The climb of the Pico do Fogo

While I was planning my trip to Cape Verde, I saw that on Fogo island, there was “only” the climb of the volcano to do. I wanted to do it right away. But, neither of Laurence (my travel buddy) or me wanted to stay too long on this island fearing that there will be “nothing” to do there.

First impressions

But, from our arrival on the island, we realised how wrong we were… Arrived in São Felipe (Fogo island’s capitol), we had to cross the entire to get to Chã Das Caldeiras. In order to get there, we drove through the valley and, how green it was! And how high it was! But also, how worth it was!

In the course of a curve, the Fogo volcano reveals itself with all the lava that encircle it a bit more after each eruption. The last one happened in 2014. A dark and lunar landscape spreads out while you move forwards on the road that brings us to the famous village at the bottom of the volcano. I didn’t expect to that much lava and as many small volcanos. I didn’t expect that much greenery in the lava (yes yes you read well) but also to the hospitality and kindness of those villagers. Especially when we remember that few years ago most of them lost everything in the eruption but they don’t see themselves living anywhere else. They remind me a bit this small village with hardliner Gallics… 😉

The climb

The day after, just before the sun rise, we started to climb the Pico Grande with Sebastian and Pirinha Silva (our guides), and a couple of Portuguese. More we were getting closer to the summit, more the landscape was impressive. During each break, we thought that it was hard but the view motivated us to keep going, to go all the way. After few hours, almost 4 if I remember well, we arrived to the summit. From there, we could see the volcano crater. From there, we got the impression to be at the end of the world, on a flying volcano.

I explain myself, the Pico Grande is in the heart of the Bordeira which was a volcano a long time ago. Around the Bordeira, we could see clouds that gave us the impression to be on top of everything.

As we had to go down on the same side we went up, Pirinha showed me the “other side” of the volcano. From this slope, I had a panoramic view on the valley and the small pico. W O N D E R F U L !!!

He explained me then his love for his island and his “paradise”. He enjoyed this time to explain me an amazing hike to do on the Bordeira during 2 days. Now, I only want to go back there to spend the night under the stars on top of the Bordeira. But, before that, we had to go down… And here is the favourite part of any guides : run in the “lava powder” on the volcano. What a feeling! And a lot of giggles too!

My opinion

Thinking about it, I would do a parallel between giving birth and the volcano climb : it was hard physically and morally. We had the feeling that we will never get to the summit.But, once on the top, we forgot the pain in the legs and the fatigue to admire the view. It’s so worth it!

For the small story, the Pico Grande climb can be done in around 6 hours. The guides can tell you that’s chill. In the mean time, when they climb without tourist, they do it in 1hour (more or less)… and they do it since they were 7 years old… 😉

And you, have you done it? Would you do it?

For info :

The climb with a guide costs 4000 escudos if you only do the big one and 6000 escudos if you go up by the big one and down by the small one. I highly recommend you to climb with a guide and not doing it by yourself (for safety reasons).

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