Best Hikking Trails of Santiago Island – 6 Days
Experience 6 guided hike tours, including Cidade Velha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pico D’Antónia, Rui Vaz and Serra Malagueta Natural Park. Relish Katxupa, BBQ, and enjoy a boat trip to the cave. Meet Cape Verde’s only tribe, markets, and relax on the most beautiful beach of Santiago Island, Tarrafal Beach.
Day 1: Arrival – Airport Transfer (Praia Airport to Hotel in Praia)
Be welcomed by our professional driver and a licensed guide at Nelson Mandela Airport. Enjoy a high-quality private transfer to your accommodation in Praia, including free waiting time. Our team will also take you from door to door with complete security and professionalism, providing all relevant information about your stay. After check-in, depart toward Dona Maria Pia Lighthouse. Take stunning pictures from the top of the Lighthouse surrounded by big cannons installed to protect the island from the attack of pirates. Next, discover the historic center of Plateau and its marvelous colonial architecture. Visit the Municipal Market with its variety of fruits and vegetables and discover Santiago Island’s largest souvenir market. Finish the tour with the special touch of the local gastronomy at Casa Katxupa. There, enjoy the most famous and Nacional dish ever made in Cape Verde, Katxupa, a slow-cooked stew of corn, beans, cassava, and sweet potato, with fish or meat option. After lunch, the tour concludes with a drop-off at your accommodation in Praia.
Day 2: Santiago Island, Calabaceira Valley Trek & Visit to Cidade Velha
After being collected from your accommodation in Praia, depart toward the small village of Calabaceira. Start your 3-hour hike from the top of the valley, with an oasis of vast vegetation emerging in its interior. Follow a simple and accessible trail for any hiker and explore the green valley famous for both its baobab trees mentioned by Charles Darwin and its use as an escape route for slaves during slavery. Next, discover the local fauna and flora and experience the production of a local rum-making distillery (The Rum production season runs from January 1 st to May 31st). There, get in touch with local farmers and their agricultural fields of sugar cane, mango trees, cassava, banana, and more. Arrive in Cidade Velha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visit the São Francisco Convent, the famous Banana Street and Nossa Senhora do Rosário church. Have a break for lunch and savor local delights in a typical restaurant right on the seafront. After lunch, visit the former slave market, the ruins of the Sé Catedral, and the Royal Fortress of São Filipe. From the top, enjoy a beautiful view over the whole old town and find out about the system of defense used against pirates. The tour concludes with drop-off at your accommodation in Praia. DURATION Every day from 9 am to 3 pm (6 hours)
Extension: 4500 meters Ascent/Descent: ~300 m Difficult degree: Easy
Total Walking Duration: 2 hours Path quality: Medium tilt, narrow at the beginning, and safe.
Day 3: Trekking: Natural Park of Monte Tchota to Pico D’Antónia (the highest mountain on the island)
Your day begins with a scenic drive to Rui Vaz, where your trek starts. Along the trek you’ll have the opportunity to visit the local cheese factory, followed by the climb through the Natural Park of Monte Txota. Located at an altitude of 800 meters and with its own microclimate, this is one of the coolest places on the island with lots of biodiversities. Then, continue towards the Pico D’Antónia. With an elevation of 1394 meters, this is the highest point of Santiago Island. When you get close to the top you will enjoy panoramic views of the São Jorge Valley, and possibly Maio Island and Fogo Island Volcano, with the weather permitting. Your trek will take about 4 hours, with a stop for a small picnic and views of beautiful landscapes along the way. The route will end with the return to the Monte Txota Natural Park and the ride back to your hotel in Rui Vaz, Quinta da Montanha.
DURATION: Every day from 9 am to 4 pm (6 – 7 hours)
Extension: 3000 meters Descent: ~400 m//Ascent: 672 m Difficult degree: Difficult
Total Walking Duration: 4 – 5 hours Path quality: Medium tilt, narrow and safe.
Day 4: Full Trekking in Serra Malagueta Natural Park, Visit Assomada Market
The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in Tarrafal and heads inland to the traditional Assomada Market. Wander around the vibrant stalls and soak up the hustle and bustle of this island hub whilst watching the locals haggle for produce. Drive to Serra Malagueta Natural Park next, where your trekking adventure awaits. Follow your guide as you head into the luscious landscapes of the Serra Malagueta Natural Park, which covers 774-hectares. The park is home to the Serra Malagueta mountain range as well as over 124 species of plant, and 19 species of bird. Throughout the trek, listen to your guide share information about the local flora and fauna, many of which can only be found here in the park. There’s also the opportunity to see wildlife, including playful monkeys, a variety of reptiles, and colorful butterflies. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, find a scenic spot for a well-deserved rest and enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of the forest. After lunch, continue the walk to the end of the trail, then drive to Tarrafal Beach where you can spend some free time chilling on the shore. The tour concludes with a drop-off at your accommodation in Tarrafal.
DURATION: Every day from 9 am to 5 pm (8 hours)
Extension: 4200 meters (1 way) Ascent/Descent: ~200 m Difficult degree: Easy
Total Walking Duration: 3-4hours Path quality: Flat, wide and safe.
Day 5: Free day in Tarrafal
Day off to explore by yourself. You may like to relax on the white sand of the most picturesque and beautiful beach on Santiago Island, Tarrafal Beach, known for its white sand and crystal-clear waters.
Day 6: Tarrafal, Visit Rabelados Community, Praia City Tour, and Goodbye Santiago
After check-out, head to a local restaurant in Tarrafal and enjoy fresh fish for lunch. Next, return to the island’s east coast and make your first stop in Espinho Branco. There, visit the religious community of Rabelados, the only community that still lives in thatched houses and preserves Cape Verde’s oldest customs and beliefs. See the local handicraft production and have the opportunity to buy handmade paintings from local artisans. Travel for approximately 45 minutes and arrive at the largest banana and coconut plantation in the country. Take a small walk inside the agricultural fields while the local guide explains the varieties of fruits and dozens of plants that exist along the route. Next, forward to the historical center of Plateau, and there start the walking tour through the Jaime Mota Military Barracks, passing by the Presidential Palace and the Alexandre Albuquerque Square. In the Municipal Market (closed on Sundays), meet locals and find a diversity of local fruits and vegetables. Finish the tour with the special touch of the local gastronomy at Quintal da Música. There, relish at your expense the real country’s Nacional dish called Katxupa and enjoy the dinner while a local band plays traditional music. The tour concludes with a drop-off at Nelson Mandela International airport. Say goodbye to Cape Verde longing for “La Morabeza Crioulo”.
Specification: Best Hikking Trails of Santiago Island – 6 Days
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