Transportation (as of Jan. 2022; changes may occur)
First you must fly to São Vicente, either directly or via another island in Cabo Verde. From there take a taxi to Mindelo, the main town of São Vicente and from there take a ferry* to Porto Novo on Santo Antão. (If you are already on Santo Antão — in Paúl, Ribeira Grande or Ponta do Sol — you must return to Porto Novo and continue on from there to Tarrafal.)
The paving of the road from Porto Novo to Tarrafal was completed in February 2021 and now only takes about 1 to 1 ½ comfortable hours instead of the 2-4 bumpy and dusty hours it used to take! It is still an interesting, beautiful, unforgettable excursion, and the scenery as well as the arrival in Tarrafal make it worthwhile. There are 2 types of transportation to and from Tarrafal:
Aluguer (or Collectivo) is a collective taxi that takes goods as well as passengers, 4×4 pick-up or minibus. They generally only meet the early ferry arriving at 8:00 a.m.. However, the drivers do errands in Porto Novo—banking or shopping for others, etc., and often wait until their cars are full before leaving for Tarrafal, so departure times vary, usually about 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., very seldom later. With rare exceptions, only if you arrive with the earliest ferry or are in Porto Novo in the morning, only Mondays to Saturdays, can you expect to get an Aluguer
For the return trip they leave Tarrafal at about 6:00 a.m.to reach Porto Novo in plenty of time to reach the early ferry. Price: 500-700 Escudos per person each way. Only Monday to Saturday.
“Taxi” (or Frete) is a car with driver hired just for you and your traveling companions. You may leave any time or day you wish in both directions and make stops along the way. If you arrive with a later ferry or arrive after about 11:00 from other parts of the island, or any time on a Sunday, you will probably need to take a taxi.
Price: 5000-7000 escudos for the whole car, 2 – 8 passengers, depending on which car and how much luggage. We can organize a taxi to pick you up directly in the harbor if you request it in advance. It is sometimes possible to share a taxi with other guests arriving the same day.
Residencial Antilhas in Porto Novo, just above the harbor, is a good meeting point for transport to Tarrafal. You may already find an aluguer in the port when you arrive, but may still have to wait. The café on the terrace of Antilhas is a pleasant, shady place to wait. You can have breakfast, coffee or other drinks; they have clean toilets.