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With white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, beaches in Sal, Cape Verde are a haven for water and sand lovers looking for a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From Ponta Preta to Buracona Beach to the popular Santa Maria Beach, this guide will help you discover the best beaches in Ilha do Sal and make the most of your beach getaway.
Learn which beaches are best, where to find white sandy beaches to black volcanic sandy beaches and how to make the most of your visit. Santa Maria is known as a family-friendly beach, while Murdeira has great kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities. However, if you’re looking for a picture-perfect beach setting with natural rock formations, look no further than Buracona Beach – you won’t be disappointed!
Sea temperatures in Sal are the highest towards the end of September when they are around 26-28 degrees celsius. At its coldest, you’ll find February with a temperature of 21-24 degrees celsius. It’s perfect for all-year-round watersports.
The island of Sal is a hidden piece of the African Caribbean. Don’t miss our full Water Wellness Guide to Sal, where we highlight all the best ways to get on the water, wellness activities, healthy waterview dining, waterfront stays and Water Wellness Retreats.
Here are the best beaches in Sal, Cape Verde:
Santa Maria Beach
Santa Maria is Sal’s main resort at the southern end of the island. Within easy reach of many of the main hotels and accommodations, it’s the most popular beach in Sal. And it’s not hard to see why. When you first set your eyes on it, you’ll be glad you came.
A vast stretch of 3 km of pure white sand forms a crescent bay, known locally of Praia de Santa Maria, as well as one of the seven natural wonders of the Cape Verde islands. It’s one of the best beaches in Cape Verde. With turquoise waters, hardly any rocks, small waves, and minimal currents, it is perfect for any beachgoer. This fine sandy area is well-maintained and cleaned throughout the year. There are many facilities along the beach, such as restaurants, bars, shops, sunbeds to hire, watersports, coastal walking paths, amenities and car parks, adding to its attractiveness for a full day in the sun. The beach is also lifeguarded to the west of the Santa Maria jetty.
Want to see what the best beach in Sal looks like right now? Check out this moving live Santa Maria Beach webcam from the top of the Lobstar restaurant on the jetty.
Some of our favourite things to do on Santa Maria Beach:
- Explore the Santa Maria jetty and watch the fisherpeople prepare their catch to sell to the market
- Hire a sunbed in style from Hotel Morabeza, watch the chef do their thing on the beach grill and dine in their beachside restaurant with stunning views
- Get the blood pumping on the small Beach Gym to the east of the jetty
- Snorkel near the jetty as fish love the offcuts from up above! Snorkelling further along the beach is not recommended as sand whirls up with the waves making visibility not so great
- Get the endorphins flowing with a swim – in our opinion, Santa Maria Beach is one of the safest places to swim on the island
- Sit back and enjoy the views with a cocktail at Palm Beach Restaurant with sand between your toes, or Lobstar, an open-air bar with Santa Maria’s best views
- Head further west, away from the jetty. Spend some time centrally to begin with, but head west later on, and you’ll feel like you have the whole beach to yourself!
Ponta Preta Beach
This beach is known as the best surfing beach on the Cape Verde islands. You can walk here from Santa Maria Beach. Head west from the Santa Maria jetty, where the distance is about 4 km. Halfway along this walk, you’ll find Ponta Sino. It’s the southernmost tip of the island, recognising it from the bigger waves and stronger currents. There are small sand dunes in this area, along with the only lighthouse of Sal. It’s wide. Vast. Untouched. And you won’t find many people here at all.
Keep heading west, and round to the north, you’ll go past the Rui Hotel. Don’t worry, you won’t miss it. It’s huge. Walk past their many sunbeds, and you’ll start the 3km long sandy stretch of Ponta Preta Beach. If you don’t fancy walking and aren’t in one of Ponta Preta’s beachfront hotels, taxis are about 5 euros (2023) from Santa Maria.
Some would agree that Ponta Preta is Sal’s most beautiful beach. They might not be wrong with its untouched charm, but it also has a wild side. This beach changes drastically from season to season, based on ocean tides. In the summer, sand accumulates, making the beach grow day after day, and there are minimal waves along this side of the island. However, in winter, the waves grow and take much of this sand away as they come crashing up onto the beach – making it up to 50 meters smaller!
Ponta Preta is growing in popularity. More hotel resorts are being built. More beach bars are appearing. Soon it will no doubt give Santa Maria a bit of competition.
What Ponta Preta has over Santa Maria, and always will, is the perfect sunset being on the west of the island. Don’t miss this one – it’s one of the best.
