A Hiking Treasure in Cape Verde
It is said that Santo Antao enchants all who visit her
Santo Antao, located at the northwestern edge of the Cape Verde Islands, is one of the most remote and yet arguably the most beautiful. Its land is comprised of artfully arranged cobbled paths, steep ravines and lush, tropical vegetation. It is said that Santo Antao enchants all who visit her.
Wild and dauntless might be the first thoughts running through your head when first stepping onto the island of Santo Antao. With its 779 square kilometres, Santo Antao is the second largest island of Cape Verde and yet the most difficult one to reach. Getting there is a bit of an adventure: yuo must fly into Sao Vicente and then take a one hour ferry to Santo Antao. But it´s all worth it! Porto Novo is the name of the little harbour town where you will find innumerable public minibuses –so called aluguers –to bring you to Ponta do Sol, the perfect place to start your hiking tours. The village Ponta do Sol is situated directly on the sea, at the extreme north end of Santo Antao.
Amongst the many choices of different hikes, one of the most spectacular is along the steep coast to Cruzinha, where the sea is to the right and the wild mountains to the left. Feel the fresh sea breeze blowing around your face while observing the spectacular waves. Grazing donkeys along the way will make you smile.
Hiking up the mountain from Ponta do Sol you will pass an old Jewish cemetery, fenced in white bricks. Jewish people have been played an important role on Cape Verde for a long time. Most fled from the inquisition in Portugal and then later in the 19th and 20th centuries from Morocco. They established business enterprises, improved farming, and built factories.
The path becomes rockier on your way to Fontainhas, the next stop on the trail. The little village is rightly one of the most popular of Santo Antao as it looks like a little nest perched on the mountain. Little houses nestle up against the hill and its friendly inhabitants sit outside and wave to passing hikers and tourists. This is one of the highlights of the hike – besides the amazing views throughout – interacting with the Cape Verdean inhabitants. You might find yourself sitting in one of their houses, drinking a local coffee, and resting your legs while listening to the stories of the locals. A few of them speak French or English and are eager to tell you about their families abroad, supporting them with clothes or money.
Along the way you will encounter many donkeys, pigs, and chickens. Time stands still on Santo Antao and life is surprisingly simple.
One hour later, while passing a school on the way to Corvo, you will see curious, little children laughing shyly towards you and boys playing football.
Make a stop for a cool, refreshing drink at Manuels bar. You will find directions here to Forminguinhas and then further on to Cruzinha where you can get a taxi back to Ponta do Sol.
In the early evening, you often find live music at Por do Sol Arte – a quaint, charming bar right at the sea. Enjoy a drink after your hike and listen to the sound of the sea. What a perfect day! The team at Vista Verde tours will be happy to help you with any kind of organisation for a splendid and unforgettable hike!