The beautiful Santa Maria beach with its colorful & lively pier, the kitesurf competition, the lovely people. This is Sal, one of the 10 islands in the Cape Verde archipelago, west of Senegal & the perfect destination for beach time in February.
Beach time & people watching at Santa Maria beach
We had mixed feelings on the first day. We arrived late afternoon, spent quite some time at the airport and felt a bit harassed by the taxi drivers. It’s funny how after a good night sleep, you see things so differently.
From day two we started going to the Santa Maria beach. After all, we were looking for beach time in February :). Packed with colorful boats and home to a very charming pier, Santa Maria beach was our favorite place for one week straight.
In terms of eating places, we went pretty often to a cafeteria near our hotel. They do sandwiches, some warm food, and super good banana bread. A must is lunch at Mercado Central where you can have a 5 euro menu that includes a starter, main, dessert, and a drink. Why so cheap? Because it’s prepared and served by hospitality students. I can not explain how adorable they were trying to speak English and at the same time, serve the food perfectly.
Cycling to the kitesurf beach
Ahh, one of our favorite moments on Sal island. We rented the bikes from a place located near the Santa Maria pier and headed to the kitesurf beach. We kept seeing the kites from the balcony of our hotel every day so we were curious to see it.
At the bike rental place, there are available maps for the route or, if you prefer, you can just follow the kites :).
The path was easy, besides the last part leading to the beach when you
We were just days before the kitesurf competition, so the beach was full… Needless to say that this place is not really beach time in February friendly :).
Rent a car to reach the Blue Eye lagoon and Salinas
Should you wish to further explore the island, renting a car is a good option. We rented ours for a day and used it to explore the Blue Eye lagoon and the Salinas.
Because of extremely strong winds, we couldn’t go inside the lagoon, so we had to admire it from the far and via the drone :).
After the shortstop at the Blue Eye lagoon, we continued our trip to the Salinas, a salt lake situated inside the mouth of a long extinct volcano. There were only 4 people visiting when we arrived (30min before closing time) so we had a great time exploring the place and enjoying the quietness. The below pictures are a testament to that.
Know before you go
Getting there: We found an offer with
Accommodation: We had a great stay at Sobrado hotel located close to the Santa Maria beach, restaurants & shops.
Transportation: We took a taxi from the airport to Santa Maria for 10 euro. You will be asked for 15 :). There are also
Currency: Escudos(in some places they accept euros).
Food: There is a mix of foods ranging from pizza and tapas to fish. For snacks, they do this type of banana bread that you can find everywhere. Yummy! Anyways, for a good pizza, we tried Piri Piri, the restaurant at our hotel.
Other warm destinations in February
If Cape Verde does not appeal to you (although I could not imagine why), there are other lovely places with a friendly climate in February. South America offers plenty of options with Brazil being one hell of a destination. From dreamy Jericoacoara to colorful Olinda and for the beach lovers Porto de Galinhas and Ilha Grande.
If you find yourself in Brazil, don’t miss the hidden gem that is Paraty. Last but definitely not least, Iguazu Falls. It’s pretty spectacular.