bored of windsurfing
Ponta Preta: This wave has three sections and breaks vary in size. There are left and right handers and Apex frames. Ponta Preta is one of the best right handers in the world that breaks for 150 to 300m, wrapping into the bay, and starts working at 1.5m-2m/5ft-6ft and holds up to 4m+/12ft+. The best swell is from N-NW, whilst swell from the west produces faster waves. This wave is for the pros and the kamikaze with any mistakes resulting in serious pounding and visit to the rocky shore.
Ponton: Located between the pier and hotel Odjo d’Áqua. Has great small wave perfect for beginners to the right and a larger left hand 3/4 ft wave to the left. No current. Ideal for beginners, especially at high tide, the waves remain nice even when the rest of the bay is windy.
Other spots: Sal’s west coast has a succession of world class lefts and right surf spots on offer to the advanced surfer, many of which require a 4WD to get to. The secret spots you’ll have to work out for yourself, but start at Mont Leon, Ali Baba and Murdeira…
Ponta Preta surf watch: When Ponta Preta is working the word will go out – either take a taxi, or walk, but go watch Josh Angulo windsurfing, or surfing, and other local surfers ripping in some awesome surf.
Car hire: Rag a 4WD around the island, see the salt pans and take a bath in the concentrated saltwater at Pedra de Lume, Buracona natural swimming pool and nearby the Blue Eye, an underground pool. It also worth checking out the other windsurf/surf spots around the island. It’s a great drive. This is the only country in which I’ve hired a car where off roading is actively condoned. There are few main roads to take you around Sal, and the only way to reach most surf spots, and tourist sites is via dirt tracks. However, half a day of bumping over corrugated surfaces soon sees off the initial excitement of off roading. Car hire from €45 to €65 per day, with an excess of €1000. Traffic drives on the right-hand side and an International Driving Licence is required.
choice of rental
HERTZ RentaCar : Located at the Hotel Crioula. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 00 238 421661. Daihatsu Terios 4WD for €62 per day.
ALUCAR : Email: email@example.com Tel: 421187 book through places like Sab Sab hotel.
Quad biking: Take a guided tour and see the spots. Can be arranged through most hotels. 1 person €40, 2 person €60 for a 2 ½ hour trip.
Rent a scooter: €15 2hr, €25 4hr, €35 9hr.
Kite surfing: Sal is becoming a popular location for kiting with exclusive spots like “kite beach” there is, as yet, little conflict between the sports. There are a number of places offering kite hire and lessons.
Deep sea fishing and boat trips: Grouper and yellow fin tuna are plentiful inshore off Sal and Boa Vista and further out marlin, wahoo, barracuda and tiger shark can be caught in Cape Verde waters. Bookable through many hotels or wander down to the pier and book there for as little as €35 for three hour trip on a catamaran and if you’re lucky you’ll come across some dolphins.
Marine turtles: The turtle is the national symbol of Sal, and every year, from late May to September, more than 3,000 loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) come ashore on Cape Verde’s beaches, with Salinas on Sal being one of their last breeding grounds. The area is now protected from any further development within 300m of the beach. If you’re lucky enough to come across any remember that these species are endangered and under great pressure from tourism.
Diving: Diving in crystal-clear warm Cape Verde water reveals brilliantly coloured reef fish and there are three wrecks off Santa Maria at 10m to explore.
Take a trip to one of the other islands: TACV - Cabo Verde Airlines is the main domestic carrier. There's a network of expensive daily internal flights between the islands; Praia, Mindelo and Sal. Private charters are available from Cape Verde Express air-taxi service.
Barracuda Tours can organise many of the above activities for you including trips to other islands like Boa Vista.
Although the official language is Portuguese, Crioulo is the language most widely spoken, which is a blend of Portuguese and West African languages. With Crioulo not being a written language, and few phrase books available it can be confusing trying to learn the language and communicate. However, using Portuguese or Spanish seems to be enough. For a list of useful Crioula words and phrases check the back of the Bradt Guide to CV.
Apart from fishing, the islanders' main source of food and income, music also plays a key role in Cape Verdeans' life, with international artists like Cesaria Evora.
Few hotels and even less restaurants accept credit cards so it may be better to pay for accommodation in advance. You will need either Euros (€) or Cape Verdian Escudos ($/CVE) to pay. Car hire companies, and those providing excursions do accept credit cards, but for everything else you will need cash. You can change travellers’ cheques at one of the two banks in Santa Maria (Caixa and Banco Atlantico). There are also ATM’s at the western end town. Commission is approx 500$ and is charged based on the denomination i.e. if you have e.g. €200 and €100 cheques it will cost you 1000$, so try and get one denomination. Also, some branches apply some unfair charges, for example, you will charge again if the serial numbers on the cheques are not consecutive! Cape Verdian Escudos are only available in Cape Verde. If you bring Euros it is possible to change money at a friendly bar, which may give a better rate of exchange than spending euros in stores.
Banking and business hours: Banks 08:00-14:00 Monday to Friday; Shops 08:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00 Monday to Saturday.
No vaccinations are required for entry to Cape Verde, however it is recommended that precautions be taken against cholera, typhoid fever, polio and Hepatitis B. Water is unsafe to drink without prior treatment. Medical facilities are limited and some medicines in short supply. Visitors receive free hospital treatment in general hospitals on presenting their passports, but health/travel insurance is strongly advised, with coverage for emergency repatriation.
Wherever there is a huge disparity between the wealthy and poor there is inevitably some crime and it is no different here in Cape Verde. The same rule applies: don’t leave valuables on display and bags on the beach. There had been a spate of crime while we were there with opportunistic individuals climbing in through open windows and making off with whatever they could. It is advisable while there to not sleep with windows open or leave doors open even though you might be in the apartment.
There are some secluded areas in and around Santa Maria and generally it’s pretty safe when out in the evening but like anywhere try not to wander around alone.
It is rare for windsurfing kit to be stolen in CV, as there is no way of getting it off the island, and anything that is stolen is quickly located and the individual is ‘black listed’.
latest travel advice and vital information
UK Embassy ( Senegal ): 20 rue Dr Guillet, BP 6025, Dakar , Senegal ; tel:( 221) 823 7392. Consulate: António Canuto, Shell Cabo Verde, Avenida Amílcar Cabral, Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde; Tel (238) 326625; fax (238) 326629.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office (London) - check this for latest travel information, embassies etc.
phones and internet
If you use Vodaphone, Orange or O2 you will be able to use your mobile phone in Cape Verde. Internet is widely available in most hotels. Try the Cyber Café near Calema’s where you can use their machines or plug in your laptop. Connection is broadband, so there is no problem sending those great pictures of you sailing Ponta Preta to all your mates. About 300$ an hour to use a laptop.