Transportation (as of June 2024; changes may occur)

First you must fly to São Vicente, either directly or via another island in Cabo Verde—Sal, Praia (or Boa Vista). For dependability and convenience flights from Europe directly to São Vicente seem best (e.g. via Lisbon with TAP; with Cabo Verde Airlines from Lisbon, Paris or Bergamo; from Amsterdam with Tuifly Holland; from Luxembourg with Luxair.)  If you choose to fly to another island, there are direct flights to São Vicente (VXE) from Sal (SID) or Praia (RAI), but landing in Boa Vista (BVC) is not as convenient—there are no direct flights, you must fly via Sal or Praia, which takes more time and is expensive. See Cabo Verde Airlines for domestic and some international flights.

From São Vicente/Cesária Évora Airport take a taxi to Mindelo, the main town of São Vicente, ca. 15 minutes.  You may need or want to stay overnight or longer, or go directly to the port. From Mindelo take a ferry to Porto Novo on Santo Antão. See: Nos Ferry, or Interilhas; (no guarantee that they are up to date.) From Porto Novo by pick-up/car/minibus to Tarrafal. If you are already on Santo Antão — in Paúl, Ribeira Grande or Ponta do Sol or somewhere else — 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 ferries arriving about 8:00 and 9:00 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 a morning 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 reach Porto Novo in plenty of time to reach the early ferry. Ca. 4-6 Aluguers, sometimes more or less, go from Tarrafal to Porto Novo and return later every day, Monday to Saturday, but none on Sundays. Price: 700 Escudos per person each way.

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: 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.

We try to keep this information up to date and accurate but changes may occur, so please inform yourselves.