Review of Casa das Ilhas, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Lombo Comprido, Vila das Pombas, CP28

Morning in Ribeira do Paul Valley, Santo Antao, Cape Verde
The sound of laughter is infectious, it makes me smile. The source is three boys skipping down the cobbled path on the way to school, which could be miles away. Their smiles are as blindingly white as their crisp shirts. My eyes follow the route they will take as it winds past palm trees, cane and neat terraces to the country road a ten minute walk away. The verdant landscape still has a thin veil of early morning mist, the haziness mingling with the aromatic smoke from grog stills further down the valley.
It might just be one of the most intoxicating views I’ve woken up to.

Path to Casa das Ilhas, Ribeira do Paul Valley, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Casa das Ilhas sits in the Ribeira do Paul, one of the most beautiful valleys you’ll see anywhere, in the north east of Santo Antao. Although it’s not actually far from the coast, it feels as though it may as well be in Shangri-La. To get to it involves a mini trek along a cobble path (what passes for a street in these parts). In one direction the closest road is about 15 minutes walk away, in the other it’s around ten minutes. Don’t worry about having to cart luggage, porters will do the heavy work for you… on their heads.

The location is the star here, a lush and lovely, tropical African valley which both relaxes and binds you in a spell. I just couldn’t pull my eyes away from the scenery.

Room at Casa das Ilhas, Ribeira do Paul Valley, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

There are ten rooms, five with en-suite bathrooms. Rooms are basically furnished with comfortable beds and hot water. Don’t expect anything like wifi (as the owner makes clear on a welcoming little message on the communal fridge). This is a place for logging off and chilling out. There are little terrace areas dotted around the accommodation; perfect for sitting with a book in the shade of a banana palm.

Cachupa, Das Ilhas, Ribeira do Paul Valley, Santo Antao, Cape Verde

Breakfast and dinner is served in a friendly communal dining room and consist of local products. Don’t expect anything fancy, just good local food. The communal spirit is fuelled by a pre-dinner glass of local grog. Post dinner entertainment for us consisted of  watching a gecko try to take on a far bigger praying mantis; better than your average hotel entertainment programme if you ask me. Breakfast is particularly good with a range of fresh tropical fruits, crusty bread, jams and zingy freshly squeezed juices.

The hotel has an honesty bar which is essential if, like us, you like a chilled and refreshing post hike beer.

Casa das Ilhas, Ribeira do Paul Valley, Santo Antau, Cape Verde

Casa das Ilhas’ understated décor allows the valley to be the star attraction. It’s not a place for anyone looking for the facilities you find in resort hotels. It’s perfectly suited for people who want decent food and a comfortable bed at the end of an exhilarating day’s walking in Cape Verde… with some extra special views thrown in for good measure.

Casa das Ilhas;Lombo Comprido, Vila das Pombas, CP28, Santo Antao; Tel: +238 223 18 32 or 996 77 74

All our transfers, accommodation, guided walks and travel while in Cape Verde were arranged for us by Archipelago Choice, tailor made holidays to the Azores and Cape Verde.

Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

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