São Vicente is considered the most lively and cultural island of Cape Verde’s archipelago, full of events where local traditions blend together with music, theater, culinary arts and fun. Besides Mindelo’s carnival (February) other events stand out such as the Baia das Gatas music festival (August), the Kavala Fresk Festival (July) and the Mindel Act theater festival (September). The island distinguishes itself for its bays, where volcanic mountains embrace white beaches and the crystal clear sea. From Mount Verde, the highest peak, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the island, ranging from Mindelo’s Bay, with Mount Cara overlooking the sea showing its particular profile reminding a woman’s face, to Salamansa, or Baia das Gatas and Calhau, fishing villages with beautiful beaches.
A colonial city whose architecture underlines both Portuguese and English influence, rediscovered through its thousand colored houses, its historical buildings, squares and cobbled streets. Day life takes place between the city center, the seafront promenade and the rich fish market, crossing the colorful fruit markets or the narrow streets where you can meet the inevitable pasteis and rissois sellers on every corner, as well as people ready to enchant you with their stories or dogs eager for attention. At night the many bars, restaurants and nightclubs light up, and the city enlivens with live music, or the morna sweet melody sound and the kizomba and funanà hectic rhythms. Mindelo flourishes around its bay, the tourist marina full of sailboats where sport fishing and diving are practiced too, and its harbour, the city’s main source of wealth, where ferry-boats depart daily to the nearby Santo Antao, one of the hikers’ favorite destination for its green mountains. Moving slightly away from the center the other side of Mindelo emerges, the most popular one but nonetheless cheerful, full of open doors, gentlemen playing around tables, women dancing, clothes hanging and children running in the streets.
White or rocky beaches, deserted or extremely animated, light or deep blue sea, natural pools or the open ocean, long expanses of sand or small coves ... Sao Vicente has it all. Laginha, town beach with white sand, adored by Mindelo’s inhabitants who crowd here on weekends and in summer, coasted by many restaurants and nightclubs, as well as a meeting point for drink a ponche or a grogue, it is also popular among sports lovers especially for running, swimming and physical exercises. Salamansa, with its long dark sand expanse, beautiful and uncontaminated, one of the favorite destinations for kyte surf lovers. Baia das Gatas, where stones bordering the sea create a natural crystal clear water pool, it has excellent restaurants nearby and is the ideal destination for sunbathing or for spending pleasant weekends. Calhau, a village with few houses overlooking a small indented bay with magnificent rocky coves and clear water where to bathe. Praia Grande and Praia Norte, wild and mostly deserted, known for their contrast between white sands and adjacent volcanic rocks. S.Pedro, a fishing village near a long and wonderful beach, preferred by surfers for its tall waves all year long.
A true town square festival, Mindelo’s Carnival, the most animated in Cape Verde, usually takes place in February together with the Brazilian one, involving all of the local population in a creativity and fantasy competition. Arrangements begin in advance, with the creation of costumes, dance rehearsals and various masquerades throughout bars in town, where everyone is allowed, whether a child or an adult, as far as all are dressed up and get carried away with the festive atmosphere. For an entire week the city changes, streets are filled with joy, colors and the sound of the mandinga drums, awaiting the first amateur and school parades, the Mindel Fantasy disco in the street all night long, until the time comes for the Samba Tropical’s school performance with its wonderful colored costumes (it is repeated in mid-August too). All ends with the floats parade where each year more and more groups from various city districts compete accompanied by that joyfu