Green valleys and historical paths - a potpourri for the senses
SANTO ANTÃO ACTIVE
From moderate to quite challenging, here you will find everything a hiker desires. Learn more about our hiking trips.
Impressive mountains with cloud-covered peaks, deep green and fertile valleys, a magnificent scenic road across the island and wonderful hikes through landscapes which are considered to be the most beautiful and spectacular Cape Verde has to offer, promise the visitor to Santo Antão a very special and impressive experience.
Santo Antão with its 779 km² is the second largest island of the archipelago and also the most northerly.
A broad mountain range which in many places exceeds 1,500 m (the highest peak at Tope de Coroa with an altitude of 1,979 m) divides the island into northern and southern sections. High mountains and deep valleys crisscross the island. In the eastern part of the island permanent water-bearing streams can be found - a very rare sight in Cape Verde.
Only a few beaches can be found on Santo Antão. The most beautiful beach of the island is on the western coast in Tarrafal de Monte Trigo and the way to get there from Porto Novo is quite an adventure (about 2-3 hours). The south-western part of the island is very dry with little infrastructure, and on the route between Porto Novo and Tarrafal you will come across lava and rock formations, shifting sandy dunes, volcanic cones and basalt walls which all come together to form a unique and lunar-like landscape.
In the south of the island is the city of Porto Novo with its harbour, where the ferry from Mindelo arrives (there are a couple of crossings every day and the sailing time is an hour). The main attraction is the old main road from Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande on the other side of the mountain range, a route which takes about 1.5 hours. The landscape quickly changes from being dry to being lush and full of greenery and trees. Fresh mountain air blows through pines, mimosas, cypresses and eucalyptus trees. The road winds its way to a high ridge from where the slopes drop steeply and deeply and the views are fantastic!
Ribeira Grande or Povação is the capital of the island. Ponta do Sol at the northernmost point of Cape Verde is home to the former small airport of the island. It is a quiet, very picturesque village with a small fishing port and a beautiful mountain backdrop. Here you will find various accommodation options. The dramatic coastal walk from (or to) Ponta do Sol follows a trail which passes through the mountain village of Fontainhas to Cruzinha da Garça and Chã d'Igreja, taking hikers along the sea cliffs and offering spectacular views to the Atlantic Ocean and the vast mountainous landscape.
The Vale de Paúl is an evergreen, lush valley that invites you to take beautiful walks. It is a refuge for nature lovers and hikers. One of these walks leads from Cova crater, a vast circular caldeira, down to Lombo Comprido along a paved serpentine mule track which zig-zags down the mountain sides.
In the central highlands you can find the village Lagoa which has a small school. From the nearby circular Espadana crater several beautiful hikes can be undertaken.
Santo Antão is known for the production of the "national drink" – the grogue (sugarcane brandy). Almost all sugarcane production is used for the production of grogue and a visit to a distillery should be a part of any visit to Santo Antão (not open all year round).