The island of São Vicente is best known for its culture, music and carnival.
This cultural island with its vibrant capital Mindelo is one of those places, with a full calendar of activities and events. Whether its the elaborate 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 a sightseeing tour of Mindelo will always end in a visit to a guitar-making workshop.
The island is a great base to island-hop by ferry to neighbouring Santo Antão
Mindelo is the beating heart of São Vicente. Nestled at the foot of two extinct volcanoes and built around a deep water harbour, it’s a bustling traditional town filled with cafés, restaurants and colonial architecture. This city comes to life in the evening, with music pouring out of small venues and cafes, a dinner and live music shouldn’t be missed.
A guided tour of Ribeira Bote one of Mindelo’s most interesting neighbourhoods is a must. Young students will take you on a personal insider tour through their district (a former red light district) and its hidden corners. Art and music can be found everywhere. During this tour, you will visit a small market and a guitar making workshop.
The two main events on the island are also centred around music (Baia Gatas Festival in August) and entertainment (Carnival in February). Go off the beaten track and discover the rest of the island by jeep and visit the black deserted beaches no one else would visit because they are not easily accessible.
There is much to see and do when travelling around the islands of Cape Verde. On each of the 9 islands, we have tried to offer experiences which reflect the highlights of the island you're visiting by allowing you to either step off the beaten track or indulge in some of the more active water sports on offer.
There is a whole variety of accommodation to be found on São Vicente. From the family home that has been turned into a boutique hotel, to the trendy Prassa 3 and the more established old favourites like the Porto Grande. Further away from Amilcar Cabral plaza you have the understated Colonial Guesthouse or the quirky Aquiles Eco near the beach and closer to the airport. For families and beach lovers there is always the popular Hotel Foya Branca.