Which are the best places and views on Santo Antão you should not miss? The second biggest island of Cabo Verde offers a lot of beautiful and unique viewing points, as well as hikes and little fishing villages. I share my favourite spots and hiking highlights with you plus tell you how to reach them.
Santo Antão is the second biggest island of Cabo Verde and has a lot of beautiful spots and hikes I want to share with you. At the moment, it can be only reached by ferry. The fastest connection is from Mindelo in São Vicente but it is also connected with other islands. The ferry terminal of Santo Antão is in its biggest city Porto Novo. Santo Antão is considered the westernmost island of Africa.
Locals recommended to me the two towns Ribeira Grande and Paúl as the best places to stay on Santo Antão. The two towns lay both on the East coast of the island. In general, there is a massive contrast between the East and West of the island. While most beautiful spots and all cities are in the East, this part of the island is also way greener. The western part of the island is mainly deserted and has only a few roads. The main roads are all only on the Eastern side as well.
How to reach the spots
The easiest is to either way go around by car or even with a booked tour – besides the places from hike number one. The places between Ponta do Sol and Cruzinha are only reachable by foot. But there are also a lot of great hiking paths you can follow to reach the different spots mentioned here. If you travel without a car you can just use the Aluger Collectivos which usually go around the more common areas of the island. You can reach most places from Ribeira Grande and/or Paúl and start your hike from there. There are for example Alugers going to Ponta do Sal, Xóxó, or Cova. In general, you should start your hikes early because then it will be easier to catch Aluguer Colectivos. Try also to ask your host on the island for particular times, sometimes they know which times are the best to catch an Aluguer. On Sundays, it is in general way harder to find Aluguer Colectivos.
❗️TIP: On Santo Antão the minibuses are way more often also used as taxis for tourists. You have to ask for an Aluguer Colectivo in order to share the minibus with locals otherwise it happens that the driver will try to give you an expensive single drive.
Find more information about Aluguers in my blog post General tips for your vacation on Cabo Verde.
Prices for Colectivos in 2023
Ferry to Paul: 350 CVE (3.15 € | 3.45 US$)
Ferry to Ribeira Grande: 450 CVE (4 € | 4.40 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Xoxo: 100 CVE (0.90 € | 1 US$)
Ribeira Grande to Ponta do Sol: 50 CVE (0.45 € | 0.50 US)
Ponta do Sal to Cruzinha (only reachable by foot)
Starting from Ponta do Sal | 14.6 km (9 miles) | 4 hours | medium | Official Cabo Verde App
Highlights: the way between Ponta do Sol and Formiguinha with the villages Fontainhas and Corvo
On this hike you will follow the path along the coast from Ponta do Sol until Cruzinha. Of course, you can do the hike also the other way around. The highlights of the tour are the seafront itself (with incredible viewpoints) but also the three villages Fontainhas, Corvo, and Formiguinha which can be only reached by foot. Especially Fontainhas and Corvo surprise with green valleys. Behind Formiguinha comes Aranhas, you can find a black sand beach before you reach the fishing village Cruzinha.
❗️Tip: The last kilometres between Formiguinha and Cruinha are not that interesting. Since it is way harder to find an Aluguer Colectivo back from Cruzinha than to Ponta do Sal, you can also return from Forminguinha and walk back from there to catch a minibus from Ponta do Sol.
Água das Caldeiras (Cova) to Ribeira Grande
Starting from Água das Caldeiras | 12 km (7.45 miles) | 5 hours | medium | Official Cabo Verde App
Highlights: Cova, Xôxô, Valley of Ribeira Grande | additionally the viewing point over Paúl Valle
The hike starts around the volcanic crater Cova which is used for cultivation farming. You can reach Cova also by Aluguer Colectivo.
From Água das Caldeiras, you walk down the path passing Rabo Curto, Lombo de Pico, Xôxô and Ribeira da Torre (Melicia) until you reach Ribeira Grande. But pay attention some of the ways are not hiking paths but streets which are also used by cars. This exact path can also only be taken by foot but the single places are also reachable by car. There is a main road going to Corvo as well as a road going to Xôxô from Ribeira Grande.
❗️Tip: Especially Xôxô was a true highlight for me and if you go here by car or minibus you should make sure to enjoy the green valleys and walk a bit around the village.
Make sure to also check out the viewing points around the crater Cova. If you follow the road in the direction of Porto Novo, there will be one of my favourite viewing points Mirador de Paúl right next to the road which opens a beautiful view over the green valleys of Paúl. It is easily reachable by car.
Along the road Paúl until Boca di Figueiral (and back)
Starting from Paúl | both ways: 4.6 km (2.85 miles) | 1.5 hour | medium
Highlights: The Green Valley
This little hike was actually recommended by my host in Paúl. Starting from Paúl, you can follow the street along until you reach the village Boca di Figueiral – from there you take the same way back. The whole path with its green valleys around is a highlight to watch. The street is tarred and therefore easy to walk on but since it is used a lot by cars and minibuses you should pay a lot of attention while walking which makes this a hike of a medium level.
Tip: Official Cabo Verde App
In the end, I would like to recommend you download the official app of Cabo Verde. The app offers a little guide of every island showing you among other things where the Colectivos are leaving, some sightseeing points and hikes. You can find number one and two plus way more hikes in the app.
You have read the blog post My favourite spots and hikes on Santo Antão on My Travel Journal-Blog.