Santiago - or São Tiago as the island is known locally - is the largest of the Cape Verdean islands. Also, it houses the largest population, some 290.000 persons. That’s because agriculture is relatively thriving on the island. The interior is mountainous and catches the winds, turning the air moist and rainy. The original rain forest has gone, but secondary forest and plantations adorn the landscape. The weathered mountains give the island a dramatic setting. The coastal areas are dry, and here people live from the sea.
All in all, the island is very good for hiking, with trails and tracks in every part. The highest mountain is 1394 m but its sharp rock faces and lush vegetation make the ascent difficult. The area around this Pico da Antónia is a nature reserve. Another nature reserve is Serra da Malaguet.