Santa Luzia – the uninhabited island


Located 8km southeast of São Vicente and 29 km northwest from São Nicolau, Santa Luzia is the smallest of the islands in Cape Verde at 35km².


The island is very dry and barren with a rugged north coast and beautiful beaches and dunes to the south. The highest point is Topona at 395m.


The island was uninhabited until the 17th century from which point it was used for raising livestock. This continued up until the 1960s when there was a small community living on the island, however by the 1990s the island was once again uninhabited.


The only way to reach the island is from Calhau, on the east coast of São Vincente, where it is possible to charter a fishing boat for the day to take you to Santa Luzia. The crossing is approximately two hours in each direction.


All that remains of the former inhabitants of Santa Luzia are their ruined houses and a few stone walls.


Barn owls breed occasionally on Santa Luzia and they use the same nest sites for many years. Raso Larks were here, and disappeared at around the time that people arrived. Elsewhere, piles of old seabird bones bear witness to the island’s past glories. What needs to be done is to restore the island, and its historic populations of Raso larks, seabirds, reptiles and turtles. Island restoration is expensive, but the effort would be worthwhile. 


Significant resources will be needed to restore what could become one of the most important bird islands in the north Atlantic.


 Barn owl


 Raso Lark


In certain periods of the year it is strictly forbidden to visit Santa Luzia, in order not to disturb the breeding birds.


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