Santo Antão is the most majestic island of Cape Verde. The grandeur of its mountains and valleys earned it the title of the ‘Switzerland of Cape Verde’.
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The dramatic mountain range that divides the island of Santo Antao into two, with peaks rearing up to 4,921ft (1,500m), make it attractive for trekking, particularly through the tropical vegetation of the deep green valleys which encase the 16th-century town of Povoacao. In contrast to the mountainous interior, the island's coast is rugged and bare, but sugar cane, bananas and coffee are grown by the locals. Sugar cane is the raw material for the famed Cape Verde rum, called 'grogue', which is produced here and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. A walk around the main town of Ponta do Sol is recommended to enjoy the vista of some old colonial buildings, and the main site of historic interest is a mysterious inscribed rock near Janela dating from the 1400s, when the islands were believed to be uninhabited and undiscovered.
Tthe spectacular 36km car ride from the ferry landing at Porto Novo over the island’s central ridge to Ribeira Grande is worth the trip.
If you want to see a lot of the island in a single day, hire your own aluguer, a kind of (open) minibus, though expect to pay at least CVE7000 for a full day. You can usually arrange one when you arrive at Porto Novo.
Fish lovers will be in heaven on Cape Verde. The grilled lobster is superb as are the fresh tuna, octopus and multitude of other delicacies.
Cape Verde Escudo (1 Euro= 113 Escudos)
Hotels and banks may charge slightly more.
Credit cards are accepted at an increasing number of up-market hotels,
but not all of them. MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted
Everything is closed on public holidays and on Sundays, and many
shops also close early on Fridays. Opening hours tend to be Mediterranean
- that is, Monday-Friday 08:00/08:30 - 12:00/12:30 and 14:00/14:30
- 18:00/18:30; Saturday 08:30 - 12:00. Banks are often shut in the
afternoon. Restaurants operate from about 19:00 - 23:00. Nightclubs
tend to open at midnight.
1 January New Year
20 January National Heroes Day
1 May Labour Day
5 July Independence Day
15 August Nossa Senhora da Graça [Our Lady of Grace]
12 September Nationality Day
1 November All Saints Day
25 December Christmas Day
Mardi Gras and Good Friday are also national holidays.
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