Santa Antao is a world class paradise for walkers and hikers. It is an island with beautiful dramatic landscapes and beautiful ribeiras (valleys). The spectacular peaks and green valleys are surrounded by tropical fruits and vegetables such as banana, cassava and coffee. The mountain peaks are some 2,000 meters high and the slopes can go down almost vertically. There are many amazing sights on Santo Antao. In addition to the wonderful tranquility and the unspoiled nature, there are also beautiful beaches of black volcanic sand. This is Santo Antao, an authentic island with lush nature and beautiful valleys.
Walking and guide
This beautiful area of Santo Antao is ideal for beautiful walks / hikes. The paths and roads are well maintained and are also used by the local population. Some routes can also be covered by car. Handy if you can not or do not want to walk, but still want to enjoy. Below we have described 4 beautiful walks on Santo Antao in short for you. We advise you to do the walks with a local hiking guide.
Four top hikes Santo Antao
1. Cova de Paul – Ribeira de Paul
Duration: about 6 hours
This is the favorite walk of many people. Because of the breathtaking views and the frequent photo opportunities, you are probably on the road for a bit longer. The walk starts at an old crater at 1,100 meters altitude. When you leave the crater at the other side you get a view that you will never forget: standing on the edge of the crater you look out over the impressive green valley of Paul that lies in the depth before you. You can even see the sea that is 10 kilometers away. The walk goes zigzagging down via a stone path for a few hours. At every turn you get a ‘wow feeling’ again. The views are brilliant. During the descent you will see unusual plants, but also coffee-, sugar cane and banana plantations.
2. Agua das Caldeiras – Ribeira de Torre – Ribeira Grande
Duration: approximately 4.5 hours
During this walk you will pass Ribeira de Torre, this is one of the most beautiful ribeiras (valley) of Santo Antao. In the Ribeira de Torre you can see old pine trees, often half hidden in the mist. Together with the sounds of the birds, this point gives a special and mysterious feeling. The tour starts in Faja da Cima, also called Água das Caldeiras, at 1,470 meters altitude. You walk along a path with cultivated agricultural terraces and small houses and you will find small paths along the way that seem to disappear between the rocks. Passing the hills you come to Ribeira de Torre. During the descent to Ribeira Grande you will encounter various banana- and coffee plantations. At the end of the route there is also a grogue distillery.
3. Ponta do Sol – Fontainhas – Formiguinhas
Duration: about 3 hours
The walk starts from the town of Ponta do Sol, a fishing village with colorful houses and good restaurants to eat. From the village you follow a breathtaking road up along winding rock cliffs that hang above the ocean. The steep road eventually leads you to the fairytale village of Fontainhas. According to the National Geographic Fontainhas belongs to the villages in the world with the most beautiful view. Via Fontainhas you cross a hilltop and you end up in another ribeira. In about a 60 minutes walk from Fontainhas you are in the fine village of Formiguinhas.
4. Corda – Coculi
Duration: approximately 2 hours
This is a long walk for the experienced walker (difficult walk), but which is once again magnificent. You will be enchanted by breathtaking green views over the valleys. You pass authentic small villages and really go back in time. There are many cultivated agricultural terraces at high altitudes, with fruit trees such as papaya and sugar cane plantations.
Above we have given a short impression of only 4 hikes. There are, however, plenty of hikes to do on Santo Antao: from easy to difficult level, from a short to a long walk. A number of other well-known walking routes on Santo Antao are:
- Penede – Ribeira do Penedo – Pico da Cruz – Cova
- Espongeiro – Joao Afonso – Coculi
- Boca das Ambas Ribeiras – Caibros – Cha de Lobinhos – Lagoinha – Espongeiro
- Coculi – Cha de Pedra – Lin D’corv – Espongeiro
- Ribeira Grande – Coculi – Boca das Ambas Ribeiras – Cha de Igreja
I am planning 5 nights in two different places, which loaction give the best base for selfplanned hikes?
We like the area of Ribeira do Paúl as a base for hikes, it’s very central in a beautiful area.
Hope this helps.
Do you have any recommendations for guides?
we would like to go in December to hike.
Maybe one day visit tarrafal beach in the south.
What do you recommend us to move? Taxi or better to rent a car?
Taking a taxi or renting a car are both good options. We would recommend you to weight the pro and cons of both. Enjoy your holiday!
Ellen Lefever says
Hello, can these hikes be done with children, aged 9 & 8y old?
Most of these hikes are pretty long (e.g. 6 hours), so for childeren pretty hard. Of couse you can do parts of it.
Can these hikes be done individually or can one find a guide? And if so, are you able to recommend any tour guide companies?
These hikes on Santo Antao can definitely be done by yourself. If you find it more comfortable there are also local guides.