Santo Antão

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THE MOST MOUNTAINOUS ISLAND.

@Helio Van Ingen@Helio Van Ingen 

THE MOST MOUNTAINOUS ISLAND.

@Helio Van Ingen@Helio Van Ingen 

History

The island of Santo Antão was discovered in January 1462, but only began to be settled by the Portuguese crown some 90 years later, due to its geological characteristics, which rendered access to it difficult. Today, its population approaches 50,000 inhabitants, distributed mostly in the eastern part of the island, between Porto Novo, Ponta do Sol and Ribeira Grande. Its largest city is Porto Novo, whose port provides reasonable navigability conditions.

Ribeira Grande is the island’s administrative center. Its main economic activities are fishing, agriculture and the extraction of a volcanic soil used in the manufacturing of cement. Tourism has begun to be regarded as a lucrative economic activity as well.

Geography

The island presents remarkable contrasts in its landscape. In the north are beautiful, verdant landscapes, in contrast with the arid southern portion of the island. Moving down toward the sea, one passes through fertile valleys, coming across small villages here and there in this region of the island, which features scenes of startling beauty that leave a long-lasting impression.

Cuisine

The island’s cuisine is varied, both in terms of fish and meat dishes. One of the most well-loved traditional recipes is goat stew with beans. Desserts are also plenty, with the island’s famous molasses cake. Santo Antão is also famous for its traditional sugarcane brandy, grogue, considered the best in the country.

The variety of restaurants on the island is satisfactory, but visitors may also eat their meals at their place of lodging. In Porto Novo, fresh, delicious goat cheese may be purchased just steps away from the passenger terminal at the port.

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