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Best Hiking Trails in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)

Overview

Despite its name, Cabo Verde, a small group of volcanic islands off the coast of west Africa, is rocky and barren, and boasts some great hiking opportunities. Those who like travelling off the beaten path rave about the stunning hiking that’s available here. There are ten islands in total, six northern ones are known as the Barlavento islands (Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Ilha do Sal, Boa Vista) and the four southern ones the Sotavento Islands (Maio, Santiago, Fogo, Brava).

Sal and Boa Vista are popular beach destination islands, but for hiking, head to Santo Antão, São Vicente, Fogo, São Nicolau and Santiago. Santo Antão, in particular, is considered the best island for hiking.  Popular hikes include: Pico do Fogo, hikes in the Paul Valley, Ribeira Grande to Xoxo, Monte Gordo, Chã de Igreja to Ponta do Sol, Tarrafal to Monte Trigo. The best months to hike in Cabo Verde are all year. Read on for more information on when and where to hike in Cabo Verde.

Capital: Praia

When To Hike in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)?

Year round: Dry season is Oct – July but only small amounts of rain fall in Aug – Sept
Climate: Tropical arid – unusual climate.  The six northern islands (Barlovento islands) are more arid while the four southern islands (Sotavento) receive a bit more rain.  The rains are irregular (some years a lot, others none) but if you go when it is raining then chances of landslides.  Aug and Sept seem to be the rainiest months (but not a lot). Temps remain fairly steady throughout the year – warmer during the summer months.

Accessibility of Hiking

Medium: Many hikes are difficult to do without a guide.  There doesn’t seem to be an official hiking guide so best way to organize hikes is to decide on the islands you want to hike on and then hire guides.  Also use the apps.

Transportation required: Car; aluguers (minibuses)

Where to stay:

  • Santo Antão: Ponta do Sol, Ribeira Grande
  • São Nicolau: Ribeira Brava, Tarrafal
  • Santiago: Pedra Badejo, Calheta de São Miguel
  • Fogo: Mosteiros, São Filipe
  • São Vicente – Mindelo

Top Places to Hike in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)

The best islands for hiking are Santo Antão, São Nicolau, Fogo and Santiago. Highest Mountain: Pico de Fogo (2829 m), on the island of Fogo. São Vicente is a small island that may have some hiking, and while Brava has a mountainous interior, its remote location means there's little hiking infrastructure.

Filter out hiking places of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) by month

Click on the red map pointers to see more info.

São Vicente

  • Parque Natural Monte Verde – hike up to the top of Monte Verde

Santiago

  • The largest of the islands and home to the capital; there are two mountain ranges here
  • Parque Natural de Serra Malagueta – not a lot of info on trails, but maps available – Santiago Hiking Trails
  • Serra do Pico do Antonio 
  • Lots of guided hikes available

Fogo

São Nicolau

Santo Antão

Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)'s Long Distance Trails

Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)'s Walking & Hiking Resources

Cabo Verde Hiking Books: No hiking specific books

  • Cape Verde: The Bradt Travel Guide, 7th Edition, by Murray Stewart, Ainsling Irwin and Colum Wilson, 2017, Bradt Travel Guides – quite useful, has listing of guides 
  • Lonely Planet West Africa, by Lonely Planet, 2017, Lonely Planet Global Limited

 

Best Hiking Trails in Cabo Verde (Cape Verde):

  • Pico do Fogo – on the island of Fogo
  • Cova to Cidade das Pombas in the Paul Valley – on Santo Antão
  • Ribeira Grande to Xoxo – on Santo Antão
  • Monte Gordo – on São Nicolau
  • Pico de Antonia – on Santiago
  • Chã de Igreja to Ponta do Sol – on Santo Antão
  • Tarrafal to Monte Trigo – on Santo Antão
  • Hikes in Parque Natural de Serra de Malagueta – on Santiago
  • Monte Verde – on São Vicente

 

Cabo Verde Hiking Websites:

 

Cabo Verde Weather Website: 

 

Cabo Verde Official Tourism Site:  

 

Cabo Verde Hiking Apps: 

 

Cabo Verde Hiking Maps: 

What Else To Do

  • Mindelo (on São Vicente) – has a rocking Mardi Gras
  • Beaches
  • Coffee, cocoa
  • Watersports (windsurfing, etc)

Other Important Points