Sal is a place of dramatic contrasts from its sapphire-blue seas and porcelain-white sands to its honey-coloured lunar landscape. Clinging to the isle’s southern shores is the charismatic resort of Santa Maria. As soon as you clap eyes on this seaside town, you can’t help but be captivated by its mismatched charm – it’s like discovering a Hollywood western film set but laced with vibrantly coloured houses and a stunning snow-white beach to boot. It’s an eclectic mix of the old and the modern and you’re sometimes not sure whether you’ve found a shop or a bar until you poke your head in to find a friendly smile welcoming you in. Take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets where you’ll find everything from trendy surf shops to colourful cafés and restaurants. Sit in the square and enjoy an al fresco meal or a freshly brewed coffee as you watch people wander by. Dive head first into watersports galore, such as surfing, windsurfing and diving. Or simply sink into the 8km of duvet-soft sands that dissolve into the translucent waters. As the sun blasts its last fiery red rays across the sky, grab a table at a beachside eatery and sample the delicious island cuisine such as tuna cooked to a spicy local recipe. End your evening in one of the lively bars or head to a disco and swing your hips to sizzling Cape Verdian beats. Santa Maria is, quite simply, the life.
Santa Maria is currently undergoing a sympathetically thought-out hotel development; however, this doesn't hinder the town's charm.
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