The spectacular of Santo Antão

Valley of Paúl, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Most frequent items worn by travellers heading to Santo Antão? Trekking boots.

‘These people love to hike!’ I felt a bit out of place, with my love for water and all.

Soon, the colours of the island would make me relax. Plus, the waves were something I had rarely witnessed.


Home away from home

In Eito, the landscape seems surreal. Still, when you find yourself close to Kasa d'Vizin, you realise that the fairytale is real. It is a place that doesn’t lack a thing and is so kindly run! You feel like you’ve got a mini rainforest all to yourself and enjoy the shade while sipping some of the best fruit juices I’ve ever tried.

Kasa d'Vizin; Eito, Santo Antão, Cape Verde


Good eats

When I found out that Kasa d'Vizin served vegan food, I felt it couldn’t get better. It all happens on their iconic rooftop terrace and there’s a signature dessert that you’d surely remember! [that’s the Eito version] 

[if mealtime catches you in Cidade das Pombas] Casa Maracuja is a solid option. The owner is a kind man, the environment is a very friendly one, and they serve some mean sauces. How do you feel about grogue + bananas?

P.S. There’s a tailor’s to your left as you climb to Casa Maracuja. Very kind gentlemen working there! They do a great job!


To do

Obviously, hike

If you feel tired, you can start with an easy one – from Eito to Cidade das Pombas and back. I felt sick that day, so I flagged a minivan on the way back (CVE 50).  

Eito to Cidade das Pombas, Santo Antão, Cape Verde


On the second day, I felt better, so we flagged a minivan to Chã do Padre (CVE 100), which took us about 30 minutes from Eito. The ride was terrific, especially sharing it with an entire nursery school class. From there, we followed the path down the Valley of Paúl. There will be nice locals to explain what they are cultivating or give directions. There will also be lovely cats to hug. You will be able to buy fresh juices and water. At one point, you will need to choose between a very difficult path down the mountain (don’t take it) and a hike up to the antenna and then down. We got lost several times but were back in 5 hours. It was beautiful!

On the way to the start of our trek route, Santo Antão, Cape Verde
Trekking the Valley of Paúl, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Trekking the Valley of Paúl, Santo Antão, Cape Verde


You wouldn’t necessarily think of swimming when travelling to Santo Antão. However, there is a glorious black beach leading you to calm and clear waters: Praia dos Curraletes. We stopped there before heading back to São Vicente, paying CVE 350 instead of 400 to our minivan driver. It was our last swim in Cape Verde.

Praia dos Curraletes, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

*Some kind French travellers who stopped later to see the beach dropped us off at the ferry terminal and didn’t accept a penny from us!     


Shop locally

Of all the islands of the archipelago, most of the goodies come from Santo Antão. J

While trekking, you can find local coffee and bananas to buy.   

In Cidade das Pombas, local stores sell papaya and guava jams, as well as doice de leite made of goat milk and various local flour mixes. If you simply go for a walk, there are fresh guavas to buy from local homes, at really low prices.

You’ll also find homemade jams and cookies, together with postcards and handmade earrings inside and outside of the ferry terminal in Porto Novo. If you arrive earlier, you can go and grab the traditional dessert from Santo Antão – goat cheese and papaya jam.   

In Eito, don’t miss the Dragoeiro Grogue. The distillery and the store are both worth a visit. The grogue is delicious and great for caipirinhas! 

Grogue distillery and store in Eito, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Know before you go

Taking the ferry to/from Santo Antão

As I wrote before, the ferry ride to Santo Antão and back may be short (about 45 minutes, at a good price of CVE 800/pp./leg), but it is a feast for the eyes!

Leaving Santo Antão, Cape Verde


Reaching towns and villages on the island from the ferry terminal

It is very easy! Our host Hannelore helped us with the booking, so we were awaited when exiting the ferry. We paid CVE 400 from Porto Novo to Eito. When you return, simply flag down a minivan.


Gazing down the winding road from the bus window and marvelling at the huge waves at Janela, you cannot but murmur to yourself – ‘It’s the most spectacular of all the islands we’ve seen’. Should return for more.  

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