Sundays are mostly adventure days, so this week as well.
We got up extra early to have breakfast before we had to be 10:00 at the ferry terminal, because we wanted to hike on Santo Antao.
We left our sea lust safely moored in the marina of Mindelo, there is a 24/7 security and nice neighbours who kept an eye on her 😉
The ferry departs at 11:00, but you have to be one hour before. (The ferry usually departs 3 times a day, 8/11 and 16 o’clock, but it’s best to inform 1-2 days in advance)
The first thing we had to do was get to the cash box, it’s a little hidden by the side. A simple ticket to Santo Antao costs 800 CVE (about 8€). You shouldn’t forget your passports because they will be checked again. In Africa it is usual that you have to clear in and out of every port. This also means that if you are travelling with the ferry, you can only pay your tickets with your passport, your name will be on the ticket, and you have to show your passport before you can go on the ferry.
The ferry departs about 1 hour to Porto Novo, the port of Santo Antao, best you go up to the sun deck, from there you have a great view of the islands and can watch the waves 😉
If you still need money, you should get money there in the waiting area at the machine, because on the island you can almost only pay in cash, including your accommodation…
A big disadvantage is when you get out of the terminal there are a lot of taxi drivers who want to win you as their customer.
We avoided the whole thing by going to the supermarket around the corner and buying some more water. There is also a small restaurant with typical Landes food, since everything is freshly cooked, you should bring some time 😉
Then we caught a taxi driver in a quiet minute who brings us to Ribeira Grande for 45€. You should tell him that you want to go through the woods & valleys and not along the coast road.
(You can read more about a cheaper option at the end of this article 😉 )
We started in a barren landscape that rather reminds of Morocco or similar hot areas, the further we came up the more the surroundings changed.
As soon as we passed the top of the mountain we felt like we were on another island. Everything was green all at once, no more desert landscape and so many trees.
The road leads directly past rocky gorges, mountain slopes, craters and pine forests.
What we saw impressed us deeply, the lush green, the deep craters, the broken rocks up to the cow grazing in the middle of the slope.
The last part to our accommodation in Xoxo (Tschotscho pronounced) was the most exciting. The ascent was about 20% and the streets could hardly be called that anymore, it was rather a paved alley. But our driver knew his way around and after 1.5 hours we arrived in the middle of nowhere. The road ended exactly at our accommodation and behind it only a paved footpath went on.
We went to the hotel and just checked in and changed our clothes. The women are very friendly and helpful, but only speak Portuguese. We did it again in our tried and tested way with sign language and translator app, that has always worked so far 😉
Melanie was still very enthusiastic and full of anticipation, but that changed very quickly. Already the first meters were not without it. The way was well developed with stairs and pavement, but it was very steep.
It started directly with a 10% gradient and should not improve the rest of the way. We also found out very fast why there were small seats at every corner, because we needed a break every 100-200 m. After the first small mountain came a fork, with a sign for 2 different footpaths. Well as we were equipped we had no idea which one was better now. After an inner ”Ehne Mehne Miste” game and questioning looks we decided to simply go to left, we can turn back at any time.
So we kept walking up the mountain. The view was unique, as we needed many breaks, we could also enjoy the view. It was breathtaking in the truest sense of the word, because Melanie’s lungs didn’t like the ascent so much 😉
Our way was lined with sugar cane, banana & papaya trees. Shortly we thought about taking one, but then we didn’t want to eat their food away from the locals…
After about 1 hour and 20 minutes we reached our limit and kept the cow company 😉 Like this or something similar 😉 The break was more than necessary 😉
We simply couldn’t take any more and after a longer break and a look around the corner we decided that it was enough for today and walked down again.
The way down is also not to underestimate. With slightly wobbly thighs a small pebble can quickly become a danger. Melanie once fell slightly, but after a short moment of shock everything went well again and we could go on.
We arrived at the hotel around 16:00 and had a little rest and a shower.
Punctually 19:00 there was a super tasty dinner. As starter we had a soup, very tasty, we think it was something with beans & peas. No matter, as long as it tastes good ;)As main course they have a chicken leg for Sven and for Melanie Cachupa, the national dish, with Manjok and potatoes. It was super mega delicious 😉
The dessert was not so our, caramelized bananas…
Since the first day was already very intense and we had absolutely no desire to just walk up, we decided to go down.
Quite logical 😉 The view was great, but if we’re too ready to enjoy the nature, it’s definitely not fun 🙂
We knew that we had to take a taxi back to Porto Novo today and so we decided to walk to Ribeiria Grande. That’s not only the name of the valley, but also of a ”bigger Town”, it’s more like a village with some shops 😉
The way there was also beautiful. We passed banana trees, discovered jackfruits and the papayas were within reach 😉
A disadvantage was that we had to cross-country ski right on the road, but there was hardly any traffic in the morning so it didn’t really bother us.
From Xoxo to Ribeira Grande it was 10 km, but this time we didn’t have to climb mountains or stop every 200 m to get our breath back we were there after about 2 hours.
At the gas station directly at the main street there is a big meeting place for all taxis, there you can take the public bus or private taxi drivers back to the harbour.
We decided to continue immediately and took one of the public buses.
For 400 CVE (= approx. 4€) you can drive along the coastal road. The view is also very nice here, but the road is a disaster.
You will be really shaken up and happy when you can get out after 1.5 hours.
Unfortunately I could hardly make videos & photos that it has wobbled so badly 🙁
We dropped off directly at our hotel at the harbour, the Residencial Nova Cidade. The hotel is very clean and tidy, some rooms also have a sea view. Dinner and breakfast are served in the adjacent restaurant. The food is typical and delicious.
The breakfast was not really healthy, but it was rich with fresh ingredients. Besides toast there was also cheese, jam, sausage, juice and fresh fruit. And of course coffee and tea 😉
The excursion was very nice and we can only recommend to everyone to take 1 or 2 days for the island time.
Even though the first hike was very exhausting, we had a lot of fun 🙂