Its rather long name is important to avoid confusing it with one of the other "tarrafals" in Cabo Verde. There are four, the most well known one on Santiago, one on São Nicolau, and even another one on the island of Santo Antão, which is not really a village, but a section of Ribeira Grande, one of the largest towns on the island. The name Tarrafal comes from the shrub/tree Tamarix senegalensis or Tamarisk, called Tarrafe in Cabo Verde.
It rains very seldom on this side of the island, the surrounding area is very much desert, but Tarrafal is a true oasis — springs fed by a large watershed enable it to have access to quite a lot of good quality spring water; the fields of sugar cane, manioc, yams, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, etc. are irrigated, there are many palms and trees — coconut, date, breadfruit, mango,papaya, tamarind, acacia — and the valley is lush and green in many places.
Tarrafal de Monte Trigo was quite islolated for many years; first no road, only accessible by boat; later a dirt road, very long, bumpy, dusty, with many twists and turns, taking 3-4 hours from Porto Novo. In 2010 work was started to straighten, flatten and pave the road — with cobblestones from the island, not asphalt. This work continued for years by fits and starts, with many pauses and setbacks. Finally in early 2021 the road was declared finished with an inauguration ceremony in February 2021. The trip from Porto Novo to Tarrafal now takes only about 1 hour. There is still a stretch across the beach and into the village that is unpaved. The smaller neighboring village of Monte Trigo is still only reachable by foot or boat.
From Porto Novo:
By "aluguer" or "collectivo" (collective taxi)Edit
see: "Get around" Santo Antão
By "taxi" or "frete" (privatized collective taxi)Edit
see: "Get around" Santo Antão
From any part of the island:Edit
By foot or bicycleEdit
Quite a few people do this and it must be quite an experience. People on bikes seem to always have brought their own with them. It would be best to inform yourself from competent sources before you go, there are a lot of things to take into consideration — routes, sun exposure, heat, drinking water,etc. — and attempting the long hikes or rides without previous knowledge could be difficult or even dangerous.
Hike, swim, snorkel, dive , eat, drink, make friends, read, or relax.
- 1 MarTranquilidade, Tarrafal de Monte Trigo, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thatched roofed stone cottages, on the beach. Cozy rooms with terraces and balconies providing ocean and mountain views. Reserve directly by e-mail. (Not to be found on any booking portals) Meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — are served on the terrace to house guests, but people from outside are welcome to eat by previous reservation — an hour or so ahead may be enough, or ask the day before. Beer and soft drinks are avaiable from a fridge on the terrace; a selection of wines, including local wine, may be ordered from the wine list — bottles only. The dinner buffet at 19:00 offers variety and quantity to satisfy almost all preferences and appetites; the "Sundowner"(cocktail) is included, served on the beach terrace from about 17:30 until dinnertime, so don't come too late.