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Hiking from Ponta do Sol to Fontainhas

Story's from travellers

· Travel

Hiking and Trekking on Santo Antão

On a beautiful clear day in Mindelo it looks like you could just reach out from Laginha Beach to touch the island of Santo Antão. Although the island is only one hour away by ferry, it could not be more different from São Vicente.

A few times a day the ferry crosses the canal and reaches the harbor city of Porto Novo. Outside the building of the harbour many ‘Hiace’ (the van type used as public transportation in Cape Verde) drivers will try to convince you to hop in their van. We ask for a driver going straight to Ponta do Sol, the starting point of our short visit to this spectacular island.

The harbour of Ponta do Sol, with the path to Fontainhas in the background

A French couple has tipped us about a very nice ‘hidden’ B&B in the village and we've decided to check it out. The driver turns out to know Sissi, which is no coincidence in this small village.

The Bed and Breakfast that Sissi and her husband Bernard run is part of their beautiful home. She shows us around and takes us to our room on the bottom floor. The rooms of the place are simple, but clean and very affordable. Island hopping in Cape Verde is a pretty expensive trip, so finding a B&B with these rates is a pleasant surprise.

Sissi tips us about her favorite restaurant in Ponta do Sol. So after a nice shower we head out into the charming village expecting to go for a quick meal. Sissi’s tip was a good one; the food tastes good and the drinks even better. After dinner a small walk around the village turns into a pub crawl. Ponta do Sol has a few very nice small local bars where they make a great 'pontch'.

After a great night out on the town, and some difficulty getting up, we get to enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by Sissi. Exactly what we needed since we are heading out to Fontainhas today.

We start by walking towards the harbour of the town. From here we head out to the 'upper' part of Ponta do Sol, where the road to Fontainhas begins.

The road from Ponta do Sol to Fontainhas

A look back gives you a view of the town of Ponta do Sol, but the view of the ocean is what I'm looking at. For a moment I imagine how it must be for the people living in this exact spot. It must be a huge priveledge to be able to enjoy this view every single day. The road to Fontainhas is a winding dirt road, which leads along high kliffs and breathtaking mountain peaks. The hike is a simple one, with small descends and climbs.

It takes less than an hour to reach the village. The road is all ours. One of the best things of being here on this island surely is the tranquility. The feeling I get from being here is unlike anything I've ever felt in my life, and the more I get to see, the more I realize how special it is.

The tiny village of Fontainhas is truly a magical place. Pictures don't do it justice. It's one of those places you need to see with your own eyes. People from Santo Antão have always known about this. But the rest of the world only got to know Fontainhas back in 2015. National Geographic did a special on villages, and made a list of the villages in the world with the most beautiful views. Fontainhas was one of the places to make it to the top 3!

Many people only visit the village for a short stop. For most hikers Fontainhas is part of the route from Ponta do Sol to Cruzinha, one of the most spectacular hikes of the island. It takes about 4 hours and goes along the northeastern coast of Santo Antão. Although the village is very small, it does offer a few places where travelers can spend the night.

Reaching Fontainhas is an amazing experience

Hiking all the way to Cruzinha unfortunately will have to wait. There is not enough time to make it before dark. So after a few hours of enjoying one of the most special places I've ever seen, it's time to head back to Ponta do Sol. The hike back makes me even more curious about the rest of the route down the coast, so we decide to hike the entire coastal route as soon as we get the chance...