Santo Antão is an island with majestic mountains and deep and steep valleys, the topography of the island is breathtaking. The surface area of Santo Antão is 779Km2. It is the second-largest island of the archipelago and is rather like a trapezoid in shape.
The climate is dry in the south, cool in the central region (at an altitude of 1000 m) and humid in the northeast region. Quite naturally, the vegetation varies dramatically between regions.
The high zones are covered with trees like the eucalyptus, the cypress, and the pine-tree. The south, in total contrast, is arid with herbaceous vegetation and the coastline is very picturesque.
Santo Antao is one of the most fantastic islands of the archipelago. Although this statement may be unfair to the rest of them, for it is a fact that all islands have their special charm, this one is, among the more mountainous, the one which most thrills the visitor.
With majestic mountains and deep steep valleys, the topography of the island is breathtaking. One of the ways to reach the island is by boat. The boat comes from Mindelo, in Sao Vicente, and moors on Porto Novo (New Port), place of an arid landscape and of another annual music festival in Praia do Escorralete.
When traveling towards the north, the visitor is transported to an almost unreal world, where the human will and strength dominated the wild nature of the place. The roads carved along the slopes are genuine monuments to the effort and work of those who built them. These authentic roller coasters will surely amaze all visitors. As if by magic, we are where the climate makes the visitors feel at home. These are the highest parts of the island covered with pines and eucalyptus that are planted every year and surrounded by a cool and dense mist. This kind of landscape offers unparalleled characteristics for various mountains sports, such as trekking.
Leaving these mysterious places and already at sea level, we come across Ribeira Grande (Large Stream), a valley where we find the main urban center of the same name, and place of bifurcation into two of the most visited places in Santo Antao. To the right the roads take us along the seashore to Vale do Paul, one of the most beautiful places in the island. With dense vegetation full of maize and sugarcane fields, as we travel towards the inland we cannot help feeling watched and at the same time protected by the grandiose mountains surrounding the valley. There, the visitor can find a recreational area with a swimming pool where everyone can enjoy the solemn peace the island offers to all of those who dare to visit it.
Back in Ribeira Grande, we can now go to Ponta do Sol, the administrative center of the island. The village houses an airfield that resembles an aircraft carrier for having partially been built over the sea.
With a peaceful environment, this place offers those who visit it all the necessary requirements for wonderful relaxing strolls. Its main square, always very neat, is also quite beautiful and is surrounded by admirable buildings, such as the church, the City Hall and the Post office.
Santo Antao is also considered the island of “grogue”, a typical firewater still produced by ancient and traditional methods of sugarcane grinding, such as the “trapiche”, a rudimentary mechanism powered by animals or men. The production of “grogue” is linked to the large plantations of sugarcane on this island, where the friendliness and hospitality of its people match the beauty of its landscapes.