You don’t have to go all the way to Rio de Janeiro carnival, in Brazil, to be part of one of the most colourful events of the year in Cape verde. We’re talking about the Carnival in Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, which combines a days of music, dance and colourful street processions.
The Mindelo carnival, also known as the Creole festival, is a spectacle not to me missed as the streets come alive with colourful dance troops and spectacular floats, each competing to win the coveted carnival prize for being the best. Unlike Rio, this is very much a local affair, but in recent years it has become increasingly popular with people travelling to the island from all over the world who all come to join in the celebrations and watch this colourful and vibrant festival of life.
Often referred to as the cultural beating heart of Cape Verde, Mindelo has a world- renowned reputation for its music scene which blends various genres like Morna, Tabanka and Coladeira. Each day you can listen to live music and local musicians perform impromptu jamming sessions in the streets, bars and cafes.
Preparations for the carnival start almost as soon as the previous carnival has finished and is very much a community affair as it takes months of planning, involving families, members of the community and the local government. The celebrations start in January with colourful parades held every Sunday. The week leading up to Shrove Tuesday (in 2019 from the 2nd to the 6th of March) is crammed with parties and other events, which you too can join, eventually culminating in the main parade, which runs late into the night and shouldn’t be missed.
We suggest you stay at the Terra Lodge, which is within walking distance of the town centre and many restaurants and bars. Here you can relax in your hammock on your balcony and find some peace and tranquillity if you temporarily want to escape the carnival madness.
We give you plenty of free time to immerse yourself in the carnival festivities on your own, but have also included three activities, an informative guided walk of Mindelo which finishes at a guitar making workshop, an interesting and exhilarating off road Jeep tour of Sao Vicente and a day trip to neighbouring island Santo Antao, where one of our local guides takes you on a tour of the island.
After the Carnival, we’ll give you a flavour of another island, by flying you to Santiago, Cape Verde’s biggest island. Here another of our local guides will show you around the oldest settlement of Cape Verde – historical Cidade Velha, before you continue your journey to the coastal town of Tarrafal. Here you can spend your days relaxing on the small sandy beach and exploring the little coves, or watch the fishermen come in with their latest catch.
Just like the Carnival preparations which start as soon as it has finished, you need to book this trip well in advance to avoid any disappointment.
Price Per Person
We can create a tailor-made holiday to suit your budget.
INCLUDED: International flights (guide price only), accommodation in twin share, en-suite rooms on a breakfast only basis throughout. Return airport transfers on Sao Vicente and Santiago. Inter-island flights per person Sao Vicente/Santiago. 4 x guided excursions as detailed in the itinerary. Visas and support from our team in Cape Verde, and air ticket reconfirmation (if required). EXCLUDED: Meals not specified above and insurance. Additional excursions on free days.
After one night in Lisbon, you will be staying for 5 nights at the Terra Lodge in Mindelo and 4 nights at Villa Strela in Tarrafal.
We have included four activities accompanied by an English speaking guide and more can be added. If however you prefer to go to the Carnival activities instead then we can always change the itinerary
On this trip you will be visiting two Cape Verdean islands. Sao Vicente in the north and Santiago in the south.