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The Fogo Volcano

· Travel

The mysterious island of Fogo is located to the west of Santiago and was the second island of Cape Verde to be populated. The island is a must for nature lovers and hikers. Climbing the Pico de Fogo volcano is one of the most impressive things you can do in Cape Verde.

Fogo can be reached by domestic flight from Praia. There are two daily flights from the international airport of Nelson Mandela from capital city Praia to São Filipe, which takes around 20 minutes. Another way to reach Fogo, also from Praia, is with the Cabo Verde Fast Ferry. The trip takes about 4 hours.

The island of Fogo is one of Cape Verde's biggest, but it does not have a big population. It's known that many people from Fogo live on the island of Santiago, and there is also a historical connection with the United States. Next to the beautiful capital São Filipe, the island has another city in the northern part called Mosteiros.

Pico de Fogo Volcano

Chã das Caldeiras is one of Cape Verde's most interesting places. The small village, located on 1.800 meters, became world news after the Pico de Fogo eruption in November 2014. The entire population of Chã das Caldeiras was evacuated during the eruption. 1700 people were replaced in other parts of Fogo island, but a part of the population decided to return shortly after the eruption.

Today, the population of Chã das Caldeiras is trying to rebuild what the eruption of 2014 destroyed. Seeing the destruction of the Pico de Figo is emotional at times, but what is even more impressive is the spirit of the villagers. For many, 'Chã' is their home and they don't plan on leaving it behind.

The fertile soil around Chã das Caldeiras is one of the reasons why some of the population returned. Fogo is known for its wine and coffee production. Grapes, appels, mango, peaches, beans... It al comes from the soil around the Pico de Fogo.

Coffee and banana need more humidity to grow, and can be found around Fogo's second city, Mosteiros.

Fabio Dias is a 30 year old tour guide from Fogo. He was born and raised in the village of Chã das Caldeiras, He calls himself 'a man of the volcano'. Fabio has been climbing the volcano since he was just 9 years old when he and his father would go up to the volcano with a donkey.

'The man of the volcano' offers many different options to visitors who are looking for unique and deep experiences on Fogo. From day tours up and around the volcano to hiking tours to Mosteiros and even fishing and whale watching.

"I want people to experience the real Cape Verde, my mission is to always show guests the reality." - Fabio Dias

“I’ve been doing tours since I was a little boy. I used to guide tourists up and around the vulcano, and would communicate using my hands and facial expressions. Since then I have learned to speak German, Dutch, English, Spanish and Italian. Mostly self thaught and by doing as many tours as possible.”

“Although I’ve been a tour guide for many years now, I still wanted to be offically trained for the job. So I graduated in 2016 for a course that was given in São Felipe. I decided to start working for myself so I could do exactly what I like to do, and what I think is important and meaningful.”

“Bordeira definitely is one of my favorite places of the island of Fogo. It’s located close to Chã das Caldeiras, as it’s the surroundings of the Pico do Fogo vulcano. Bordeira is about 29 square km, and you can easily hike here for 3 days.”

Fogo Island tour guide Fabio Dias

“After Fogo, my favorite places in Cape Verde are the islands of Santo Antão and Brava. I really love hiking with guests through the mountains of Santo Antão, but I also enjoy the small Brava a lot. I know many ‘secret’ places there that most people don’t know about.”

“Another place I love to go to is Mosteiros. The 5 hour hike is such a beautiful one. The Northern part of the island is so green, with a lof of vegetation, such as different fruits and coffee.“

“Doing a ‘cave tour’ around the vulcano is always special. These tours, around the tunnels of the Pico do Fogo can last for up to 12 hours. But there are many other things I love to do with my guests. I do surf lessons on Del Beach in São Felipe. And me and my father take guests fishing and whale watching.”

“It’s a shame that there are very little investments being made for the island. Fogo is such an incredible place that deserves so much more attention from the government. Tourism needs good infrastructure, so I hope we can expect improvements soon.”

“When tourists come to Fogo they are usually very surprised to see the diversity of Cape Verde. Especially if they have been to the beaches of Sal or Boa Vista they are blown away by how different Fogo is. My mission is to always show people the reality of our country, both positive and negative. I want people to experience the real Cape Verde.”