If you’re planning to visit the island of Fogo in Cape Verde, you might be looking for a list of the best things to do in Fogo. Well, that is why I created this article to help you in the best way possible.
We’ve traveled to the island of Fogo, and it is a unique island to visit of its striking natural beauty and the opportunity to witness an active volcano up close. The island is known for its rich cultural heritage, reflected in colorful architecture, traditional music, and heartwarming people. So here we go!
1) Climb Pico do Fogo
The 2829-meter-high active volcano is the island’s main attraction, which last erupted in 2014. The best time to hike is early in the morning, which takes approximately 6-7 hours round trip and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape during sunrise. The starting point is located in Chã das Caldeiras, where you can hire a guide for approximately 20-30 euros per person. The hike can be challenging, but the views from the top are worth it!
2) Visit the Chã das Caldeiras
The Chã das Caldeiras is a volcanic valley located at the base of Pico do Fogo. And is a unique and fascinating landscape to explore. The black volcanic soil is fertile and supports a thriving agriculture industry of wine and coffee.
Even though the last eruption destroyed many of the houses in the Caldeiras, people remain living in their houses that sometimes have been swallowed up by the lava. And after we visited and stayed a couple of nights in one of the hotels in the village, we understood why. The place is very tranquil and so unique. You really experience being secluded from the rest of the world and being more one with nature.
You can hire a taxi from São Filipe, hop in an Aluguer, which is a shared taxi, or the small bus leaving from town at fixed times.
We made a travel video about the island of Fogo, where we included our visit to the Chã das Caldeiras.
Travel Guide Video Fogo, Cape Verde
3) Visit the Historic Town of São Filipe
São Filipe is the island’s main town, known for its colonial architecture, colorful houses, and lively market.
Most hotels are situated in the charming town of São Filipe, so you cannot visit Fogo without having experienced this town. Walking around the colorful streets and visiting historical buildings, such as the old church and the colonial-era palace, is very nice. And just stroll around to explore different cafes, shops, and restaurants. You can explore during the day, shower at your hotel, and experience the town’s vibrant atmosphere by night.
4) Taste the Fogo wine
Fogo Island is home to some of the most unique vineyards in the world due to the volcanic soil that creates a distinct taste in the wine. The Chã das Caldeiras vineyards offer wine tastings and tours of the vineyards, where you can learn about the wine-making process and sample some of the island’s best wines. The vineyards are located in Chã das Caldeiras, in the heart of the island’s volcanic crater. The wine tasting and tour cost is around 10-15 euros.
5) Visit the Museu Municipal de São Filipe
The Museu Municipal de São Filipe is a museum dedicated to the history of the island. It features exhibits on the island’s geology, culture, and economy. The best time to visit is during the day. Admission is free.
6) Visit Ponta da Salina
The island has several beautiful beaches, such as Praia de Salinas and Praia de Fonte Bila. They’re not white sandy beaches, but they are black! Praia de São Jorge is a beautiful black sand beach on the island’s northwestern coast, with Ponta Da Salina as the main attraction. It is a beautiful natural swimming pool formed by Lava streams from Pico de Fogo.
Because of the significant rock formations, the natural pool is almost completely closed off from the rough sea, which makes it a very relaxing place for swimming. You can get there by collective taxi: Aluguer.
And Praia de Fonte Bila beach is at a walkable distance from the main town of São Filipe.
Read more: Where in Cape Verde Can You Swim in the Sea?
8) Take a boat tour
Explore the coastline of the island by boat and discover hidden coves and beaches.
9) Visit the Monte Velha Nature Reserve
This protected area is home to endemic species and unique vegetation, including the Cape Verdean firecrest and the Fogo endemic tree heath. It is located on the eastern side of the island, and it’s known for its unique flora and fauna, including several species of birds. The best time to visit is during the day. You can get there by taking a taxi or hiring a guide.
10) Visit Brava Island
A visit to Fogo is already a visit to a lesser-known Cape Verdean island, but you can visit Fogo’s sister island, which is even less traveled and only reachable by a 1.5-hour ferry. So if you have plenty of time on Fogo and want to escape from the crowds, visiting this small and picturesque island located east of Fogo Island is worth it.
Read more: How To Get To Cape Verde: Full Travel Guide
11) Hike From Chã das Caldeiras To Mostreiros
Hiking from Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros is one of the most popular hikes on Fogo. And here’s what you can expect from this activity:
- The hike: The hike from Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros is approximately 10 kilometers long and takes around 3-4 hours to complete. It’s a moderate to challenging hike, with steep inclines and descents, and can be quite rocky and uneven in places.
- Scenic views: One of the highlights of this hike is the stunning scenery you’ll encounter along the way. You’ll pass through barren volcanic landscapes, with views of the towering Pico do Fogo volcano and the surrounding countryside. You’ll also have the opportunity to see the island’s unique flora and fauna up close.
- Local culture: Along the way, you’ll pass through several small villages and can interact with locals and learn about their way of life.
