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Sal – The Salt of the Earth Island

The north-eastern island of Sal (Portuguese for salt – which the island has in abundance) is the main tourist destination of the ten Cape Verdean islands.

The saline filled waters of the flooded extinct volcano at Pedra Lume hold 26 times more salt than the ocean and are naturally heated. With the mineral-rich clay found at the water’s edge supposedly having age-reversing qualities, it is easy to see why tourists flock to float their stresses away.

Sal is also the driest of the islands, with only two days of rain recorded last year, so naturally visitors are drawn to the sandy beaches and crystal-clear sea to enjoy the winter sunshine.

Year-round temperatures range from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius, meaning that very little grows there, with the exception of wild asparagus, after which the capital city Espargos is named, confirming the history of Portuguese colonial rule in Cape Verde which ended in 1975.

In fact, Sal relies heavily on produce from the archipelago’s nine other islands, most of which have startlingly different landscapes and more rain, but a less-developed tourist scene.

With the recent opening however of the new Hilton Cabo Verde five-star hotel however, Sal has underlined its title as the main tourist island in Cape Verde, and overseas property investors may want to get in on the action.

High winds create the perfect conditions for water sports, including kitesurfing and windsurfing, both of which have seen the world championships held on the island. Scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters is also popular.

On dry land, quad bikes can be hired to explore the 216 square kilometre desert island, or those preferring four legs to four wheels can ride along the beach on rescued race horses to recreate those Hollywood film moments.

The aptly named Shark Bay offers paddling amongst metre-long but very gentle ‘lemon’ sharks, or you can gather to watch loggerhead turtles hatch and run into the ocean at the Project Biodiversity turtle sanctuary.

With just a six-hour flight from the UK and only one-hour time difference, Cape Verde, and in particular Sal, is once again growing in popularity with holidaymakers and overseas property investors alike.

Guaranteed winter sunshine means that the islands are becoming a credible alternative to the Canaries, and now may be the time to look at investing in the growth.

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