Santo Antão itself brings together all the geographical features that define the Cape Verdean archipelago. Divided in two by sharp peaks bordered by vertiginous cliffs, this little paradise for hikers, nicknamed "the Sao Vicente garden", is remarkable for the contrast it offers between its "windward side" and its 'leeward' side. Arid and desolate over two thirds of its area(commune of Porto Novo), it does lend itself to agriculture (Communes of Paul and Ribeira Grande). Sugar cane, bananas, corn, tropical plants and potatoes: each square metre of the valley is used to make something grow there. A spectacular 24 mile long paved road, suspended above sometimes vertiginous unevenness, has connected the port of Porto Novo (where the ferry arrives from Sao Vicente) to the commune of Ribeira Grande since 1972. The journey lasts around 2 hours. You can find comfortable accommodation in Ponto do Sol, located to the west of Ribeira Grande. Hikers can also obtain the map of suitable paths for trekking there. Do not miss: exploring the Paul valley, a real garden of Eden where everything grows due to inventive systems of irrigation; the small "hanging" village of Fontaihnas, a 45 minute walk from Ponta do Sol (20 mn in a car, as long as you are with an experienced local driver, as the road is very dangerous). Please note: a recently constructed 16 mile long coastal road allows a fast and comfortable connection between the three communes.
The island of Santo Antão is the northernmost island in the Cape Verde archipelago.© urfl / 123RF
Santo Antão attracts a large number of tourists.© urfl / 123RF