Santo Antão

Geography

The island is entirely made up of volcanic material. The tallest mountain is Topo de Coroa, reaching a height of 1,979 m: The second tallest is Pico da Cruz at 1,585 m. The island is divided into north and south by a mountain range long considered impenetrable but now crossed by a road. The island’s main town is Ponta do Sol on the north coast. Its ferry port is Porto Novo on the south coast. A part of the island in the southeast has an arid climate, while the northwest receives relatively normal precipitation. Its valleys are suffering heavy erosion.

Water Areas

Bathing beaches and fishing areas are found in Tarrafal de Monte Trigo (only accessible by private boats or a rocky road on which a 4×4 is required):

  • Ribeira do Passo, near Passo

  • Ribeira das Bras, near Ribeira das Braso

Mountains

The island is considered one of the most mountainous of Cape Verde. Its mountains are composed of basalt. Many of its volcanoes are young, especially its calderas. Since 1999, vulcanologists have observed continuous rising of the water temperature of the sea in the area of Ponta do Sol which may indicate the risk of a new eruption in the area.

Transport

To get to Santo Antão you have to fly to São Vicente. Flying to Cape Verde isn’t always expensive. In low season you can fly from Brussels to the island Sal. An additional 1 hour flight with TACV airlines takes you to São Vicente (VXE). TACV has direct flights to São Vicente from Amsterdam – Paris – Lisbon – Boston. From São Vicente several ferry boats leave to Santo Antão and São Nicolau.

Lodging

There are hotels in Ponta do Sol and Paúl, as well as boarding-houses of good quality with different prices in Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Tarrafal and other communities. In the more isolated villages, lodging is possible in the supplementary buildings of the houses of the local residents aimed at lodging the visitors who decide to venture themselves in long walks that take more than one day. The tourist season starts in November and ends in May. Make sure you book your guesthouse on time when you plan to come during that period.

Sports

Being an island of remarkable hills and peaks, levadas and valleys, Santo Antão offers endless sports activities, namely hiking, trekking and cycling.  Be carried away by the existing tracks and get involved in the beautiful and panoramic landscapes of the island.

Festivals
  • Jan 17. – Municipality Day in Ribeira Grande

  • May 3 – Santa Cruz in Ribeira Grande

  • May 13- N. Sra. de Fátima in Lombinho

  • June 13 – Municipality Day in Paúl / Sto. António in Vila das Pombas

  • June 24 – São João in Porto Novo

  • June 29 – São Pedro in Ribeira Grande

  • August 15 – N. Sra. de Piedade in Janela

  • August/September – Festival de Escorraleto in Porto Novo

  • September 2 – Municipality Day in Porto Novo

  • September 24 – N. Sra. do Livramento in Ribeira Grande

  • October 7 – N. Sra. do Rosário in Ribeira Grande

  • November – music festival ‘Sete sois sete luas’ (seven suns and seven moons) in Ribeira Grande

  • November 30 – Santo André in Porto Novo

Cuisine

Perhaps this is the ideal place to experience the best grogue made in Cape Verde, a rum high in alcohol, produced by fermentation of sugar cane.   On the way from Porto Novo to Ribeira das Patas, you can visit a farm that is today a unique experience of a tourist self-sustaining village in Cape Verde. The islands gastronomy is very rich and based on a great variety of fish and meat dishes.  One of the most traditional an appreciated dishes is caldeirada de cabrito, goat meat stew and beans. The traditional confitures and pastry are also very rich and tasty.  In Paúl and Vila das Pombas you can try special recipes such as sugar-cane syrup cake, banana pudding etc. There is a reasonable offer of restaurants, but you may also take your meals in the lodging places.  Fresh and tasty goat milk cheese is sold in Porto Novo, very close to the Port, during the departure and arrival hours of the boats.

Economy

Fishing and agriculture are the main industries on the island. The island’s agriculture products include sugar cane, yams, cassava, bananas, mangoes, and grain. The main product on the island is a kind of rum known as grogue.

