Walking Holidays in Cape Verde - Santo Antao - Dramatic Coastline Trek


Holiday Highlights
  • Most famous Cape Verdean Island for walking,,
  • Spectacular landscape of jagged peaks clinging to the cliffs
  • Dramatic coastal and inland paths to explore


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Guided walking holiday - Click here to find out more about Guided walking holidays          

 
  • Overview
  • Walking
  • Pricing
  • Map
  • Accommodation
  • Info

This trek can be combined with the Southern Islands 7 nights to make 14 nights.

Santo Antão is the most famous walking island and is the second largest. This trek concentrates on the north east. Here is a spectacular landscape where nature went crazy in her creation! Jagged peaks, strange rock formations, craters, volcanoes and plunging ravines and valleys filled with lush vegetation are just a few of the characteristics of this amazing island. Deep valleys (Ribeiras) are farmed by the local people and terraces cling to every corner and crevice of the almost sheer valley sides where bananas, cassava and sugar cane are grown along with other seasonal fruits and vegetables. The coastline is no less dramatic with paths clinging to the cliffsides and offering one of the most amazing coastal walks imaginable - anywhere!

No visitor can help being overwhelmed by the beautiful scenery of Santo Antão where the colours, shapes and vegetation as well as the local wildlife (which includes vultures, kestrels, wagtails, blackcaps, sparrows and some reptiles) are all so striking. 

The Walking 

We offer this holiday on a guided basis. On Santo Antão a good head for heights is necessary for the paths as well as the mountain roads!  Paths however are mostly mule trails with a small wall for comfort and protection from any 'droppy bits'. You will have your own private guide who will ensure you receive all the necessary background to fully enjoy this spectacular island.

Itinerary

This trek can be combined with the Southern Islands 7 nights to make 14 nights

Day 1: Fly to Sal non-stop from the UK and connect to inter-island flight to São Vicente or fly directly to São Vicente via Lisbon. Transfer to your hotel in Mindelo, standard or higher grade. If flying via Lisbon to São Vicente, you arrive late afternoon.

Mindelo, the island’s capital, is the international port on São Vicente with a deep-sea harbour formed from a volcanic crater. It has a strong British influence, owing to its role as a coaling station in the 19th century. Its Portuguese roots are also clearly visible in the colourful colonial buildings which line its waterfront. Known for its lively carnival celebrations, Mindelo is considered the cultural capital of Cape Verde. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore Mindelo. Overnight Mindelo.

Day 2: Meet your guide who will transfer with you to the port for an early ferry crossing to the neighbouring island of Santo Antão. From Porto Nova you will be driven to the lush Paúl Valley via the coastal road to start your first walk. Enjoy breath-taking vistas of the coast, desert and towering volcanoes as you pass through small fishing villages. You will ascend to the head of the valley of Boca de Figueiral with fantastic views along the route you have been driven and into the valley ahead. There is intensive agriculture in the Paúl Valley, and is one of the few regions in Santo Antão to have water all year, making it the greenest valley among all the islands of Cape Verde. You will continue your walk continually passing through small farming settlements and terraces perched on the mountainside before reaching Cabo de Ribeira. Overnight Cabo de Ribeira.

Ascent: 885m Descent: 500m Distance: 4.5 miles 3hrs 30 minutes

Day 3: Begin your second day with a walk to the rim of the Cova crater. The route follows a mule trail built by the Portuguese in colonial times for the valley inhabitants to collect water from Cova. You will then traverse the crater rim. Due to the fertility of the soil the floor of this extinct volcano crater has become a patchwork of farmland. Continue past some amazing rock formations to reach Espongeiros, a small village situated in the mountainous interior of the island and at the edge of the famous Estrada da corda. Overnight Espongeiros

Ascent: 1,600m Descent: 800m Distance: 6 miles 4hrs

Day 4: Having spent the last two days walking up the deepest valley of North-eastern Santo Antão, today brings a longer walk across a drier landscape. You will cross part of the elevated plateau of Lagoa, through the valleys of Joao Afonso, Cha de Pedras and Ribeirao, some of the key places of rum distillation on Santo Antão. Today’s walk starts high in the middle of the island and descends along steep sided valleys to the north side of the island. This walk has some vertiginous sections as you descend from fertile highlands through barren mountain sides to the fertile valley below. Through the many paved paths which cross this valley you will reach Pedracin. Overnight Pedracin.

