Moncarapacho – do you know how it got its name?

Moncarapacho – do you know how it got its name?

Moncarapacho is a small idyllic village set deep in the orange groves of the municipality of Olhão.

There are many hypotheses about how this quaint Algarvian town got its name and the truth is, that nobody really knows for sure! We do have some very strange names in the Algarve though, like:

‘Cabeça do Velho’ – Old Man’s Head’, ‘Purgatório’ – Purgatory.

Not sure I want to know how those places got their names, but let’s explore the theories behind the naming of Moncarapacho!

One theory is that the name originated from ‘Monte do Carapacho’.

Carapacho is a Spanish word meaning carapace or carapax – tortoise shell.
It is believed that this name was given to it because Moncarapacho, when seen from the sea, looks like a giant tortoise shell.

Later on ‘Monte do Carapacho‘ would become ‘Moncarapacho’.

Not convinced?

Monte Escarpado

On the Mount of São Miguel – ‘Cerro de São Miguel’, there is a spot called ‘Monte Escarpado’ – a steep and sheer hill; Some believe that the name ‘Monte Escarpado’ evolved into ‘Moncarapacho’.

Still not convinced?

The final theory!

Monte dos Capachos

There once was a lady who lived in ‘Cerro de São Miguel’, who made doormats from fabric – ‘capachos’ which she sold to the locals.


People started to call the area ‘Monte dos Capachos’ and through the years, this changed into ‘Montecapacho’ and eventually into Moncarapacho!

Which theory do you think is most likely?

Have you heard a different story?

Let us know in the comments!


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3 responses to “Moncarapacho – do you know how it got its name?”

  1. Monte dos Capachos seems most likely as its a practical reference point, I am curious my place is called Monte do Cerro dos Cardos, so monte and monte of thistles?!

    • I think that Monte dos Capachos is most likely too.
      “Mount of the thistle hills” Do lots of Thistles grow there?

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