This is our second hike on the Cape Verde island of Santo Antao. This walking paradise has so many beautiful routes, but we are advised to take the walk today to the village Fontainhas. According to some local people, whom we have spoken before, this is a spectacular hike and not too difficult. Despite some muscle pain from the walk of the previous day, we are really looking forward to it.
After getting up early, we try to eat a good breakfast for this long day. We plot our route during breakfast and decide that we do not want to walk back and forth. It remains a holiday and must of course remain fun for us. So we will have to arrange an alugueres (shared mini van) or taxi. Our plan is to have us dropped near the mountain village of Fontainhas, located on the north coast of Santo Antao. From there we want to walk along the coast and then turn around and then walk straight and downhill towards Ponto do Sol. This will be a route that goes down 75%. Walking down seems easier than going up, but with our muscle pain from the previous day walking down is actually harder. Hopefully not too hard.
Our departure starts at the town of Ribeira Grande. Here we try to catch an alugueres that always runs fixed routes. It turns out that we have to change twice and have to do the last part with a normal taxi. The super nice driver only tells us that he can only leave when his aluguer is filled with people. This could take a few hours. After some friendly conversation, he offers us to drive for just a small amount more. Very nice and a lot cheaper than a taxi.
The road from Ribeira Grande to Fontainhas is impressive. A narrow paved road leads us along high peaks and deep ravines. I am lucky to be on the right side of the mini van, because I am looking directly into the ocean along the abyss. Really gorgeous! At height the road follows the side of the mountain. How this road is constructed is a question. It is a fine piece of craftsmanship by people who had no fear of heights. After we have passed the town of Ponto do Sol we take a small road towards Fontainhas. This road goes further uphill and is very narrow with an enormous abyss. How happy I am that I do not have to drive. And if I had been the driver I would have thrown us out here.
After a lot of beautiful views and some bumping in the mini bus after a few kilometers we see the fairytale village of Fontainhas. A highlight! The houses of Fontainhas all have different colors and the village is in an almost impossible place: high against a mountain ridge with below a mountain valley of a few hundred meters deep. My photo camera makes overtime! Fontainhas is our starting point for the walk.
We first visit the small village and then want to cross the mountain towards the small village of Corvo. The local population helps us to find the right path and fortunately the road looks fine again. The first part goes uphill to a mountain top that gives views over the valley, the colored houses of Fontainhas and of course the ocean. On the way we only encounter some farmers with donkeys. Once on top of the mountain we have indeed a great view and we see the town of Ponto do Sol in the distance. Our road continues down towards the fishing village of Corvo. The green valley and the steep mountain ridges with views over the ocean make this stretch of path really beautiful. At Corvo we meet up with a Cape Verdean who gives us some walking technique tips. This man has years of experience with mountain walking up and down and he thought that we could definitely learn from it. After a good chat, we walk the last part of the route back to Fontainhas.
Ponta do Sol
From Fontainhas we walk towards Ponta do Sol, which means generally walking downhill. We see Ponta do Sol in the distance. It deservesmits name, the sun shines continuously. This is because it is located on a flat piece of land that protrudes from the mountains. Clouds do not stay here. The route to Ponta do Sol stands out for the beautiful road. It follows the shape of the mountain and on the other side you have the abyss with a view over the sea. During the descent we meet several local walkers and we also see how pigs are kept.
Tired from the walk we arrive in Ponta do Sol in the afternoon. Before we go looking around in the village, we enjoy a well deserved lunch at the harbor. This time we choose the local dish cachupa with fried egg. This nutritious meal costs only a few euros and tastes great. After lunch we explore the fishing village. In Ponta do Sol it is striking how comfortable the atmosphere is and what many colored houses there are.
At the central square is the town hall, a beautiful and colored colonial building that overlooks almost the entire village. In Ponta do Sol some hotels, restaurants and bars can be found. This makes it a convenient starting point for walkers. Our afternoon is soon ending and we have to leave again towards Ribeira Grande. The route and walk at Fontainhas and Ponta do Sol was a breathtaking experience. Something that can not actually be described. Hopefully we will be back in a few years to be able to experience this again.
Background travel report
This travel report comes from the Schuurmans family. In mid-January they made a trip to Cape Verde and visited the islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antao. In the walking paradise Santo Antao they have done several walks, including this direction Fontainhas. Do you also want to share your experiences and / or tips? Write a nice travel report and send us this.