Out of all the incredible places on the island of Santo Antão, I have to say Ponta do Sol is one of my favorite places. This charming town does not have the beauty that you'll find in the valley of Paúl, or in the valley of Ribeira de Torre. But, it definitely does have a few other things going for it.
I personally feel really at home in Ponta do Sol. One reason for this is my relationship with Sissi, with whom I've been working with since 2014. We met back then because a very nice french couple who I was hosting in Mindelo, stayed in her B&B for a few days and thought we could be good partners.
In the last few years I've stayed at Sissi's many times when visiting the island. Ponta do Sol is a great place to stay because of the many bars and restaurants the town has. Many people choose to stay here because it can be more practical than staying in other parts of the island with smaller populations.
Of course this does not mean these other places, such as the valley of Paúl, aren't good options for accommodation. You'll find high quality accommodation all around the island, many times with diner and live music options if it's in or around a small village.
Here are my best tips for Ponta do Sol:
How to get there
The ferries from Mindelo (São Vicente) arrive in harbour city Porto Novo. Public transportation to the rest of the island is focused around the arrival times of the ferry from Mindelo. At the moment, there are 3 daily ferries. Arrival at Porto Novo is 08:00, 12:00 and 16:00.
Ponta do Sol is located almost an hour from Porto Novo (using the coastal road). When you arrive, make sure to ask for a driver who goes directly to Ponta do Sol, so you don't have to catch another Hiace in Ribeira Grande.
If you're coming from other places on the island:
Tarrafal de Monte Trigo:
Best to drive to Porto Novo early in the morning, from where you can catch another Hiace to get to Ponta do Sol.
Valley of Paúl: Hiace or walk all the way down to Pombas, from there Hiace to Ribeira Grande and then to Ponta do Sol.
Ribeira Grande/Ribeira de Torre:
Hiace or walk to the city of Ribeira Grande, and then short drive by Hiace to Ponta do Sol. (CVE 50 p.p.)
Cruzinha/Chã de Igreja:
Hiace to the city of Ribeira Grande, and then to Ponta do Sol. (CVE 500)
Where to Sleep
My true and trusted partner in Ponta do Sol. She really makes me feel at home everytime I spend a few nights there, and is even able to achieve this with guests who stay with her for one night. The rooms of the B&B are located on the ground floor and the second floor, while Sissi's lives on the first floor of the building.
Guests love her breakfast, which usually consists out of coffee/thee, juice, fruit, bread, cheese/ham and a little traditional snack. Perfect for when you're spending your day hiking.
Location: The main street of Ponta do Sol, a few doors from the big orange and green building of the Ponta do Sol Residencial.
What to see
The old airport
Ponta do Sol used to be home to the old airport of the island of Santo Antão. The airport was closed after a plane crash in '99. Although the crash happened in another part part of the island, the airport was closed soon after it happened.
Today many residents of Ponta do Sol use the old runway to do their daily workout session. In the mornings and around sunset it's normal so see people walk up and down here and doing certain excersises.
For visitors it's a strange and interesting idea to walk around an old airport that used to connect the island of Santo Antão with the rest of Cape Verde. Where the airports of São Vicente and Boa Vista have grown into international airports, Santo Antão will have to wait and see if it will have a new airport in the future.
Ponta do Sol has a beautiful little town square where you'll find one of its most beautiful buildings: It's City Hall. This is the home of the Riebira Grande council. The town square still is a place where (older) people come together for a chat on a bench. The beautiful church located to the right of the city hall building is the cherry on top of this very charming setting.
Fishing Harbour & The Boulevard
Although Ponta do Sol has grown a lot in recent years and is way more modern than it used to be, by hanging out down the fishing harbour you can still see how important the sector continues to be here. The many colorful fishing boats are lined up here, waiting to be taken out to sea. There is a constant come and go here of fishermen, sellers and buyers.
The small boulevard of the town is one of my favorite places in Cape Verde to watch the sunset. From here you have an amazing view of the rough landscape that this part of the coast has to offer. Depending on when you're in town, the sun either goes down just behind the mountains, or in the middle of the ocean. Both are a delight to witness.
Where to Eat & Hang out
Definitely my favorite restaurant in Ponta do Sol. Host Betty, who speaks perfect French, makes you feel as if you're stepping into her living room. The excellent menu is diverse, with a traditional cachupa and a simple but tasty grilled chicken, to a fantastic curry dish of goat meat.
There is usually live music in the weekends, so stop by for a drink if you've gone out to eat somewhere else.
Location: Rua Direita, right behind the main street, next to Residencial Vitoria.
Other tip: Musica do Mar, located along the boulevard.
One of the best spots for live music in town is the Residencial Ponta do Sol. It's an easy to recognize building, painted in orange and green. I also come here to work in the mornings and afternoon, and sometimes for lunch.
Live music events are normally held on the terrace, with a good mix of locals and tourists. The bar serves a few nice cocktails, next to drinks like beer, pontche and grog.
Things to do
Ponta do Sol is the end or starting point for one of Santo Antão's most popular hiking routes: the coastal route to Cruzinha. You have a few options from here:
Easy trekking to Fontainhas, no more than one hour
The coastal route to Cruzinha and Chã de Igreja
*or take public transportation there first, and then hike back
Continue along the coast towards either Alto Mira or Monte Trigo (!)
The town is also a good place to relax from a few days of heavy hiking around the island. Another option is to use public transportation to get to the starting points of the hikes you're looking to do.
Hi, I'm Freddy, the creator of the MindeloCaboVerde.com blog. Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to reach out to me for questions. reservations and bookings.