Exploring Tourism in Cape Verde
Cape Verde
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Santa Maria

Santa Maria, Cape Verde

Also situated on the island of Sal, Santa Maria is a lively and developed city. The hotels in the city are of the highest standard and will comfortably meet, if not surpass, the expectations of travellers from Europe and North America. The city is one of the most ideal locations in Cape Verde for a classic beach resort holiday. The sandy beaches that lie only a few minutes walk from the luxurious hotels offer clear blue water and watersports such as jet-skiiing and scuba diving. For tourists looking for culture and history, the main sight here is the Weighhouse in the old harbour which was used in the past to weigh salt before export.

Powdery sand meets turquoise water in Santa Maria, where morna music pours from beachside bars just a short drive from Ilha do Sal's airport and capital city. Add the sun-and-saltwater resort scene to energetic nightlife, and you get one of Cape Verde’s most popular escapes.

Santa Maria was founded in 1830 for the production of salt. Up to 30,000 tons of salt were shipped from Santa Maria each year. A pier was built in the area of Ponta de Vera Cruz and a small rail track was built to carry the salt to the pier. Most of the product was exported to Brazil, which was halted in 1887 when Brazil imposed a high tax on imported salt to protect its own salt production. The town went into a deep decline, only to recover in 1920 when a Portuguese investor resumed salt production. This continued until 1984. In 1935, Santa Maria was elevated from a village to a town.

In 1967, Belgian industrialists and engineers Georges Vynckier and Marguerite Massart opened Cape Verde's first resort hotel named Morabeza. After 1986, tourism became an important industry on the island, and many resorts and hotels were built in the southern and southwestern coastal areas near Santa Maria.

Santa Maria has an arid climate. The highest mean temperature is in September at 27°C and its lowest is in January with 22°C. Annual rainfall is very minimal at 76 mm, the wettest is 33 mm in September and the driest are 0 mm from the months of March to June.

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