Santo Antao Island
The island was discovered in 1462 and named Santo Antão. It has a volcanic origin aan accentuated orography, the highest point on the island being Tope de Coroa, an inactive volcano, with an altitude of 1979 meters and located in the Natural Park of Tope de Coroa.
The island of Santo Antão, given its geographical situation and its orography, is an island of climatological and scenic contrasts. The western part of the island is desert, the central part – the plateau area – has a cool and humid climate, with the presence of eucalyptus, cypress, pine and acacia trees, and the eastern part is reasonably green and with a strong presence of agricultural activity. This is the island where there is more rainfall, which allows agricultural activity to be the main local economic activity. Sugarcane production is one of the most important – in addition to sugar production, this culture allowed the creation of Grogue (grogu or grog', in Creole), a simple sugar cane brandy typical of Cape Verde , whose production methods are fundamentally artisanal. From grogue, pontche is made - a drink with grogue, lemon and sugar. In some touristic places it is possible to drink caipirinha prepared with grog. Grogue is also the basis for making traditional liqueurs.
The island of Santo Antão has many volcanoes, relatively young and with caldera, in some agricultural productions. It is an island with basalt mountains that rise hundreds of meters high. Its valleys are the result of strong erosion.
Santo Antão Island is far from being a tourist destination par excellence in the Cape Verde archipelago. It can even be said that it is an authentic uncut diamond, as it still retains its “wild and original” side.
The climate allows the island to be visited at any time of the year. This island has four Natural Parks: the Moroços Natural Park; the Cruzinha Natural Park; Tope de Coroa Park and Cova Natural Park /Ribeira da Grande/ Paul
Trail from Ponta do Sol to Cruzinha da Graça
Trail from Ponta do Sol to Cruzinha da Graça, with a 13 km route, demanding from a physical point of view, with constant ascents and descents, and which takes, on average, five to 6 hours to cover. This trail passes through the “cinematographic” village of Fontaínhas, which was once considered to be one of the most beautiful views in the world. Not to be missed! You will also pass by Vila dos Corvos and Vila das Formiguinhas.
It is also possible to make other trails.
Trail from Ribeira Grande (or Ponta do Sol) to Fontaínhas, a much shorter trail – it is possible to do it by car.
There is also the Trilho da Cruzinha (or Chã da Igreja) to Ribeira Grande, this trail goes through a wonderful valley with about 25 km in length.
It is also possible to access the Topo de Coroa – an inactive volcano at an altitude of 1979 meters – and have the feeling that you are almost touching the sky. To do so, follow the Tarrafl Trail of Monte Trigo, a very isolated and less accessible village, the trail is physically exhausting, but unmissable from the point of view of emotion. The central square is beautiful and very well cared for, highlighting some beautiful buildings such as the Church, the Town Hall, the Hospital and the Post Office.
Here, religious festivals mark the cadence of the year, such as the one for S. João Baptista in Porto Novo, on June 24th, or Nossa Senhora do Livramento, on September 24th. It is always exciting to observe the convictions of a simple and believing population, as they manifest themselves in the streets, observing secular traditions in which faith and customs intersect, perpetuating a genuine culture.
The island's cuisine is very varied. Fish and seafood dishes are the most popular. There is no lack of lobsters, barnacles, limpets and whelks. There is also no lack of meat dishes, with the goat and bean stew being one of the most typical. Sweets are also irresistible, namely the honey cake. Irresistible is also the fruit of the island – banana, mango and papaya – which can be eaten raw, in sweets or accompanied by the delicious goat cheese produced on the island. In Santo Antão it is possible to have lunch or dinner in private houses. There is also no lack of excellent restaurant options to enjoy the local food.
The Island of Santo Antão is a mandatory destination for everyone who likes to share and be in perfect harmony with nature. The inhabitants of Santo Antão are affable people who show the morabe of the Cape Verdean people.