This one is pretty famous, well at least it’s in both guidebooks we took with us. Still, you don’t have to fear masses of people there. On our way we met three other tourists. And two locals.
It’s not a round trip, you can either go up (if you’re really tough, it’s 1000 meter ascent in just 3 kilometer or so), or down, like we did. We took a taxi to the crater. I guess you can try to catch an Aluguer from Ribeira Grande, but we shared the taxi with some other people so we indulged ourselves in this bit of luxury. The drive alone is spectacular: it’s the old mountain road from Ribeira Grande to Porto Novo, which is usually not used anymore for the journey between these towns, since the better coast road has been built. When with a taxi, it’s definitely worth doing some picture stops on the way, which we did of course.
The crater ist probably the biggest coherent stretch of land on the whole island which is completely flat. It’s used for agriculuture, of course. The view on top of the crater, with the clouds slowly moving over the mountain ridge into the crater and then dissapearing is otherworldly.
We started by walking down alongside the crater to the other side, where the clouds came over. There, we started a dizzying, spectacular descent. The road is cobbled and in good condition. Our host Katelijn had given us walking sticks, but I think when you are reasonably fit you can easily go without them on this hike.
The last part of the hike was easy – follow the good cobbled road to Vila das Pombas, if you like, or directly to Casa das Ilhas, like we did. Aluguers run this road up and down frequently, so you can shorten the hike a bit. But why do so, when the terrain is easy to walk and views are still amazing?
More pictures? Click here.