São Vicente Cape Verde
São Vicente Cape Verde is one of the more westerly Cape Verde islands. It is a stepping-stone Santo Antão which is the furthest west. The beaches, as with other islands in the archipelago, are plentiful. At São Pedro the beach is great for windsurfers and one of the best beaches for speed windsurfing (best conditions Nov-Apr). To the southeast of São Pedro there are beautiful, deserted beaches of fine white coral, surrounded by the reddish brown scree on the mountains. Osprays can often be seen gliding above the water.
The main town of Mindelo is a tourist and cultural attraction with a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere. Although discovered in 1462, it was only in the 19th Century that the potential of the deep harbour was appreciated by the British once it became a refuelling stop for shipping. Mindelo is now a prosperous town, with restored squares and the refurbished façades of its historic buildings. It is easily explored on foot and there are arts and crafts exhibitions and workshops, a cultural centre (Centro Cultural do Mindelo) an arts museum (Museu de Arte Tradicional), a lively fish market, and fruit and vegetable markets. Restaurants are plentiful and varied. Whilst the main town of Mindelo is the island’s hub, cultural events can be found throughout the island. The Baía das Gatas (The Bay of Cats) festival is held in August. Also one of the very few Gay Pride celebrations to be held in Africa takes place in Mindelo.
Monte Verde dominates the island together with the mountain ranges of Madeiral and Fateixa. On a clear day, from the mountains, it is possible to see Santo Antão, together with the deserted islands of Santa Lucia, Branca and Raso. There are interesting discoveries to be made if you venture out of the towns. Plants that have adapted to desert conditions will be found, together with palm trees and vegetable plots along with acacia groves. There are also small villages to explore, such as Calhau, with its colourful houses.
The Climate is tropical and dry, and it rarely rains on São Vicente, providing an all-year destination for those seeking warm weather and sunshine.