Feature Article
350 sunny days providing as much as 2200 hours of sun a year and only 71 mm of rain mainly between August and October and 8 kilometers of golden beach make up this small city that started as a salt extracting area a few hundred years ago when the village was founded in 1830 by Manuel Antonio Martins. At its height up to 30 tons of salt were shipped from here.
Also a huge tuna fish factory used to be a big part of the village in the 20th century in the area of Porto Antigo I. Nowadays local fishermen still land a huge variety of fish on the pier which is distributed to homes and restaurants.

Santa Maria is the most important tourism destination in Cape Verde with 155.000 guests visiting in 2010. In total Cape Verde received 380.000 tourists which compared to the 12 million tourists traveling to the Canary Islands every year still leaves this place a charming untouched spot. Enjoy it!
Milu – tells the story

When I arrived here in 1991 only few hundred people were living in Santa Maria which was only considered a village at that time. Nowadays about 7000 inhabitants live here and they benefit from some of the highest living standards within the archipelago.

Just two decades ago we were like one big family – everybody knew everybody. There were 5 parallel roads only, 5 private cars comprised the traffic and animals like pigs, chickens, dogs and donkeys were wandering around free in this sleepy little village.
In these early years of tourism we had shortages of water and power. Even calling a taxi or an emergency vehicle was a problem. Taxis had to come from Espargos and they did not always bother. Soon we started to transport tourists in a horse wagon...

At that time the number of foreigners living here could be counted on one hand. Today people from Senegal, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe and Guiné Bissau are living here. But also Italy, England, Scotland, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Belgium, France, Czech Republic etc. are represented in Santa Maria. They are residents who have built up a business, fallen in love, surf or just live a no stress life. Today it actually makes Santa Maria the most multicultural place in Cape Verde.

...Certainly Santa Maria has undergone a great evolution in the last 20 years reflects Milu, who in the same period has become a singer with her own band, owner of a restaurant and several souvenir stores together with her husband.

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