Map
Ferries
Excursions with Pascal
Excursions with Pascal

Boring, unpersonalized tours in big groups and overfilled buses: no thanks!  Pascal lives several years on the island and knows the little hidden corners, understands what Santo Antão is all about and lives his own “stressless” life. Pascal organises private excursions for max. 4 persons.  He speaks Dutch, English, German and Creole of course.  As you arrive in Porto Novo – the port of Santo Antão – at about 09:00 in the morning, Pascal will pick you up there.  no bai! (let’s go!). A traditional lunch and grogue! Tasting is always part of the trip!

  • 1 day

    €60 p.p.
Taxi Tour

Budget taxi tours around the island. The driver isn’t a guide, but he will show you the most important spots of Santo Antão and stop here and there to enjoy the views. One day and two day tours are possible. The first time you go to Santo Antão you will visit the east side: At 08:00 in the morning you head from Mindelo’s port to Porto Novo in Santo Antão. The tour goes from Porto Novo to Chã de Pedra and Corda, up to the former capital Ribeira Grande. On the way back you visit Paúl and the stunning tropical Ribeira de Paúl. You’ll see the villages Pombas and Janela with the lighthouse a bit further. We get back to the dry side of Santo Antão down to Porto Novo where the driver says goodbye at the ferry boat that leaves at 17:00. You have some time before the ferry leaves to buy some cheese, local fruits and vegetables from the ladies who sit next to the port. The driver has a comfortable minibus with a capacity of max. 10 persons. Transport for one day – boat tickets, lunch and drinks not included. At 07:30 in the morning you step on the ferry to Porto Novo in Santo Antão. The driver picks you up at 09:00 in Porto Novo and brings you back there at 16:30, half an hour before the ferry leaves for São Vicente.

1 to 15 persons

  • Groups to 15 persons

    €97
  • Porto Novo – Ribeira Grande

    €44
  • Porto Novo – Paul

    €71
  • Porto Novo – Ponta

    €44
  • Porto Novo – Tarafal

    €100

Porto Novo

Make sure you visit the small beach of the city and accompany the fishermen trawling the net loaded with tuna fish.  Very close, women sell fresh fish.  If you walk towards the east, for about 25 minutes, you will arrive at praia de Escurralete.  It takes you 5 min. by car, by taking the new road.

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Farol de Boi

It’s the biggest and oldest lighthouse of the archipelago, inaugurated in 1886 to sign the channel of São Vicente.  It’s located in Pontinha de Janela.

Statue of Santo António

Located close to the Vila das Pombas on a place that offers a view of 180° of the valley of Paúl and the ocean.  If you go along the valley towards Eito and Rocha Grande, you’ll suddenly be surprised by huge walls of exuberant vegetation.  Passagem is on top, with a municipal park encrusted in the midst of almond trees and bougainvilles.

Chã de Igreja

It’s a charming village built on a rocky cape, with a whitewashed church and a row of houses.

Cova

Formed by the crater of an extinct volcano, located between Porto Novo and Ribeira Grande.

Natural park of Moroços

24 out of the 44 species identified in the area of Moroços are currently considered endemic to Cape Verde.  Nine of these endemic species are included in the Cape Verde First Red List.

Ponta do Sol

A very small, quiet village on the northeast coast of the island.  The local residents dedicate themselves almost exclusively to fishing.  There are few but good restaurants where you can eat fresh lobster.

Ribeira Grande

The capital of Santo Antão.  It’s a small village that can be easily toured on foot.  Next to the village you find two green valleys – Ribeira Grande and Ribeira da Torre (tip: visit the traditional grogue factory)- very rich in water.

Visit also the Casa de Roberto Duarte Silva: it’s one of the oldest colonial buildings in Provoação (Ribeira Grande), and the house where the scientist Robert Duarte Silva was born.

The church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário:

Located in the centre of the village of Ribeira Grande. Typical colonial architecture, dating back to the 19th century.

