The smallest and perhaps the most tranquil island of Cape Verde. On the undiscovered island and volcanic Brava you will find the most authentic atmosphere of Cape Verde. You are meeting locals because of limited tourist activities. On this greenest island of Cape Verde you can enjoy a lovely hike, enjoy the flora & fauna and get in relax mode.
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We have collected the most important information about the island of Brava for you on this page. The information has been supplemented with our own recommendations. The page is divided into the following topics:
- Sights Brava
- Food & drinks
- Where to stay on Brava?
- Best time to visit Brava
- Transportation and getting around
- Frequently asked questions
Brava was discovered in 1464 by the Portuguese Alfonso. Around 1620 the first permanent residents arrived on the island. These were mainly fishermen from neighboring islands such as the Azores. In its heyday, the population grew to 10,000 inhabitants. Today this number is around 6,000 – 7,000. Brava is an old volcanic crater. The island has a diameter of about 10 kilometers at its widest point and the coastline consists mainly of steep and impressive rocky cliffs. Geographically Brava is actually part of Fogo. Deep in the ocean Brava is connected to the neighboring island of Fogo. The islands are only on a distance of 20 kilometers. The capital of Brava is Vila Nova Sintra.
Vila Nova Sintra
Villa Nova Sintra – also called “vila” – is the main town and is located more than 500 meters above sea level. The quiet town is often in the clouds, but in clear weather you can see the neighboring island of Fogo. In the center of the town there are many simple but beautiful houses. Mansions with the old colonial architecture from Portugal are painted in various colors. They are built in the sobrado style. The houses are surrounded by beautiful gardens and many trees. You can also find the unusual – but planted – Dragon Blood tree here. The green surroundings, the beautiful houses and the tranquility give a special atmosphere. Vila Nova Sintra is a good starting point to discover the rest of the Brava.
Furna is a fishing village where you also arrive by ferry. The village is small and has no real sights to offer. It is interesting to know that the harbor is located in a crescent-shaped bay and that this is an old volcanic crater. The edges of the harbor are parts of the volcanic crater and are a natural protection against the ocean. It is so well sheltered that Furna was a home base for the whalers.
A small village at the foot of the mountains with a beautiful bay. Faja ‘d Aqua is the place where whale ships used to anchor. The small village is beautifully situated with many fruit trees such as mango and papaya. There is little to do in the village, but it is definitely recommended to admire the beautiful bay or just to relax. The area around Faja ‘d Aqua is also great for hikers to enjoy nature. In the south of the bay you will find the defunct airport of Brava. The runway that closed in 2004. From this point you can continue walking to the bay of Porteto where you will find the only black sand beach in Brava. There is a natural swimming pool where you can swim safely.
Brava is an excellent hiking island. The distances are short, but the height differences can be great. There are several routes that usually start and end in the main villages. It is advisable to bring a good hiking map, as there are many trails. During the hiking tours you can enjoy the green flora and fauna, the fruit trees, the mountains and the authentic atmosphere. If you want to walk a little higher in the mountains, the village of Nossa Senhora de Monte is worth a visit.
Food and drinks
The number of places where you can eat is limited. You can also go to most accommodations for having a nice meal, even if you are not staying there yourself. Make a reservation in advance, so that they can take into account when purchasing the products. In addition to the accommodation options, there are a number of restaurants and cafes in village such as Vila Nova Sintra, Furna and Faja d’Aqua. Even then it is in most cases wise to book a day in advance (or immediately in the morning). In Vila Nova Sintra the restaurant O Casetlo is a nice place to eat. It is a Cape Verdean restaurant for good daily specials or a nice drink on the terrace and located near the main square. A good alternative is restaurant Manuel Burgo or bar Sodade. A few nice cafes are Bar Coqueiro and Bar Inho. Be sure to try the grogue or a cocktail variation of this.
Where to stay on Brava?
There are only a limited number of accommodations on Brava. Most accommodations can be found in the main town of Vila Nova Sintra or in the immediate vicinity. For an eco-friendly accommodation you can stay at Djabrabra’s Eco lodge in the northeast of the island.
Based on price, location and facilities, we can also recommend the following two accommodations. Located not far from the main square in the center of Vila Nova Sintra, Pousada Nova Sintra is housed in a nicely renovated colonial building. The apartments of Kaza di Zaza with a beautiful tropical garden are located in the beautiful bay at Faja d’Aqua.
Best time to visit Brava
In the period from October to February Brava is a green oasis. Partly due to the warm and wetter season. In these months everything grows and blooms. The corn grow fast and the flowers are blooming everywhere. This is also the best time to visit the island. Due to the mountainous environment the climate on Brava is diverse. Along the coast there is a dry climate, while inland there is a more tropical climate. It is also cooler in the higher places inland. The average daytime temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius in the summer period and drops to 16 degrees Celsius in the winter months. If you want to know more about the weather and climate in Cape Verde, view the extensive overview with weather information on Cape Verde.
Transportation and getting around
You only can get to Brava by ferry. There is no airport on the island, as the strong crosswind can lead to dangerous situations for aircrafts. The ferry runs several times a week on the route between the islands of Santiago – Fogo – Brava and visa versa. So you can only take the ferry for the last part between Fogo and Brava. The journey time by ferry is then between 30 and 60 minutes. Arrival and departure is on the east coast of the island at the port of Furna. Departures from Fogo to Brava are in the evening. And the ferry back to Fogo leaves again in the morning. Departure schedules may change and sailings may be canceled in case of bad ocean weather. We recommend that you confirm departure times in advance and include some extra time in your itinerary. To be on the safe side, include at least 1 extra day in your schedule in case the departure times change. In case of bad weather you most likely need more time. This is especially important for your return journey home.
On arrival at the port of Furna you can take an aluguer (local bus) or a rented aluguer as a taxi. The distance to Vila Nova Sintra is only 3 km. You can also hike this. Please note: this is a steep uphill route. You can also use an aluguer for transport on the island. There are no car rental companies on the island.
Frequently asked questions
The volcano on Brava is dormant. Small earthquakes have been measured in recent decades, which means that there is always a chance that the volcano will become active again. No eruptions have been recorded in the last 10,000 years.
Yes this is correct. Due to its location and geography, Brava has its own microclimate. Compared to the other Cape Verde islands there is a relatively large amount of rain during the season. Because of all the green, Brava is also called the island of flowers.
Brava is a small island. Hikers can enjoy themselves on Brava for a few days or longer. If you only want to visit the highlights of the island by car, then one day is enough. Add the time you want to spend relaxing and enjoying the authentic atmosphere on the island.
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