Island of the great volcano, symbol of life and energy, it was initially called São Filipe and only later denominated Fogo for housing the highest peak of the archipelago: the imposing volcano, 2829 meters high, main source of attraction for tourists and place of compulsory visit to every visitor.

 

The island was once inhabited by people from Santiago Island, owners of vast lands and slaves brought from the coast of Guinea. The agricultural and industrial activities were always present in the island: cotton, vineyards, the processing and export of such products, etc. São Filipe, with more than five thousand habitants, is the capital of the island and there the visitor can observe the dazzling sobrados: colonial houses where the aristocrats used to live.

This type of houses and the symbolism they convey underline the social demarcation felt in the old days. These were houses consisting of two floors with wooden carved balconies. The ground floor was reserved to the slaves and to the house works, while the owners of the house occupied the first floor. Only once every year, on Santa Cruz day, the owners allowed the slaves to visit the first floor.

 

On the high part of the island, the Miradouro da Aguadinha offers the tourist a gratifying view. From there we can admire some beaches with black and white sand and far-off, if the visibility is good, the closest island – Brava.

The Ermida de Nossa Senhora do Socorro is also worth a visit. With a small chapel overtopping the sea, it is a place of pilgrimage and picnics and legend holds it that there once were divine apparitions there.

Mosteiros, where the second airport of the island is situated, is famous for the production of the well- known “Fogo coffee” that can again be found on sale, even in Portugal, thanks to a toasting plant in neighbour Santiago island. It is also a place of important traditions and cultural manifestations, such as the Festa de São Filipe, held on the 1st of May, which gathers people from the allover the archipelago and Cape Verdean emigrants who take this opportunity to visit their homeland. Alongside with the production of coffee, there is also the grape cultivation associated to the production of “Manecon” wine, highly appreciated in the whole country for being produced with no chemical ingredients and for having a very characteristic flavour. Recently a cooperative association was established in the volcano, bottling this wine with improved quality.

The island, where the strength of nature imposes itself through the volcano’s grandiosity, registered the most recent volcanic eruption on the 2nd of April 1995. Chã das Caldeiras, a small village on the foot of the main cone of the volcano, was then almost completely isolated by the lava stream that interrupted the main road at three different points. For those who enjoy an on-foot expedition, it is recommended to reach this village through the lava and ash fields that nowadays cover what were very fertile farming fields and the main source of living of the local population, even though the road has been re-opened. The isolation and silence felt there and the constant imposing presence of the volcano makes us feel small and helpless compared to the forces of nature.

In Cha das Caldeiras it is also important to highlight the existence of a vast forest area called Monte Velho (Old Mountain), due to the existing humidity, which includes eucalyptus and other large trees. The contrast with the rest of the inhospitable lava landscape is very beautiful and well worth visiting.