Tarrafal de Monte Trigo

Located on the extreme southeast point of the island, this place is visited for the beauty and majesty of its aggressive mountains.  You’ll also find the longest beach of Santo Antão.

The valley of Pául

This valley is one of the greenest and beautiful places of Cape Verde.  Streams of water running down the valleys can be seen all year round.  There are many routes that can be crossed on foot or by car; the road that connects Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande is full of wonderful surprises.

Découverte de Santo Antão – 2 jours et 1 nuit

Au départ de Mindelo, trois journées d’excursions guidées. Le premier jour, départ pour le cratère de Cova par la route de La Corda, descente jusqu’au village de Cabo de Ribeira. Déjeuner et descente de la vallée de Paul jusqu’à la côte. Retour vers Ponta do Sol en collectif. Le deuxième jour: départ à pied de Ponta do Sol vers Cruzinha par le chemin côtier. Pique nique dans le village de Furminginha. Retour en bus privé vers Ponta do Sol par la vallée de Ribeira Grande. Le troisième jour: départ en bus privé de Ponta do Sol jusqu’au village de Coculi. Randonnée de 3h 1/2 à Chão d’Pedra jusqu’au village de Pia de Cima. Pique nique à Coculi. Retour vers Porto Novo en bus privé via Janela. Embarquement à 16h30 et arrivée à Mindelo à 18h00. Le prix inclut: les billets de ferry aller/retour, les 2 journées d’excursion guidées, les transports en bus privé et collectif, le déjeuner et dîner jour 1, le pique-nique jour 2, une nuit d’hôtel en chambre double ou Twin (supplement €15 p.p. pour chambre simple).

  • 2 pers

    €200 p.p.
  • 3 pers

    €175 p.p.
  • 4 pers

    €130 p.p.
  • 5 pers

    €118 p.p.
  • 6 pers

    €107 p.p.
Découverte de Santo Antão – 3 jours et 2 nuits

Au départ de Mindelo, trois journées d’excursions guidées. Le premier jour, départ pour le cratère de Cova par la route de La Corda, descente jusqu’au village de Cabo de Ribeira. Déjeuner et descente de la vallée de Paul jusqu’à la côte. Retour vers Ponta do Sol en collectif. Le deuxième jour: départ à pied de Ponta do Sol vers Cruzinha par le chemin côtier. Pique nique dans le village de Furminginha. Retour en bus privé vers Ponta do Sol par la vallée de Ribeira Grande. Le troisième jour: départ en bus privé de Ponta do Sol jusqu’au village de Coculi. Randonnée de 3h 1/2 à Chão d’Pedra jusqu’au village de Pia de Cima. Pique nique à Coculi. Retour vers Porto Novo en bus privé via Janela. Embarquement à 16h30 et arrivée à Mindelo à 18h00. Le prix inclut: les billets de ferry aller/retour, les 2 journées d’excursion guidées, les transports en bus privé et collectif, le déjeuner et dîner jour 1, le pique-nique jour 2, une nuit d’hôtel en chambre double ou Twin (supplement €15 p.p. pour chambre simple).

  • 2 pers

    €313 p.p.
  • 3 pers

    €249 p.p.
  • 4 pers

    €224 p.p.
  • 5 pers

    €203 p.p.
  • 6 pers

    €194 p.p.
Journée de trekking

Au départ de votre hôtel, une journée de trekking guidée de 6/7 h, difficulté moyenne, qui vous emmènera du village de Lombo Branco à Ribeira Grande par Pinhão et Monte Joana. La montée jusqu’à Lombo Branco se fait en transport privé. Déjeuner prévu chez l’habitant. Le retour de Ribeira Grande à votre hôtel se fait en transport collectif.

  • 2 pers

    €45 p.p.
  • 3 pers

    €34 p.p.
  • 4 pers

    €28 p.p.
  • 5 pers

    €24 p.p.
  • 6 pers

    €22 p.p.