Fogo (Eng.: "fire") is one of the Cape Verde Islands in the Atlantic. It is part of the Cape Verde archipelago Ilhas de Sotavento (Eng.: "Leeward Islands") and lies east of the islands Brava and west of Santiago. The Pico do Fogo is with 2,829 m the second highest mountain in the Atlantic and dominates the island, which has a diameter of about 26 km. The seabed here is about -5,300 m, making the cone then measuring approximately 8,100 meters from base to tip. The cone rises about 1,000 m above the valley of a former volcano called Chã de Caldeiras. On the flank of Pico do Fogo, the last active Pico Pequeno has risen in eruptions of 1995 and 2014/2015. The Caldeira, framed by the Bordeira and dominated by Pico do Fogo forms a worldwide unique volcanic ensemble.
Fogo is separated into three main regions:
- The dry southwest including the island's capital Saõ Filipe.
- The the otherworldly Chã das Caldeiras volcano valley including the 2829m volcano peak Pico de Fogo.
- The north-east above Mosteiros. A fruitful cloud forest is here by the rising north-east trade winds. In the heights, especially at night it can be quite chilly.
The charming main town of São Filipe (approximately 8,300 inhabitants) with its Sobrado colonial architecture is worth exploring for a day or so on your way through. It is the largest town of the island, and the regional capital of Fogo. All essential purchases are available here. There is a museum with exhibits on the culture and volcanism.
Mosteiros is a smaller town with about 5,000 inhabitants in the north-east of the island.
The remaining villages are small.
Transportation to and from Fogo is similar to the transport between the other islands of Cape Verde. Consult the main article for detailed information.
You have the following possibilities to go around Fogo:
- Taxi. The most convenient, but also expensive way. A single trip from the airport to Saõ Filipe is $400. Saõ Filipe's taxis are yellow while Mosteiros taxis are red and green.
- . Similar to other islands of Cape Verde, shared minibuses called Aluguers run between towns. Due to the low number of inhabitants, Aluguers may run more infrequent than on the other islands. The general minimum seems to be that one Aluguer runs from or through smaller towns to Saõ Filipe in the morning and returns to the town around noon on all days except Sunday. This means that you might need at least two days to do a tour to a smaller town from Saõ Filipe.
- Rental car. There are some local car rental agencies available in Saõ Filipe. Most vehicles seem to be SUVs and off-road vehicles for around $7000 - $9000 per day. Be wary of the road conditions when selecting a vehicle. Ask the rental agency for safe spots to park.
- Hike. Fogo is a rather small island. Some smaller distances like Chã de Caldeiras to Mosteiros are also possible by foot.
- Cycling. Should be possible in general, but some of the roads are still cobblestone roads. Verify whether the bicycle that you bring or hire (if any) is suitable.
- Chã das Caldeiras. The valley formed by a previous volcano long time ago. This valley also serves as the starting point for some of the hikes described in the Do section.
- Mosteiros area agriculture. Cloud forest with lush vegetation. Here is some agriculture (bananas, coffee, papaya, beans, ...). The rest of the island is rather barren, but fruitful, case water for irrigation is available. The usual crops of this climate zone are grown.
In essence, Fogo is an island for hiking and trekking. The main hiking possibilities are:
- Pico do Fogo. Most famous hike of the island from the Chã das Caldeiras valley. With mountain guide only. Guides can be hired directly in São Filipe, through the tourism agencies in São Filipe or directly in the small village located in Chã das Caldeiras. Recommended time to start is at sunrise to avoid the daytime heat in the black stones and sands.
- Bordeira mountain ridge hike. Two-day hike around the ridge of the Chã das Caldeiras valley. With tour guide only.
- Other hikes. The island offers several other easier hikes, e.g. from the Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros. Different hiking maps are available from a German editor and in the museum in São Filipe.
There are two possibilities to swim on the island:
- La Salina. Rock basin with metal ladders in the north of the island just west of the town São Jorge. Be careful of the sea urchins.
- The black sand beach of São Filipe.. Swimming here can be dangerous due to strong currents. Locals have reported that people have gone missing. There seems to be a somewhat regular lifeguard on duty in the middle of the beach in the afternoons.
Occasionally music events take place in the Tropical Club and Pipis Bar.
Mainly it is served freshly landed fish and chicken. Beef or pork (as well as fresh meat or in processed form (sausages, ...)) is very rare. In smaller convenience stores you can find everything important for your daily needs. In the two-story indoor market are fruits, vegetables and fish offered as well as various small items like T-shirts, leather goods from West Africa and minor services in the upper floor.
Lactose-free products are still unknown. Otherwise, the food is probably good for many allergy sufferers, because fewer highly processed products are offered. However, one can also find these now already.
At Cafe Fixe is prepared an original Cachupa, a must have tasted meal. It is a bean-corn stew with fish or chicken.
Try the Fogo wine (red, white or rose) of the caldeira and the strong red wine called manecon.
You find some exotic fruit drinks.
Water from the main seemed to be sufficient hygienic.
Given in the day time, unless isolated areas (especially on the beach) are visited. At night in most areas of Sao Filipe. A local guide promotes the objective and subjective safety.
On the beach at Sao Filipe, one should not leave any closed containers (bags, boxes, backpacks, etc.) unattended. It is best to roll all your commodities in a towel, then there is no speculation. Due to lack of shopping facilities on the beach you do not need any money.