One of 10 islands that makes up Cabo Verde, Sal is home to some of the best beaches that this archipelago has to offer. The town of Santa Maria has an enormous bay where you’ll find clean white sands stretching off to the horizon in either direction. This is the spot where the majority of the better hotels are based and most kitesurf lessons are held because of its ample beach space. Further around the bay there are some easy waves for the beginner wave rider. The main kitesurf area on Sal is Kite Beach, around a 20 minute taxi ride away to the southeast of Santa Maria. The wind here is side onshore to onshore and very clean with a great flat water area for freestyle tricks and practicing your first strapless gibes. The jewel of Sal is Punta Preta, a world-class wave spot, 10 minutes from Santa Maria. Waves are often in the head high to double overhead range so this is a spot for experienced wave kiters only, especially since its winds blow cross offshore. However, for those not quite ready for this powerful spot, Sal also houses Lembje Point along with an array of friendlier wave spots, all within a 10-30 minute radius of Santa Maria. The waves of Sal constantly remind us as to why they have created two of the world’s most recognized Kite Wave Surf Champions, Mitu Monteiro and Matchu Lopes Almeida.
CLOSEST AIRPORT: Sal Amilcar Cabral Airport (SID)
DISTANCE TO LOCATION: The airport is 15 minutes from Santa Maria.
TRANSPORT TO LOCATION: Taxi’s cost around $11 from the airport to Santa Maria.
BEST SEASON: November through May; for waves the best months are November through March.
WIND RANGE: 15-21 knots between October-December and April to the end of May. Between December and the end of March the range shifts and lies between 17-28 knots.
WATER TEMPERATURE: The water ranges between 72°F and 80°F year round.
LOCAL RULES/SAFETY HAZARDS: There aren’t any local rules except respect others in the ocean, know the right of way rules, and don’t litter the beaches or the ocean. All the wave spots have potentially consequential rocky endings. There is no rescue service for any of the wave spots on the west coast and there is no national marine rescue service in Cabo Verde. Be careful with drinking ice, only drink bottled water, and try to stick to cooked food. The largest safety hazard here is that you will love it and want to keep returning every year.
LOCAL TRANSPORTATION: Santa Maria is a small place so unless you are moving between wave spots, you really do not need a car. Feet, bikes or taxis are sufficient. If you do want a rental car, they can cost on average $75/day for a Suzuki Jimmy or similar model. The average cost of a car-pickup hire is between $45-75/day and the average cost of taxis between town and all the wave spots falls in the range of $4 to $30, depending on the spot you are going to.
LODGING RECOMMENDATIONS AND COSTS:
Santa Maria with restaurants, bars and dancing, offers the full range of low, medium and semi-luxury hotels as well as apartment rentals. Most kiters tend to gravitate towards low and medium-priced apartments which can be as little as $22/night for a nice place with a balcony and ocean view. Santa Maria also has a wide range of all-inclusive hotels; the closest to Punta Preta is the Riu Hotel. For more demanding/ luxury customers, there are a few 5-star places to stay in the area. Check out TripAdvisor for options. The Melia Hotels, although nice, are far removed from Santa Maria and you cannot do any watersports from this beach.
LOCAL WEATHER/AREA RESOURCES:
THE ONE THING EVERY VISITOR MUST DO:
Explore a nearby island! Cape Verde is made up of 10 different islands, each of which is a destination in its own right. Sal excels in offering a wide variety of watersports and beaches, whereas the other islands offer culture, mountains, greenery, hiking and volcanic experiences. Hence, one of the country’s taglines: One country, 10 destinations.
Photos by: Photo Arjan Bakker
Want more locations like this? Grab a digital copy of Tkb’s 2017 International Travel Guide. There’s an amazing variety of kiteboarding destinations out there and there’s nothing like scoring a great session far from home to keep your level of excitement high. Start planning your next kiteboarding getaway today!