Interested to see what one of the best beaches in Sal looks like right now? Check out this live webcam of Ponta Preta Beach.
Some of our favourite things to do on Ponta Preta Beach:
- Swim and snorkel (hire from the Watersports hut) between the wave breakers, making a calm, open lagoon for you to explore. This beach is known for its rocks, so this is a safe blue space for swimming which is also lifeguarded
- Head into the Bikini Beach Club – the best atmosphere, vibes, tunes and on-the-water restaurant, bar and club on the island
- Grab your vitamins and minerals from the beach-decked Juice Bar
- Watch the sunset from the chilled-out Reggae Bar – nothing beats an uninterrupted sunset with Bob Marley tunes in the background
Costa De Fragata, including the famous Kite Beach
The longest beach in Sal is Costa de Fragata. At 4.7 km long on the southeastern coast of the island, because of its length, it is broken up into three sections – Ponta Jelonga, Cabeca de Salina (which runs along the salt flats) and Kite Beach. Usually, all three are referred to simply as Kite Beach.
Given its name from the favourite spot of Kite Surfers, the wind direction that blows towards the island makes these ideal conditions for this wind sport. The beach is often reached by taxi, visited on island excursions or is a stop on the electric beach bike guided tours. You can also walk from Santa Maria through the salt flats, which takes about 30 minutes.
The beach is wide and sandy. Often full of Kite Surfers taking lessons, it’s an incredible experience to simultaneously see so many kites up in the air. How do they not all get tangled up?! And don’t stand in the way of one crashing down… they aren’t small!
Relax and watch all the activity from a towel on the beach, or sit back in the outdoor seating area of the restaurant, run by “Mito & Djo Kite School“. This oldest kite school in Cape Verde is owned by two local kite surfers, one of which was the first Cape Verdean World Campion of Kite Surfing. Here you’ll also find sunbeds, restrooms and a kid’s play area. The school is only open during the winter months, from November to May.
During the summer, Costa de Fragata Beach becomes a vital nesting beach for loggerhead sea turtles. From June to November each year, they lay their eggs as volunteers from Project Biodiversity set up camp to patrol and protect this natural marine wildlife activity.
Love watching kite surfing in real time? Check out this Kite Beach live webcam to see what it looks like right now.
Praia Antonio Manual Soura
We can’t mention the best beaches in Sal, Cape Verde, without mentioning Praia Antonio Manual Soura. To the east of the main resort, you’ll find this small beach close to Porto Antigo Hotel – about a 10 – 15 minute walk. Whilst not highlighted on many best of beaches in Sal guides, we have to give it some love for the beach gym that overlooks the panoramic views of the blue ocean. It’s certainly eye-catching, and well worth the small donation to use. All the equipment works really well! And there is a lot of it! Fitness outdoors is so good for you, with the fresh air, negative ions from the water and vitamin D waiting to be absorbed. It has feel good factor all over it – so don’t miss the chance to experience this Cape Verdean gym! Water Wellness doesn’t get much better than this.
Buracona Beach and its Blue Eye
Step away from the beautiful sandy beaches, and you’ll find the atmospheric volcanic sands at Buracona. In its rugged location on the northwesterly coast of the island, Buracona is a set of mesmerising natural pools carved into the rock. But it holds a secret.
At first glance, it looks like many other rugged landscapes beneath you. But during the summer months, usually around 11 am to 12 pm, when the sun reaches a certain angle, an effect is created. It looks like a Blue Eye, with many shades of blue. Something so simple becomes overwhelmingly magical.
Don’t miss an excursion that visits the unique experience of the Blue Eye. It’s the best way to get to this part of the island. You can get a taxi, but would be as expensive as taking a full day tour!
- Full-Day Island Tour with visits to Salt Lake, Blue Eye and Shark Bay
- Half-Day Salt Lake, Blue Eye and Shark Bay Tour
- Half-Day Salt Lake, Blue Eye and Shark Bay PRIVATE Tour
Murdeira Beach is great for kayaking, paddle boarding and other paddle sports due to the calm waters of the bay. This quieter resort is closer to the hotel and is reached by taxi or car if you are not staying at the Murdeira Village Resort.
It’s a narrow beach, with some rocky parts but is ideal for some downtime from the busy Santa Maria. Often visited on full-day excursions of the island, don’t miss this opportunity to have a look if you are passing by.
Do you have a favourite beach in Sal, Cape Verde? Are you planning on visiting the island soon? Do you have any questions? We’d love to answer them, or if you have any comments, make them below!
Inspirational content to spend more time outdoors, in blue spaces and experiencing Water Wellness.