The best time to do this hike is during the dry season, which runs from November to June. The weather is cooler, and there’s less chance of rain, making for more pleasant hiking conditions. The hike can be done independently, but hiring a guide is recommended to ensure your safety and learn more about the area’s history and culture. You can find more about this hike here.
To get to Chã das Caldeiras, you can take a taxi or shared minibus from São Filipe, the largest town on Fogo Island. The cost will vary depending on the mode of transportation, but it’s generally around 20-60 euros. There are also several accommodation options in Chã das Caldeiras if you want to stay overnight before the hike.
12) Taste The Local Cuisine
The island’s cuisine features fresh seafood, such as lobster and octopus, as well as traditional dishes like cachupa and feijoada. Make sure to order some of the local’s most famous dishes. Ask the waiter in the restaurant for the best local cuisine to try out.
13) Stargazing In Chã das Caldeiras
Chã das Caldeiras is an elevated place within a crater, away from other towns making it very dark at night. Perfect to go stargazing. If you plan on visiting Chã das Caldeiras, make sure to stay a night or two so you can watch the stars.
14) Take A Coffee Tour
Fogo is known for its coffee production, and a tour of the coffee plantations is a must-do for coffee lovers.
15) Visit Cova Figueira
The Cova Figueira is a small town on the island’s eastern side. It’s known for its traditional architecture and peaceful atmosphere. The best time to visit is during the day. You can get there by taking a taxi or renting a car.
16) Visit the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição is a historic church located in São Filipe. It’s known for its beautiful architecture and religious significance. The best time to visit is during the day. Admission is free.
17) Visit the Fogo Natural Park
This protected area covers a large part of the island and features diverse landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and volcanic formations.
18) Take a Cooking Class
Fogo is known for its unique cuisine, which features fresh seafood and local ingredients. Taking a cooking class is a great way to learn about the local food culture.
19) Attend A Local Festival
The island has several festivals throughout the year, including the São João festival and the Festa de Nossa Senhora da Conceição. The biggest festival is in the last week of April, Festa de São Filipe, with sporting events, traditional rituals & concerts.
The Santo António Festival is a popular festival that takes place in June in the town of Mosteiros. It’s known for its lively music, traditional dances, and delicious food. The best time to go is during the festival. Admission is usually free.
And on the 16th of December, São Filipe organizes the São Filipe district festival.
20) Visit The Casa Das Bandeiras Museum
This museum tells the story of Fogo’s history and culture, from its colonial past to its present-day traditions.
How To Get To Fogo, Cape Verde
In case you’re wondering, how do I get to Cape Verde? Here is the answer.
Getting to Fogo can be done by air or sea. The island has an airport, São Filipe Airport, which is serviced by domestic airlines from Sal and Praia. The closest island to Fogo is also the biggest island of Cape Verde, Santiago island. You can take a direct flight from Lisbon to Santiago island and hop on a local flight to Fogo. The airport is located about 4 km from São Filipe, the island’s main town.
Or alternatively, you can take a ferry from Praia, Santiago Island, which takes around 4 hours but can be rough depending on the sea conditions. Or even canceled when there is extreme weather. The ferry is the most adventurous route, but the safest option, especially when you have limited time, is booking a flight.
Cape Verde Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Cape Verde?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $2 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Safety Wing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Cape Verde?
No — It is generally recommended to drink bottled water in Cape Verde. While tap water is generally safe for showering and brushing teeth, it may not be suitable for drinking. Bottled water is readily available and affordable throughout the country. Or you can buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Cape Verde?
Yes — Renting a car in Cape Verde is one of the best ways to see the islands. I always rent with Rentalcars, which checks international and local Cape Verdean companies, so you get the best rates.
🏩 What’s the best way to book places to stay in Cape Verde?
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Cape Verde flights?
⛵️ Where to book the best tours in Cape Verde?
For the best tours in Cape Verde, I highly recommend booking your trips at Get Your Guide.
🛂 Do I need a visa for Cape Verde?
Likely Not — U.S. and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Cape Verde. Most travelers will receive a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival.
😃 Which is the safest island of Cape Verde?
Santo Antão – Although all islands are safe to travel to, Santo Antão is the safest island of Cape Verde. It is known for “Morabeza,” a Creole word meaning very friendly Cape Verdean hospitality. In the capital Praia on the island of Santiago, you must be somewhat careful but not need paranoia.
🗣 Do they speak English in Cape Verde?
Yes – Most staff speak English, and some are multi-lingual. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans is Cape Verdean Creole. (Read more)
⭐️ What is the best time to visit Cape Verde?
The best time to visit Cape Verde is between November and June. The average day temperature is around 24°C (75°F), the sea temperature is 25°C, and there is almost no rain. Perfect for a white-sandy beach holiday. However, Cape Verde has many attractions and activities throughout the year:
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Hiking: November & December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Snorkeling and Diving: July – December
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Kitesurfing: December – March
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Whale Watching: March-May
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Turtle Spotting: Mid-July – October
- The best time to visit Cape Verde for Carnival: February/ March