It was my last country in West Africa on this trip and one of my first trips which was actually planned well ahead in a long time. There was a specific reason I had to fly to Sal Island in Cabo Verde on December 6th 2019 as one of my best travel friends was about to finish visiting every country in the world. Yep exactly 197 at Cape Verde, the island just off the coast from Senegal.
How funny right? As this is what this whole blog section is about: my journey to every country in the world. And as you can see my friend Alvaro from @wanderreds did it already. He has been the number 1 inspiration for me to start this journey myself so when he told me December 6th 2019 is the date I wrote it down in my agenda and planned my West Africa trip around it.
He knew I was coming, but I still surprised him a couple hours after he landed. I booked myself a pretty chilled Airbnb in in the city center of Santa Maria on the southern tip of Sal Island. Alvaro stayed in the beautiful Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort right on the beach which was just a 15-minute walk for me. I checked in, dropped my stuff and walked along the beach to Alvaro’s fancy resort. While he was having breakfast with his best friends and his wife I walked in on him.
Little side note: Alvaro and I met in one of my favorite places around the world: the Maldives. We were both working with the Soneva Fushi Resort back in 2018. While waiting in the seaplane lounge a guy approached me saying are you Traveltomtom?
It was Alvaro also waiting to hop on the exact same seaplane. A sincere friendship was born immediately! We kind of knew each other from Instagram, but this was the first time we met in person.
Staying at the same resort as Alvaro for 4 nights was one of my favorite Maldives travel memories, click on the link to see a video of us together in 2018.
My trip to Sal Island, Cape Verde
My Airbnb in Sal, Cape Verde was just 2 minutes walk from the famous boulevard with all bars and cafe where tourists enjoy the Sal nightlife in the evening. It turned out be a perfect location cause every night when we went out and I only had to walk back home for 2 minutes. It was a big modern apartment with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and separate bedroom.
My trip to Cabo Verde was limited to Sal Island only and I stayed just 3 nights in this country. Sadly because there are a bunch of cool islands in Cape Verde and I wish I would have had more time to explore Fogo Island
According to locals Fogo is the most beautiful island in Cabo Verde. Another place on my bucketlist for Cape Verde was Praia, the capital, where I would have loved to feel the mix of Portuguese heritage and African vibes blended together as the only tropical Caribbean-like island in West Africa. Plus I know there are a couple cool hikes.
There are a bunch of water activities to do in Sal, but I didn’t even go into the water. Instead we explored the island by buggies. Sal is pretty much a deserted volcanic island with a handful of villages. In the south where most tourists stay we took a buggy tour around some remote parts of the island. It was definitely good fun and we got to some off the beaten path places in Sal where you can normally not get too.
Another great thing to do in Sal is to head to shark bay. This Sal activities seems a bit lame as you just get transported to shark bay, walk into the shallow waters, watch big sharks swim pretty close around you, back in the car and that is it. I must say though I actually really enjoyed it. There were plenty of baby sharks swimming around within less than a meter. The water is super shallow and it will hardly get your swimming pants wet.
You can easily do this tour by yourself in case you have a rental car. You can rent water shoes for $3 (you need them) at Shark Bay. If you even have your own (flipflops/slippers are not recommended) this is one of the best free things to do in Sal for sure.
Every day Alvaro, his friends and I did an activity, but mostly we chilled on the beach or at the pool at the Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort. We played beach football, had dinner all together and even met some cool and inspiring fellow travelers from the Nomad Mania Community where people connect that love traveling to every country in the world.
Visa for Cape Verde
For Europeans Cape Verde is visa free, so I didn’t need a visa. Upon arrival though I had to pay a tourist fee of $40 before I got my stamp. I paid by credit card at customs and get my stamp immediately when the payment was accepted.
Oh yes, almost forgot but they asked for my yellow vaccination book. When I said I didn’t have it on me, they asked me where I was from. I said: Netherlands, and I was politely welcomed to Cabo Verde without any problems.
Costs of my trip to Sal
In total I spent about $90 per day, a total of $270 without flights. These costs were mostly food, drinks and my Airnbnb. Both Sal tours around the island were sponsored, but would have cost another $30 per tour in total. The shuttle from Sal Airport to Santa Maria I arranged through my Airbnb host and I paid $20. The taxi back from Santa Maria to Sal Airport I arranged for $15.
Flights to and from Sal
I flew directly to Sal from Dakar, Senegal. The flight had cost me $160, the flight out of Sal was a bargain and also the reason why I stayed pretty short in Cabo Verde. I found a 6-hour direct flight from Sal to Manchester for just $80.
Search and you will find… but the most essential thing for finding cheap flights is to be flexible in terms of time and destination of course.
Any questions about my trip to Sal and Cabo Verde? Please leave me a comment below or send me a DM on my Instagram account @traveltomtom, where you can also follow my journey to visit every country in the world.
Thanks for keeping up with the adventures of Traveltomtom.