Excursions are a good way to see an island
Bicycles, quad bikes, taxis and jeeps for hire
The easiest way to get around Sal is by Aluguer which you can pick up at the official station at Espargos near the Enacol petrol station or in Santa Maria near Zum Fischermann. You must wait until they assemble a full load. And we mean FULL. You can flag them down anywhere else but it may take some before you find one with a seat. Some drive like fiends so be prepared to be blown around if you select an open pick-up. There are also aluguers to the port of Palmeira, but this can involve a long wait. Prices are 100 escudos or €1 per trip.
Safari around Sal by pick-up or Land Rover
These can be taken in the morning or afternoon. Travel is in the back of an open 4x4 pick-up. The route takes in Pedra de Lume, and then across the dunes of Serra Negra to Murdeira Bay, Algodeiro, the Salinas salt pans in Santa Maria, finishing up at Hawaian Josh Angulo`s cafe for a soft drink or local beer
Another route takes in Shark Bay on the eastern side of the island, where at low tide you can paddle gingerly amongst the small shark that have swum in through the shallow water to graze. Wear some tough shoes or boots for this one. Prices €30 with children under 13 half price,
Quad Bikes for 2 or 4 hour trips on Sal
Take a hat and a scarf to cover your face because these quads bounce at speed over the roughest and sandiest roads on the interior of Sal. They stop at Murdeira to erexamine the sea and at Bom Dia cafe in Espargos and again at Ponta Preta beach for refreshment. Bom. The two and a half hour trip takes in most of the sights on the island whilst you experience the thrill of bouncing along on your own quad bike. Price is €65 for a couple or €55 for a single. Children are not permitted.
Another route is from Santa Maria along the coastal dunes to Kite Beach. It contues to the oasis of Algodoeiro and the beach of Ponta Preta. The 4 hour tours visit the volcano crater above Pedra de Lume, driving around the tip with views of the salt pans and on to the grotto at Burracona, with its eery deep hole. Price per couple is 2 hours €72, 4 hours €115.
Bicycle hire at Santa Maria
Bicycles are available from a shop near to the Porto Antigo complex to the east of Santa Maria. As the island is relatively flat, this is a good way to get around. But be prpared for stong headwinds in winter and careless car drivers at all times.Bike hire is €10 for 4 hours or €15 for 8 hours.
Santa Maria Road Train
Some Italians have imported a pretty blue road train, but it does not often seem to be operational
Advice and bookings for all these excursions can be obtained from the english-speaking Barracude Tours which has an office just to the east of the Santa Maria pier, on the road that runs closeset to the beach.
Turtles laying eggs at Ervatao, Boa Vista
From July to September there are night time trips to Ervatao Beach on Boa Vista, to see loggerhead turtles laying. This is one of the world`s most important sites for loggerheads. Prices are €60. If you help SOS Turtles in Santa Maria protect the sites against predatory tours, you can see endangered Sal nesting sites for free.
Spinguera fisherman`s hut in the back of beyond
Some Italians have converted a stone fisherman`s hut in the middle of nowhere on the north coast of Boa Vista into a very basic trattoria, where you can have an uncomfortable and expensive meal. Parties must be at least 6 . Price €45 or €55 with local spiny lobster for lunch.
Sugar Cane and Grogue on Santa Antao
From Porto Novo by car over the mountains to Ribiera Grande, and Ponto do Sol for lunch. A drive along the cliff face to the hanging village of Fontainhas. On the way you will see sugar cane plantations and a trditional distillery producing Grog. Price €83 for minimum of 2 people.
Visit the Cha de Caldeira on Fogo
Fogo last erupted in 1995, and is still alive. In the Cha da Caldeiras, amid the black moonscape and lava flows, are two villages, with vinyards and fruit trees.You can buy the local wine and have a meal at Pedra Brabo or take a guide up to the peak at 2,829m. Prices from Sao Felipe €60 for a day trip or €200 from Sal.
Taxis are cheap and readily availableSome taxi drivers speak excellent English, particularly Alfonso who drives on Sal and spent time in the British Merchant Marine. He will take you shopping, or on tours of the island for half a day for a very modest rate, that he will tell you in advance. Typical rates ar 500 escudos from the airport to Murdeira or 800 to Santa Maria, Rates increase after dark. Not all drivers are as honest.