SANTO ANTÃO in the northwest, belongs to the Barlavento (Windward) group, and is one of the nine inhabited islands of Cape Verde. It’s the second largest island in size (779 km²) and the third in population (48.000) of the Cape Verde Archipelago, with approximately 40km in length and about 20 km wide.
Of volcanic origin, Santo Antão is the most westerly located of the Cape Verde Islands and the furthest from the African continent, so that its west coast is considered the westernmost point of Africa. The São Vicente canal separates it from its nearest neighbor, the island of São Vicente.
Uninhabited when discovered in 1462 by Portugal, it began to be settled, with little success, in 1548. A chain of mountains, long regarded as insurmountable, separates the island from north and south. The main towns are the Ribeira Grande with 22.000 inhabitants and Porto Novo (8.500), the gateway for people and goods coming in from Sao Vicente. Ponta do Sol is where the aerodrome is located on the island.
The highest point of the island is the Topo da Coroa, an inactive volcano 1979 meter high, which stands on a plateau in the northwest of the island, followed by the 1811 meter Gudo de Cavaleiro, in the center of the island, and Pico da Cruz, at 1584 meters, in the north-east.
Since 1999 Santo Antão has observed continuous increase in temperature of the seawater in the region of Ponta do Sol, leading volcanologists to believe of an increase in the risk of further eruptions in the area. There is a relatively active volcano in the Island of Fogo
The part of the island facing east is almost completely dry, while the northeast enjoys a relatively regular season and is reasonably green. It is not surprising therefore that the majority of the population is concentrated in this part of Santo Antão. Due to its rugged beauty and green mountains, the island attracts lots of hikers.