This is our final post on our 10 day trip to Hiking Cape Verde.
The first and last days we spent in Mindelo on São Vicente to be close to the airport. From Mindelo It’s only a short drive from the Airport in São Pedro. We stayed in a small hotel only a few walking minutes from the ferry that took us to Santo Antão, our hiking destination. The Atlantic is known to be quite rough in this area, still I found it quite surprising that small plastic bags were handed out in case anybody was sick during the crossing. Personally I think the crossing wasn’t too bad, maybe we got lucky.
Mindelo is a picturesque little town with many colonial style buildings and a big marketplace. Also this is a good place to pick up a Sim-Card. The card itself costs less than 1€ plus in our case 2GB of data which cost us a total of just under 8.50€.
We got our card from a Unitel Store. Turned out to be a good choice as we had strong reception all over Santo Antão. The procedure was easy and quick. Pop in the card and you are ready to go. The guy at counter did ask us for our passports but we didn’t have them with us which also was no problem. As a matter of fact he didn’t even ask us for our names.
Also Mindelo has plenty of shops and pharmacies to get you a equipped with anything you might still need. In my case some pills for my stomach. Flying makes me very nervous, to say the least.
Here we stayed at two places:
First was Casa das Ilhas, a really beautiful guest house situated in the Paul Valley and a good starting point for a large number of hikes.
From here Katelijn, the owner from Belgium who speaks almost as many languages as C-3PO including the binary language of moisture evaporators, will set you up with breakfast, lunch pack if needed and advise you on the hikes you can take, how the Aluguers work and what they cost and anything else you need to know.
Dinner is served at 7pm (when we were there anyway) and all the guests gather at a quarter to. Good moment to get to know each other and exchange experiences. Good times
The Rooms are clean, cosy and have hot water showers. Though water pressure was somewhat low in some rooms. There is also a small independent apartment with kitchen for people who prefer self catering. All in all its a very relaxing place.
Only regrets we had is that we didn’t stay longer. After all, for a lot of the hikes you need to take an Aluguer or Taxi to get there, so it doesn’t really make any difference, in our case anyway, if your stating point is here or in Ponta do Sol.
Our second stay was at place called Musica Do Mar. A small hotel in Ponta do Sol situated with a beatiful view to the Atlantic Ocean, well at least our room had. The room was clean and had a small balcony. Breakfast was fine and typical for here. Coffee, Tee, fresh bread cheese, jam, fruit. Also they can give you some good tips on places to go hiking and arrange transport if needed.
Can’t say anything about the food in the evening because we always ate out.
This brings us to:
Eating out on Santo Antão
Ponta do Sol has a wide variety of places you can eat out. Our favourite places in no special order were:
Caleta, less than 20 sec. walking distance from where we stayed.
Great regional food, live music and fair pricing. Caleta on Facebook
Bar tapas ZiKriola, (trip Adviser link) more of a french twist on local produce but also a great and cosy place to go and hang out. Service can be somewhat unmotivated, but the food was great! Don’t miss the Accras de pesce and the Bruschetta with goat cheese!
Last but not least the Gato Preto. This is the Cape Verdian version of a finer Taverna. Good food, live music, good atmosphere. Pasta doesen’t seem to be what they do best. Stay with the traditional food, for example the fish, and you’re good. The menu is a good deal – starter, main course and dessert for just 1300 Escudos.
Wherever you go, fish is usually a good choice. It’s guaranteed freshly caught that morning. The little fishing harbor is quite busy and interesting to see around noon, when the little fishing boats have returned safely from the rough Atlantic.
There are many many more places to grab some food, some shops, almost no cars but some dogs that can be very annoying when in heat, especially at night.
They are all great places to go to after a long day of hiking.
Oh, and try the Ponche de Coco !
Our hiking recomendations:
These are all based on our personal experience.