Village in the mountains, Fontainhas, Cape Verde,

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Santo Antão

For many people the main reason for visiting Cabo Verde is the spectacular island of Santo Antão. This dizzyingly vertical isle, ruptured with canyons, gorges and valleys, offers some of the most amazing hiking in West Africa. The second-largest island in the archipelago, it is the only one that puts the verde in Cabo Verde. As you approach from São Vicente by ferry, you wouldn't guess how green it is, as the south side looks barren and harsh. But the northeast of the island, the most populated corner and the most popular with hikers, receives enough regular moisture for forests of pine trees to dominate the hilltops and tropical plants to flourish in the steamy valleys. See the northeast first, before heading for the untravelled western reaches of Santo Antão, with its mighty mountains and a nascent tourism industry.


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