The most mountainous island of Cape Verde is Santo Antao. It is an pedestrian island for walking high mountains, fertile green valleys and romantic little villages. The second largest island of Cape Verde is also called the island of mountains, wind and water. The people are enjoying and they are pure. The authenticity that you can experience on this island is unique. Besides a perfect hiking island this is also a good place for nature lovers and to follow scenic driving routes. The mountain route from Porto Novo to Riberia Granda is one of the most beautiful off all Cape Verde. After a tiring day, guests can relax on one of the deserted beaches with white or volcanic black sand.
Santo Antao has the size of nearly 780 square kilometers and it has the second highest mountain in Cape Verde with a volcanic peak of nearly 2,000 meters. The island has a very varied landscape: from parts with black moonscape lava to thick forests to fertile valleys including coconut-, pineapple and mango trees. Most of the approximately 50,000 inhabitants of the island are located in the cities of Porto Novo, Ribeira Granda, Paul and Ponta do Dol. The south and west of the island is more deserted.
Sights Santo Antao
- Walking. There are many beautiful walks, from easy to difficult. The nature reserve at Ribeira Grande is a beautiful area with rare flora and fauna and scenic views. The west of the island is deserted and the more you will find a large amount of hidden cliffs and rocks. The rocks have gotten bizarre shapes by the wear of the wind. There are also ancient craters with lava flows. Because of the deserted area in the west and the secrets thereof it is advisable to take a guide.
- Ribeira Grande. This is the capital of the island which is situated in an impressive location between the cliffs and sea in the valley of the same name. The mountain route between Porto Novo and Ribeira Grande is an absolute must, where you sometimes wonder how the road builders have been able to do this. Take the old road and enjoy!
- Porto Novo. The second city of Santo Antao is situated in the dry southeast of the island. From here you can enjoy a beautiful sunset and you have a view of the mountains of Sao Vicente and Sao Nicolau.
- Vila das Pombas. It is located on a bay in the northeast of Santo Antao. This city will remind you to the country Cuba. Why? Little houses are painted in pastel colours, like the light-blue city hall. Behind the coloured housed are the sugar cane fields and coconut palms. The little church and the blue city hall make Vila das Pombas a dreamy place.
- Beaches. Because of the tides of the sea the best time to visit the beaches is in the summer months. There are white as well as black volcanic beaches. The beach of Tarrafal (black sand) is the biggest of Santo Antao and the sea is good swimable. Some other tips are Sinagoga (black sand), Praia de Gi and Praia de Escoralet (both white sand).
How to get to Santo Antao?
Santo Antao is located only 14 kilometers from the island of Sao Vicente. You can get to island by ferry which is departing from Mindelo (Sao Vicente) and arriving in Porto Novo (Santo Antao).The ferry will bring you there within 1 hour.The ferry terminal is within walking distance of Mindelo and has several facilities like a store and a small bar. At the terminal you also can buy your ferry tikcets. Do this at least 30 minutes before departure. Around 10 minutes before departure you can get into the ferry. The price of a ticket (one way) is around 8 euros.