Instruction and kit hire
There is definitely no shortage of instruction and kit hire in Santa Maria. If staying for long periods it is possible to work a deal for either kit storage or kit hire. Try one of these centres.
Located conveniently on the beach east of the town in front of the Leme Bedje. Rent North rigs and Fanatic boards. Normal rental: one week’s hire €200, two weeks €310, kit insurance €35, storage for one board, two rigs €59 one week (includes safety cover and full use of facilities). Provide instruction: 3hr beginner lesson incl. board €60.
Located west end of town offering tuition for beginners, intermediate and advanced plus private lessons. Hires Mistral boards and North sails. One week’s hire €180, two weeks €300, storage for one board, two rigs and safety cover €50 one week. Comprehensive tuition packages.
Josh Angulo Centre
Located east of town just back from beach. Check this out for heaps of links for everything Cape Verde, hire and accommodation etc. Rents Ezzy sails and Angulo boards, such as the Amigu, Chango and Sumo. One week’s hire €195, two weeks €330, kit insurance €30. Kit can be taken away from the centre to other sailing locations. Instruction available. Kit storage possible.
Located east of town next to Angulo Centre. Rents JP boards and Neil Pryde rigs. One week’s hire €185, two weeks €295, kit insurance €28, board storage €46 per week. Kit can be taken away from centre. Provide tuition.
There is little in the way of windsurfing kit shops. However, Josh Angulo’s surf clothing store offers a few of the basics like Neil Pryde booms, Ezzy sails and masts and fins, etc. Josh will also offer you the chance to demo some of his boards from his centre if you’re interested in buying. The other centres, like Planet Windsurf, also occasionally have some of the latest new boards, sails and masts for sale, so it’s worth asking around. There are a few other surf shops in town that sell some of the smaller accessories like harness lines and board repair kits.
taking your own kit
I often try to put the thought of excess baggage to the back of my mind, but it never goes away and the harsh reality is that it can end up taking a significant chunk of your budget before you’ve even left the country. Now when we fly, we prefer the security of knowing beforehand the costs of excess baggage rather than the ‘will we, or won’t we get away without paying’, so flying with TAP suited that end.
TAP operate a fixed rate policy for certain sports equipment with surfboards costing €100 and windsurf boards costing €150. We took three boards, two sail bags (seven sails), two booms and a mast bag (six masts), weighing around 85 kilos and managed to get the whole lot through as surfboards, as the person on the check-in desk didn’t know the difference between a surfboard and a windsurf board. This cost us €300 one-way. Coming back, however, we were given a great tip: at the check-in desk, state that TAP has a policy allowing one windsurf board per person free and to call head office to validate this fact. This is obviously a policy TAP advertise little, because after calling head office, and much to the check-in person’s obvious horror seeing how much kit we had, our kit made it through free of any charge. We can’t guarantee this will work for everyone!
so what kit?
We took 9 sails from 4m to 5.5m sharing the quiver and three boards: a 70L Starboard Acid wave, 67L Mistral Beast wave, and a 78L RRD freestyle wave board. I weigh 67k and the Beast, a more traditional down-the-line board, was ideal in 4m to 5m conditions. I used Sam’s 70L Acid a few times to float out at some wave spots like Canoa with a 5.2m sail. The RRD was good on flatter days with a 5m to 5.5m sail. Ideally though, we could have done with a higher volume board at around 85/90L that would have been better for freestyle and blasting with a 5.8m sail.
what it cost
sam & stew's 9 week stay
Total Cost: €5570/£3800
Flights: €670/£460 each
Excess Baggage: €300/£205
Apartment: €600/£410 per month
Kit Sotrage: €500/£340
Food & Drink per week: €290/£200 for two
Paul & Josie's fortnight trip
Total Cost: €3200/£2200
Excess Baggage: No Charge!
Apartment: €511/£350 per week
Kit Storage: €110/£75
Food & Drink per week: €365/£250 for two
In our view the best place to stay is at the eastern side of town (Zona Tanquinho), putting you close to the beach there, and the better sailing conditions. We stayed in an apartment on the main beach road with a view to the sea. That made it relatively expensive, but apartments are also available further back starting at €250 per week (from about €350 per month if staying for longer periods. Gas, electricity and water is extra on long lets, so budget an extra €50 a month). We arranged our accommodation through Kim Lark,owner of Aqui Sal, who is the only English letting agent in Sal.
www.capeverdeportal.com - for self-catering rental apartments.
Leme Bedje , at the eastern end of town. Complex of apartments directly opposite the main windsurfing beach. 48 apartments with small cooking corner. Single bed from €56, double €76 breakfast included. Restaurant. Rua 15 de Agosta; Tel: (00238) 421146; fax: (00238) 421684; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.lemebedje.com
Aparthotel Santa Maria Beach at eastern end of town. 21 rooms, bath, balcony and sea view. Single room €34, double €48. Nice aparthotel in good position on beach road. Tel: (00238) 421450; fax: (00238) 421478; Email: email@example.com
Sab Sab Hotel (Albatross) eastern end of town behind Angulo centre. Fifty rooms all with view of beach. Single room from €56, double €69. Tel: (00238) 421301; fax: (00238) 421161; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Odjo d’Água Just east of the pier. Live it up at around €80 per night for some classy beach apartments. Tel: (00238) 421400 fax: (00238) 421415; email: email@example.com
There are a large variety of restaurants in Santa Maria catering for most tastes from top restaurants like Odjo d’Áqua, to some great, local back-street ‘barbecue’ restaurants. Seafood dominates the restaurant menus with much of it caught fresh that day. You have to love fish to enjoy the food here. Yellow fin tuna, serra (wahoo) and smaller fish like garopa (reef fish) are the main catch. Good steak and other meat, such as chicken, are hard to find. The lagosta (cray), either grilled or in one of the many other ways it comes (seafood risotto), is worth trying if only once, although costs from 1200$ to 2500$.
