About Santo Antão
Santo Antão Cape Verde (Portuguese for “Saint Anthony”) is the westernmost of the islands of Cape Verde. It has precipitous peaks, jaw-dropping ravines and tiny villages clinging to its mountainsides. The tallest mountain is Topo de Coroa, reaching a height of 1,979 m. The northeast trade winds funnel up into the mountains creating a micro-climate rich with vegetation. The landscape changes from being bare and arid to mountainous with breathtaking views of fertile valleys and villages appearing deep below. The island offers great hiking and walking opportunities.
One easy and highly rewarding location to visit is the Vale do Paúl, a spectacularly lush valley that opens into the sea at the village of Vila das Pombas. Full of banana, mango and papaya trees, flame trees, poinsettias and vegetable plots. At the head of the Paúl valley the winds are funnelled up and through the vertically towering rock peaks into the volcano, creating an almost permanent display of swirling mists and cloud.
There are four main cities on the island – the capital is Ribeira Grande; then there is Porto Novo in the drier, south east part of the island; Paúl, which is south east of the capital; and Ponta do Sol, north west from the capital and possibly the most attractive of the towns.
Santo Antão exhibits some of the most impressive scenery that you will find anywhere in the world and it is still relatively untouched. A must for visitors to this beautiful island is a visit to the picturesque cliff-hugging village of Fontainhas, 2km southwest from Ponta do Sol. This tiny village is perched on a precipitous rock above a deep ribeira (riverside). Behind the houses that line the street of this unique village is sheer drop of several hundred metres.
The north-west of the island has the most significant marine biodiversity in the whole of the Cape Verde islands. It also has good fishing, providing fish to the 50,000 inhabitants of Santo Antão; and in Cruzinha da Garça there is a programme of conservation for five species of turtle, an endangered species. The seas around the island are also home to whales and dolphins, also endangered species.
Santo Antão Cape Verde is quite beautiful…