SÃO NICOLAU Island with a population of 13.500, belongs to the Barlavento (Windward) group of Cape Verde Islands, situated between the islands of Santa Luzia in the west and Sal in the east. Its area of 343 km2 is divided between a maximum length of 25km in a north / south direction and a width of 50km.
It is a small mountainous island whose economy is primarily agricultural, being subject to frequent drought spells. Initially colonized in the sixteenth century, the island is known for its mountain ranges and the main town, Ribeira Brava. The other town is the port of Tarrafal.
With seven peaks above 500 meters in height, forming steep narrow valleys, the island of São Nicolau as well as Santo Antão Island, are two of the most impressive of the Cape Verde archipelago. The highest peak is Monte Gordo, with 1304 meters, located at the confluence of two volcanic ridges and only 8km from Ribeira Brava, the administrative capital of the island.
São Nicolau used to be a favorite target of pirates, who forced locals to retreat to the volcanic mountains. Preguiça in the bay of Sao Jorge boasts a large Portuguese fortress built in 1818, to finally rid themselves of the pirates.
In the mountainous interior of the island, there are several marked trails that provide magnificent walks, with canyons or the Atlantic as a backdrop. The ports of Tarrafal and Preguiça have organized groups devoted to big sea fishing.
North of Monte Gordo, in the heart of São Nicolau, stretches the Valley of Fajã and to the Northwest, the Valley of Ribeira da Prata; the two most fertile, beautiful and green parts of the island, where rivers meander with warm water all year round and where sugar cane, bananas, maize and beans are grown in the foothills and terraces of the valleys.
Overall an excellent choice for a different type of Cape Verde Experience.