Santa Luzia is the smallest island of the Cape Verde archipelago with 35 km2, apart from the by-islands of Raso and Branco. Santa Luzia is one of the 10 islands of Cape Verde islands and is included as a star in the national flag of Cape Verde. Just like the by-islands of Raso and Branco, Santa Luzia is uninhabited. The three islands are on the provisional list of the UNESCO World Heritage List and are part of the “Reserva Natural Integral de Santa Luzia” nature reserve.
From the place Calhau on the neighboring island of Sao Vicente you can see Santa Luzia very well. The highest point is Topona at almost 400 meters. It’s island is dry, brown and bare. Rock formations can be found on the rugged north coast. The south coast has dunes, a number of beautiful and idyllic white sandy beaches and there is a shipwreck off the coast.
Santa Luzia was given to Luis de Castro Pirira in the 17th century. In the rainy period, the island was mainly used to keep cattle. Up to the 60s of the 20th century there were animal breeders and vegetable growers. Partly due to the lack of drinking water, the island is now uninhabited. Although it was previously possible to visit the island, Santa Luzia is now part of Cape Verde’s largest marine reserve (Reserva Natural Integral de Santa Luzia) where projects have been launched to protect the fragile ecostructure. A visit to the island is forbidden for that reason, except for scientists and volunteers. In the long term there are plans to set up an ecological visitor center.