to Mindelo. The journey was rougher than the way out but thankfully once again the sick bags were not needed. We had a chilled evening first finding a bar for a drink, then heading for some food.

The next morning we were up fairly early in order to get to the airport for our internal flight. As the airline is only small, the website is fairly basic and so only in Spanish and Portuguese. Therefore I had enlisted the help of my Spanish teacher in order to book the flights! The plane was a small 2x2 across propellered thing, entry only from the back, tiny hand luggage specifications as there was barely any overhead locker space. The flight was 45 mins, fairly uneventful, but lots of cloud, before landing at Sal airport.

As we were using Sal as a base for some well-deserved rest after our hiking, we headed to the main beach area in the south of the island – Santa Maria. Here are numerous all-inclusive resorts, a slight turn from our usual style of accommodation, all on the beachfront. Our hotel turned out to be very popular with Italians and even had some Italian reps working there and throughout the day we would be offered all sorts of games and activities, all of which would be politely declined.

Our room was at the far end of the resort, looking out onto the beach, furthest away from reception, the restaurant and the late night bar. Three meals a day were included, usually with an Italian feel to them, apart from Friday dinner which was “Cape Verde night” and the offering was local food and much more in line with what we had seen the remainder of the week.

We were here for two nights and most of our time was spent eating, sleeping, reading or chilling around the pool. One day we walked from the hotel, along the beach until we reached the main part of Santa Maria town. Here were the usual array of tourist touts, souvenir stands etc. something we hadn’t come across on the other islands. Tourism has definitely taken a bigger hold on Sal than on either São Vicente or Santo Antão. And not always the good things that come with tourism. For the first time this trip, we found ourselves having to barter down some extortionate prices in the market and reject offers to look at people’s souvenir stands. The beach was very nice, but lined with resort after resort, nearly all of them all-inclusive. There were a few bars and restaurants but options would be limited if you were travelling independently.

The final day we took a walk outside the front of the hotel. The town was desolate, largely under construction, both in terms of new resorts and half-built local houses, and a million miles away from beach front view. It’s obvious that the large foreign run hotels, don’t put any money back into the local community. We spent the rest of the day in the usual format, chilling and reading, before a late transfer to the airport and an overnight flight back to London via Lisbon.



Next: Summary
Previous: Cova de Paul hike - just where did we go?


Diary Photos
20th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol

20th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol

20th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol

20th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol

20th Jun 2018  Ponta do Sol

20th Jun 2018  Mindelo
Ship Graveyard

20th Jun 2018  Mindelo
Ship Graveyard

21st Jun 2018  Santa Maria

22nd Jun 2018  Santa Maria

22nd Jun 2018  Santa Maria

22nd Jun 2018  Santa Maria

22nd Jun 2018  Santa Maria

22nd Jun 2018  Santa Maria

23rd Jun 2018  Santa Maria
Final night cocktails

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