The appartment itself fulfilled by and large all promises. Nicely furnished, clean (besides one big cockroach in the kitchen...), except being in a very residential area and far from the beaches (15min walk to city center with major restaurants, 15-20mins walk to beaches) + having a close to 24hr non-stop barking dog at the neighbour's house.
Yet, Santa Maria and Sal appear not ready for tourism outside package hotels (and even inside 4-star package hotels, if you read carefully the reviews...). We expected an island somewhere in-between Europe and Africa, with major Portuguese influence. But that is not what we found. We were negatively surprised by
- huge number of stray dogs, barking 24hrs, day and night
- number of dead animals laying around (obviously stray dogs are still more or less systematically poisoned to take control of the number of animals)
- poor level of supplies in "supermarkets" (in five minimarkets did not find fresh bread, in just one... Plus