Type of stay :
Trek without guide
Localities visited :
Vila da Ribeira Brava, Faja, Tarrafal, Cachaça
Length : 6 days
(included 4 of walking)
Maximum difficulty : 3
Let's face it: yes, it goes up (and down). But the trouble is worth it: the views upon the valleys, besides being incredible, give the impression of a radically different world - a feeling that the numerous and bizarre dragon trees (dragoeiros) can only confirm. Even the cultivated pieces of land or the small villages you'll pass by have something special, unique - as if Africa, South America and Asia had melted into this tiny island.
Regions covered : click
No major difficulty, all levels are welcome
The best way to approach this fascinating culture is simply by diving into it. São Nicolau is one of the best-preserved islands of the archipelago: very few tourists, a friendliness out of the ordinary and landscapes as varied as outstanding. Night in Ribeira Brava, a charming little city of colonial architecture nested in the bottom of a valley.
Day 2 (Hike 4, 5 hours // level 2)
Today we will have our first encounter with Faja. We are in the core-area of our tour: the friends we make today, we will see them again the following days, because we'll always be be around. Once in Faja, we have the choice to find an aluguer to go home - or we can walk. But first of all, let's enter any little shop and order a coffee, and why not, improve our Creole. The best thing to do in Cachaço is to sit in front of the last mercearia of the village, enjoying the beauty of the landscapes before us, while sipping a delicious coffee. Life is beautiful? Life is beautiful. Night in Ribeira Brava.
Day 3 (Hike 3, 5 hours // level 2-3)
Change of scenery today - the coast is awaiting us! Located in the middle of the island, Faja is a high plateau where agriculture is flourishing. It is the most populated region of the island - well, everything's relative, we're talking about a few thousands inhabitants - it is also the greenest area, which makes it a paradise for hikers. In terms of deep valleys and breathtaking panoramas, São Nicolau could easily compete with Santo Antão.
We are getting closer to the ocean - but first we make the acquaintance of a beautiful valley, as we leave Faja. The path is rough: there are very few tourists visiting the island that nothing is done to keep the tracks in a good shape. In 2010, a rain torrent damaged a part of today's trail: it has temporarily been repaired by the few locals who use this path to go to work - locals such as Silvino, a young guide who lives in Fragata and works in Cachaço in the national park. We will finally descend a valley where we'll be accompanied by young children on their way from school. Transfer and night in Tarrafal.
Day 4 (Many hikes of different level possible)
One of the highlights of Tarrafal is observing the fishermen returning from the sea, around 1pm. Even without understanding Creole, one can easily catch the intensity of the lively conversations. But let us not get distracted from our goal, which is the Monte Gordo - the highest point of the island (1312m). The surrounding area is a well-organised national park with many endemic species. When there are no clouds, we will be able to enjoy astonishing views upon the surrounding islands. Night in Tarrafal.
Day 5 (Hike 5 hours // level 3)
Our last hiking day is going to be a challenge - but a rewarding one. There isn't really a path the whole time (that's adventure all right!), but we count on the beauty of the landscapes to make it up. We'll probably meet a hermit with his dog - if he's home, it will be a wonderful encounter. Night in Ribeira Brava.
Compared with other islands, São Nicolau ('sneeklao') is still not easily reachable by air. There are so few planes reaching the island that everybody knows the timetables, if the plane is late, who is taking the plane, how many pieces of luggage he's taking and what is inside... As we are about to board the plane and leave this island, we feel like we are parting from a loved family member.
Round-trop inter-island flights São Vicente > São Nicolau > São Vicente in class T
Accommodation for 5 nights
Roadbooks for 4 days
All transfers according to the program
All transfers Airport > Ribeira Brava > Airport
Price per person
426 € based on two people in one double room
350 € based on four people in two double rooms
Single room extra charge: 61 EUR