The local food offers a variety of exotic dishes strongly influenced by African and Creole cooking. One of the local dishes is cachupa rica - a stew of hominy corn, beans and meat. Cachupa guisadabeing the best, which is just the beans fried with either tuna or fried egg on top.
Try the pinchos 150$ (fish or pork stick kebabs) and frango 150$ (chicken) that are cooked on a barbeque out front of the restaurant, where you can take a table. If concerned about becoming ill eating at some of the more ‘local’ restaurants it is worth considering that you may well get ill eating a lukewarm buffet at a good hotel, as opposed to well-cooked ‘street’ food.
Eating out you need to bear in mind that service Cape Verdian style is very chilled, and can take an hour or so.
where to eat
Americo’s: Popular place with good seafood, and one of the few places with decent steak, although it is one the pricier restaurants. On the main street by the Calema bar. Slow service. Accepts visa.
Cretcheu: Recommended for their very good pizzas, pasta and starters. Well priced at around 800$. Close to the pier by Morabeza. Good service. Accepts visa.
Hibisco’s: Sumos and sushi bar. Good sushi and freshly made juices. Also own-made filet mignonburgers and chicken pie. Reasonably priced (juices 250$, sushi around 250$ portion). Located behind the cinema at the west end town.
Nha Ihla: Local, great little restaurant. Good place to fill up cheaply. Try the Cachupa guisada,carbonara and many fish dishes. Good service.
Tam Tam’s: Irish run cafe-style bar. Go for breakfast or just take a coffee. Well priced – goodhamburguer completo (egg, bacon, etc). Good service. Find on Rua Amilcar Cabral.
Kreoul: Try the lagosta either grilled or seafood style. Best chicken and chips (600$). Good menu. Reasonably priced. East of town by the stadium. Good service. Leonardo’s: Italian restaurant. Sit either upstairs on the balcony or in the courtyard. Try either one of the excellent fish dishes, roast pork loin, pizza or the Parma ham as an antipasto. More expensively priced. Good service. Find near the Angulo shop down a small road off the Caixa bank.
Nocturna: Great, well price food. Fish, seafood, chicken. Small but popular restaurant - the owners are very accommodating and will fit you in if busy. Good service.
Odjo d’Áqua: In need of a treat then check this place out. The restaurant is behind the hotel, set right at the waters edge, and is open to non-hotel guests. The food is excellent, but get there early (7/7:30) to get a table as it does get busy. Also go for breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and many other courses. Quite pricey, but not seriously so. Find behind the municipal market. Accept visa.
Sab Sab bar and Leme Bedje are both good places for a spot of mid-day ‘power eating’. Pizza, tuna paninis, etc. Just off the beach east of town.
The diet here is mainly protein and carbo based. Don’t expect to find too many vegetables. Most meals are accompanied with rice and chips. The best place to go if you are in need of some good quality green stuff (plus cheeses, salami, etc) is Americo’s, who run a deli under their restaurant. It’s expensive though.
There are plenty of bars at which to drink coffee. Coffee in CV is very good, due to the Italian influence, and most bars have big espresso machines.
cost of living
Self-catering is limited due to the availability of food stuffs, and because what little is available is imported it’s quite expensive. It is generally cheaper to eat at some of the ‘local’ restaurants; otherwise you could be cooking tuna pasta every night. Most apartments come with hob but no oven. Bread, grogue, bananas and papaya (from street vendors) are some of the few cheap food items available. Food can be bought at mini mercados. Don’t expect much though.
Go to the pier (if just for the experience) where you can buy freshly caught fish straight from the boats. The fish is cheap and you can get them to clean it for you. Don’t expect to be able to buy any of the yellow fin though as most of it goes straight to the restaurants.
Two people can eat at a restaurant for a little as 1200$. Coffee 150$.
Other general costs: Bottled water costs 300$ 5L; French stick 30$; pack Pringles 450$; wine 800$.
Santa Maria isn’t a party town. However, there are still plenty of bars in which there is a sociable scene. If you stay east of the town start with a sun downer at the Leme Bedje happy hour where they serve ‘two for the price of one’ drinks (starts at 5:30pm) and/or the nicely placed Sab Sabbar next to the Angulo centre, which runs until 7:00pm (both 70m from the sea). Try a caipiriña, which is fresh lime juice, sugar, and grogue. Costs around 250$. The main beer is Sagres, either bottled or on tap. Bottled $150 at most bars and restaurants. The Sab Sab show windsurfing videos, and also hold movie nights.
Heading into town for a meal? On route try the local grogue. Grogue is distilled from sugarcane and can be a little rough on its own. Ponche is (literally a punch), made by adding honey and fruit, and much more drinkable. An evening wouldn’t be right without a stop at one of the small grogue shops around town and back streets of Santa Maria. It’s a chance to meet some of the local people, who we always found to be friendly. A shot of ponche costs around 50$.
If you have energy left try Tam Tam’s, Calema’s, the Chill Out bar, or one of the many other bars around town, where you can usually drink until midnight. Looking to offer yourself up as a wind sacrifice then Pirata’s (bar discoteca) kicks off after midnight .