Reasons to visit São Vicente
Welcome to São Vicente, Cultural Capital of the Cape Verde islands! You will arrive at the International airport, Cesária Évora (VXE). The airport is named after the beloved Queen of Morna “blues” (the musical soul of Cabo Verde) the highly acclaimed barefoot diva. On the drive along the coastal road from the airport to Mindelo you will see many interesting sites. These include an eerie shipwreck, the Ukrainian tugboat, Leopard; a lighthouse located on an islet protruding from the ocean in the bay of Mindelo, Ilhéu dos Pássaros. On a clear day, you will be able to see the second largest Island of the archipelago, Santo Antão, and also of course you will notice the charming Porto Grande bay, formed in the rim of a sunken volcano.
Mindelo the Cultural Capital
Being known as the Cultural Capital is no mistake! Some of the greatest artists and musicians of Cabo Verde come from São Vicente. The people really make this place so special and filled with life. Some of the most beautiful, colourful architecture lines the main coastal avenue. The Island wakes up early and its people are ready for another busy day. Vendors line the streets with fruit and vegetables; the fish market is being stocked with the freshest catch while shoppers make their daily selection.
Interactions among people are kind and warm and visitors are greeted with the ‘Morabeza’ of the islands. The city is quiet in the afternoons, because workers and children head home for lunch. Many stores close their doors from noon until around 15:00, except for some of the central shops, banks and restaurants. The Cultural Center and Museums are filled with exhibitions for visitors to enjoy. The Mindelact annual theatre festival is a main attraction for art lovers. In this Cosmopolitan City, evenings are entertaining. You will find live music at many restaurants, bars and pubs, not to forget the delicious cuisine options. The traditional Catchupa dish (bean and corn stew) is a must!
The Port and Beaches
The port is busy with ships arriving and departing, bringing cargo, stopping for maintenance, stocking up on provisions, and also bringing guests travelling by Cruise Ship to the beautiful Porto Grande! The iconic Monte Cara (Face Mountain), the symbol of São Vicente, is viewed from this bay. The locals frequent the Laginha beach in Mindelo. It offers great options for a day of enjoyment at the beach! There are nice restaurants, and at the weekend a disco for music and dancing! However, this is not the only beach you should see while you are here! Take a journey off the beaten track and be sure to see the coasts and villages surrounding the island. The majority of the population live in Mindelo, while the remaining small percentage live in the coastal villages of São Pedro, Salamansa, Baia, Norte Baia, and Calhau.
The Carnival and Festivals are a great attraction. If you are lucky enough to visit during these times, you will experience the party of a lifetime! Carnival, also known as ‘Mini Rio’ or ‘Mardi Gras’, begins on the Friday before lent, and ends on Ash Wednesday. Festivals of the various Saints take place from May through August. The International Music Festival of Baia das Gatas (Catfish Bay) occurs every August, on the weekend of the Full Moon. It lasts three days from Friday through Sunday with musical performances from local and international invited artists.
You can enjoy many activities when you visit São Vicente! If you are interested in water sports, there is: diving; surfing (kite and wind), and paddle boarding. Fishing is also a major attraction. Big Game fishing and traditional local fishing opportunities can be enjoyed! Many visiting families love to participate in turtle watching, traditional fishing, and swimming with sea turtles. Furthermore there is also a fully functioning 18-hole golf course (made of dirt!). You may rent golf equipment and have a fun day of non-traditional golf!
Walking and hiking
If you are someone who loves getting active in the outdoors, then you will definitely enjoy the trails and mountains São Vicente has to offer! Whether you are a person who enjoys walking, hiking or trekking, there is something in store for you! Monte Verde, the highest point of the island, has the best panoramic view of the Island, on a clear day you will be able to see the city and the neighbouring islands of Santo Antão, together with uninhabited Santa Luzia, islets of Razo and Branco, and São Nicolau.
São Vicente awaits you! So why not visit São Vicente
We thank Green Line Tours for this article.