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Planning the perfect Santo Antão vacation 

· Travel

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The island of Santo Antão, Cape Verde's second largest island, is a unique place. It's often referred to as the country's most beautiful of all islands. Unlike a few other islands, Santo Antão is very green and has huge mountains. The highest point of the island is about 2000m, only surpassed by the altitude of the Pico de Fogo vulcano.

A Santo Antão vacation can be perfectly combined with neighbor São Vicente. Although only seperated by a one hour ferry trip, these islands are completely different. The characteristics of the islands make them a great holiday combo, one of the best you'll find in Cape Verde.

Flights to Santo Antão

To get to Santo Antão, you'll need to travel to the island of São Vicente first. Santo Antão had it's own airport up until 1999. The airport, located in Ponta do Sol, was closed after a plane crash up in the mountains left no survivors. Some say the closing of the airport was not directly connected to the crash, but something that was already decided before it happened.

From Mindelo you can take the ferry to Porto Novo, the harbour city of Santo Antão. There are three options daily in both directions. For more information on How to get to Santo Antão please read the blog post (click on link).

Planning a vacation

Time to start planning your vacation on Santo Antão! The first thing you need to decide is how many days of your trip you will spend on the island of São Vicente and how to plan it. For example, if your plane lands at Cesaria Evora airport in the morning, you could decide to go to Porto Novo with the last ferry of the day (15:00).

This way, your hiking adventure could start as soon as the next morning. One thing I would recommend is looking if it's possible to spend at least a Friday or Saturday in Mindelo. The nightlife the city is famous for is most noticable on weekends. Although a place like Ponta do Sol can be very fun as well, it's still different from Mindelo, the big city.

The island of Santo Antão is around 4 times bigger than São Vicente. Especially if you're planning a hiking trip, you'll need to ask a few questions to make sure you can make the most out of your days and see as much as possible of this incredible island.

Enjoying the view of Fontainhas

*Picture: Enjoying the view of Fontainhas coming from Corvo on the route Cruzinha - Ponta do Sol

How many days will you be hiking?

You can choose to do a different hike daily, or have some rest in between. This will probably depend on how many days you have, but it's important to think about this. Some hikes can take up to 5 or 6 hours, and can leave you exhausted. Hiking everyday of your stay might not be the best thing to do, which brings us to the next question.

How long can the hikes be? What about the difficulty?

If you are someone who works out a few days a week, in whatever way, it will make planning much easier. Now, I'm not trying to discourage you but I'm simply pointing out to the fact that some hikes might be harder than you expected.

Take the time to think about how long you want to be hiking, and how long you think you can hike daily. When it comes to difficulty, one important aspect to consider in your planning is the type of route you want to do. As an example, you can do the 'Cova route' from Cova down into the valley of Paúl, or you can choose to do this the other way around.

Hiking all the way up to Cova is not easy to do for most people, so it's a good thing to think about when planning the vacation. In most cases you can use public transportation to take you to the starting point of most hikes you have planned.


I have a few lovely partners on the island of Santo Antão. My partners are located in the town of Ponta do Sol, and the amazing valley of Paúl. Consider a stay with them during your vacation on the island of Santo Antão:

  • Wahnon Guesthouse, valley of Paúl

  • Lela d'Fermina, valley of Paúl

When it comes to accommodation, you might want to think about booking one accommodation and doing your hikes from there, or if you are more into trekking. With trekking, you'll be hiking from place to place, and booking accommodation in that place as well to continue the next morning. Of course you can also choose for a combination, where you can go trekking for a few days, and then relax at the same accommodation for the next few days doing some light hikes.

Read more here:

Freddy, the creator of the blog

Hi, I'm Freddy, the creator of the blog! Thank you so much for reading. If you're planning a trip to Santo Antão, please feel free to message me with questions, reservations and bookings.