Fogo Cape Verde (Fogo means ‘fire’ in Portuguese) is the most prominent of the Sotavento group of Cape Verde islands. It is in the south-west of the Cape Verde archipelago. Pico do Fogo rises to nearly 3,000m above sea level at its summit. It is almost 1000m taller than the next tallest mountain in the country.
The volcano on Fogo last erupted 2014, forming a new crater called Pico Pequeno (Little Peak). The largest volcanic feature is the 7 x 10km caldera, which has walls as much as 1km high. This is certainly worth a visit and the lava flow from 2014 is clearly visible within the caldera. The 2014 lava blocked the original road through the caldera. Consequently a new track has been formed around the lava flow. A trek up to the top of Pico do Fogo makes for a highly memorable trip for the more energetic visitor. It takes about 6 hours from the Chã das Caldeiras to complete climb of 1000m.
Making your way through the caldera from the São Filipe side, you will eventually find a complete contrast. The national park starts at the northern end of the caldera towards Mosteiros. The trees, shrubs and greenery make a delightful contrast to the ‘moonscape’ within the caldera. People live in the caldera and there are also places to stay and places to eat. Seeing the houses buried by the 2014 eruption is sad, but it is impressive that the locals have started to rebuild. It is good that nobody was killed in the 2014 eruption. Vines are grown in the caldera and the Chã wine produced (both red and white) is of good quality. Production was halted by the eruption in 2014, but it can still be bought in the shops in Cape Verde. The island also produces coffee.
São Filipe is the largest town of the island and is located on the west coast of Fogo. São Filipe is an attractive town that slopes down towards the sea. It also has lovely views over to the neighbouring island of Brava. Colourful houses and a bustling square help to make this an interesting town to visit. The port is nearby, providing a ferry service to Brava and Praia (Santiago).
Fogo is becoming increasingly more popular with tourists looking for something a little out of the ordinary. The beaches, which are black from the volcanic lava, may not be as stunning as those on the other islands, but the landscape throughout is quite spectacular. The island of fire is also an island of contrasts, with lovely coastline, green woods and forests, but also with the stark, fascinating landscape within the caldera. Fogo Cape Verde is an island that should be on any island hopping itinerary.