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green hills on santo antao

Green hills on the island of Santo Antão

Santo Antão is the westernmost of the Cape Verde islands and is one of the greenest. Many people who visit Cape Verde will be familiar with islands such as Sal and Boa Vista, which are in large part desert. The further west you go, the higher the mountains and the greener the islands. Santo Antão offers great hiking opportunities. The scenery is spectacular and there are green hills, lovely little villages on hillsides and rocky outcrops.

road porto novo - ribiera grande

Road from Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande, Santo Antão island

Many of the roads in Cape Verde are finished with small granite setts or cobbles. These are painstakingly cut to shape by hand and consequently some of the roads take a long time to build. It must be a very hard and tiring job to shape these stones in the heat of the day. Unlike typical cobbled streets in Europe, these roads are comparatively smooth, because the granite is shaped to provide a flat surface. This photograph was taken on the mountain road between Porto Novo and Ribeira Grande on the island of Santo Antão.

praia grande, sao vicente

Praia Grande, São Vicente

Praia Grande (‘Large Beach’ in Portuguese) is on the northeast coast of the island of São Vicente. In the distance is Monte Verde, which is the tallest mountain on the island, reaching a height of 750m. Monte Verde is part of a national park. Of the 93 listed species of flora in the national park, 17 are on the São Vicente endangered list. From the top of the mountain, you can get great views of the whole island and also the islands of Santa Luzia and Santo Antão.

rain santo antao

There has been rain in Cape Verde!

Unusually, there has been rain in Santo Antão, Cape Verde. The rainy season is normally August/September and rain in December is almost unheard of. Rain is such a rare event in the Cape Verde islands, this will be welcomed by residents and farmers. A summary of weather in Cape Verde is available at www.cape-verde-holidays.net/weather

green hills of santo antao

Santo Antão – green hills

Many visitors to Cape Verde will have been to the islands of Sal or Boa Vista and discovered that there are areas of desert, especially on Boa Vista. However, this photograph, taken on Santo Antão demonstrates that there are also lush green hillsides in this small country, which is only 1850km from the equator. Cape Verde has a variety of landscapes, so something for everyone.

sal cape verde the telegraph

The Telegraph features Cape Verde

The Telegraph is the latest newspaper to feature Cape Verde in its Travel Destinations section. The article ’10 reasons why Cape Verde is the most underrated winter sun destination on Earth’ by Chris Leadbeater extols the virtues of visiting Cape Verde.

In his article Chris describes how Cape Verde is not a destination that comes to mind when considering a holiday, but he describes the 10 islands that make up Cape Verde as being ‘as beautiful as they are mysterious’.

So why is Cape Verde becoming a popular holiday destination and one that is being featured by the press? Here are just some of the reasons:

It is accessible from much of Europe

There are direct flights to the island of Sal from the UK, from airports such as Gatwick, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. There are also direct flights from Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester to the island of Boa Vista. Airlines that fly there include Thomas Cook and Tui (Thomson). Other islands are accessible via Lisbon with TAP airlines or via Casablanca with Royal Air Maroc. Flights are also available from many European cities, such as Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Munich, etc.

The weather is good all year round

Flying for an extra 2 hours, people who traditionally have looked at the Canaries for their winter sun, can take advantage of the Cape Verde weather. There you can enjoy the lovely temperatures that rarely drop below 20C and average between 25C and 30 C in January. The sea around Cape Verde is also much warmer than in the Canary Islands.

There is a variety of accommodation

There is a great range of accommodation available from self-catering apartments and villas to guest houses and luxury all-inclusive hotels. Something to suit every tourist. Some links to accommodation on each of the islands are included below.

It has a unique musical tradition

Two types of traditional music can be heard in Cape Verde, morna which was made more famous by singer Cesária Évora and then there is Funaná. Along with their music, cape verdeans love to dance and visitors are more than welcome to join in.

It is a chance to experience Africa

Cape Verde is an African country and Santo Antão island is the continent’s most westerly point. Santo Antão is a mountainous island and roughly half the island is dry and arid, the other half lush and green. Coffee plantations are to be found on the sides of the mountains.

