Fogo Cape Verde (Fogo means ‘fire’ in Portuguese) is the most prominent island of the Sotavento group of Cape Verde; it rises to nearly 3,000 m above sea level at its summit, Pico do Fogo.
The volcano on Fogo last erupted 2014, forming a new crater called Pico Pequeno (Little Peak). The largest volcanic feature is the 9 km wide caldera, which has walls 1 km high. This is certainly worth a visit and the lava flow from 2014 is clearly visible within the caldera. The 2014 lava blocked the original road through the caldera. A new track has been formed around the lava. A trek up to the top of Pico de Fogo makes for a highly memorable trip for the more energetic.
Making your way through the caldera from the São Felipe side, you will eventually find a complete contrast. The national park starts at the northern end of the caldera towards Mosteiros. The trees and shrubs make a delightful contrast to the ‘moonscape’ within the caldera. There are places to stay and places to eat within the caldera. Seeing the houses buried by the 2014 eruption is sad, but it is impressive that the locals have started to rebuild. Nobody was killed in the 2014 eruption.
The largest city of the island, São Filipe, is located to the west of Fogo. São Felipe is an attractive town that slopes down towards the sea and has lovely views over to the neighbouring island of Brava. Colourful houses and a bustling square help to make this an interesting town to visit. The port is nearby, providing a ferry service to Brava.
The island is becoming progressively more popular with tourists looking for something a little out of the ordinary for their holiday. The beaches, which are black from the volcanic lava, may not be as stunning as those on other Cape Verde islands, but the landscape throughout is quite spectacular. The wine from grapes grown inside the volcano’s caldera is delightful. The island of fire is also an island of contrasts, with lovely coastline, green woods and forests and then the stark, but fascinating landscape within the caldera.