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wojtekd Ribeira Grande - A travel report by Wojciech
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Ribeira Grande,  Cape Verde - flag Cape Verde
11924 readers

wojtekd's travel reports

Cabo Verde - islands to discover

  26 votes
Page: 1 2

Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
600 kilometers from the western coast of Africa on the latitude of Senegal lies archipelago of Cabo Verde, forming insular Republic of Cape Verde – one of the poorest countries of the region. For centuries Cabo Verde has been well known to sailors for the production of its famous grog. Nowadays Cape Verde is trying to develop tourism as a source of income. The beauty of the landscape and the charming Portuguese-speaking people have encouraged more and more foreign vacationers to come here. I myself decided to go there before the archipelago is flooded by mass tourism...

Favourite spots:
Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
Santo Antao island. To get from Sal (where all international flights terminate) to Santo Antao, the most picturesque island of the archipelago, you must fly by turbo-prop ATR plane to Mindelo on Sao Vicente and then take the 8 am junk ferry to Porto Novo. The rough strait crossing takes about an hour depending of the weather. The ferry returns at 11.00 p.m. There are also afternoon sailings at 3 pm from Mindelo and 5 pm from Porto Novo except Tuesdays and Sundays. Deck class only. The price is 500 CVE each way and it is possible to buy a ticket a day in advance.

What's really great:
Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
Santo Antao is famous for its landscapes, making it worthwhile to stay longer than on the other islands. In the southern part of the island, there are dry, deserted but colourful mountains. In the north the mountain landscape is even more dramatic. The slopes are steep and the deep valleys (ribeiras) are green. The highest peaks rise to 1800 meters. There are a lot of well maintained paths between ribeiras and villages so Santo Antao can be called a hiker’s paradise. The only problem is the lack of water on the higher altitudes – it is advisable to carry sufficient supply with you.

Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
From Ribeira Grande you can take a picturesque coastal road tour – east via Paul to Janela lighthouse and west to the village Punta do Sol where you can find nice examples of colonial architecture and impressive, high rocky cliffs. A coastal mountain path passes along these cliffs to another picturesque fishing village, Cruzinha da Garca. It is a 3 to 4 hour hike. Road access to Cruzinha is through an impressive canyon.
Take a hike up the beautiful ribeiras. It will give you the chance to see how the people live here. Sometimes their stone houses cling to the steep slopes like the nests. Water supply is the main problem. People and donkeys carrying water containers are a normal sight. On the mountain’s slopes, you will see also hundreds of little terraces where the people grow vegetables and sugar cane

Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
You will land in Porto Novo. Then public minibus or pickup (they call it aluguer) will take you for just 300 CVE from the little harbour to Ribeira Grande – the capital of the island. There are 36 kilometres of a cobblestone, narrow and picturesque road, climbing in hairpins up to 1200-meter pass. This gives you a good introduction to the beautiful nature of the island. At the top ridge, you will see pine forests and clouds filling the extinct crater of Cova. Then the road, balancing between precipices, goes down – to the navy blue ocean. The minibus stops in the small, colourful town of Ribeira Grande where you can find two inexpensive hotels. I stayed at Residencial Alianca. They charge 1500 CVE for a room with a bath. Ask here for a back room – it will be less noisy.

Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
The cane is raw material for the production of grog, local variety of home-made rum. During your hike, you will see grog processing in many places. The product is easily available for 200-300 CVE per litre (1 USD is worth 120 CVE). Just bring your empty bottle with you! On the picture you can see how do they process sugar cane for the grogue...

Other recommendations:
Ribeira Grande travelogue picture
Hiking 2 hours from Ribeira Grande uphill along the picturesque Ribeira da Torre, you will reach the end of the valley. Then there is another 3 hours of strenuous, steep climbing to Cova. A walk from Cova via Lagoa to Ribeira da Garca took me whole day. Transport on the mountain roads is sparse. Taking public transport, make sure whether you will be charged for a share taxi ride or private taxi ride (10 times more). See more pictures at my Polish CV page:

Published on Sunday March 9th, 2003

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Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 05:34 AM rating by miguelmarchi

This is one of the few countries that you describe in these reports where I have also been!

Thu, Aug 05 2004 - 05:40 AM rating by nedkelly

Again a well written report .Im stuck in a wheellchair for a few months after a climbing accident and reading your reports really do good for my soul thanks man.

Mon, Oct 27 2003 - 12:20 PM rating by lysdor

Oh wow...great descriptions! I would like to go for some hiking sessions one day - almost went there a couple of years ago when Sabena opened the new route and I was selected to take some travel agents for a tour...but didn't as the company ceased, so sad!

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