Fogo Cape Verde (Fogo means ‘fire’ in Portuguese) is the most prominent island of the Sotavento group of Cape Verde. Pico do Fogo rises to nearly 3,000 m above sea level at its summit.
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 as much as 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. Consequently 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 visitor.
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. People live in the caldera and also there are places to stay and places to eat there. Seeing the houses buried by the 2014 eruption is sad, but it is impressive that the locals have started to rebuild. Thankfully nobody was killed in the 2014 eruption.
São Filipe is the largest city of the island and is located on the west coast of Fogo. São Felipe is an attractive town that slopes down towards the sea. It also 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.
Fogo is becoming increasingly more popular with tourists looking for something a little out of the ordinary. The beaches, which are black from the volcanic lava, may not be as stunning as those on the other islands, while the landscape throughout is quite spectacular. The wine from grapes grown inside the volcano’s caldera is lovely. The island of fire is also an island of contrasts, with lovely coastline, green woods and forests but also with the stark, fascinating landscape within the caldera.