São Vicente island Cape Verde

The scenic island of São Vicente is perhaps best known for its culture, music and carnival.

This cultural island with its capital Mindelo is one of those places with a full calendar of social activities and musical events. Whether its the famous and spectacular Carnival festivities in February or the Baia das Gatas full moon party in August with lots of music and dancing, there’s always something going on.

Music plays an important role in the island’s existence and every evening, you’ll find local musicians jamming in the restaurants or small music venues. The famous ‘Queen of Morna’ Cesária Évora was born on the island and our guided sightseeing tours of Mindelo include a visit to a guitar-making workshop.

There are some great places to stay in the city, from the boutique Casamarel and Kira’s Boutique to the quirky Terra Lodge and Prassa 3 Hotel, the Portuguese colonial style guesthouse the Casa Colonial and the relaxing, larger city hotel the Oasis Atlantico Porto Grande.

If you’d rather not stay in the city then Sao Vicente also has amazing beaches including Sao Pedro in the west. For an alternative beach stay on an island that’s arguably more interesting than Sal, look no further than the Foya Branca, right on the beach but only a 15 minute taxi ride from Mindelo’s bars, restaurants and entertainment.

Our guides can show you around their island on foot or by driver guided tour. There’s a few good walks here, exploring the coastline and up to Sao Vicente’s highest point, Monte Verde. It’s satisfying to get here on foot but if you’re not into that then the road goes right to the summit, giving you access to one of the best views of the archipelago – across Sao Vicente, Mindelo bay and to neighbouring Santo Antao.

If you’re going to Santo Antao you’ll need to travel via Sao Vicente. The ferry crosses from Mindelo to Porto Novo on Santo Antao twice daily. A day in vibrant Mindelo on the way to and from Santo Antao is a good counterpoint to Santo Antao’s wild remoteness. Whether you’re on Sao Vicente for a night or a week or more, locals will welcome you to this cultural centre of Cape Verde.

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