The village of Santa Maria was founded in 1830 for production and exportation of salt.

As for the salt mines of Pedra de Lume, most of the salt was exported to Brazil until 1887 when the Brazilian government decided to banish the importation of salt to improve the national production.

The salt production in Santa Maria suffered a big crisis until 1920 when a Portuguese investor revived it and, in 1927, started the exportation to the Belgian Congo.

In 1961 the salt flats were nationalized and were operative until 1984 when the salt production started to decline and then stopped. After the end of the production, the salt mines were given to the local families of Santa Maria.

Most of the salt mines are now completely covered with hotels and houses built on top, but you can still see some of them on the northeast side of Santa Maria where some local people are still producing salt for an in-island use.

A paradise for Kite Surfers

Located on the southeastern shore of the island, Costa de Fragata is the longest beach of Sal with a length of 4.7kms. Due to the huge dimensions, Costa de Fragata is divided into three parts: Ponta Jelonga, Cabeça de Salina and Kite Beach. “Kite Beach” is the most famous of these and is the name that the people commonly use to refer to Costa de Fragata.

The name, as you can easily imagine, comes from the kite surfers that frequent the beach for the direction of the wind that blows toward the island. The wind direction makes Costa de Fragata the most ideal beach of the island for kite surfing.

There are two kite schools as well. The oldest one “Mitu & Djo Kite School Cabo Verde” is owned by two local kite surfers, one of which was the first Cape Verdean World Champion of Kite Surfing.

In addition to kite surfing, Costa de Fragata is also important because it is one of the main nesting beaches for loggerhead sea turtles that come to Cape Verde every summer from June to November to lay the eggs.

Additional Info

“Mitu & Djo Kite School” is not only a Kite School but there is also a restaurant, restrooms, sun beds, and a kids play area. The school is only open during winter months, typically from November until May.

During the summer they host the volunteers of Project Biodiversity who set up camp to patrol the beaches to protect the threatened loggerhead sea turtles.

Located on the southwest coast of the island, Ponta Preta is Sal's most beautiful beach.

Ponta Preta Beach changes quite drastically from season to season based on the ocean tides. Typically during summer there are no waves on this side of the island the sand accumulates on the beach making the shore grow larger day after day.

In contrast, during winter months big waves often crash upon the beach which wash away much of the sand and make the beach up to 50 meters smaller than in summer time.

While Ponta Preta is not an ideal beach for beginner kite surfers, it is an amazing spot for experts. This is why for the last several years in February this beach has hosted the first step of the World Championship of Kite Surfing.