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The Great Crossing of Santo Antão

Trekking across Santo Antao with a local agency
Campo Rodondo, Santo Antao

The Great Crossing of Santo Antão in Cape Verde is an extraordinary journey that begins in Tarrafal de Monte Trigo and ends in the green valley of Paul. This picturesque adventure takes you through magnificent landscapes, majestic mountains and lush valleys, offering an unforgettable experience.

It has a number of strengths that make it an exceptional experience:

  1. Spectacular scenery: Santo Antão is renowned for its breathtaking scenery. The crossing will take you past imposing mountains, lush green valleys, steep cliffs and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Each stage offers unique and impressive scenery

  2. Cultural authenticity: As you travel through the remote villages of Santo Antão, you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in traditional Cape Verdean culture. You'll meet friendly locals, discover their rural way of life and be able to chat with them about their traditions, crafts and local cuisine.

  3. Well-maintained hiking trails: La Grande Traversée de Santo Antão has well-maintained trails, making it easy to walk and enjoy the scenery without worrying about orientation. The trails are suitable for different levels of walker, making the experience accessible to all.

  4. Unique biodiversity: Santo Antão is home to remarkable biodiversity, with endemic flora and fauna. During the crossing, you can observe a wide variety of native plants, colourful birds and perhaps even some rare species. It's a unique opportunity to discover the island's natural wealth.

  5. Meetings with local farmers: The crossing will give you the chance to meet local farmers working in the fertile valleys of Santo Antão. You can learn more about their traditional farming techniques, take part in agricultural activities and taste delicious fresh produce straight from the land.

  6. Physical challenges and personal satisfaction: The Grande Traversée is a physical challenge that requires a certain amount of endurance and fitness. Overcoming the obstacles and reaching each stage will give you great personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

  7. Escape and disconnect: Santo Antão offers a total escape from hectic city life. During the crossing, you can disconnect from technology and connect with nature, giving yourself a well-deserved break in a serene, unspoilt environment.

Sugar cane mill (Trapiche) to recover the cane juice used to make Cape Verde rum, grogue.
Sugar cane mill (Trapiche)

The journey begins in Tarrafal de Monte Trigo, a charming fishing village on the north-west coast of Santo Antão. You'll immediately be immersed in the local atmosphere as you watch the fishermen prepare their colourful boats for a day at sea. Leaving the village, you'll head inland, beginning your ascent to the dizzying peaks that await you.

Crossing Santo Antao . The hike from Tarrafal to Monte Trigo
Tarrafal Monte Trigo Beach

As you climb the mountains, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the glistening Atlantic Ocean below. The winding paths take you through remote villages where you can meet the friendly locals and discover their traditional way of life. Stone houses, terraced fields and picturesque churches bear witness to the region's rich history and culture.

Typical Cape Verdean house. Hiking and overnight accommodation in Cape Verde
Typical Cape Verde house

Along the way, you'll pass through lush green valleys, where terraced fields stretch as far as the eye can see. Local farmers work hard to grow produce such as tropical fruit, vegetables and maize, using traditional methods handed down from generation to generation.

Surrounded by imposing mountains, this fertile valley is a veritable tropical paradise. Waterfalls cascade down the cliffs, feeding streams that meander through lush plantations. You can relax in refreshing natural pools and savour the tranquil beauty of the surrounding nature.

When you reach the Paul Valley, you'll realise the scale of your achievement and marvel at the diversity of the landscapes you've crossed. This journey will have allowed you to immerse yourself in Cape Verdean culture, experience authentic encounters with the local people and connect with the unspoilt nature of Santo Antão.

Hiking in Cape Verde. The Paul Valley in Cape Verde
Paul's Valley


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