São Nicolau is one of the least discovered islands of the Cape Verde archipelago. It is the quietest island with small, traditional, rural communities dotted around the coastline.
Reached by internal aircraft or by regular ferry from São Vicente. Visitors enjoy a dramatic curtain raiser to São Nicolau’s breathtaking scenery en-route from the airport to Ribeira Brava, as the road edges a deep fertile valley before turning to reveal the picturesque capital cascading down a mountainside.
Ribeira Brava’s town square is an island of peace and antiquity, a catholic church on one side, old colonial administration buildings on the other three and a pretty garden in the centre.
Walk for ten minutes out of town and lush plantations of maize, banana and papaya surround you. Take a drive through the agricultural centre of the island and you’ll pass delightful villages and busy farming communities working the fertile land.
Crossing the island you will pass fairytale dragon trees, an endangered species native to São Nicolau. Following the fertile uplands, the landscape flattens, becoming arid as you reach Tarrafal lying on the coast with its black sanded beach. The climate here is hotter, drier and the landscape volcanic.
The landscape of São Nicolau bears the mark of a past intense, volcanic activity. The rugged features will enchant both walkers and trekkers looking for real contact with nature. It is ideal for mountain bikers, its mountains are not quite as high as those on Santo Antão. The highest mountain is the 1312-metre high Monte Gordo. The bay of Tarrafal is rich in high quality fish such as tuna, wahoo and swordfish. Whilst providing sustenance for the islanders, it also attracts leisure fishing enthusiasts, particularly those seeking the much sought after Blue Marlin.