The volcanic landscape

The islands a volcanic and whilst most are inactive, the volcano on Fogo island erupted as recently as 2014. The peak on Fogo reaches 2,829 m above sea level. There is a community living in the crater and the wine is produced there and is certainly worth tasting.

Island hopping opportunities

Cape Verde comprises 10 islands and each has its own distinct character and landscape. The easterly islands of Boa Vista, Sal and Maio are flatter and contain areas of desert. The western islands such as Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Brava are rugged, mountainous and ideal for the more energetic hiker. A holiday in Cape Verde should take in at least a couple of islands.

Water sports galore

There are many opportunities to enjoy water sports, from swimming to kite surfing. The winter season is the windiest and provides excellent conditions for sailing, wind surfing and kite surfing. One beach on Sal island has been renamed Kite Beach, because of its popularity for kite surfing. In addition, there are opportunities to dive and experience the marine life, which is abundant in the waters around these islands.

For accommodation on each of the nine inhabited islands, see the following links:

Boa Vista

Brava

Fogo

Maio

Sal

Santiago

Santo Antão

São Nicolau

São Vicente

santa maria beach

Visit Cape Verde – Cape Verde Holidays

Cape Verde – Holiday Destination

Both the Daily Mirror and the Sun newspapers recently featured Cape Verde. The Sun’s headline was ‘That’s Sal Folks – Sharks, sandy beaches, salt mines and all-year-round sun is why Cape Verde is a delightful getaway’. The Daily Mirror’s stated ‘Nestled on the coast of northwest Africa, Cape Verde has long been drawing in tourists thanks to its laidback charm’. Visit Cape Verde and find out why it is becoming a popular destination.

These articles are evidence, if evidence was needed, that Cape Verde is fast becoming a destination of choice. The beaches rivalling those of the Caribbean or the Seychelles.

There is a laid-back character to life in Cape Verde, with glorious weather, clear blue waters and long sandy beaches. The approach to tourism is not sophisticated and it varies from island to island. The repeated phrase you will find in Cape Verde is ‘Cape Verde – No Stress’.

You can take to the sea and see turtles, flying fish, dolphins and whales. At the same time you could also be fishing for tuna, wahoo or blue marlin. The same fresh fish are available in many restaurants or to buy on the beach.

Where is Cape Verde?

So where and what is Cape Verde? The country comprises 10 islands, of which 9 are inhabited. Cape Verde is located approximately 350 miles (560km) off the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Each island has its own character, not only in terms of terrain, but also in respect of tourism and sophistication.

Sal Island

Sal is one of the most popular islands for visitors. This is about a 6 hour flight from the UK and many other cities in Europe. Sal is far enough from Europe to feel exotic and charming, while near enough to make it easy to reach.

The bars of Santa Maria, the main tourist destination on Sal, often have live music and before long people are dancing. Furthermore, the beach in Santa Maria is one of the best in the world, with long expanses of soft white sand and the clear blue waters of the Atlantic.

Visit Cape Verde

You should visit Cape Verde it is a great option for a holiday at any time of the year. You have a choice of islands from the flat, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere on Maio, to the mountainous character of Santo Antão or to the lively town of Santa Maria on Sal.

valley on santo antao

Photo of the week – Santo Antão valley

Santo Antão is a mountainous island, with dramatic scenery. Part of the island is dry and arid, the other lush and green, this being due to the climatic conditions. A trip to the Caldera (crater) of the volcano is a must. There is cloud swirling over the edge of the Caldera.

santo antao mountain road

Photo of the week – Mountain road on Santo Antão island

The dramatic, rugged scenery on the island of Santo Antão is well worth exploring. The island is mainly mountainous and one side of the island is dry and barren and the other side is lush and green. There are also attractive little towns and a rugged coastline to enjoy. This island does not have its own airport, but is easily reached by ferry from the nearby island of São Vicente.

santo antao coastline

Photo of the week – Santo Antão coast

The island of Santo Antão is mountainous, and is popular for walking and hiking. However, the coastline is also very attractive and perhaps does not feature in publicity as much as it should. Attractive villages, small harbours and rocky outcrops are some of the features.