Hug Bucket Fish Spa, Santa Maria

#4 of 9 in Spas in Cape Verde
Spa · Hidden Gem · Spa / Wellness

In the centre of Santa Maria, on the beautiful island Sal in Cape Verde, you will find the possibility to spoil yourself with a natural pedicure treatment carried out by the magical Garra Rufa (or doctor fish) - the first of its kind on these islands. Hundreds of hungry fish await your visit and look forward to make sure that the skin on your feet becomes as soft as that of a baby again.

This fish removes dead skin, but don’t worry - the Garra Rufa have no teeth and, therefore, cannot bite. They will instead nibble gently at your feet, and the wonderful tickling sensation felt during this treatment will also stimulate your acupuncture points. This makes it a fun - and beneficial - experience which you will most likely never forget.


It is important for us to ensure the highest possible hygiene at our fish spa - not just for the consideration of our customers, but also for the health of our fish. We do this with an active 7-filter system including UV sterilization, and replace the water 8 times an hour. We also conduct regular testing.

Note: you cannot have nail polish applied within 24 hours before treatment, nor have any open wounds on your feet.


The Garra Rufa fish was first discovered two hundred years ago in the thermals of Kangal, Turkey. One of the most popular stories tells of two brothers from the town of Kangal who stumbled across a hot spring one day, and after their long walk, stopped to dip their feet into the water. The moment their feet were submerged, the tiny Garra Rufa swarmed around them and began to nibble at their feet - hence, the sensational Garra Rufa fish treatment was born. They returned on a regular basis and adopted fish spa therapy as a hobby. It is said that one of the brothers, who had a skin disease on his feet, noticed that it dramatically improved as a result of the Garra Rufa fish pedicure. Soon, many locals began to visit the hot springs to benefit from the healing powers of the Garra Rufa. In the 1960’s Garra Rufa centres were created in close proximity and people from around the world started to visit these places to experience this unique treatment.

Today, fish spas are getting popular all over the world, and the first spa in Cape Verde opened 7/7-2012 by two Danish guys who love their feet ;).
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Hug Bucket Fish Spa reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
40 reviews
  • We loved this experience! So clean and friendly staff. I was worried it would tickle but it was more of a suck we only did 15 minutes but I could have done longer as it was relaxing. Definitely worth....  more »
  • Clean place, nice welcome, located opposite Angela's restaurant. It tickles the first minute, then pleasant feeling. 10€ for 15 mn, 15€ for 30 mn, even reductions for couples! Closes at 13:00 on...  more »

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