Ascent: 950m Descent: 2,050m Distance: 9.5 miles 6hrs

Day 5: Today you have a  spectacular walk across more breath-taking scenery. Follow an ancient mule trail over the Mocho pass before descending to the small village of Chā d’Igreja. The final climb to the Mocho pass is steep but the sense of isolation and views amongst the peaks is awe-inspiring. You then descend with the ocean ever present in the distance before taking a cobbled trail up to the village where you will be met by a warm welcome from its inhabitants. Overnight Chā d’Igreja.

Ascent: 700m Descent: 850m Distance: 6.5 miles 4hrs

Day 6: A complete contrast today, as you take on one of the most spectacular coastal walks that we have ever encountered. Follow an ancient cobbled mule track which has been carved from the cliff face.  The path rises and dips as it makes its way along this impressive stretch of coastline. The Atlantic Ocean pounds away at the rocks below and so often you see turtles paddling through the surf.  At times the path drops to sea level before rising again to the abandoned village of Aranha, the pretty hilltop village of of Fontainhas and on to the fishing port of Ponta do Sol. Watch as the local fishermen bring the catch of the day in their colourful little boats. Overnight Ponta do Sol

Ascent: 500m Descent: 500m Distance: 10 miles 5hrs 45 minutes 

Flying from Sal:

Day 7: After breakfast you will be transferred to Porto Nova, via the Estrada da corda, a spectacular paved road which crosses the island through the mountains. Say farewell to Santo Antão as you board the ferry for your return crossing toSão Vicente. On arrival in Mindelo you will be transferred directly to the airport for your flight to Sal and on to your hotel on Sal. If your flight departs later in the day you may have time to explore Mindelo (unguided). Overnight in Sal

Day 8: Return to the airport for your flight home.

Flying via Lisbon or continuing onto the South:

Day 7: Today you have a choice.

Spend the morning discovering the spectacular volcanic landscape of the Ribeira da Torre valley. After lunch you will be transferred to Porto Nova, via the Estrada da corda, a spectacular paved road which crosses the island through the mountains. Say farewell to Santo Antão as you board the ferry for your return crossing toSão Vicente. On arrival in Mindelo you will be transferred to your hotel. Alternatively, you can transfer to Porto Nova after breakfast and take the early ferry crossing to São Vicente. Spend your afternoon exploring Mindelo (unguided) or if you prefer, take a guided walk on São Vicente. Overnight in Mindelo.

For a truly authentic Cape Verdean experience why not spend your last night in the fishing village of Salamansa? The local community here are working to ensure that tourism is directly benefiting the local population by opening their homes for visitors to stay. Overnight Salamansa. 

Day 8: Return to the airport for your flight home. 

This map is for illustration purposes only and we cannot be held responsible for its accuracy.

Santo Antao Hotel to Hotel Trek

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You have a choice of upgrading your hotel for all but three of the nights. We have given individual details below.

We have personally stayed in or visited all of our accommodations. They have all been selected for their great locations, friendly atmosphere and traditional hospitality, as well as the warm welcome they offer to walkers. Below is a summary of our usual accommodations*.

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Availability Information

It is hot in the Cape Verde islands all year round with only a 6C difference between the highest (September) and lowest month (January). It is a dry country with almost no rain from November to June. Most rain arrives in September and one of the best times to go is October to December when the islands are at their greenest after the rains.
Please note our best to go information is generally referring to the walking which may fall in the early or late season in some places. This may mean that not all tourist facilities will be open at the time you visit. When to book your walking holiday in Cape Verde - Santo Antao - Dramatic Coastline Trek

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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