The next day of vacation we caught the 8 am ferry to Santo Antão. This gave us plenty of time to take a car from the port to the northern end of the island, where we stopped at the city of Porto do Sol. That day we didn’t do much—just watched the fishermen bring in the day’s catch, strolled around the town, and watched the sunset.
The following day we planned to do one of the island’s best hikes, which follows the coast from the town of Chã de Igreja to Ponto do Sol. We were a little lax about arranging transportation so we ended up taking what we could find, which meant starting inland, in the valley town of Bocas das Ambas Ribeiras (Mouth of Both Valleys). This meant we needed to clumb up and over a towering ridgeline to reach our planned start point. I’m glad we did, because the climb and descent were beautiful. It was our first glimpse of the topography for which Santo Antão is known: nearly vertical valleys and sharp knife-edge ridges.
Upon reaching the coast the trail became a wide cobblestone path… big enough for two passing burros, but not suitable for vehicles. The trail rolled along, climbing and dipping as it wound along the headlands. In the town of Furminginhas we found a little patio bar overlooking the ocean, where the dona (woman of the house) made us a heaping bowl of pasta, to order. We continued on through the towns of Corva and Fontainhas, which were nestled in the ribeiras (valleys) and were therefore cooler and greener than the more exposed coast. Luckily, we found a ride back to Ponta do Sol just as the sun started to get low in the sky. We got back no later than expected despite the extra mileage at the start and caught our second sunset from the hotel rooftop.